A mere three weeks into the 2017 NFL season, the league has just two 3-0 teams. That’s compared to five last year and seven the year before. In fact, it’s the first time this century that each conference has been down to just one unbeaten team this early.
One of those teams, the Atlanta Falcons, benefited from a lucky fourth-quarter break and survived by the skin of their teeth in Week 3. The other, the Kansas City Chiefs, has been impressive but has a long track record of coming up short when it matters and is already down superstar safety Eric Berry for the season.
Beyond that, every team has revealed some fairly major flaws this month.
Let’s break it down by division.
NFC East: The Patriots and their 32nd-rated defense are lucky to have a win, let alone two. They’ve been ravaged by injuries and there are no signs of life on D. And they’re clearly the class of this division, where the Jets are destined for last place but are coming off a victory over the offensively-challenged Dolphins. And nobody believes the 2-1 Bills are legit, considering they had a disastrous offseason and haven’t been to the playoffs this century.
.@L_Bell26 with his first TD of the season.
CHI 17 | PIT 14 pic.twitter.com/tuPFIIi3Rh
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 24, 2017
AFC North: The Steelers have started extremely flat, the Ravens were embarrassed by the freakin’ Jaguars in Week 3 and the Bengals and Browns are a combined 0-6.
AFC South: The 2-1 Titans have yet to get rolling, the Texans are relying on a somewhat unready rookie quarterback, the Jaguars still have a quarterback problem and the Colts are lucky not to be 0-3 while Andrew Luck remains out.
AFC West: Beyond the Chiefs, the Broncos just lost to the Bills and still have offensive issues, the Raiders were a mess against the Redskins in Week 3 and the Chargers are winless.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 26, 2017
NFC East: The Cowboys offense hasn’t been as effective as last year and Ezekiel Elliott’s off-field issues could soon cause even larger problems, the Eagles and Redskins have lacked consistency and the Giants are yet to win a game.
NFC North: Nobody’s unbeaten, the 2-1 Packers have allowed as many points as they’ve scored, the 2-1 Lions have problems on defense, the 2-1 Vikings have questions at quarterback and the Bears are rebuilding.
NFC South: The Falcons haven’t been quite right and could easily be 1-2 rather than 3-0, Cam Newton’s been one of the worst quarterbacks in the league for the injury-ridden Panthers, the Buccaneers were just destroyed by a Sam Bradford-less Vikings team and the Saints defense has been torn apart during a 1-2 start.
NFC West: The 2-1 Rams are a mirage relying on an unproven quarterback, the 1-2 Seahawks have the worst offensive line in football while lacking balance, the Cardinals are very lucky to be 1-2 and the 49ers have yet to win.
Find me a great team in the NFL right now. The Chiefs and Falcons are close, but there are obvious concerns for both of them. And nobody else has been consistently strong during this first month of the 2017 season.
It’s been a weird year, but the good news is this probably means tighter battles for division crowns and playoff spots later. Parity can be frustrating at times, but there’s a reason league’s strive for it.
Right now, nobody has separated themselves from the pack. This could get interesting.