As we enter into Week 10 of the NFL, we have three undefeated teams remaining: Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, and New England Patriots. We are seeing NFL History with this many 8-0 teams. Two of the teams are a surprise and one is expected. I think the obvious expected team is the Patriots and the two surprise teams are the Panthers and Bengals. Each team had some tough matchups, but remains unbeaten. As the season continues, it will be interesting to see if one of these teams can achieve a perfect season.
The Panthers are off to their best start in franchise history led by Quarterback Cam Newton and a stout Defense. Cam has come into his own in his fifth year and is leading the team without his number one target from a year ago Wide Receiver Kelvin Benjamin.
Instead, Cam has been utilizing his pass catching Tight End Greg Olson, who is leading the team in receiving yards. Cam’s strong points this season are he has been smart with the football, runs only when necessary, and has stayed healthy. Cam is truly the franchise player and MVP of this team.
Along with a top-tier Quarterback, the Panthers also have a top defense, which has helped them in being undefeated up to this point. With top players such as Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly, and Josh Norman this defense is ranked 13th in the NFL. At the halfway point of the season, Carolina is clearly the front-runner to win the NFC South. The only potential touch matchups are against the Saints, Falcons, and Cowboys.
With the Bengals also off to their best start in franchise history there is a lot to be excited about in Cincinnati. Blessed with a top offense and defense this team has definitely excelled this season. I believe the key to their success is having healthy star players and the biggest example is the dynamic tandem of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. With the two of them healthy the offense just flows better.
A.J. is not at the top of the wide receiver stats in the NFL, but when he is on the field it creates opportunities for other players like Tight End Tyler Eifert, second in receiving yards on the team. Having a healthy defensive has also helped the Bengals, they are ranked 11th in the NFL in defense.
Some of their impact players are Defensive End Carlos Dunlap, ranked second in the league in sacks, Linebacker Vincent Rey, and Cornerbacks Reggie Nelson and Adam Jones. Cincinnati is also clearly the front-runner to win their division, the AFC North. Their potential touch matchups are against the Cardinals, Broncos, Rams, and Steelers. With a tough second half of the season, I doubt the Bengals will remain undefeated.
New England Patriots
Since the Patriots have been here before, I give them the best chance to go undefeated on the season. Tom Brady is arguably having the best season of his career and the team seems to clicking on all cylinders. Brady’s top targets are Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman who both have over 600 yards receiving.
The Patriots man focus is passing and running only when necessary when has been successful for them. Not only is the offense ranked eighth in the NFL so is the defense. Defensive End Chandler Jones who has 9.5 sacks leads the Patriots ranked second in sacks in the NFL.
In addition, Cornerback Logan Ryan is tied for second in interceptions in the NFL. With Patriots the clear-cut favorite in the AFC East, the only threat in their division is the New York Jets. The only tough matchup in the second half of the season is against the Broncos.
These three teams are 8-0 mostly because of their elite Quarterback play and defense. These two aspects are extremely important in the NFL. Most of the time, a team has to have a good combination of both to win a super bowl. As we begin the second half of the season, it will be interesting to see if these teams can stay healthy in their quest for perfection.
Benjamin Sudderth III
Spark Sports Analyst
Follow me on twitter @bs3sports