Tim Benz: Who are NFL’s legitimate 3-0 and 0-3 teams?
After three weeks of the 2019 NFL season, some teams have lived up to their offseason hype and are unbeaten. Others are every bit as bad as predicted.
Some teams are stunningly 3-0. Others are a dreadfully disappointing 0-3.
I think we all know what category includes the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It’s a season of extremes so far as 13 of the NFL’s 32 clubs are either 0-3 or 3-0. So let’s take a closer look and see which clubs are actually off to starts representative of where they will wind up in December.
For real at 3-0
Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams
Now, when I say “for real” here, I’m not predicting 16-0. After all, some of the current unbeaten teams play each other — such as the Chiefs and Patriots on Dec. 8 in Foxborough.
What I’m suggesting is that these three clubs will wind up somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 wins, a division title, and a playoff bye.
Unless something devastating happens to Tom Brady and/or Patrick Mahomes, I expect New England and Kansas City to rematch in the AFC Championship Game.
I also expect the Rams to be back in the NFC Championship Game.
Not great, but really good
Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers
I almost put Dallas in the first category. But not quite. Look for them to win the NFC East. And look for them to do so with roughly 11 wins. Maybe a playoff bye, too. Their plus-53 point differential and 97 points scored are tops in the NFC. But I just see them as a cut below the big three so far.
Green Bay continues to impress with a new coach (Matt LaFleur) and a reshaped defense that has allowed an NFC-low 35 points. Also, they gathered two clutch early division wins.
Expect them to suffer a few dings along the way, though, in what is shaping up to be a surprisingly competitive NFC North.
Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers
While I’m not a “Billiever” in Buffalo, I do believe in the divine intervention of the “Bills Mafia.”
Welcome to #BillsMafia, kid
— ESPN (@espn) September 18, 2019
The best thing about that video is that the guy was wearing a Stevie Johnson jersey, and he managed to avoid dropping the baby.
I shouldn’t hate on the Bills for beating who they were scheduled to play. This isn’t college. It’s not their choice. It’s just that all they have done is beat the New York Jets, New York Giants, and Cincinnati Bengals.
Those might be three of the top 10 teams in the draft next year.
Buffalo still needs to play the Baltimore Ravens, Dallas, and the Patriots (twice). Getting the Miami Dolphins twice and the Jets once more could allow them to get to nine wins and a wild-card spot. But that’s it. At best. And probably less.
Similarly, the 49ers have beaten two 0-3 teams (the Steelers and the Bengals) and a bad Tampa Bay Buccaneers team.
Like Buffalo, they might wind up 9-7 with the last wild-card slot in the bracket. Nothing more than that.
Genuinely god awful at 0-3
New York Jets, Miami Dolphins
Simply put, the Dolphins may be the worst NFL team ever assembled. Depending on how long Sam Darnold stays out at quarterback, the Jets may not be far behind.
Neither of these teams will go 0-16. Mainly, because they play each other twice.
If they both go 0-14-2 by tying each other in both games, don’t be surprised.
I just don’t want to lump them in with Miami and the Jets
Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos
For whatever reason, I feel the Redskins are one chromosome or two removed from being total losers. They’ll scratch out a few wins against the Giants, Dolphins, or the Carolina Panthers. And that will be it.
Regarding the Broncos, their defense has zero sacks and zero forced turnovers so far. Via BroncosWire.com, “Since the NFL began tracking sacks in 1982, no team has gone three straight games without a sack or takeaway. The 2019 Broncos are the first.”
That has to change. Under Vic Fangio, this defense must be better than that. They’ll manage three or four wins.
They stink a little less
Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals
I won’t be shocked if these two rotten clubs split with each other. Perhaps they each steal a win from another division foe. Plus, they both get the Dolphins and Jets.
To their credit, both organizations have played the 3-0 Niners, the 2-1 Seahawks, and another unbeaten opponent each. The Steelers traveled to New England, and the Bengals visited the Bills.
There’s Jets/Dolphins bad. Then there is 4-12 or 5-11 bad.
That’s where the Steelers and Bengals are.