We’re now 4 weeks into the NFL Season. After a quarter of the season in the rearview, let’s look at the biggest surprises and disappointments so far. Additionally, the best updated NFL SuperBowl odds.
Teams are still trying to establish their identities while putting themselves in a good position to succeed down the stretch. We’ll take a look at three of the early surprises and three disappointments from the first quarter of the 2022-2023 NFL season.
NFL Season 1Q Biggest Surprises
The Eagles are the Lone Remaining Undefeated Team
Not many people would’ve thought the Eagles would be the last undefeated team remaining. After a 9-8 season that saw the team lose in the wild-card round, the Eagles are ready to make more noise this season. The success of Jalen Hurts has propelled Philadelphia to new heights. The off-season acquisition of AJ Brown has also been huge for the Philadelphia offense, as they have become one of the most explosive in the league. The defense led by Darius Slay is also getting it done. Through four games the Eagles lead the league in turnover differential at +8. If this trend can continue they will be on their way to locking up the #1 seed in the NFC. From a betting perspective, it’s interesting to note that in NFL Superbowl odds the Eagles are still 3rd.
Cooper Rush’s Success
We’ll stick to the NFC East for our second surprise. After Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott went down with a thumb injury in Week 1, backup quarterback Cooper Rush was forced to take over late in the game. The Cowboys dropped their Week 1 contest to Tampa Bay, and it looked as though the team might be done. A surprise Week 2 victory over Cincinnati and a couple more wins over NFC East opponents have the Dallas Cowboys now sitting at 3-1. Cooper Rush has looked phenomenal since taking over. He’s thrown for 200+ yards in each game he’s started, and has yet to turn the ball over. His stellar play has even led Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to suggest there might be a quarterback controversy. With Prescott eyeing a return this week, we’ll see what head coach Mike McCarthy decides to do.
The Jaguars Resurgence
The Jaguars had a rough go of it last season. Urban Meyer, who was their head coach at the time, had a series of unprofessional incidents that ultimately led to his firing prior to the season ending. The Jags finished at 3-14 in what could only be described as a disastrous season. Over the off-season the team decided to hire former Super Bowl winning head coach, Doug Pederson. Suddenly, Jacksonville now looks like an adequate team. They are 2-2, but their 2 wins came in blowouts of the Colts and the Chargers. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is looking like a guy worthy of a #1 overall pick. Lawrence has thrown for 8 touchdowns and only 2 picks through his team’s first four games. The Jaguars only won 4 games over their prior two seasons, a number they seem well on their way to eclipsing this year.
NFL Season 1Q Biggest Disappointments
The AFC West
The AFC West came into the season with a lot of hype. Some experts even had each team finishing with a winning record. The Chiefs have played their part. They lead the division at 3-1. However, the Broncos and the Raiders have been disappointing. Broncos first year head coach, Nathaniel Hackett, has had issues with clock management, which ultimately played a part in the team’s Week 1 loss. Russell Wilson hasn’t looked great at times in his first year under center in Denver. The Raiders have been the major disappointment of the division. They did manage to win their first game of the year this past Sunday against Denver, but they’re still 1-3. They collapsed in their home opener against Arizona and got beaten up in Tennessee. The new addition of Devante Adams doesn’t seem to have changed the course of a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2003. The Chargers are 2-2 and have shown reasons for both optimism and pessimism through the first month of the year. It remains to be seen what they’ll turn into, but what seems certain is that the AFC West isn’t as good as what we thought it would be.
The Colts came into the season as the favorites to win the AFC South. They’ve begun the year 1-2-1, a record that puts them at third in their division. It started with a disappointing tie to the now lone winless team, the Texans. However, getting blown out by the Jaguars 24-0 at home was the low point. They came away with a big win over the Chiefs, before dropping their most recent contest to the Titans. Matt Ryan’s turnover problems have become an issue. The quarterback has thrown 5 picks and lost 3 fumbles so far this year. On the other side, the defense has only been able to force 3 turnovers. The Colts will have to improve their turnover differential if they want to win the AFC South this year.
After leading his team to a Super Bowl victory, Matthew Stafford has been disappointing to start the year. His team is off to a 2-2 start, and his 4 touchdowns and 6 interceptions have not put the Rams in a position to succeed. The quarterback did come into the season with an elbow injury, which was reportedly affecting his play. It’s unknown how big of an issue it remains, but Stafford seems inclined to keep playing at this point. The Rams are currently 29th in the league in points per game, which is something that will need to change if they want to repeat this year. The good news: every team in the NFC West is 2-2, so the division is still theirs for the taking. The Rams are still in the top ten in NFL Superbowl Odds, so even Vegas thinks they have a chance.
Current NFL SuperBowl Odds