A Quarter in Review: Chiefs and Patriots show why they are still the league’s elite


Brook Ward | Flickr

Kyle McKee, Sports Editor

The Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots have established themselves as the two best teams in the league.

Both teams are undefeated at 4-0 and both teams are led by MVP caliber quarterbacks with Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady.

After those two teams, it is chaos. However, there are a few winless teams that have are just looked awful and can be crossed off the list of playoff contenders, including the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and Washington Redskins.

Yet, a great deal of the league is bunched together in the tier after the Chiefs and Patriots.

After losing back to back games, the Philadelphia Eagles went on the road to one of the toughest places to play in the league, Lambeau Field, and handed the Green Bay Packers their first loss of the season.

After dominating in their first two games, the Baltimore Ravens have lost two straight, and in Week 4, got absolutely smashed by the Cleveland Browns at home.

The Browns played like the team everyone was hyping up before the season started.

Cleveland put up 40 points on the road in Baltimore, led by the running game.

Browns running back Nick Chubb went off for 165 yards and three touchdowns, including a season-long 88-yard run. The Browns find themselves atop the AFC North at 2-2, owning the tie-break against the 2-2 Ravens.

Following a 0-2 start and an absolutely pedestrian on both sides of the ball, the New York Giants have won two straight games with their rookie quarterback Daniel Jones.

Coming into the season, there wasn’t much hope for Giants fans. Yet, the Giants found themselves at 2-2, one game back of NFC East division leader, the Dallas Cowboys. Jones has rejuvenated the entire organization.

Both the offense and defense have played better since “Danny Dimes” took over as the starting quarterback.

The Giants have a tough next couple of weeks with games against the Minnesota Vikings and Patriots.

The Tennessee Titans played excellent football against the Atlanta Falcons, especially on defense, holding the Falcons’ high-octane offense to just 10 points. The Titans improved to 2-2, and are tied with every team in the AFC South.

It is hard to believe, but every team in the AFC South ­— the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Titans — is 2-2.

All of these teams are very similar, as they all have solid defenses that can keep each team in the game, whereas their offenses can look incredible one week and dreadful the next week.

This division is going to come down to the very last week.

The Colts got blown out at home against the Oakland Raiders, but the big news coming out of this game was Vontaze Burfict being ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit to Colts tight end Jack Doyle.

Reports came out Sept. 30 that the NFL will suspend Burfict for the remainder of the season and he will not be paid for the duration of the suspension.

Before signing with the Raiders this offseason, in his seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, Burfict was fined or suspended 13 times.

This is the third time Burfict has been suspended for an illegal hit. Additionally, Burfict has led the NFL with 23 personal fouls since entering in 2012, including the playoffs.

His 15 flags for unnecessary roughness since 2012 also lead the league. Burfict has been fined the most of any player in the NFL since he entered the league.

Even though many fans hope that Burfict has played his last game in the NFL, at 29 years old and a good football player, some team will be willing to take a chance on him.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be the hardest team to decipher on whether or not they are good or bad.

The Bucs put a franchise record 55 points on the road against the previously undefeated and defending NFC Champions, the Los Angeles Rams.

Jameis Winston played one of the best games of his career, throwing for 385 yards and four touchdowns.

However, the Bucs gave up 40 points to the Rams and their defense has been pretty bad so far this season.

Despite having the league’s leader Shaquil Barrett in sacks, the defense has allowed 20 or more points in every game so far this season.

They had bad home losses against the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants, but they have two impressive road wins against the Rams and the Carolina Panthers.

The Bucs are 2-2, sitting one game back of NFC South division leader the New Orleans Saints who are 3-1.

Yet, two star quarterbacks within the division are injured — Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints — and the last team, the Atlanta Falcons at 1-3, have gotten embarrassed in two games against the Vikings and the Titans and blew a third game against the Colts.

With all that said, the Saints have looked pretty good the last two weeks on the road in Seattle against the Seahawks and at home against the Dallas Cowboys.

If they can keep this up until Brees returns from injury, the Saints will be the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

The NFC North is another interesting division.

Every team has a record of .500 or better.

The Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears are both 3-1. However, their paths to success so far  have been complete opposites.

The Packers boast a strong, deep offense and a solid defense.

The Bears rely almost completely on their defensive core to win them games. Their offense has been very lackluster and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has not taken the next step that many expected him to

The Detroit Lions are surprisingly 2-1-1, and could easily be undefeated.

The Lions blew their Week 1 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, lucky just to get a tie, and blew their Week 4 game against the Chiefs.

With an improved defense, an established running game led by Kerryon Johnson and solid group of wide receivers, Matthew Stafford finally has some support.

The last-place team in the NFC North, the Vikings, at 2-2, have been either really good or really bad.

In their two wins, the Vikings have outscored their opponents 62-26.

When their offense is playing well, the Vikings can compete with anyone.

However, when the offense is playing bad, they can lose to anyone.

The Vikings have a very talented defense that can keep them in any game, but that is not their main area of concern.

Their problem is their offense, mainly quarterback Kirk Cousins.

The Vikings have incredible playmakers in running back Dalvin Cook and pass catchers in Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph. It is all up to Cousins to get the ball into these players’ hands. So far, Cousins has not done a great job of that.

However, there is plenty of football left to play and the Vikings remain clumped together with a bunch of other teams also with playoff aspirations.