Sports Take: Surprises come at halfway point of NFL season

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) is slow to get up after throwing under pressure from New York Giants defensive end Leonard Williams (99) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer

Some things seem to never change in the NFL, like the NFC East being an overall bad division. However, we’re halfway through this season and there have been quite a few surprises.

To state the obvious, the Kansas City Chiefs are struggling (to say the least). The Chiefs are 5-4 and are tied with the Denver Broncos for last place in the AFC West. As big a surprise as it may seem, we should’ve seen it coming. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is running for his life almost every play, and as result has thrown a league-leading 10 interceptions. Their top rusher is 35th in rushing yards per game, yet there’s only 32 teams in the NFL and other teams have backups with more yardage than the Chiefs’ starting running back. Not to mention, their defense has never been consistent and has been getting torched all season. With all that being said, I didn’t see this coming. They pretty much have the same roster they’ve had for the past three years in which they were absolute juggernauts, making the AFC Championship game every season. I don’t believe they are completely out of it yet; they can still turn things around, but they need to fix something quick if they want to be what they used to be.

Another big surprise to me has been the play of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. Hear me out, I know it’s Brady, the greatest of all time, and this is expected of him, but the man is 44 years old and having one of the best seasons of his career. Brady is currently averaging 331.3 passing yards per game, which would be a career best. He has thrown for 25 touchdowns, a league high, and only five interceptions. Not to mention, he is currently second among all quarterbacks in total passing yards while having played one less game than the quarterback in first place. Brady has led the Buccaneers to a 6-2 record so far and has shown no signs of slowing down. A 44-year-old who seemingly got better from last year and is playing at an MVP level is absolutely unheard of and not being talked about enough.

How ’bout them Cowboys! Even as a Cowboys fan myself I didn’t see them being this good at this point in the season. I knew they would be on top of the NFC East but they have been playing like one of the best teams in the league even while dealing with injuries. This season, they’ve had a lot of key players missing in action including quarterback Dak Prescott, defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, offensive guard Zack Martin and wide receiver Michael Gallup. Despite the injuries, they are 6-2 and have been playing well on both sides of the ball. The offense is No. 1 in total offense and yards per game, as well as averaging 30.1 points per game. Their defense is far from lockdown, but is very opportunistic and finds ways to win 50/50 balls. For most of the season they’ve been among the top teams in takeaways with the help of cornerback Trevon Diggs who leads the league in interceptions with seven.

Other surprises are the Arizona Cardinals being 8-1 after not making the playoffs last season; the Green Bay Packers being 7-2 after their offseason feud with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and their week one blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints; as well as off the field controversies left and right such as the Las Vegas Raiders and Cleveland Browns. At least one thing we can all count on is the Atlanta Falcons blowing big leads in the fourth quarter.