By: Christian Nass (@Sacksgott)
NEW YORK JETS:
The Jets started the season as expected with four losses against the Bills, 49ers, Colts, and Broncos. Nonetheless, they still impressively managed to undercut the rather low bar considerably. No team has a poorer point difference than the Jets (-57). New York mostly seemed simply unimaginative and overstrained with the respective situations, even if the results, in the end, were less bad than the game actually was. It is particularly worrying that Coach Adam Gase basically admitted that he hardly had any good ideas in the 4th down against the Niners and therefore went for a field goal when he needed a TD. This is not a reasonable way to evaluate Sam Darnold. On defense, they used to get turnovers and star plays from Jamal Adams, but neither situation is unfolding. Adams is gone, and now their defense only gets remarks for hitting quarterbacks when the game is out of reach.
In the off-season, the Vikings have put together an expensive and actually well-staffed team at all levels. The goal was clear: to attack the top of the NFC North and build on the solid performance of the previous year (10-6). At the start, however, there was a blow out against the Packers, which in the end was brightened up by a lot of points in the garbage time. Without Danielle Hunter, there is hardly any pass rush and the offense simply plays extremely monotonous and not very effective. Against the Colts only eleven points are scored, while the defense continues to be ineffective. But the biggest problem: QB Kirk Cousins doesn’t see any land behind a porous offensive line. In addition, linebacker Barr is now completely out of action. This team is just missing several pieces, which goes to show how important continuity was for them in 2019.
The Eagles had started the season as NFC East favorites alongside the Cowboys. However, the start was marked by the embarrassment in Washington, the late heavy home loss against surprisingly good Rams, and an admission of failure against the Bengals. Especially the O-Line and the gameplay of QB Carson Wentz are in focus. Wentz’s error rate is simply too high and the team makes too little of the finally available speed in the Receiving Corps. There is a lack of penetrating power. Now, with the rest of the 49ers, at least a lighter program follows, but Washington would have fitted into this category already. In an always tight NFC East, nothing is lost yet, but Philly has to get on track very quickly.
This year was supposed to be better for the Lions – QB Matt Stafford is back, Coach Matt Patricia has the staff he needs for his Patriots style defense and there was a sense of excitement. After a close but typical comeback loss against Chicago, the blow out followed in Green Bay. The Lions disappointed twice, once with a late collapse, once with an overall very weak performance. Patricia actually had to show that the first two seasons were just apprenticeship years – but maybe they were just the norm. The team seems uninspired, especially the defense looks like a shooting gallery.
Surely two losses at the start against the Chiefs and Ravens were always conceivable, these are just the best teams of the AFC. But a total of only 36 points against both is disappointing. What was to be feared has come true: Without WR DeAndre Hopkins, who was shipped off to Arizona, QB Deshaun Watson, who plays behind a porous line and suffers from unimaginative play-calling, has no clear leader. Coach O’Brien also has the problem that RB David Johnson’s good performance against KC turned out to be a storm in a teacup, while the defense is rather toothless. The mini-crisis is already there.