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.
High School Senior from Connecticut obsessed with sports stats, facts, and management.