Before the 2014 regular season got underway, pundits and observers had pegged last year’s Super Bowl combatants – the Seahawks and Broncos – as the likeliest teams to reach the championship again, with clubs like the Patriots, Packers, and Saints all being picked as possible Super Bowl contenders as well. Through six weeks though, only two of those five teams are in first place in their respective divisions.
The three teams atop the NFL so far are the Chargers, Eagles, and Cowboys, all with 5-1 records. San Diego has been dominant during the season’s first few weeks, with a +73 point differential that leads the NFL. If it weren’t for a heartbreaking one-point loss in Arizona, the Chargers, who are riding a five-game winning streak, would still be unbeaten, led by MVP candidate Philip Rivers.
Another MVP candidate, perhaps the only non-QB offensive player in the discussion so far, has been crucial to Dallas’ success — running back DeMarco Murray has burst out of the gate with six consecutive 100-yard games, and leads the league in a handful of categories, including rushing yards (785), rushing TDs (six), and total yards from scrimmage (940). The fact that his 159 carries is also most in the NFL by a wide margin may be cause for concern, but for now, the Cowboys’ ability to hang onto the ball with their dominant offensive line and running game has made them one of the league’s biggest surprises.
Still, the Cowboys don’t even hold sole possession of first place in the NFC East, as the division-rival Eagles have matched them win for win in spite of some turnover problems from quarterback Nick Foles. The fact that Philadelphia has played so well despite Foles’ ups and downs and a bevy of offensive line injuries bodes well, particularly if the offense can start firing on all cylinders later in the year.
What do you think? How convinced are you that these early-season frontrunners are for real? Which of these 5-1 teams has the best shot at winning the Super Bowl this year?