Welcome to The Truda Report everybody. Today I want to look at the two undefeated teams left in the NFL through a quarter of the season: the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs. Which of the two can we expect to stay undefeated longest, what's the outlook for these teams the rest of the year, and are either of them legitimate Super Bowl contenders? I'll break down all of that in this article. Make sure to share this post and leave suggestions for future topics below, and check back frequently for more articles.
Los Angeles Rams:
The Rams this year were my Super Bowl favorites before the preseason even started, and their 4-0 start is not doing anything to change my mind. This offense which went from worst to first last year is not slowing down, as they've posted 33, 34, 35, and 38 points in the first four games. This was to be expected though, as what was already a dominant offense has another year of experience under young QB Jared Goff's belt, and they added possibly the best deep threat in the league in Brandin Cooks. The defense is where changes were really made this offseason, as the team added two Pro Bowl cornerbacks and the second best defensive tackle in the league (to pair with the number one DT in the league of course). Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, and Ndamukong Suh are all game changers on their own, and adding them to what was already a respectable defense has put it over the top. Against Jon Gruden's offense the Rams defense held the Raiders to 13 points, they shut out the Cardinals, and they allowed 23 to a very good Los Angeles Chargers offense, but the defense should get credit because they held the Bolts to only a field goal in the fourth quarter allowing the Rams to hold the lead and win the game. The outlier game was Week 4 against the Minnesota Vikings, another top 10 team in the NFL. I don't take too much stock in Thursday games though, because short weeks can mess with a team's preparation and health. The Rams dominance on both sides of the football in the first three games should be expected throughout the entire season as this is a stacked roster with a brilliant young head coach, and the Rams could easily be a threat to stay undefeated throughout the rest of the regular season.
Where do these expectations and L.A.'s performances so far put the Rams as the season moves forward though? I think that this team is too talented to hit a real rough patch, but if that were to happen, that's where issues could arise. With a roster filled to the brim with large personalities and stars and a coach younger than some of the players on his team, if L.A. were to for some reason drop a couple games in a row, which is really inexplicable the way this team should perform and has been playing, there could be issues with the cohesiveness of the locker room. It's been shown time and time again that a stable locker room means much more than talent (the Dolphins this season being an example of this, as despite having just been blown out by the Patriots their 3-0 start can largely be credited to locker room changes this offseason and selfless play all over the offense and defense) so really the only thing that can take down the Rams at this point is themselves.
As I mentioned earlier, the Rams have been my Super Bowl pick since the beginning of the year. I haven't seen a roster this stacked in my lifetime, and I haven't seen a coach turn a team around so abruptly in just one year. The Rams have shown themselves to be the real deal on offense once again this year, and their weapons are too much to deal with. Defensively, I think there are just too many playmakers on the roster to account for to really be able to exploit the unit. Suh is a player that's been double teamed his entire career, Donald has always been double teamed, and Talib and Peters have lived on islands in recent memory. That basically means L.A. has so much talent that on any given day their best players, who are capable of fending for themselves, are drawing an opposing teams attention through game planning leaving the other Pro Bowlers with help from the other players on the roster. Opposing teams basically have to pick their poison as they either devote time to stopping the L.A. defensive line leaving the secondary with less people to cover, leaving you with easy coverage for the Rams, or you devote time to finding weaknesses in the coverage, which is good enough to allow for the pass rush to get home. The Rams just look and play unstoppable, and they continue to be my Super Bowl favorites. This team is number one on every power rankings I've seen this week, and it deserves to be that way.
Kansas City Chiefs:
Kansas City, I hate to say it, is exactly where I thought they'd be at this point in the year. I wasn't sure they'd be undefeated, but I knew they'd at least be a three win team right now. I've been a believer in Patrick Mahomes all offseason, because he had time to develop behind a very good QB in Alex Smith last year, and then Andy Reid would design an offense utilizing the seemingly endless weapons this offense has. For context, Mahomes, who many scrambled to pick up on waivers in their fantasy leagues, I had drafted in the 10th round with complete confidence I'd found the breakout player of the year. To get back to what I mean when I say they're exactly where I thought they'd be--that is not a happy statement. As a Dolphins fan, I want to see a team that can prove to be a threat to the New England Patriots every year, and Kansas City has yet to prove to me with complete confidence that they are that team. The offense has been unstoppable, scoring opening drive touchdowns in three of the first four weeks (they kicked a field goal in the other game), and ending all four games 38, 42, 38, 27 in order. The defense, though, continues to look like an Andy Reid defense which is what has me scared. They allow chunk yardage like it's Christmas Day for the other team, basically gifting opposing offenses with huge running lanes and more times than not an open receiver way downfield. The secondary is a big issue, and it's something that good teams will be able to take advantage of against them. That's something that slowed down last years Chiefs who also started hot, and I'm scared that we're close to the part of the year where Andy Reid's team hits a rough patch. I don't see this team staying undefeated much longer, although in no way do they stop being a threat to win their division week in and week out.
The Chiefs look good to keep up their offensive success the rest of the year, and I think that's something that can be believed after Mahomes has proved his dominance and poise through this first quarter of the year. The defense though is what'll eventually be the Chiefs end. I think the team will win the AFC West, but depending on who they meet in the Playoffs there could be issues. As we saw last night against the Denver Broncos (who would've won had Case Keenum not missed an open receiver for the win, who by the way was open because of a secondary breakdown) a good defense can stifle the Kansas City offense for a decent amount of time, and if that performance is backed up by competent offensive play the Chiefs are beatable. A better version of the Broncos are the Jaguars, and that's a team that can end Kansas City's season. The offense can run the ball all over the Chiefs defense and Blake Bortles has looked less scared this year, not being great, but good enough to not make some of the same mistakes he used to. Also, Jacksonville's defense is basically a better version of the Broncos, and having two of the five best corners in the league does a lot to help stop the Chiefs endless weapons. I think that'd be a great game, but one where Kansas City would ultimately be outmatched. Because of that I can't positively say that the Chiefs are a Super Bowl team yet, although if there is improvement defensively I can revise that statement in the future. Overall though, this team has been spectacular to watch so far, and they should be an interesting story the rest of the season.
Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. After Week One of NFL football, I'm ready to break down what I've seen from the thirty two teams so far. I'll be going through each game and providing a small analysis of what I saw, but if there are bigger games that people want discussed, I'll make a more in depth article about that too. Make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow, and leave suggestions for topics down below.
Atlanta Falcons @ Philadelphia Eagles:
This game was much more reminiscent of last year's divisional round match up between the two teams than I thought it would be. The defenses dominated the game, but the Eagles were able to fully shut down Atlanta's offense. The lack of Kyle Shanahan running that offense looks very apparent for the second straight year. On Philly's side of things, they can only be happy. With Nick Foles under center they just keep winning, even if they are winning ugly. Wentz will return soon, and then their own offense will return to form.
Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins:
This was the longest game in NFL history, lasting 7 hours and 10 minutes due to multiple weather related delays. Tennessee saw three starters get injured in that game due to the hard hitting mentality of the Miami defense. Marcus Mariota was hurt, Taylor Lewan was hurt, and Delanie Walker was carted off and out for the season. Miami just looked better all game long, as they made big plays on both sides of the ball, most notably a defensive stand on a 4th and goal from the 3 yard line, and a 75 yard dime from Ryan Tannehill to Kenny Stills. Tennessee should be concerned about those injuries and their lasting impact, while Miami should be focused on building off of what many called a surprise Week One win.
San Francisco 49ers @ Minnesota Vikings:
Jimmy Garoppolo was sent back to Earth in this game, after what was a flawless start to his career. For the first time teams had a notable amount of tape on his play, and it was apparent as one of the best defenses in the league made him very uncomfortable and forced three interceptions. What the Niners should be happy about though was the play of the defense, as that unit kept them in the game. Minnesota WAYYYYYYYYY overpaid Kirk Cousins, but they should be satisfied that he kept the ball safe yesterday, and avoided turnovers. Both teams have a bright future as this season progresses.
Houston Texans @ New England Patriots:
I kept telling people to pump the brakes on Desean Watson, and nobody listened. He did not look good in this game, as he struggled to move the ball against a very average defense. Houston's defense was not satisfactory as they watched Rob Gronkowski torch them for over 120 yards and a score. Tom Brady's statistics looked good, but when you remove his throwing to Gronk, the production drops way off. This should be some cause for concern when they play teams that match up better with linebackers. Overall though, the Pats still look like the Pats, and Houston still has a lot to prove as every game is going to be important in their loaded division.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints:
FITZMAGIC BABY!!! Ryan Fitzpatrick is a first ballot Hall of Famer if a Hall of Fame existed for inconsistent backup QBs with legendary beards. The quarterback, filling in for a suspended Jameis Winston, threw for 4 touchdowns and added one on the ground (after which he did the Cam Newton Superman celebration which means I can now die happy). He posted a 156 passer rating, and lead a team I consider to be hot garbage to a huge win over many peoples Super Bowl favorites. The Saints defense, which was the key to their success last year, was awful, and everyone in NOLA should be concerned. It has only been one game, but that is not a good sign.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Giants:
I had the privilege of being at this game, and let me just say that what I saw is not going to show up in the box score. I watched Jalen Ramsey, who talked trash to everybody this offseason, encounter a real receiver. Odell not only had 11 receptions for over 100 yards, but he burned Ramsey and forced two huge pass interference calls to set up the Giants in scoring position. Luckily for the Jags, that wasn't too huge of an issue as they stopped the run outside of one amazing 68 yard touchdown scamper from rookie Saquon Barkley, and they consistently had pressure on Eli Manning. Bortles threw a pick early in the game, and Leonard Fournette hurt his hamstring (what a surprise!) which are not good signs for the Jags offense, but outside of that they still look really good.
Side Note: Erik Flowers is the worst player in NFL history.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts:
What stood out to me about this game was the ineptitude of the Colts defense. Joe Mixon, a player I like, but definitely don't love, ran all over this team. Luck was able to keep this game close, but the Colts were eventually locked down, getting shut out in the fourth quarter. They still have a lot of work to do if they want to even think Playoffs in the near future. For Cincinnati, they should be satisfied with the performance, as this isn't a Playoff team but they showed some promise.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns:
It really bothers me that Ben Roethlisberger gets off easy with the media after this game. "He didn't play well, but he's still a good quarterback," they say, when I just watched something that told me the opposite of that. People say it's the absence of Le'Veon Bell that caused the poor performance, but James Conner, his replacement, was outstanding. The last two years we've seen Big Ben have games like this multiple times, where even his stars Antonio Brown and Bell can't save him from looking terrible. Luckily the Browns are too inept to win a game themselves, so after a full overtime the game ended in a 21-21 tie, which I think is ridiculous--play until somebody wins it's only a sixteen game season. This game I guess is a plus for the Browns as it ended a seventeen game losing streak, but it's definitely a negative for Pittsburgh as they did not look good down the stretch.
Buffalo Bills @ Baltimore Ravens:
Nathan Peterman is the worst quarterback ever. These Bills are possibly the worst football team ever. The Ravens basically had an extra preseason game this week, because pretty much everyone on their roster got playing time this week due to their being up by so much. This game was a joke. Moving on...
Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers:
Tyreek Hill is a god. I have zero knowledge of whether on not he's a fundamentally sound receiver, but it doesn't matter because his speed ruins games. He had 268 all purpose yards, seven catches, and 3 touchdowns. The Chiefs new QB might have the strongest arm in the NFL, and yet it's impossible for his to overthrow Hill since "the cheetah" can literally just run under the ball and make the catch. Kansas City's offense was spectacular, and their defense looked solid as well. The Chargers are going to have trouble making the Playoffs this year because they're in a very tough division and what I saw on Sunday was that Kansas City is going to win it.
Washington Redskins @ Arizona Cardinals:
The Cardinals offense looks like a division two college. They couldn't move the ball until the last two minutes of the game, and that allowed Washington to control the clock with the run game. Speaking of the run game, Adrian Peterson was vintage as he now is top 10 all time in rushing yards, and he has over 100 career touchdowns. Peterson spearheaded the run game for Washington, and he did a great job helping control the clock. Alex Smith was under the radar good too, as he didn't really make mistakes and moved the ball effectively. Washington should be happy with his play, and Arizona should be disappointed with theirs.
Dallas Cowboys @ Carolina Panthers:
I've been saying it for years: fire Jason Garrett. How are you a head coach for eight years, and you forget to do what your roster is built for--RUNNING THE BALL. Ezekiel Elliot was barely involved on Sunday, despite it being a low scoring game, which usually encourages the run game. Dak Prescott didn't look very good as in my short period watching the game he missed multiple throws. Carolina's defense is often overlooked, but they're very, very good. This is a good sign for the Panthers, as they'll be relying on great defensive performances all year long as their division is filled with great passing games. The Cowboys showed me that they aren't a Playoff team, and I'm sticking with that until they prove otherwise.
Seattle Seahawks @ Denver Broncos:
This was a good game I think for both teams, as they both showed that they improved in the areas that they needed improvement in. Denver's defense is even better, and they have a quarterback now! Case Keenum looked good, and backed by another good defense he could be comfortable all game long. Seattle needed running back help as Russell Wilson was literally 95% of their offense last year, and it looked like they got some of that yesterday. Certainly their ball carriers aren't elite, but Wilson was able to hit them out of the back field for decent pickups multiple times, and they had a solid ypc of 4.0. Both teams looked good, and it'll be interesting to see how their seasons progress after a good showing from both in Week One.
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers:
Aaron Rodgers is the greatest player to ever touch a football. Words cannot do justice to what he pulled off on Sunday Night. When he was carted off of the field I thought I might as well call it a night, but I stayed up in hopes of seeing Khalil Mack continue to make ridiculous plays. Instead, I saw a one legged Aaron Rodgers come back onto the field and lead his team back from down 20-0. When Green Bay got the ball back with two minutes to go in the game, I closed my eyes and said, "I give it four plays," envisioning how easy Rodgers would make that final drive look. It only took three, as it was over on a 75 yard catch and run to Randal Cobb. The Bears have a lot to look forward to this year because they looked great in the first half, but the brilliance of Rodgers is unmatched.
New York Jets @ Detroit Lions:
Look at that everybody, it's another Bill Belichick coordinator who's not going to pan out on their own. Matt Patricia, a defensive mind, watched the Jets drop 48 on his team. Let me say that again--the Jets, a team with one of the least talented offenses in the NFL, dropped 48 on the Lions. Matthew Stafford threw four interceptions and was beaten up a lot which does not fare well for his outlook the rest of the season. The Lions have a lot of work to do, and the Jets now get to confirm their delusional fans' suspicions that "It's gonna be our year, I'm tellin ya. Super Bowl in New York!" (I don't like the Jets ridiculous fanbase very much, if you couldn't tell).
Los Angeles Rams @ Oakland Raiders:
The Rams are my Super Bowl favorites right now, and they showed why last night. The Khalil Mack-less Raiders headed up by Jon Gruden's offense looked great in the first half, leading 13-10 at the break. The Rams showed why their one of the best teams in football during the second half though, scoring at will, and sicking their defense on Derek Carr and the Oakland offense. I have to give credit to the Raiders, because I thought they were a five win team after the Mack trade, but they looked really good in the first half. The Rams though, clearly, have nothing to worry about as their offense stayed creative last night and they ran away with the game in the end.
Welcome to the Truda Report everybody. It's been a summer since my last article, but now that football is back I'll have a lot to talk about in the coming weeks. NFL news should be expected, as well as some articles commenting on some of the biggest sports stories of the summer. Make sure to share this article with a friend as it helps TTR grow, and leave any suggestions for future topics.
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles:
Tonight's season opener I think is one of the most underrated matchups we'll see all season long. I understand that Carson Wentz is not going to be active tonight, and Nick Foles has been less than spectacular this preseason, but I don't expect that to have too much of an impact on this game. Without a doubt Wentz would give the Eagles a much bigger chance to win, but expect Philly's play calling to resemble what it did when Wentz was out last year: run the ball, throw high percentage passes, and on defense...send heat. Tonight the reigning Super Bowl champs are facing one of the most talent loaded offenses in the NFL, so this game is really going to be a test of the Eagles top notch D, and honestly, that's what this game was going to be about anyways. Sure, if Wentz was playing his return would be an intriguing story, but the game was really going to be about what could be the best defense in football going up against what could be the best offense in football.
Now that I've made my opinion clear about what this game is hinged on, I'll make my pick and explain. To be blunt, the Falcons are going to win tonight. I love the Eagles roster and think it's the best in football, but this Falcons team has been disrespected this offseason. In the majority of power rankings, the Falcons have seen themselves in spots 5-7, nowhere close to where they believe they are. This offense is ridiculous, and the defense is incredibly underrated. Tonight that defense should shine, because if they can slow down Jay Ajayi and the Philadelphia running game, Nick Foles is going to have to make the plays. I know Foles was counted on to step up last year and he delivered, but his track record shows that this won't continue for long, and even if it does, it won't be at the Super Bowl MVP level we saw last year. The Eagles offensive line is fully healthy now, but I just don't see that helping stop the Falcons rush. I believe this Falcons front seven holds the Eagles to under 100 total rushing yards, and that puts all of the pressure on Foles. Tonight, Foles won't step up as much as he needs to, and the Falcons stifle the Eagles enough to win.
The main attraction tonight, as I mentioned before, is the Eagles defense against the Falcons offense. Like I said, I don't think that this is what decides the game, but since this is where the star players reside on both rosters. The Eagles added former Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett this offseason, and still boast one of the best defensive tackles in the game in Fletcher Cox. The Falcons have one of the top three receivers in the game, Julio Jones, the best running back duo in the game in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, and a top 10 quarterback in Matt Ryan. I expect to see the Falcons counter the loaded pass rush of Philadelphia by getting the ball to the two running backs I just mentioned, but not by handing the ball off. Matt Ryan should be feeling pressure all night which means less time for routes to develop downfield, so there should be a lot of quick routes run tonight, and a lot of dump offs to the running backs. When Philly does drop back in coverage, expect Ryan to use the opportunity to push the ball downfield, going for his big targets in Jones and Austin Hooper. In terms of who wins the battle, I think that Philly's defense will look great, but not as good as the Atlanta offense. I already predicted the Falcons defense to make an impact by stopping the run, which means that the Eagles offense should not be using clock as well as they'd like to. This means less rest for the Eagles defense, and a slight advantage to the Atlanta offense.
With all of this said, I think the final score is going to be 24-17. It's an offensive game, and a score of 24-17 is not very high despite all that I said about the defenses being the units that decide tonight's game. I think two touchdowns should be considered a lackluster performance for this Eagles offense as they put up less than that only twice last regular season (week 13, week 17), and once in the Playoffs (Divisional Round vs. Falcons). For the Falcons, I think 24 is a reasonable prediction seeing as I still expect them to put points on the board, although by no means do I think it'll be easy.
Hopefully tonight's game is an exciting one, and I hope everyone enjoys the first week back to football. Expect more articles soon, and more consistently as I'm back to a normal schedule again.
High School Senior from Connecticut obsessed with sports stats, facts, and management.