With the commencement of the NFL’s 100th season, there has been no lack of storylines and news for the country’s most popular sport. The regular season has only been underway for two weeks and there has already been a myriad of stories and reports that include impressive play from the league’s brightest stars as well as unfortunate injuries.
2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes is picking up where he left off last season where he put together one of the greatest single seasons ever at the Quarterback position. At the end of week two according to Pro Football Reference, the Kansas City Chiefs superstar leads the league in total offense and passing yards. He is tied for first in touchdowns with seven; four of those came in a single quarter against the Raiders. He recently turned 24 years old and isn’t even close to reaching his full potential. What’s even crazier is that it’s only his second full season as a starter. He’s a football savant and a natural-born leader. With the Chiefs’ lethal receiving corps, mastermind Andy Reid calling the shots and Mahomes at Quarterback, the Chiefs are serious Super Bowl contenders. Mahomes could very well have another MVP under his belt in the near future.
Another young Quarterback that is shining so far is Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens. In only his second season, he has been one of the standout players in the NFL so far. During his first season, there were questions about his passing ability and whether or not his amount of rushing out of the pocket was possible to sustain. Per Pro Football Reference, he has thrown more touchdowns so far in this campaign than he did in all of last years while still rushing an unheralded amount for a Quarterback. With his presumed exemplary work ethic, consistency in the passing game could be a mainstay for Jackson. The potential we saw last season from Jackson is being validated and his play could have a serious impact on the race for the division title. While the Browns are a stronger team than last season, the Ravens still have a strong chance to repeat as champions of the NFC North. Especially now considering that perennial divisional contender Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback, Ben Rothlisberger is set to miss the rest of the season, according to Adam Schefter from ESPN.
While on the topic of the NFC North, the polarizing Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is back in the news. The receiver attracted criticism and countless headlines for wearing a $250,000 Richard Mille watch during the Browns’ first game. It fueled the sports media landscape for days. He responded to the critics with resiliency and helped the Browns earn their first win of the season against the Jets in Metlife stadium. In his return to New York, Beckham Jr. won a footrace with the jets secondary off a slant route to score an 89-yard Touchdown. The longest of his career. Earlier in the game, he made an effortless one-handed grab near the end zone on a pass from Baker Mayfield. Beckham Jr. finished with 161 yards and a touchdown in his former stomping grounds. Beckham Jr. looks as comfortable as ever, especially in a new offense.
Other news around the league includes the unfortunate hand injury to Drew Brees. According to NFL.com, Brees could miss 6 to 8 weeks. This is a massive blow to a New Orleans Saints team that was so close to the Super Bowl last year and looked to take another step forward this season. The Saints now rely on former-first-round pick, Teddy Bridgewater to command the offense while Brees is absent. Luckily, they still have a good receiving corps headlined by Michael Thomas and a versatile runner in Alvin Kamara. The team will need strong showings from everyone.
One of the biggest story lines of the early season so far is the New York Giants decision to reach into their quarterback depth chart and promote rookie Daniel Jones over former franchise mainstay Eli Manning. Ever since the Giants drafted Jones with the sixth pick in the 2019 NFL draft there was a conversation about when he would replace the two time Super Bowl MVP. However, no one predicted it to be this early in the season. The rookie started his first-ever game against the Buccaneers and it was a massive success. He led the Giants to a massive comeback which included 2 Touchdowns in the air as well as 2 rushing touchdowns. On the Giants’ final drive he was calm and commanding in the pocket and he rushed for the game-winning touchdown.
The beginning of the season has provided many talking points and the games have been exciting. The best is yet to come.