The 2021/22 NFL season is off to a blistering
start, having gotten two weeks in, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are seemingly
in no mood to give up their place at the top of the totem pole.
The NFL is special in that its worst teams
manage to keep getting worse but the Bucs are a prime example of what can
happen if you’re lucky enough to sign a football icon and get some luck along
If any campaign is looking like it could throw
up a few surprises, it would have to be this one, which is why we’re here to
take a look at some of the teams that could deliver on such a front.
The Carolina Panthers are off to a 2-0 start under
Matt Rhule after the 46-year-old endured a troubling first season as head
coach. They look set to be locked in a battle with the Bucs for first place in
the NFC South.
The team now has Sam Darnold at center while
running back Christian McCaffery has returned. The Panthers have also brought
in cornerback Jaycee Horn and wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr., plus there have
been changes to the offensive line. It looks like it could be a wild race to
the finish between Carolina and Tampa Bay and a route to the playoffs could be
opened up as the Atlanta Falcons aren’t expected to be much of a challenge, nor
are the New Orleans Saints.
The Vikings are currently 2-0, having lost a
close one to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2. The Cardinals rode their luck
through this one but also have Kyler Murray to thank for the 34-33 return.
As for Minnesota, fans keen on betting can
continue to compare
NFL betting lines as the season progresses but there is a bit of
promise where they are concerned. The Vikings had a dip last year after going
five straight seasons with .500 or higher, posting a 7-9 record. The slip was
prompted by a bad defense while there was a struggle to win games at home. They
have sought to address this with the additions of top defenders. Cornerbacks
Patrick Peterson and Xavier Woods have come in, as has defensive tackle, Dalvin
Tomlinson. Stephen Weatherly has also returned after starting nine games for
the Panthers last season.
The Vikings did well in the draft too,
acquiring defensive end Patrick Jones II, linebacker Chazz Surratt and offensive
lineman Christian Darrisaw. Things don’t appear to be working out as well as
they planned for the time being but the turnaround could begin as soon as they
face the Seattle Seahawks next weekend.
The 49ers are coming off a 1-10 season, a long
drop from their appearance in a Super Bowl the previous season. Of course,
there was speculation over it possibly being a fluke. However, there were
injury issues to deal with and who knows how well they would have done if
everyone was healthy?
They’ve also gotten off to a 2-0 start but it
looks like it’s going to be an interesting fight for the playoffs as the Los
Angeles Rams and Cardinals have also won both of their games to start the
season. While they’ve lost some top assistant coaches this year, the 49ers have
brought in a quality QB in Trey Lance and, despite not being a starter, it’s
expected that he will have an impact this season.
The Broncos were hopeful about getting the
NFL’s reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers during the offseason. The quarterback asked to
leave the Green Bay Packers at the end of last season but the team held firm
and Denver was made to miss out.
Despite that, they’ve gotten off to the best
possible start to the current campaign, a better one than the Packers, who lost
their first game of the season before winning on Monday.
They should be 3-0 by the time they play the
New York Jets on Sunday.
One wouldn’t have imagined the Patriots ever
being on a list like this two seasons ago but it appears losing Tom Brady is
the worst thing that could happen to a top organization. The team found itself
in freefall on the back of Brady’s departure and, keen on avoiding another
campaign of embarrassment, forked out nearly $160 million over the summer.
They’ve since cut Cam Newton, placing their trust in
rookie QB Mac Jones, who rewarded the faith placed in him on Sunday. Bill
Belichick would have been pleased to see his team recover from their
Jones’s passing was impressive although there
were a lot of short ones thrown. He will have to show his range as soon as the
next game if the Pats are to find success this season. Another trip to the
Super Bowl isn’t expected but fans will be satisfied with an appearance in the