Monday, October 19, 2015

Looking At The NFL's Undefeated Teams After Week 6

Peyton Manning and Tom Brady know a thing or two about starting seasons
off strong, but there are three other teams who are enjoying record starts.


How they got here:  It isn't like the Panthers have been blowing teams out all year.  Their first four wins were over underwhelming opponents and made people feel this team was fools gold.  However, their win over the defending NFC Champion Seahawks is making people's eyes perk up.

Most impressive win:  27-23 at Seattle.  Anytime you can win in Seattle is impressive.  Marching down the field with time running out and scoring a game winning touchdown is all the more sweeter.

How long could this last?:  Carolina has a relatively tough schedule ahead, though the next three are in Charlotte.  The Panthers will host the Eagles, Colts and Packers over the next three weeks.  Get through that and the schedule lightens up a bit until Thanksgiving.


How they got here:  Cincinnati has been flexing its offensive muscle.  Their bend-but-don't-break defense has been pretty good and Andy Dalton is looking like a MVP candidate has been making this a scary team.  This team is getting comparisons to the 1988 team that went to the Super Bowl.

Most impressive win:  27-24 vs Seattle.  Not trying to pick on Seattle, but many fans felt that this was where this team could falter.  This was a big game on a big stage and the Bengals have struggled in those situations.  It looked like this would be the case again, falling behind 24-7 in the fourth quarter.  But Andy Dalton led a comeback for the ages in Cincinnati and pulled out the overtime victory.

How long could this last?:  The Bengals have to go to Pittsburgh next week.  Usually a tough win for Cincy, but Ben Roethlisberger won't be playing for the Steelers.  From there, the two games to circle would be Week 11 at Arizona (against Carson Palmer) and Week 16 at Denver.  Both have stellar defenses and both have a lot to play for.  


How they got here:  Not the storyline you're used to.  It is Peyton Manning managing the offense and the Broncos top ranked defense that is carrying this team to an undefeated mark.  They aren't winning by wide margins, but they are winning.

Most impressive win:  31-24 at Kansas City.  This is to be their toughest AFC West test and they passed.  Arrowhead is a tough place to play and Manning showed a lot in the fourth quarter to keep people believing he can get to one more Super Bowl.

How long could this last?:  Not long.  Denver gets its bye week next week before heading on a brutal schedule.  They will host fellow undefeated Green Bay on Sunday Night football in Week 8, then traveling to Indianapolis for a matchup with the Colts (who knocked Denver out of the playoffs last year).  Soon after, they'll get the Chiefs again before getting the Patriots and Bengals to come to town.  Add in two games against the offensive juggernaut Chargers and this undefeated season could fall hard.


How they got here:  Doing what the Packers do.  Aaron Rodgers keeps making big plays and the Packers keep chugging along.

Most impressive win:  27-17 vs Seattle.  Maybe I need to stop picking on Seattle?  Sure, but this was a gorilla on the Packers' backs.  The season could have been derailed early with a loss in this Week 2 game, but Green Bay helped wash that sting off the meltdown of the NFC Championship game with this win.

How long could this last?:  Well, that Denver game in Week 8.  Like the Broncos, the Packers will get a bye next week before this showdown.  The very next week, the Packers will travel to Carolina to face fellow undefeated Panthers.  After that, it could be smooth sailing.  They have five games inside the woeful NFC North as well as a home title with the Cowboys (who could have Tony Romo by then) and then traveling to Arizona.


How they got here:  These are the defending champions and Tom Brady didn't have to serve that four-game suspension.  New England has been winning impressively all season long.

Most impressive win:  40-32 at Buffalo.  The Bills were poised to be a playoff contender and Buffalo is always a tough place to play for New England.  Add in the rivalry with Bills' new head coach Rex Ryan and this was the Pats' best victory yet.

How long could this last?:  Well, they could run the table again as the Pats have three straight home games.  However, there are some legit landmines.  Five of their final eight games are on the road, including trips to the Denver, Miami and twice to New York (Giants and Jets).  Yes, those pesky Jets get the Patriots twice, starting with next week's game in Foxborough.

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