8-0 can’t buy you a whole lot, but it sure can buy you an article on Real Ball Insiders!
It seems like almost every year the NFL has one team that goes like eight or nine weeks unbeaten, and then the talks of a perfect season begin to loom around the corner. This season however, fans have been fortunate enough to see not one, not two, but three teams head into week 10 with perfect records. For the first time in NFL history three teams have a record of 8-0. The Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, and New England Patriots have all played eight games this season, and walked away victorious each time. However, even after all the success these three teams have had this season, people have continuously made remarks, and blurts of utter nonsense as to why that team is overrated. “They had an easy schedule”, “this team was missing their starting left tackle”, “if the ref had made that call differently in the first quarter they probably would’ve lost”, “their quarterback had a case of the flu”, blah, blah, blah, I’ve heard them all, I;ve even said a few, stop hating on these teams. Shut up and give these three teams the respect they rightfully deserve. The Patriots aren’t cheaters, the Panthers aren’t some lucky fluke, and the Bengals aren’t the same team they were last year. Tom Brady‘s on pace to have his best season yet, Cam Newton‘s proving all the doubters and naysayers wrong yet again, and Andy Dalton is trying to get his team back to the playoffs where he has a lot left to prove. Point is, these three teams are RED HOT, and even though we’re only halfway through the season, no one will beat these teams, and history will be broken with three teams going 16-0 in one season. Well, maybe not.
Is it possible for all three teams to go perfect heading into the playoffs??? Yes. It’s very possible that all three teams stay hot, and finish their season 16-0. Carolina doesn’t face New England, New England doesn’t face Cincinnati, and Cincinnati doesn’t face Carolina; so mathematically all three teams could win out the rest of the season, and could all go 16-0. Could you imagine if three teams went 16-0? I mean when the Patriots did it in 2007 it was a huge deal, and that was just one team. Easier said than done though. All three teams COULD wind up 16-0, but it’s very unlikely. In this article I’ll be breaking down the remaining games for each team, and why or why not I think they’ll end up 16-0.
Predicted Final Record Before start of Week 1 : 7-9
Predicted Final Record Before start Week 10: 14-2
Alright you got me. In the beginning of the season I was VERY low on the 2015 Carolina Panthers, and didn’t have them anywhere near the level they’re playing at right now. Like many, I was scared off by the injury of lead receiver Kelvin Benjamin, and I didn’t really believe in Cam Newton that much, or at least enough to lead his team to anything big. But boy, have they really made me eat my words. Not only are the Panthers the number one team in the NFC at the moment, but their eight wins after eight weeks are already more than the seven pathetic wins I predicted for them at the beginning of the season, and it’s only week 10. The Panthers started off their 2015 campaign with a tough schedule on paper, but blew right threw everyone, and when I say everyone, I mean everyone. In three of their first five games they had to go up against the terrifying defenses of J.J Watt’s Houston Texans, the fan favorite Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Legion of Boom that is… was, the Seattle Seahawks. Too Soon? Anyways, after they started off 5-0, people started taking real recognition of just how good this Carolina team is. The team was winning impressive games against very impressive teams, and they were winning in many different ways. One week the offense would win in a shootout, and then the next week the defense would carry the load. One of the Panthers biggest wins this season came against the always dominant Green Bay Packers last week, a game in which both sides of the ball looked almost flawless for Carolina. They weren’t always pretty wins, but so far they’ve all been wins, and now they’re only a few wins away from a guaranteed playoff spot.
1 player who’s stepped up the most for Carolina –
Quarterback, Cam Newton : Cam hasn’t neccisarily put up great throwing numbers at the Quarterback position this season, but if you look at his rushing game, and his teams record, it’s obvious he’s a man worthy of an MVP vote. In eight games, Cam Newton leads Quarterbacks in rushing yards, and has 5 rushing touchdowns to go along with it; including this amazing one that could wind up being the 2015 play of the year : Cam Newton, Can’t Miss TD! While mostly everyone predicted a bad year for Cam heading into the season, he’s definitely proved everyone wrong by his leadership, and spark he brings on offense. I amongst others finally see how good Cam Newton is.
Will they go 16-0? When you look at their remaining schedule, it isn’t a tough one. These next two weeks should be easy victories for Carolina, but they will have a few things to worry about in the weeks after that. Among those things, they have to play in Dallas on Thanksgiving, a game in which Tony Romo should potentially be back for. If Romo does come back that week, or the week prior, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a shootout between both teams, possibly ending in a Dallas victory. Other games that catch my eye, they have to play the Atlanta Falcons twice, and I don’t see them going through both of those victorious. Not only that, but in between the two Falcons games is an away game against the New York Giants. So there’s another game that could be come trouble for the Panthers. Below you’ll find my predicted slate of games for Carolina.
(8-0)Week 10 – @Titans: 34-13 – Carolina should handle Tennessee fairly easily, I don’t expect any troubles against them.
(9-0) Week 11 – vs Redskins: 27-16 – Another game they should win without struggle, they move on to 10-0.
(10-0)Week 12 – @Cowboys: 30-27 – With it being Thanksgiving, and with the potential return of Tony Romo coming, I see Dallas doing it. I can see the headlines now “Cowboys defeat undefeated Panthers.” Should be a really exciting game that ends in a Dan Bailey field goal.
(10-1)Week 13 – @Saints: 38-24 – I don’t know what is, but the Saints aren’t really much of a dominant home team. Carolina gets back to their winning ways this week.
(11-1)Week 14 – vs Falcons: 27-20 – Tough game, but they’re at home. Panthers win.
(12-1)Week 15 – @Giants : 24-13 – Unexpected hiccup from the Panthers this week. I see the Gants being one of the league’s best towards the end of the season, and expect them to take Carolina for a ride this week.
(12-2)Week 16 – @Falcons : 23-16 – Atlana will put up more than a fight, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they won this game, but after giving it thought, Carolina won’t drop two back to back l’s this season. Panthers win.
(13-2)Week 17 – vs Buccaneers : 33-20- Tampa’ll be lucky to get the 20 points I gave em, Panthers win this one easily.
Final record : (14-2) As someone who’s pretty much doubted the Carolina Panthers his entire life, I’m not surprised I don’t have them going 16-0, and you shouldn’t have them doing it either. Those three road games (Dallas, New York, Atlanta) worry me if I’m a Panthers fan. They should be guaranteed at least one loss in those three games. Still, impressive stuff from the Panthers.
Final Predicted Record Before start of Week 1 : 11-5
Final Predicted Record Before start of Week 10: 14-2
This one I somewhat was right about. Around August when I wrote my divisional predictions I was really high on the Cincinnati Bengals. I had Andy Dalton having a great year, the running game of Jeremy Hill, and Giovani Bernard clicking, A.J Green a top 10 receiver, and the defense seemed superior. I picked them to win their division, but not even I could’ve picked this good of a start for the Bengals. For the first time in NFL history Cincinnati’s made it to week 10 with an undefeated record. On paper the Bengals had a tough schedule to open with. They had to go through some tough offensive teams like the Raiders, Chargers, Ravens, and Chiefs, and then had to go through some teams known for their defense, like the Bills and Seahawks. Their most recent victories came from a tightly packed game against the Steelers, and then a crushing 31-10 win against the Browns, so everything’s looking sunny for Cincinnati, but how long will it last?
1 player who’s stepped up the most :
QB, Andy Dalton – People have kind’ve been surprised over the fact that Andy Dalton’s been phenomenal this season, when in fact it’s nothing entirely new. Dalton’s used to putting up these kind of numbers during the regular season, it’s the offseason he usually blunders in, but for now we’re talking regular season Andy Dalton. After eight games, Dalton’s top ten in passing yards, a total of 2,226. So as of now Dalton’s on pace to potentially come close to 5,000 yards by the end of the season. More Impressively, Dalton has a 18-4 touchdown to interception ratio. Those are some of the best stats among QB’s in the league right now, and some of the best stats Dalton’s had throughout his career.
Will they go 16-0? Ok, so peaking at Cincinnati’s schedule, they actually don’t have too much trouble. However, there are some questionable games that could have the Bengals on the losing end. Among some of them, the Monday night dance with the Houston Texans this week, and the Sunday night game against the Arizona Cardinals next week. Besides that, they have to play the Steelers one more time, and the Denver Broncos should make things interesting, as they’ll be facing them on a Monday night in late December. Let’s take a look at what they got.
(8-0)Week 10- vs Texans- 31-16- Houston has nothing on offense that can beat the Bengals. I see a multiple touchdown night for Andy Dalton.
(9-0) Week 11- at Cardinals- 26-23- Close game, but this is when Cincy’s win streak comes to an end. Carson Palmer and the offense of the Cardinals’ll be the team to put out the fire that is the flaming hot Bengals.
(9-1) Week 12- vs Rams- 27-13- After dropping one to Arizona, Cincy’s defense rises up and steals a win from the inconsistent St. Louis Rams.
(10-1) Week 13- at Browns – 23-6- They crushed the Browns once, they’ll crush em twice.
(11-1) Week 14- vs Steelers- 17-16- If Pittsburgh wants a playoff spot, they’re gonna have to string together a bunch of impressive wins, and I see this game being one of them. Their last meeting was a close one, and I see a similar game here too.
(11-2) Week 15- at 49ers- 38-20- Does anyone see a team like the 49ers beating a team like the Bengals? Didn’t think so, because I certainly don’t.
(12-2) Week 16- at Broncos- 29-26- Remember last year? It’s the same stage, kinda. Well like last year, the Broncos and Bengals will meet on the final Monday Night of the season, week 16, December 28th. Mark your calendars folks, cause I expect this one to be very exciting. Broncos at home, I like them here by a field goal.
(12-3) Week 17- vs Ravens- 20-13- Final week of the regular season, Bengals want a top two seed, and a bye, they have to beat Baltimore to get that.
Final Record (13-3) – Schedule gets a little difficult for Cincinnati towards the end of the regular season, but they should be okay. 13-3’s my predicted record, only question right now is how much of a difference will that Denver game make? It could be a game that changes up the outlook of the playoffs.
New England Patriots
Final Predicted Record before Start of Week 1 : 12-4
Final Predicted Record before Start of Week 10 : 15-1
Out of these three teams, the one with the best shot at perfection is clearly the New England Patriots. Since the first snap against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 1, the Patriots have looked nothing but spectacular. Sure they’ve had a couple of bumps in the road, but after 8 games they’re still standing undefeated; a territory they’re pretty familiar with. Even though the schedule has been mostly easy games, there have been tough matchup for the Patriots, and there still are tough matchups to come.
1 player that’s stepped up the most :
QB, Tom Brady – Seeing a pattern here? One major reason the Panthers, Bengals, and Patriots have all had success this year is because of the superb play by their quarterbacks. The clear cut MVP choice at this point in the season is none other than the 4 time Super Bowl champion, Tom Brady. This season Brady’s in the top three as far as passing yards go, with 2,709. More impressively is his TD-INT ratio of 22-2. After ten weeks, Brady still looks like the best quarterback in the NFL. For years people have said he’s done, and getting old, but this year he has t looked better since his 2010 MVP year, and his 2007 MVP year, better known as the year they went 16-0. If Brady keeps it up, no one beats the Patriots, right? Eh.
Will they go 16-0? The competition they have to overcome isn’t nearly as tough as some of the competition some of the other teams in the NFL have. Although, they still do have to go up against teams like the Giants, and Broncos, who always give them some trouble. Not to mention they still have games against their three divisional rivals.
(8-0) Week 10 – at Giants- 28-24- VERY close game, but the offense will figure it out towards the end, and pull through a come from behind win to remain perfect.
(10-0) Week 12- at Denver- 26-24- If they get past this one I think they’re golden. Just a gut feeling, but Gostowski nails a game winning field goal at the buzzer on the Sunday nigh affair.
(11-0) Week 13- vs Eagles- 23-13- The Eagles have been doing well lately, but let’s be honest they’re not good enough to be the Patriots in Foxboro.
(12-0) Week 14- at Texans- 35-20- Gronk spike ball… three times in this one.
(13-0) Week 15- vs Titans- 42-10- Titans get ripped to shreds this week, New England last team chasing perfection.
(14-0) Week 16- at Jets- 27-24- Oh boy. I hope I’m wrong with this one. As a Patriots fan, I know too well how tough it’ll be to go 16-0, and it’ll be extremely difficult to beat the Jets at their home, considering they almost beat us week six at Gillette. Tough loss here. Undefeated hopes snapped.
(14-1) Week 17- at Dolphins- 30-24- Back to back away division games doesn’t sound good, but I don’t see the Pats losing both games.
Final record : (15-1) Really hope I’m wrong about that Jets game. New England’s still the best team in the NFL, and if anyone’s going 16-0 this year, it’s them.
Well, three teams remain undefeated heading into week 10, but how long will it take before that all changes? According to the bologna above, not long.
If you liked my article please check out other great stuff on the website, and feel free to leave your own predictions on how the rest of the NFL season goes below in the comments section! Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of the season. Alex B.