Whether it is the dominance of the Patriots or the surprise streak of the 49ers, this season has seen some solid squads so far
We are four weeks into the NFL season, and the divisions are starting to shape up. Some familiar teams are at the top, and some surprising new ones are making a mark this 2019 season. Which teams are looking like they will ultimately win their division, and are there any dark horses that could run away with a title?
AFC West: The Kansas City Chiefs are the clear division favorites at 4-0, and their offense is averaging 475 yards-per-game led by 2018 league MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes. They are showing no signs of slowing down, and it is going to be tough for division rivals such as the L.A. Chargers and Oakland Raiders to stop this dynamic offense. The dark horse for this division is the L.A. Chargers with additions like Melvin Gordon (out due to contract disagreements) and Derwin James (out from pre-season injury); the Chargers will be adding key pieces to put themselves in a strong position.
AFC South: The Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tennessee Titans all have a record of 2-2 on the season. The Jaguars and Texans currently lead the division. With players like J.J. Watt, Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans should be division winners. But breakout quarterback sensation Gardner Minshew is leading the Jaguars offense at a high level with 905 yards on the season and seven touchdowns. The dark horse for this division is the Titans who put up 43 points on the Cleveland Browns in week one. Although Tennessee lost a divisional game against the Colts on Sept. 15, the Titans have shown flashes of greatness.
AFC North: This is another tight race as the Cleveland Browns had a commanding win over the division favorite, the Baltimore Ravens, last week. The Ravens have the most offensive production of any NFL team this season, yet their defense could not stop the run against the Browns. The next time these two teams face will probably be for the division. The dark horse here is the Pittsburgh Steelers. They started 0-3, but they looked promising with their win against the Bengals. T.J. Watt and rookie Devin Bush played solid defense, and if quarterback Mason Rudolph can keep the offense going, look for the Steelers to make a late break for the division.
AFC East: The New England Patriots are the favorites with a record of 4-0 and will most likely win the division due to their victory against divisional rival the Buffalo Bills last Sunday. The Bills are 3-1 and could make a dark-horse run at the division with a late-season win against the Patriots.
NFC West: The San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and the Los Angeles Rams are in tight competition, and each team has an opportunity to pull away. The Rams have the talent to take the division, but the Seahawks are showing improvements on both sides of the ball. The dark horse for this division is the 49ers. Defensive end Nick Bosa and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo are strong leaders for this young team who do not have a loss on the season yet.
NFC South: This division will run through the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have done a good job of maintaining their season with star quarterback Drew Brees out, but look for him to return in the next couple of weeks and take this team to the next level. The dark horse is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who just beat a top NFC team, the Rams, in a high scoring affair. Head coach Bruce Arians has come in and helped this offense play to their full potential.
NFC North: This division may be the best in football. Each team is playing at a high level, and most of their losses have come from division games. Look for the Green Bay Packers to take this division. It was a close race with the Chicago Bears, but due to the Mitchell Trubisky injury, their offense is going to struggle. The dark horse here is the Detroit Lions; they only have one loss on the season, and Matt Patricia’s defense along with veteran quarterback Matt Stafford have the potential to steal some late division wins.
NFC East: The Dallas Cowboys are favorites and have finally found their identity on defense, with stout young linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. On offense, they are a very balanced team with a rush attack from one of the best offensive lines in football along with Pro Bowler Ezekiel Eliott. The dark horse for the east is the New York Giants. Look for them to be playing their best football now that the quarterback situation has been sorted out alongside the best running back in the league Saquon Barkley.