With the sixth week down in the 2016-17 NFL season and the seventh on the way, there have been a couple of surprises. Teams that usually aren’t on top have fallen into the playoff picture and teams that were once on top have fallen to the bottom. With the first month down and the second coming fast, here are the top surprises of the season so far.
Matt Ryan Emerges As The Early MVP Front Runner
There has been quite a bit of trash talk about this 31-year-old quarterback this off season, but Ryan has since then silenced those trash talkers by playing at an MVP-caliber level. During the first month of the season, he leads the Atlanta Falcons at a 3-1 start and has completed 72.1% of his passes for 1,473 yards, 11 touchdowns, only two interceptions and has a quarterback rating of 126.3.
The Carolina Panthers Are Coming Out On The Bottom
Last season’s undefeated Carolina Panthers were the team to look out for at the beginning of this season, but as it pans out, they look nothing but mediocre. They have already lost more games this season than they did last season in 2015. With their struggling offensive line and Cam Newton being out due to a concussion he suffered from in Week 4, they could wind up missing the postseason in 2016.
The Minnesota Vikings’ Success
Despite being without quarterback Teddy Bridgwater, running back Adrian Peterson and left tackle Matt Kalil to season-ending injuries, the Vikings somehow have managed to stay undefeated. Their defense is being considered as being in the same class as the Broncos and Seahawks, and their offensive has the potential to get even better as the season goes on.
The Los Angeles Rams Are A Legitimate Playoff Contender in 2016
This may shock a lot of football fans, but The Rams are becoming a serious contender for the playoffs this session; despite their awful loss in week one, 28-0, to the 49ers. After that loss, they then countered it by winning three games in a row, some of the top Super Bowl contenders in the league.
The Cleveland Browns Lead, The League In Rushing Yards
It may be funny to say, but it is true. Despite being win-less and being well on their way to the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft; The Browns somehow lead the league in total rushing yards after four weeks.
Jimmy Graham Is Playing As His Old Unstoppable Self
From 2011-14, Graham looked to be unstoppable with 355 caught passes for 4,396 yards and got 46 touchdowns, but once New Orleans willing parted with him, it looked as if Graham didn’t mesh with the Seahawks as much as he did with The Saints. There was even talk of him being put on the trade market this off season. He is now proved to be completely healthy and in the fourth week, he became the first tight end in Seahawks history to record back-to-back 100-yard receiving games. As his game begins to pick up with Russell Wilson, the offense of the Seasons will be difficult to contain.
With nearly the first half of the NFL season coming to an end, there are much more surprises to come and more game-changing things to happen.