One of the most acidic ironies for those of us who follow the NFL will wait anxiously for the start of the season from February to September, only to realize that, once started, it slips from our hands like water. That’s right, we are already living week 5 of the calendar and we have not even felt it.
Thus, after the previous week returned to giving high doses of emotion, surprise and drama, all seasoned with the reunion of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the scene for this Sunday returns to present duels that are predicted of great interest.
On Sunday night the reissue of the final of the American Conference will be experienced with the Kansas City Chiefs duel against Buffalo Bills, in addition to the fact that, one hours earlier, the undefeated Cardinals will receive the San Francisco 49’s, in a dangerous divisional duel.
Ravens and Colts will be the protagonists of Monday Night Football, in addition to that very early on Sunday, the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons start the NFL’s international game calendar, with their meeting in London.
WHICH TEAM SURPRISED MORE AT THE START OF THE SEASON, COWBOYS OR CARDINALS?
SEBASTIÁN M. CHRISTENSEN / Twitter: @SebastianMCESPN
The Cowboys. Personally, I had postseason expectations with the Cardinals, but I wasn’t expecting much from Dallas.
We knew that if Dak Prescott was healthy, that offense would be elite, which it is, but such an improvement in defense was not expected by the most optimistic.
Dan Quinn has given him clear assignments, and you can tell the players are feeling more comfortable and flying across the field. Micah Parsons has been a presence in both linebacker and defensive end positions, and Trevor Diggs has proven to be the ballhawk long-sought after Dallas, with five interceptions in four games. Dallas is the bigger surprise of the two, and I would venture to say that he is a potential candidate.
ALFONSO MANCILLA / Twitter: @poncho_mancilla
I bet how little hair I have left (for those who know me can attest) that NO ONE predicted the Cardinals would be the last undefeated in the NFL.
Comparing what Arizona has done to Dallas is worth more to do in what is perhaps the most difficult division today.
What they have also done cannot be underestimated about Cowboys, but with the bad experiences they have had in the past, it would be advisable, especially for their fans, to be restrained. Of course, unlike what the Cardinals lives, with the Cowboys maintaining a winning rhythm that is above mediocre, it must reach him to be the best in his division.
IVIS ABURTO / Twitter: @IvisAburto
Both to some extent, but you have to put the Cardinals as the biggest surprise after the first month of the regular season and not just because of their undefeated, but also because of the way they have won their first few games.
Kyler Murray, who had already shown his ability, has raised his level as the agile, skilled, elusive and fast quarterback in the open field and if that is not enough to drive the rival defense crazy, he has known to diversify his passing game to deal his passes mainly with DeAndre Hopkins and AJ Green. In fact, there are six Arizona players with at least 16 passes thrown in his direction this season.
As a complement, the Cardinals have a defense that, without being the most dominant, does what it takes to support their versatile and effective attack and stands out in the most important line, reaching Week 5 among the 10 that allow the fewest points per game. .
PABLO VIRUEGA / Twitter: @PabloViruega
The undefeated in a League where many commentators classify it as the most even and difficult to win each week, so that is not only a matter of surprising us but of giving it all the credit.
Cowboys have improved substantially on defense, of course last year’s level was very easy to beat, as they were lousy on the defensive end. On offense, in the five games that Dak Prescott played, we saw that he had a lot of explosion, something you keep.
Arizona surprises me because we did not expect it to be without a loss after Week 4 and after beating the Rams in Los Angeles, the same ones who came from beating Tampa Bay.
CARLOS NAVA / Twitter: @TapaNava
The Cowboys have surprised more and in various ways. Little would they have imagined that they would be seconds away from beating the champion Buccaneers in Tampa Bay, in the first game since the injury of Prescott, who has played almost perfect the first quarter of the season.
Fewer thought that the defense was going to improve how they have done and much less that they were going to be the team with the best delivery differential, supported by a cornerback, Trevon Diggs, with five interceptions in four games. The Villamelons finished Zeke Elliott, who fell within 21 yards of 1,000 in 2020, playing with a completely patched line. That set things up to start the second quarter of the season with a 3-1 record.
DID MAC JONES SHOW WHAT IT NECESSARY TO TOM BRADY AND THE BUCCANEERS TO CONSIDER THAT IT IS THE FUTURE OF THE PATRIOTS?
SEBASTIAN: No. Many were surprised by the way in which he handled the pressure the Buccaneers tried to use on him, and while that part of the game he masters perfectly, he wanted to see more of Mac Jones.
What do I mean? It was clear that Richard Sherman was the weak link in that high school and he was attacked frequently. However, the Tampa Bay secondary was decimated by injuries and they did not attack vertically once. Jones isn’t comfortable throwing beyond 20 yards, and that’s the facet of the game he has to add to confirm himself as the future answer for the Patriots.
ALFONSO: The analysis should be done from two perspectives. In the immediate, the one that had to do with facing Brady in the most mediatic game of the recent past, did not detract.
In the long run, it is still ultra premature to decide if he will have enough to affirm that he is consolidated as the quarterback of the future of the Pats.
We can accept that he has the face of a good boy, but he has not shown enough arm to complete the long passes that would make him a complete QB.
IVIS: In the middle of the novel of Tom Brady’s return to New England and his perhaps only duel against Bill Belichick, Mac Jones, who became more prominent as a co-star of the drama as the duel progressed, was forgotten.
Jones made rookie mistakes, but none serious or that would put the Patriots at risk in a close game. What’s more, he was within a hit of the ball off the post in the last-second field goal of taking a victory over Brady, after putting his team in position to take the win.
The character that Jones displayed and his good performance in the context of Brady’s return to New England in one of the most anticipated games in the NFL in at least a quarter of a century, confirm that Belichick and the Patriots have a good plan. outlined in the short term and that Jones is the one to lead him on the field.
PABLO: The most important thing is that he showed himself and his staff that he can do the job they ask of him. Jones is a quarterback who fits very well in the Patriots system and without being spectacular in his game for now he doesn’t have to lose the ball, for this the staff and the team will help him.
The coaches with a game plan and the team, especially the defense so that they are always in the game like they did against Tampa Bay. Of the future, it is too early to know in four weeks, for now it is because for that they bet on him as a first selection and let Cam Newton go.
CHARLIE: It was not necessary at all to show himself in a game as the quarterback of the future of New England or not against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. For starters, it’s a team sport and the Patriots did quite a bit to stay competitive against the NFL champion and the best quarterback in history.
For sure he is the quarterback of the present and future for New England, who will give him every chance to be successful, because at the end of the day he invested a very high round of Draft in a player who showed that he is a winner from the University of Alabama, but that he will suffer the growing pains in the NFL.
WHO HAS THE BEST TIME IN THE SHOCK BILLS-CHIEFS, JOSH ALLEN OR PATRICK MAHOMES?
SEBASTIAN: I think we’re talking about two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, who can hardly have a lot of bad times.
Now, if we refer to who arrives better in terms of being better accompanied, it is definitely Josh Allen. It hasn’t been the best start to the season for the Chiefs, and the defense has some shortcomings, which I think will be a problem throughout the season.
Buffalo’s defense, meanwhile, has shone at the start of the season, coming off five losses and already has two shutouts so far this season. The Bills have an incredible +90 differential after four games, which I would argue that the Bills have proven to be the most complementary team. In other words, I think Josh Allen is better off in this match.
ALFONSO: Comparing two of the best quarterbacks out there today, I would choose to put Josh Allen above Patrick Mahomes, but by a very narrow margin.
The reality is that Mahomes and the Chiefs have maintained such a high level of effectiveness that, today that they seem a little more vulnerable, it is worth waiting until November and December to draw the conclusion of their level.
The truth is that Allen has continued to go up and is presented with the option of revenge for the loss suffered in the AFC final last year and to put out the doubts about his ability against top-level rivals.
IVIS: Josh Allen does what was expected by keeping his attack explosive and scoring almost at will, but Patrick Mahomes, while looking like a more earthy quarterback in 2021, comes to the game against the Bills at a better time.
The poor level of the Kansas City defense has made Mahomes feel the need to do more than he should in various actions this season, in fact, two of his interceptions on force passes helped the Chiefs fall to Baltimore and against the Chargers after putting their already mediocre defense in unfavorable situations.
Despite those mistakes, the Chiefs are third in the league with 33.5 points scored per game, while Mahomes leads the NFL in touchdown passes (14) and fifth in yards passing (1,218) and completion percentage (72.3). ).
It is feasible to assume that, just as several point out that the Chiefs could be 1-3, they could well be undefeated if Mahomes doesn’t force some interceptions because of his clear but justified mistrust of his defense.
PABLO: The two are playing at their level, which is usually very high. The Chiefs’ problem does not depend on Patrick Mahomes, but on their defense that does not have the ability to stop opponents, especially against the run, so the Chiefs offense is always seen with the obligation to put at least 30 points to be in the game.
On the offensive side, Kansas City has to improve in the time of possession, not to shut out the opposing offense, but so that its defense (weak point) does not enter the field. For now, the Bills are having a better time, including Josh Allen.
CHARLIE: Patrick Mahomes has better statistics in all the most transcendent aspects individually with his Chiefs, although it is no secret that Josh Allen and the Bills are going through better days as a team, with three solid victories in a row.
Mahomes is the most complete quarterback today in almost every respect, but he receives less help from his defense; something Allen has had going for him in recent weeks.
The Bills defense leads the NFL in total defense and points allowed. It helps Allen have more of the ball and can execute with greater confidence.