Forget your presumptions about the NFL. Through almost four full weeks of the season, it turns out we know nothing.
The New York Giants, a team that had the best defense in the NFL last season, are winless. The usually mediocre LA Rams are atop the NFC and have the best point differential in the league. Trevor Siemian has a better record than Tom Brady, as do Carson Wentz, Tryod Taylor and Jared Goff.
If the first month of the season could be this unpredictable, then what does that mean for the next three? I decided to take a look at the most surprising things about the season so far, ranking them in acsending order of craziness. Let's see how they'll all hold up.
10. Dolphins have scored 25 points
People thought it was outlandish when rumors surfaced that Colin Kaepernick wanted $10 million for one season. Those rumors have been completely unfounded, but where is the backlash against Jay Cutler for getting $10 million from the Dolphins? Miami has scored six points over the past two weeks -- including a London shutout on Sunday morning -- with Cutler doing nothing to improve Adam Gase's offense in Ryan Tannehill's absence. It's bad for Cutler, bad for Gase and a horrible sign moving forward for the lifeless Dolphins.
9. Matt Ryan is pre-2016 Matt Ryan again
Even if Kyle Shanahan had stayed with the Falcons, there was a great chance that Ryan and the Atlanta offense would regress from their record-setting output in 2016. However, this is more than just regression. Under Steve Sarkisian, Ryan and the Falcons offense often looks average at best, and Ryan went 3-of-12 for 19 yards in the second half in Atlanta's loss to the Bills. The QB had two interceptions, both on throws downfield, which is supposed to be his bread and butter. The Falcons could still be the best team in the NFC, but Ryan (five touchdowns, five interceptions over four games) doesn't look anything like an MVP.
8. Broncos are back to being a contender, with Trevor Siemian
Denver may have benefited from the Raiders losing Derek Carr midgame on Sunday during a 16-10 Broncos win, but their defense was still very much in control and Siemian continues to do plenty enough to make his team a legitimate contender in the AFC; especially now that Denver has a better record and a head-to-head victory against Oakland. Siemian has seven touchdowns on the year, posting a rating of at least 94 in three of his four starts. Additionally, the Broncos established a strong run game (143 yards, 4.5 YPC) and stifled Marshawn Lynch (nine carries, 12 yards). The Chiefs and Broncos are going to be neck-and-neck all year, even if their quarterbacks aren't the stars of their teams; maybe because they aren't the stars.
7. Lions are in contention for the top seed in the NFC
Detroit had the worst defense in the NFL last season by DVOA. Not so anymore. Detroit held the Vikings, a team that put up 34 points a week ago, to just a single touchdown and improved to 3-1. The last time the Lions went to the Super Bowl was 19-neverty-5, but given that the defense looks to be at least pretty good and that Matthew Stafford is one of the 3-5 best QBs in the NFC, Detroit may be in its best position in a very long time.
6. Houston has a legit quarterback
The Texans struggled offensively over the first two weeks (30 points total) and have since scored 90 in the past two games with Deshaun Watson. On Sunday, the No. 12 overall pick in the NFL Draft threw four touchdowns (only Matt Schaub and Sage Rosenfels had ever done that for Houston before) and has seven touchdowns in three-and-a-half games. Watson is about as good as any rookie quarterback could hope to be after a month, so combined with the Texans' incredible front-seven, it looks like the AFC South may be dominated by J.J. Watt's team again; except this time Watt has a quarterback he can brag about too.
5. Chargers will contend for the No. 1 pick
Despite how many people might say "This is the best 0-4 team ever," there is almost no context in which that matters. The Chargers have just as many wins as the Browns, and if they can be at the bottom with Cleveland and San Francisco for a month, they can do it for four months. At which point it's almost certain that LA will be picking their QBPPR (Quarterback Past Philip Rivers) early.
4. The Jets have two wins already and more could be coming
The Jets got an overtime home win against the Jaguars on Sunday, 23-20, which means that they can't quite start selling playoff tickets, but their rumored attempt to tank the season and get the No. 1 pick isn't happening. The Jets could be picking early again, and probably will be, but veteran QB Josh McCown might be able to lead them to six wins or so.
3. The Rams can score in bunches
Jared Goff is humming along, as is NFC Offensive Player of September Todd Gurley, thanks to the addition of playmakers Andrew Whitworth, Cooper Kupp, Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. LA is first in the NFL in scoring (after finishing 32nd last season), and Gurley scored for the seventh time on Sunday's 35-30 win over the Cowboys in Dallas, while also putting up 215 total yards. The Rams started 3-1 last season too, but may actually be here to stay in 2017.
2. Bills are 3-1 and the defense is great
The only thing keeping Buffalo from a 4-0 record is the time it was unable to score much against the Panthers in Week 2. The Bills are playing a ton of zone coverage on defense and it has paid off to the tune of allowing 54 points through four weeks, with the most allowed in a single game being 17. They intercepted Ryan twice, while also forcing three fumbles and recovering one. The defense looks like it is going to be great under Leslie Frazier, while Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy and Charles Clay could do just enough on offense to end Buffalo's 18-year playoffs drought. Buffalo has the Bengals next week followed by a bye, so it could remarkably be in first place in the AFC East after six weeks. I guess trading Watkins and Ronald Darby away wasn't that short-sighted after all.
1. Patriots are 2-2 and the defense is terrible
A 33-30 loss to the Panthers was New England's second loss of the year, fourth time giving up 20 points, and third time giving up at least 30 as the NFL's most giving defense in the league through four games. The Pats are one monster half from Tom Brady away from being 1-3, so how much better could it really get? Bill Belichick is the master of adjustments, so we can't count the Pats out of anything, but it would be a little surprising at this point to see New England field a defense in the playoffs that's capable of stopping anyone.