The NFL, perhaps more than any of the other four major sports, is known for its parity – for teams going from worst to first, or first to worst, in a short amount of time.
This year, however, has been a bit of an anomaly. Yes, the Falcons, who went 6-10 in 2014, are currently 5-0 and atop the NFC South, but it’s been an all-or-nothing year for the vast majority of NFL franchises.
Case in point? Six of 32 NFL teams – that’s 18.8 percent of the league – are undefeated, while 19 of 32 teams (59.4 percent) have a losing record.
“We’ve got six undefeated teams,” CBS NFL insider Jason La Canfora said in disbelief on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Who’s for real and who’s not? Which of those teams will be there in the end and who maybe is fool’s gold right now? I don’t know that any of these teams are going to fall apart completely. I certainly don’t see it. But tow undefeated teams in the NFC South? I don’t know that many or any of us saw that coming.
“It’s a weird year to me,” La Canfora continued. “We talk about parity and all that, but this really seems to be the year where it’s the haves and the have-nots. I know there’s some teams hanging around at 2-3, but a lot of them just aren’t that good and I think that’s going to play out over time. We’ve got these six undefeated teams, we’ve got a bunch of teams with zero wins and one win that really have no chance. And a lot of these teams with two wins – let’s face it – not many of them look like they’re going to have what it takes to get off the mat and actually be a playoff factor. So it could be a little bit of a weird year in that regard.”
Just how weird has this year been? The Seattle Seahawks, who have played in two straight Super Bowls, have a losing record. They’re 2-3 overall and 0-3 on the road.
Should there be panic in Seattle?
“Not panic, (but) a little bit of concern,” La Canfora said. “(There are) some things they have to figure out, especially along the offensive line. They’re not 100 percent sold on the center position. There could be a change coming there. Obviously there’s still growing pains figuring out where exactly or how much they need to feed Jimmy Graham and how much that he’s a luxury item.”
Graham, arguably the best tight end in football, is averaging just 40.8 receiving yards per game and has just two touchdowns on the season.
“I don’t think they’re going to reinvent their offense for him,” La Canfora said. “He’s not going to get 12, 15 targets a game. There’s not going to be a whole lot of games where (he has) double-digit targets. It’s about in those six to seven looks you get, are you going to catch three to five balls and are a couple of them going to be in the red zone where we really need to sort of expand our offense besides the running game? And that’s it. If he does that and they win, that’s what it’s going to be. It’s not going to be gaudy fantasy football numbers. It’s not going to be you’re the first option in the offense all the time. It’s not going to be we’ve got to force-feed Jimmy Graham on third down. The quarterback can run for things. They’re just set up in a different way. They want to be a power team. They still have (Doug) Baldwin who can make a play here or there, and they like the kid (Tyler) Lockett. They want to continue to get him more involved.”
The Seahawks, who host Carolina this week, were outscored 20-0 in the fourth quarter and overtime in a 27-24 loss to the Bengals on Sunday. That’s a game Seattle almost always wins.
Last weekend, it didn’t.
“(That) was a tough one without a doubt,” La Canfora said, “but they still have a lot of home games left. They win at home an awful lot. And while Arizona looks damn good, the rest of the NFC, besides Arizona and Green Bay, who are we really banging the table for? So I think Seattle is looking around and saying, ‘We got 10+ wins in us still and we’re going to be in the mix.’”