The 2018 NFL season has hit the quarter pole. And once again, there are a few teams that are sitting in unfamiliar territory these days.
From last to first. It’s one of those aspects of a season that makes the National Football League so appealing to so many. A year ago, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles rebounded from basement finishes in 2016 to win division titles. In the case of the Birds, they wound up hoisting a Lombardi Trophy.
Yes it is extremely early. But many head coaches like to break down a season into quarters. So here’s a quick look at the league’s standings as 2018 heads into October.
AFC East: On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins were manhandled at Foxborough by the New England Patriots. Still, Adam Gase’s team still remains atop the division one game ahead of the Pats (2-2), with both the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills sporting 1-3 records.
AFC North: The Cincinnati Bengals’ 34-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2 puts them technically ahead of John Harbaugh’s team at the moment. The defending division champion Pittsburgh Steelers bring up the rear with not only a 1-2-1 mark (same as the Cleveland Browns) but a 0-1-1 vs. AFC North rivals. Mike Tomlin’s team was a perfect 6-0 vs. the division in ’17.
AFC South: Just like the AFC North, this quartet has two teams with 3-1 records (Tennessee and Jacksonville) and two other clubs (Houston and Indianapolis) with identical losing records (1-3). The Titans are riding a three-game winning streak, which includes a 9-6 victory at Jacksonville in Week 3.
AFC West: There’s a big-time showdown on Monday Night Football as the 3-0 Chiefs head to the Mile High City to face the 2-1 Broncos. Keep in mind that Andy Reid’s team is off to another explosive start and has also won five straight games in this series, including three in a row at Denver. The Chargers have split their first four contests while Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders (1-3) got their first win of the season on Sunday.
NFC East: The Washington Redskins were off in Week 4 and are the only team in the NFC East that hasn’t lost at least two games. The defending Super Bowl champion and Eagles and Dallas Cowboys both spot 2-2 records, while the struggling New York Giants bring up the rear with a 1-3 mark.
NFC North: Remember that supposedly-devastating loss at Lambeau Field in Week 1 by Matt Nagy’s club? The Chicago Bears have now won three straight games, just two less than they totaled a year ago (5-11). The 2-1-1 Green Bay Packers are alone in second place, ahead of both the disappointing Vikings (1-2-1) and Lions (1-3).
NFC South: The Saints’ wild 48-40 home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 is well in Sean Payton’s rearview mirror as the defending NFC South champions have won three straight. The Carolina Panthers were off this past week and own a 2-1 mark. As for the Bucs, the team has come back to Earth after a 2-0 start. And the injury-riddled Atlanta Falcons have dropped three of their first four games.
NFC West: A year ago, the Los Angeles Rams won their first division title since 2003. Now Sean McVay’s club is off to a 4-0 start and has outscored its opponents by a 140-67 count. The Seattle Seahawks have rebounded with two straight wins after a 0-2 start. The Jimmy Garoppolo-less 49ers have dropped three of their first four contests, while Steve Wilks’ Arizona Cardinals (0-4) are the NFL’s lone winless team.