NFL Midseason Review
We are already halfway through the NFL’s 100th season and there are many storylines that have completely shifted throughout these past eight weeks.
Let’s start at the top. There are only two undefeated teams that remain going into week nine as well as two winless teams. To few people’s surprise, the New England Patriots are at the top with an 8-0 record. New England sits comfortably at the top of the AFC, with the next closest teams, the Ravens, Bills, and Colts, all tied at 5-2 and three games behind.
What is a surprise is that the undefeated Patriots are joined by a San Francisco 49ers team, which stands at 7-0.
After a season where they finished with the second worst record in the league at 4-12, Kyle Shanahan’s bunch has already almost doubled their win totals. Both the Patriots and 49ers have historically dominant defenses, with the Patriots being on another level at that side of the ball and both teams led by quarterbacks who once sat in the same quarterback room. Jimmy Garapallo certainly isn't on top of the world just yet but he has finally started to take the next step in his first full season as a starter.
Also, to no one's surprise, the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals haven’t had much luck in the 2019 season. The lack of success for both teams is making the late season matchup between the two highly anticipated.
The rest of the top five is dominated by the NFC with the Packers, Saints, and Vikings rounding out the list. For the first time in a long time, the Packers have finally found a capable sidekick to Aaron Rodgers in Aaron Jones. Jones has come into his own as a top running back in the league and his performance on the field has shown that so far.
The Saints, meanwhile, have managed to stay hot after Drew Brees was injured during the team's week two matchup against the Rams. Backup Teddy Bridgewater led the squad to a 5-0 record after the week two loss and set himself up for a nice payday this offseason.
Finally, the Vikings, who are also tied with the Seahawks, have looked much better with Kirk Cousins. He has managed to drop his interception total from 10 last season to just three at this season's midway point.
So far this season, the NFL has seen a majority of its star quarterbacks go down due to injury. The New York Jets were hyped, to start the season, at the idea that they could make a Wild Card push and possibly challenge the Patriots. Then, after a week one loss to the Bills, it was announced that second-year quarterback Sam Darnold would be ruled out with mononucleosis (mono). Darnold missed the teams next four games, which would all be losses and the Jets now sit at 1-6.
In Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger only managed to last one and a half games before injuring his right elbow. He is out for the remainder of the season. The Steelers sit at 3-4 and two games behind the Ravens for the AFC North. Others who suffered a similar fate were Nick Foles, Cam Newton, and the previously mentioned Brees.
There have been many storylines this season that have made the NFL a must watch. With many strong teams still on top and struggling teams trying to put the pieces back together, it should definitely be an exciting second half as the race to January continues.
Logan Bourandas is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.