The first two weeks of the season haven’t been kind to the NFC West. Right now, the division looks similar to 2010, when the Seahawks won it with a 7-9 record.
The Seahawks didn’t score a touchdown this season until the fourth quarter in Week 2. Seattle is sitting at 1-1 right now, leading the division by virtue of beating another NFC West team, the 49ers. Otherwise they might still be winless.
Russell Wilson’s doing his best, but the offensive line is atrocious. Even Seattle’s talent on defense isn’t enough to overcome the weaknesses on the other side of the ball.
And speaking of San Francisco, they’re lingering at the bottom of this division with no wins so far. Few people had high expectations for the 49ers this season, as they go through the rebuilding process with a rookie head coach, Kyle Shanahan, and general manager, John Lynch.
Shanahan coaxed an MVP performance out of Matt Ryan in 2016, but Brian Hoyer … well, he’s not Matt Ryan. Hoyer has thrown for 262 total yards over two games and has no touchdowns against two interceptions. He’s also taken six sacks so far, which isn’t helping.
The Niners defense actually looks a bit improved over last season, but it’s probably not going to be enough to be competitive with this offense.
And the Cardinals and Rams aren’t much better. Arizona gave up yet another fourth quarter comeback to Matthew Stafford and the Lions in Week 1, and their only win was over the hapless Colts in Week 2. The Rams look like the best team in the division right now, but you have to weigh that against how bad the rest of the division is.
Back in 2010, the best team in the division was the Seahawks, and they won it with a 7-9 record. They got to host a Wild Card matchup against the Saints at home. That was the day Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Quake shook the world, or at least a small part of it, and the Seahawks won and advanced to the divisional round.
So, yes, the NFC West is looking pretty terrible so far. But someone’s got to win it, and who knows what could happen after that?
Here’s how the rest of the divisions are shaping up heading into Week 3.
The Patriots obviously entered the season as the favorites to win the division, and the conference, and everything else, just like every other season. But it’s the Dolphins, who are in a bit of a weird spot after getting a Week 1 bye because of devastation from Hurricane Irma, at No. 1.
And the Bills are sitting at No. 2, and the Patriots are third after losing to the Chiefs in Week 1 and beating the Saints in Week 2, which is a dubious honor. Nobody’s surprised that the Jets are bring up the rear here.
1. Dolphins (1-0)
2. Bills (1-1)
3. Patriots (1-1)
4. Jets (0-2)
This one’s shaping up about the way that you’d expect, except the Ravens look better than advertised. Well, the defense does, anyway. The Ravens have eight sacks, eight interceptions, and three forced fumbles through two weeks.
The Steelers are undefeated despite the fact that Le’Veon Bell hasn’t done much, and the Bengals and Browns are struggling.
1. Steelers (2-0)
2. Ravens (2-0)
3. Browns (0-2)
4. Bengals (0-2)
A division that’s been one of the weakest in the league over the past few years is, once again, one of the weakest divisions in the NFL. The Titans are at the front of the pack, but the Jaguars and Texans both have 1-1 records, too.
The Colts are truly abysmal, and if Andrew Luck can get healthy and on the field, maybe that will help. But this division is shaping up to be another one where some team will win with a 7-9 record for the consecutive season.
1. Titans (1-1)
2. Jaguars (1-1)
3. Texans (1-1)
4. Colts (0-2)
The AFC West is actually good. Denver is coming off of a big 42-17 victory over the Cowboys. Oakland is back to form with Derek Carr behind center, and the Chiefs exploded into the season with a big win over the vaunted Patriots.
The poor Chargers haven’t fared so well. But the other three teams are looking like the teams to beat in the AFC.
1. Broncos (2-0)
2. Chiefs (2-0)
3. Raiders (2-0)
4. Chargers (0-2)
Last season, this division was the Cowboys and everybody else. So far this year, there’s parity, except for the Giants. The Giants’ offensive line has been embarrassingly bad, and it’s made life a lot harder for Eli Manning. Even getting Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t help against the Lions Monday night.
Everyone else is sitting at 1-1. The Cowboys were the favorite heading into the season. There are a lot of games left to play, but that’s looking like less of a sure thing after Dallas’ brutal loss to the Broncos Sunday.
1. Eagles (1-1)
2. Cowboys (1-1)
3. Washington (1-1)
4. Giants (0-2)
The Bears are just about where everyone expected them to be. They kept it close against the Falcons in Week 1, but got embarrassed by the Buccaneers on Sunday in Tampa Bay.
The surprise here is that it’s not the Packers atop the division, but the undefeated Lions. There’s no shame in a loss to the Falcons in Atlanta, but it did knock Green Bay down the standings. And the Vikings are sitting at No. 2 even though Sam Bradford is out with a knee injury.
1. Lions (2-0)
2. Vikings (1-1)
3. Packers (1-1)
4. Bears (0-2)
Despite the fact that the Saints are 0-2, the NFC South is still looking like a pretty tough division. The Falcons look like they’ve avoided a Super Bowl hangover, and the Panthers seem to have shaken off theirs, which afflicted them all last season.
The Buccaneers are also undefeated, but with just one win after their Week 1 game against the Dolphins was pushed back because of Hurricane Irma. And the Saints haven’t won a September game since the 2014 season. They may be destined for another 7-9 finish.
1. Falcons (2-0)
2. Panthers (2-0)
3. Buccaneers (1-0)
4. Saints (0-2)
I won’t belabor this, because I went into detail about it above. But the NFC West looks pretty bad — bad enough that whatever team wins it could do it with a sub-.500 record, just like 2010.
1. Seahawks (1-1)
2. Cardinals (1-1)
3. Rams (1-1)
4. 49ers (0-2)