October 4, 2012
Through week 5 in the NFL, there have been many different revelations. We have discovered that the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots were not as dominant as we thought they would be. We learned that the Saints and the Cowboys are exactly who everyone thought that they would be, two teams without direction. And, we have learned that the Houston Texans ad the San Francisco 49′ers are in a league of their own. But, there have been quite a few surprises too. Here are the very best of the NFL through Week 4.
The Texans and the 49′ers are teams 1a. and 1b. And, they switch positions depending on who you ask about which team is the best. Both teams have stout defenses that stuff the run and close windows quickly against the pass. Both teams have a great ground attack featuring a premiere running back. Both teams are directed by a mentally tough quarterback who has made it to the other side of some real adversity. Smith (49′ers) was disappointing in his first four years and then shopped for a replacement after a stellar year where he took them to within a game of playing in a Super Bowl. Schaub rode the pine behind Michael Vick for years before establishing himself with the Texans. He was injured before the Texans made their run through the playoffs last year, and he had to watch as his chances for a Super Bowl ring laid in the hands of a talented rookie. Both of these teams are primed for a run to NFL immortality.
The Houston Texans boast the best defense in the NFL. They are not only tough upfront, but they are suddenly very explosive in the secondary too. Joseph and Kareem Jackson seem to give up fewer plays every week. Manning is becoming a good free safety despite having average speed. J.J. Watt is a stud on the line. He has added a little mass and his motor is incredible. And, the linebacking crew stops the run as well as any crew in the league. When this defense is on, they score as many points as the offense.
The New England Patriots once again have the best offense in the league. Yes, their record is 1-2, however their offensive weapons are more explosive than ever. With injuries to Aaron Hernandez and with Gronkowski blocking, they destroyed their division rivals in Buffalo. The Pats scored touchdowns on the last six possessions of their game against the Buffalo Bills. They have balanced their attack with Steven Ridley and the newcomer Bolden who both rushed for over 100 yards and TD last week. They average the most total points in the league, the most points per game, and the most yards per game. The Patriots are going to win some games this year and contend for a Super Bowl. Do not let the record fool you.
It is rare that the best coach in the NFL is not a head coach, but Dirk Koetter, the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons is the best coach of the first four games of the season. He opened up the Falcons offense with more vertical plays which should have been fairly obvious with talents like Roddy White and Julio Jones. He worked with Ryan on his pocket presence so that he does not rush throws when the pocket collapses. Koetter may have saved the Atlanta Falcons.
Best Defensive Player
Barring injury, the winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award will be J.J. Watt. The ball seems to find this guy. He regularly beats double teams. He always pushes his defenders backwards, and he can play anywhere on the defensive line. As a defensive end in a 3-4 base defense, he has recorded a sack in every game. Watt is completely disruptive.
Best Offensive Player and Best Rookie
Robert Griffin III is hands down the best rookie player and arguably the best offensive player of this short NFL season. He has a passer rating of 103.2, a 69.4 completion rating, 4 passing touchdowns, 4 receiving touchdowns, and only one interception. More importantly, RG3 is giving a team that has been irrelevant for years a chance to win every game that they play. RG3 is the best offensive player of the first four weeks.