- The Kansas City Chiefs’ Run at Perfection (2-0) Some analysts would’ve been the skeptical that the Chiefs managed back to back wins all season, much less in the first two weeks. Already at 2-0 Kansas City is off to its best start since 2005, back when Larry Johnson first stepped up as a backfield beast and Matt Cassel was a third string quarterback behind Tom Brady and Doug Flutie. Now with LJ serving as a big name backup for the ‘Skins and Cassel the current face of the franchise, the Chiefs look to have some life for the first time in nearly 5 years. Credit Scott Pioli with finding some gems through the draft and free agency as this year’s rookie class has already made their presence felt on defense and special teams and 2008 3rd round pick Jamal Charles emerging as one of the biggest home run threats in the league, alongside a host of solid if not spectacular early round linemen.
- Can’t-Win Dallas Cowboys (0-2) Perhaps the Cowboys weren’t a consensus preseason Super Bowl pick, but few, if any, onlookers expected this team to be fighting for their playoffs lives so early. In a quick 0-2 hole, that is precisely where the ‘Boys are now, leaving themselves little margin for error if they are to become to first team to play a Super Bowl home game. It’s not just that Dallas has opened with two straight losses, it’s the quality of teams they’ve fallen victim to. Sure, the Redskins are supposed to be better under McNabb but by no means is their on-field remake of Grumpy Old Men supposed to contend for the NFC East. The Bears are a surprising 2-0 squad in their own right, besting the Cowboys just a week after they probably should have lost to the Lions were in not for a questionable ruling on Calvin Johnson’s would-be game winning catch. Sure, new Romo girlfriend Candice Crawford got the Cowboys over the playoff hump, but if the team stumbles to miss the post-season entirely the Dallas faithful may start to reminisce more fondly on the Jessica Simpson era.
- No Quarterback, No Problem for the Steelers (2-0) In most years seeing the Steelers towards the top of the standings would hardly qualify as a mild surprise must less a shocker. But without QB Ben Roethlisberger for the first 4 games of the year, the Steelers were supposed to be lucky to escape with a split record of 2-2. Now a 2-2 record is worst case scenario for Pittsburgh fans, as the stellar Steelers D looks like it’s returned to 2008 form behind a healthy Troy Polamolu. After dispatching of the Falcons and Titans, two teams with realistic playoff expectations of their own, it feels as if even Kordell Stewart (not just Slash-Kordell, Bears-Kordell as well) could come out of retirement and still lead this unit to victory. Through 2 weeks, the Steelers have allowed a combined 76 yards on 35 carries to two of the NFL’s premier running backs in Michael Turner and Chris Johnson. With Tampa Bay on the horizon and a Baltimore team that’s had its share offensive struggles in Week 4, the Steelers have a realistic shot at going 4-0 before Big Ben makes his return.
Honorable Mention:MV7 and the Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) Ok, it’s not surprising to see the Eagles lose to the Packers and beat the Lions, but to see Michael Vick outperform Kevin Kolb with a game and a half of inspired regular season play feels like a time warp back to the Bush Administration.The Upstart Bucs (2-0) The Kansas State Wild- Excuse me, Tampa Bay Buccaneers are certainly among the league’s most unexpected undefeateds, however they are penalized for a particularly weak schedule thus far. Still, the Bucs have proven to be better than the Browns and Panthers, though all that may have really accomplished is effectively screw up their draft pick in April.