As the 2014 NFL Week 4 gets underway the reigning champs Seattle Seahawks (2-1) claimed the top ranking after defeating the Denver Broncos in OT last week. But we still have three unbeaten teams (3-0) in the NFL, with the Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles. Which one will remain undefeated in Week 4? Let’s take a look!
This 2014 NFL season is the 2nd time in 3 seasons that the NFL has 29 teams that have not be able to survive the first three weeks without suffering a loss. Back in 1990 the NFL adopted a 12 team’s format for postseason, and since then a 75.2 percent of the teams that started the season at 3-0 actually qualified to be included in the final playoffs. Thus far in NFL history the 1972 Miami Dolphins are the only team that had a perfect record, and the Bengals, Cardinals and Eagles have a long way to go to reach that mark. But, in their 1st three games they all have been very impressive, so let’s take a brief preview of the three teams and how they might stay undefeated.
Starting with the Arizona Cardinals, their three wins is the most surprising of the three undefeated teams, as they played the first two games with an inexperienced backup QB Stanton as QB Carlson had an injury to his throwing arm and the defense struggling win DE Dockett and OLB Abraham also out with injuries.
But the Cardinals have developed a trademark for overcoming adversity as in all three of the first games they overcame 2nd half deficits to win. The first game was against the Chargers and Arizona trailed by 11 points going into the 4th quarter and they came back to win, then in week 2 Stanton started an won his first start since back in 2010, and the most exciting was last Sunday as the Cards beat NFC West rival 49ers 23-14 and the 49’ers had won nine of the last 10 games between the two teams. This demonstrates the work that was done last season by then 1st year head coach Arians. His theory for game play is based on defense, and has built the defensive unit around Campbell a key to their defense that has no allowed a point in the 4th quarter in 2014 with a different front seven from last season.
This weekend bye on Oct 5th the Cards will play the Broncos in Denver and may be the end of their undefeated streak for 2014. They also have two difficult games remaining after Denver with reigning champs Seahawks and the 49’ers that could finalize the NFC West standings.
The second of the three undefeated teams is the Cincinnati Bengals and the media says the Bengal cubs have grown into mature Bengals at least that’s what the player on the Bengals roster with the most time says. Apparently, the team’s attitude has changed, and no longer are the Bengals up and down as in past seasons. That, and add very steady play by QB Dalton which is encouraging. Last season the fans would not know from week to week, whether they would see the good Dalton or the bad Dalton.
But to date QB Dalton has been all good thus far as he has completed some 65 percent of his passes in the first three games and has only experienced one turnover. The offensive line coached by Alexander to date has been able to protect QB Dalton from being sacked thus far in the 2014 season. Last week QB Dalton actually scored a TD on what they called a gadget pass as the rout the Titans 33-7.
The Bengals fast start this season is being kept in check, as they have reached the playoffs three straight seasons only to lose in each of those appearances. Their team attitude now is that if they execute they can win.
The third undefeated team the Philadelphia Eagles with their Twitter motto this season is, were from Philadelphia and we fight to win. In reality they did have a on the field fight during the last Sunday’s crazy 37-34 victory over the Redskins. But they had to overcome double digit deficits in their three straight games to win.
Much of the strength of the Eagles comes from their very fast offensive systems of scoring, and the team remains composed and calm throughout their games, but the fact that they have had to come from behind in those three games, can be attributed to a team with injuries and somewhat problematic, like the defense allowing the NFL’s second highest penalty yardage this season with 256 yards in penalties. If the Eagles want to continue winning they need to start putting complete games together on offense and defense as well as toughness will not take a team very far.