NFL Preview

   The 2018 National Football League (NFL) season is now three weeks in, which means all fans have an idea of what their favorite team will be looking like. The NFL can be full of surprises, but as of right now some teams look like real contenders while others look like pretenders. Another headline going into the season was if the Cleveland Browns would win a game, but after week three, the headline has changed to how many games they will win this year with Baker Mayfield now starting at quarterback.


Contenders or Pretenders:


Miami Dolphins:

   The Dolphins have started the year hot going undefeated through the first three games, but the real test will be week four against the Patriots. The Patriots continue to be one of the best teams in the league, even after starting with only one win. The Dolphins are an interesting team to watch because they finished last season with only six wins, and are not looking much better. However, the return of quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, has given the team a resurgence. This team does not have a difficult schedule, so expect them to still be around come playoff time.

Verdict: Contenders


Tennessee Titans:

   The Titans recently defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars in week three, but have a rough few weeks ahead of them facing the Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, and Los Angeles Chargers. Three of these teams were playoff teams last year and the Ravens have started the year on fire. The Titans have a strong team that can make a run in the playoffs, and if they struggle the next few weeks their schedule is not difficult near the end of the season. The Titans need to play well against a few good teams in the upcoming weeks, or else they may not do so well come playoff time.

Verdict: Too early to tell


Kansas City Chiefs:

   Quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, has started off this season with 13 touchdowns through the first three weeks which is a new NFL record. Even more impressive is that this is Mahomes first season seeing the field. The Chiefs are the real deal, and with their division being the easiest in the league, expect to see them in the playoffs. The team is still young and has a good time to develop, so do not expect them to win the Super Bowl, but a run in the playoffs would show the potential this team has. Their upcoming schedule has a few challenging games, but for the most part, the Chiefs will make it into the playoffs with ease.

Verdict: This is it, Chief


Washington Redskins:

   The Washington Redskins made multiple offseason moves to create a better team. These moves include trading for quarterback, Alex Smith, drafting running back, Derrius Guice, and defensive lineman, Da’Ron Payne, and even signing wide receiver, Paul Richardson. The Redskins looked like a surprise team going into the season, but after losing Guice to an injury, fans believed the season was over. Only a few days later, the Redskins signed former MVP, Adrian Peterson, to hold down the backfield for the season until Guice returned, and boy has he been the X factor of the offense. The Redskins have started the season with two wins and one loss, and Peterson is looking like his old self. The Redskins have a difficult few weeks ahead of them, so as of right now no one can tell what kind of team they are. If the Redskins can perform well against their next few opponents, expect to see them in the playoffs.

Verdict: Too early to tell


Chicago Bears:

   Going into the season the Bears were expected, to be this years dark horse, and all the predictions have been true so far. The Bears acquired former Defensive Player of the Year, Khalil Mack, right before the season started, which bolstered their defense even more. The Bears have a good team and a fairly easy schedule coming up. Expect the Bears to be this year’s Jacksonville Jaguars where their defense wins them games, and they run the ball more than pass. Quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, is only in his second season, so he still has time to grow into his full potential, but this year the Bears could be a real threat come January.

Verdict: Contender


The Cleveland BroWns:

   Last year we covered the Browns, about their winless season, and how to improve the team to become a real threat in the league. Luckily, no Browns front office member read the article or else the team would be in a completely different situation today. The Browns drafted quarterback, Baker Mayfield, with the first overall pick in the draft, and cornerback Denzel Ward with the fourth pick. The Browns also made multiple trades and free agency signings over the offseason, acquiring wide receiver Jarvis Landry, quarterback Tyrod Taylor, defensive back Damarious Randall, and running back Carlos Hyde. All of these moves changed the culture in Cleveland, and gave fans something to look forward to in the fall.

The Browns also were chosen for the HBO show, “Hard Knocks,” which follows around a team during training camp and the preseason. This gave fans an opportunity to see what was happening behind the scenes. Many new fan favorites arrived after the show, but sadly almost all of them did not make the roster. This season of Hard Knocks was one of the best yet and Cleveland even hung up a banner where the LeBron [James] banner used to be.

Cleveland started the year off with two rough weeks, thanks to the kicker, Zane Gonzalez. In week one the Browns faced off against the Steelers and surprisingly almost won the game, until the field goal was blocked in overtime causing them to tie. In week two, the Browns played the New Orleans Saints, and lost by only three points. Sadly, the kicker missed two field goals and two point after attempts, leaving eight points off the board. Shortly after the game, the kicker was unsurprisingly released from the team.

But then week three came, the Browns were facing off against the New York Jets, and looked to be an easy win for Cleveland. The Jets went into halftime with a 14-3 lead, and Browns fans were in shock, but that was when the rookie, Mayfield, came into the game after the starting QB, Taylor, went out with a concussion. The Browns scored 11 points in the third quarter which tied up the game, and then in the fourth the Browns scored which gave them the lead, and the win. Cleveland was ecstatic, because the last time they won a game was 635 days prior. The city, the fans, and the team all could not believe it. Mayfield was named the starter on Monday, September 24, and the Browns’ fans are hoping he will be the starter for a long time.

Cleveland has a mixed schedule for the rest of the year, and most do not expect the team to win more than eight games, but if Mayfield can keep the momentum going the Browns could easily go over .500 (win percentage). This most likely is not the Browns year, but Cleveland should be excited for what the future has in store.