No one expected anyone to replicate the Patriots’ 16-0 regular season from a year ago. And after three weeks of football, only six teams remain unbeaten: the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos. All are 3-0 with the exception of 2-0 Baltimore.
Are they for real? Is the hot start indication of a playoff push? Only time will tell for sure, but why wait to forecast their fortunes? Here’s an overview of all six undefeated teams.
- New York Giants
Two of their three wins have come against winless St. Louis and Cincinnati. They’ll be tested throughout the year though, playing in the league’s toughest division along with Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington. Still, it’s probably safe to say the defending champions are a legitimate contender as a 3-0 undefeated team. Their offense looks sharp under a suddenly poised and precise Eli Manning, and the defense is playing strong despite key losses.
- Dallas Cowboys
It’d be hard to argue anyone else has looked better against stronger competition in the early part of this season. Dallas won a shootout with Philadelphia on Monday Night Football in week two and bounced back on Sunday night to win with defense against the previously unbeaten Packers. Add in a convincing week one performance against Cleveland, and it becomes clear why many people predict Dallas will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Whereas both NFC unbeatens reside in the rugged NFC East, the AFC has one undefeated team in each of its four divisions.
- Buffalo Bills
It took fourth quarter comebacks in consecutive weeks, but the Bills are undefeated and atop the AFC East. Second-year QB Trent Edwards is showing signs that he may be the leader the team has searched for since their last playoff appearance in 1999. Running back Marshawn Lynch gives the Bills a consistent ground attack, and their defense, featuring linebacker Paul Posluszny, has been solid. With Tom Brady out of action for New England, this division is wide open. The Bills will contend, but don’t count the Pats out just yet. And Brett Favre and the Jets may have a say in this race before all is said and done.
- Baltimore Ravens
With rookie quarterback Joe Flacco at the helm, the Ravens may be the most unlikely undefeated team. After Hurricane Ike postponed their game with the Houston Texans, they found out they’d be playing 15 straight weeks, but they won the first of that streak on Sunday against the Browns, improving to 2-0. Flacco has done enough to help the Ravens’ veteran defense shut down the opposition, but he will tested in a divisional showdown next Monday against the Steelers. Expect Pittsburgh to hand him his first professional loss and take control of the AFC North.
- Tennessee Titans
In a division that features the Colts and Jaguars, it’s the Titans with a two game lead in the standings and a 2-0 record within the division. Indianapolis and Jacksonville figure to challenge them, but if the Titans’ defense continues to dominate as it has this season and they coninue to run the ball effectively, they will be tough to beat. Expect this team—with or without Vince Young—to qualify for the playoffs this year.
- Denver Broncos
The Ravens and Bills may be bigger surprises, but no one has had as much early season excitement as Denver. From their opening week dismantling of the hated Raiders to their week two shocker against San Diego to their week three nail biter against New Orleans, the Broncos have made headlines with an offensive attack that features one of the league’s most exciting aerial attacks. If Jay Cutler continues to find Brancon Marshall and Eddie Royal like this all season, Denver will make it tough for the Chargers to repeat in the AFC West.
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