What’s better than putting a label on a team only 5 weeks into the season? The answer is nothing. It’s time to talk Contender or Pretender with a few teams that have either over or under performed 5 games into the season. The Eagles and Bills seem to be the only elite teams so far, but that can change week to week in the crazy world of the NFL. For the sake of this argument, we will base it off whether or not these teams can make the playoffs. Here we go!
New York Jets
The Jets sit at 3-2 right now after defeating the Miami Dolphins and their 3rd string QB. A win is a win in the NFL so no need to diminish what they did. They looked strong offensively vs a pretty good Dolphins defense. The other 2 wins for the Jets came on a last second TD to beat a bad Steelers team and recovering an onside kick to go down and score to beat the Browns.
The Jets defense is 18th in points per game and the offense is 12th in points scored so far this season. As you can tell, this Jets team is a much more competitive team and heading in the right direction. The wins haven’t come easy, but does that really matter to Jets fans considering the tough years they have had to endure lately? It just may be a year too early to think this team can make the playoffs. We still need to see more consistency and proof they can play with the good teams.
Contender or Pretender: Pretender
New York Giants
Raise your hand if you had the Giants being 4-1 thru 5 games? I didn’t think so, but that’s the world we live in right now. They just finished off an impressive win vs the Packers in London by holding the Packers and Aaron Rodgers to around 300 total yards. Saquon continues to drive this offense while Daniel Jones limits his mistakes.
The Giants have 0 INT’s thru 5 games which makes this 4-1 start even more amazing. THis teams has a lot of issues still in my opinion. Their schedule is pretty weak the rest of the season (Other than having to play the Eagles twice and Cowboys one more time). They get to play teams like the Colts, Jaguars, Lions, Texans, and Commanders (Twice).Even with their flaws, new HC Daboll has this team believing. In a wide open NFC this season, the Giants actually have a shot at sneaking into one of the Top 7 playoff spots with their weak schedule.
Contender or Pretender: Contender
This Browns team is just trying to hold down the fort while they wait for Deshaun Watson to come back from his 11 game suspension. Unfortunately, I don’t think QB is the only issue for this team right now. The main issue to me is this defense that many expected to be pretty good with Myles Garrett, Clowney and some good young Secondary players. That has not been the case at all!
Their pass rush has been a struggle for them. The Browns are tied for the least amount of sacks in the league with only 5! They are also near the bottom in takeaways. Part of that has to do with the lack of pass rush. They are giving up around 25 points per game right now. That is terrible when you realize that 4 of the 5 teams they have played are the Panthers, Jets, Steelers and Falcons! If they want to have any chance of making the playoffs in a loaded AFC, then they will need to turn up the pressure on opposing QB’s and create some takeaways.
Contender or Pretender: Pretender
For more NFL and College Football Content
Follow me on Twitter at @Stephen_Robello or on my podcast twitter and channel for Just A Bet Outside and follow us at @GridironHeroics for more great content. To read more of our articles and keep up on all things football, click here!