After the first quarter of the National Football League's regular season has been completed, some indications of how this season will progress can be discerned. Parity reigns as only three undefeated teams and two winless teams remain. As usually occurs, some teams have fallen short of expectations. Others have surprised the league with their level of success. As we head into October, a glance at the results so far is warranted.
AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
AFC East: This division is not as tight as it appears at first glance. While the Patriots, Jets and Bills all share a tally of two wins and two losses so far, Buffalo has lost one game each to the other two.
AFC North: Baltimore has nudged ahead of division due to a win over Cincinnati and a two and a half overall lead over Pittsburgh. Cleveland appears a serious contender for the first pick of the draft in April.
AFC South: Houston is pulling away from the rest of the pack. The Texans already have defeated the Jaguars and the Titans in addition to other intra-conference victories.
AFC West: San Diego and Denver have already made this a two-team race for the divisional crown. The Chargers have two wins with the division; the Broncos, one. In contrast, Oakland already has lost two divisional games. The Chiefs’ sole win occurred over an NFC team while losing one in the division and another one within the conference.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
NFC East: Philadelphia holds a one game lead over Dallas and Washington. However, neither of those trailing teams has played the Eagles yet. Despite only trailing the Eagles by one game in the standings, the Giants’ deficit is greater due to two divisional losses, one to Philadelphia.
NFC North: Minnesota holds a slight lead over Chicago and Green Bay. The former lost a divisional game while the latter is a game out of first place. The Vikings will have to wait until next month to start securing the divisional title since they play within the division for 5 of the last seven games. The Lions are slipping back to their habitual level of putridity after finally giving their fans a reason to cheer with a playoff appearance last season.
NFC South: Atlanta is running away with the division. The Falcons are undefeated, including a divisional win. The other three teams have at least three losses each. The Saints are proving the importance of a permanent coach in charge of a team, especially when the head coach also serves as offensive coordinator. The loss of Sean Payton has crippled the Saints’ hopes of hosting the Super Bowl.
NFC West: Arizona has surprised the league with its undefeated start. However, San Francisco only trails by one game and has yet to play a divisional game. Seattle’s suspicious victory over Green Bay the Seahawks’ plight, winless in two divisional games.
COPYRIGHT BY CHARLES KASTRIOT SEPTEMBER 2012