Three full weeks of competition in the 2021 NFL season have gone by and as we stand only five teams still remain undefeated. The Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders in the AFC and the Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers in the NFC have defied all of the scores and odds predictions week in and week out to stand on top of the hill in the NFL thus far.
But what does the future hold for them? How long will their undefeated streak continue and what implications may it have on their futures in the 2021 season? While they all still sit pretty at zero losses for the season, let’s break down each team’s situation and what might be in store for them.
Los Angeles Rams
Before the season even began the Los Angeles Rams were already pitted as top favorites to give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a run for the NFC championship title as well as a spot in this season’s upcoming Super Bowl, and well, they have not disappointed one bit. While their first two wins of the season came against teams that are looking into the season from a darker side of the competition, the Chicago Bears in week 1 and the Indianapolis Colts in week 2, it was their week 3 commanding win at home against the Buccaneers that propelled them to become the top candidate for NFC glory this season, over Brady’s Bucs and Rodgers’ Packers.
With their defense playing at a superbly high level, led by Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, and their offense with Matthew Stafford at the helm showing everyone in the league about his potential when given a team with a winning attitude, this Rams team has Super Bowl bound written all over them and it seems like their undefeated streak will continue for a few more weeks at least.
Las Vegas Raiders
Who had the Raiders not only being undefeated but also having the best offense in the league? It’s ok to say that these predictions would have seemed as far fetched as ever before the season started, but here we are, after 3 weeks of competition and Las Vegas has rocked the lights out of all their opponents up to date. Jon Gruden’s team, one that was going through an extensive rebuild and regrouping period came into the 2021 season ready to compete and put the league on alert.
QB Derek Carr is easily playing some of the best football in his career and with an offense and defense hitting all the right notes, especially after routing the Ravens, Steelers and Dolphins, it looks like stopping Carr and the Raiders will not be an easy feat whatsoever. In a division that hosts the Chiefs and Chargers, it’s the Raiders, alongside the Broncos that are looking best here moving forward.
Arizona is riding high in the league based mainly on what their offense has been doing for the first three weeks of competition. QB Kyler Murray seems to have finally found his perfect groove in the season and with players like DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore on the receiving end of the ball, as well as James Conner and Chase Edmonds handling the ball rushing, this offense is all about putting up as many points on the board as possible and looking good while doing it too.
But Arizona’s success has not only come from the offensive side of the ball, their defense is looking solid as well. The only problem here is that while the offense looks ready to come into every game poised to put on a show, the defense will have to find ways to keep up with that speed and tenacity before they become a casualty that could end up hurting Arizona’s plans. If the defense can play at the same level as the offense then Arizona will definitely be a real threat in the NFC, if not, then they might run into some serious problems down the line.
It appears that the Broncos finally found the answer to their QB issues with Teddy Bridgewater. The former Vikings, Saints and Jets QB has found in Denver a place to try and mount a true career comeback and as of right now, everything has been working out just fine for him and the Broncos offense. But let’s not kid ourselves here, we all know that Denver’s strengths come through their defense, who is a top 5 unit in the league if not better.
While they have had three commanding wins in as many weeks, their opponents were the Giants, Jaguars and Jets, so that’s like one and a half wins, but still, the numbers don’t lie and Denver is riding high on the undefeated wave. The problem for Denver is that unlike Arizona, if their offense can’t step up to the level of playing that the defense puts on in every game, this might end up costing them greatly, especially when they have to face a team who won’t back down from the fight that the Broncos defensive line usually puts up.
Apparently all it took for QB Sam Darnold to show the NFL what he’s all about was to leave the New York Jets and join the Carolina Panthers. To say that the Panthers have been this season’s Cinderella story might even be cutting it short. While the offense has been doing good, with Darnold playing the best football he’s shown since joining the league, it’s the defense that stands out here as the main reason for Carolina’s success.
This defense is as rock solid as possible and while yes, the teams they’ve faced thus far haven’t really put up any real fights, the Jets, Saints and Texans, this defense has carried the team through and it appears as if they’re ready to continue doing so. The problem for Carolina is that just like Cinderella, once that the clock strikes 12, it will be a long night for them, and with key players like Christian McCaffrey and Jaycee Horn already injured, it’s only a matter of time before Carolina falls.