NFL Midseason Recap
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
The NFL is back in full swing, and like any other season, this one has had its fair share of surprises and disappointments. Injuries have occurred, players have come out of nowhere to make contributions, and some just can’t seem to figure things out.
The biggest surprise to many have been the Minnesota Vikings, who currently hold the league’s best record at 5-1. Before the season began, the Vikings suffered a huge blow as young QB Teddy Bridgewater was lost for the season to a torn ACL. To replace him, the Vikings traded a first round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Sam Bradford. It has seemingly paid off, as Bradford has already tossed 7 touchdown passes. The team also lost another star in the season’s second week, as running back Adrian Peterson suffered a torn meniscus. That has not stopped the offense at all, however, with players like Jerrick McKinnon and Stefon Diggs stepping up their games. The Vikings are also the NFL’s top ranking defense, headlined by cornerback Xavier Rhodes and linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr.
Many teams, like the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, have seen remarkable contributions from rookie players. The Cowboys have seen their entire offense fall into the hands of two rookies, QB Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. Prescott, the 4th round draft pick from Mississippi State, has already thrown for over 1400 yards and 7 touchdowns. Elliot, the 4th overall pick from Ohio State, is already putting himself among the best in the NFL. He has rushed for 703 yards and 5 touchdowns, and is one of the quickest to ever reach 700 yards in NFL history. However, Jacob Lynch is less impressed with Elliot than most. “He’s very talented,” said Lynch, “but anyone can run behind the Cowboys offensive line.” The Eagles also have a rookie at the helm in 2nd overall pick Carson Wentz. The Eagles gave up a large number of future draft picks to move up and acquire Wentz, but early returns have proved successful. Wentz has thrown for 1300 yards and 8 touchdowns, leading the Eagles to a 4-2 record.
Two of the league’s biggest disappointments come from the NFC. The defending Super Bowl Champion Carolina Panthers are currently 1-5, and the Arizona Cardinals, who many saw as a Super Bowl favorite, have only mustered a 3-3-1 record. The Panthers struggles can not really be linked to their offense. Defending MVP Cam Newton has still played at an above average level, and tight end Greg Olsen is still among the best in the league. Caleb Oestrike believes that Cam Newton still has a lot to prove. “He hasn’t played to his MVP level this season,” said Oestrike, “and he needs to step it up more because the defense isn’t helping him.”The struggles can be easily linked to the defense, specifically in the secondary. Due to All-Pro corner back Josh Norman’s departure in free agency, the Panthers have been left with two rookie corner backs, James Bradberry and Daryl Worley. The performance of those two has been far from ideal, and they even allowed Julio Jones to get 300 receiving yards against them in a single game.
Like the Panthers, the Cardinals issues lie within the defense. The team has plenty of stars like linebacker Deone Bucannon, Patrick Peterson, and Tyrann Mathieu, however outside of those 3, the Cardinals lack contribution. Many others, such as offseason acquisition Chandler Jones, will need to step up if the Cardinals wish to continue to compete with the Seahawks in the NFC West.