Boyd Bergquist’s Pigskin Perspectives – The 2019 NFL Season: “The First Quarter”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Boyd Bergquist was the sports director at KETS-TV in East Tree Stump, Nebraska for almost 40 years. Known across the Husker state as the voice of the Boy’s High School Basketball Tournament, Bergquist was a four-time winner of the Marv J. Butz “Golden Cob” Award For Excellence In Nebraska Broadcast Journalism. That background, along with his quick if not cliché-riddled wit and love of single-malt scotch makes Bergquist a perfect fit to be our “Question” guy.
Now that we are four games into the real NFL season and Week Five starts tonight, it time to take a look at all 32 NFL team in much the same manner I did with baseball. I’m not a “power rankings” sort of guy, I like to group team into categories based on what we can in expect in terms of performance. But unlike what I do with the national past-time, I don’t bother with a pre-season examination because one can flip a football team almost completely on Draft Day and in free-agency. On top of that, NFL teams don’t play the starters for the most part in the pre-season anymore, so the first four games are now the ersatz “pre-season.” So, now that we’ve seen the first part of the NFL season (even if it is like watching the Indy 500 under a caution flag), we can start drawing some conclusions about all 32 squads.
Start Printing The Play-Off Tickets Now
- New England Patriots: They got tested by a resurgent Bills squad, but that defense may actually be the strength of this team.
- Kansas City Chiefs: The disadvantage for wresting home field advantage away from the Patriots: New England doesn’t have to play the Chargers twice.
- New Orleans Saints: Forget about the injury to Drew Brees; the Saints only play one division game in the time he’s expected to be out…and they’re already 2-0 without him.
- Chicago Bears: But…that defense though. The rematch with the Packers is going to tell us a lot.
- Los Angeles Rams: This team isn’t firing on all cylinders offensively and the defense disintegrated against Tampa Bay. But tell me the team in the NFC West you’re betting on to finish in front of them.
- Indianapolis Colts: Don’t be fooled by the 2-2 record. This could flip-flop with the Texans dependent on the head-to-head results, but right now the Colts look like the AFC South horse to bet on.
January Is Still In Our Sights
- Los Angeles Chargers: This team can still win their division, although another wild-card spot seems a solid bet.
- Philadelphia Eagles: That win on the road in Green Bay was the definition of “statement win.” There’s a lot of football left to be played, but if that defense is for real and the Eagles can get healthy…
- Green Bay Packers: They have one win already against the Bears, but can they manage two?
- Dallas Cowboys: Forget about how their “high-powered offense” got grounded by the Saints. The real warning sign was how much this team struggled for the majority of the game against the Dolphins.
- Houston Texans: Somebody has to win the AFC South…is it too early to start thinking about the Jaguars in this conversation?
- Buffalo Bills: This might be an entirely different list had the Bills not had to rely on Matt Barkley at quarterback last Sunday. Despite that, this team can run the ball, play defense, and they get four games against the Jets and the Dolphins.
Don’t Hate On 8-8
- Baltimore Ravens: That defense has some serious work to do, and it is getting clear the Lamar Jackson bandwagon is getting emptier every week.
- San Francisco 49ers: An early bye week and a freak loss by the Rams has this team atop the NFC West for now…
- Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks are 3-1 at this point, but who is ready to bet their house payment on this team winning the NFC West?
- Detroit Lions: This team went from tying the god-awful Cardinals to giving the Chiefs all they could handle.
- Cleveland Browns: The Browns’ offense finally seems to be showing up, but the reality is 8-8 (or worse) might just win the AFC North.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Gardner Fuckin’ Minshew, baby!
- Minnesota Vikings: As is usually the case with the Vikings quarterback, last year’s Vike fans love affair with Kirk Cousins has soured.
- Tennessee Titans: Is there a better example of a quarterback than Marcus Mariota who can build up a fan base’s hopes only to rip their guts out literally seconds later?
Let’s All Say It Together: “Re-Building Year!”
- Carolina Panthers: The idea behind a re-building year is the promise of a new day. Early returns suggest Kyle Allen may be the real deal at quarterback, and that Panther defense is the special. Oh, they also have an offensive force in Christian McCaffrey.
- New York Giants: Good, bad or indifferent, the “Danny Dimes” era has begun in Gotham. But it may not last long if the G-Men don’t fix their O-line.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Don’t look now, but this team is only one game out of first place in the AFC North.
- Atlanta Falcons: This is going to be a long season in Atlanta. Maybe they should move the home games to Saturday so the fans can at least get Chick-Fil-A.
- Oakland Raiders: The win on the road at Indianapolis was the light at the end of the tunnel, but now they may very well get run over by the train known as the Bears.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: That 55-point offensive explosion may very well be the high point of the Bucs’ season; the upcoming part of the schedule defines brutal and will likely show who this team really is.
High-End Draft Pick In Vegas, Baby!
- Denver Broncos: As bad as things seem now, the Broncos are the most likely team to get out of this category. Their odds aren’t great, but they are better than anybody else’s.
- Cincinnati Bengals: The “Miss Me Yet?” billboards featuring Marvin Lewis will be appearing around the greater Cincinnati area soon.
- New York Jets: This team really isn’t that bad on paper, but who expects their starting quarterback to come down with mononucleosis?
- Arizona Cardinals: There’s so much wrong with this team right now that it could be a while before we can get a good gauge on how this Kliff Kingsbury – Kyler Murray thing is really going to work.
- Washington Redskins: The fans finally got their wish to see Dwayne Haskins. That’s why you should always be careful what you wish for…
- Miami Dolphins: At least in “Major League,” when owner Rachel Phelps wanted the team to tank, they players still wanted to win. Here, there are demanding to be traded.
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