17-0? I don’t think so
There were seven undefeated teams going into Week 3 of the NFL: the Buccaneers, Rams, Cardinals, Panthers, 49ers Raiders, and Broncos. After Week 3, only the Rams, Cardinals, Panthers, Raiders, and Broncos remain.
Of course, only one team went undefeated and won the championship: the 1972 Dolphins.
So the question is, who will remain? Which of the five teams has the best chance to go undefeated? I have the answer below.
The Cardinals are one of the two teams on the list that should not be undefeated. Had the Vikings kicker only made a routine field goal, the Cardinals would be sitting at 2-1 and not even on the list.
But the kick did miss, and the Cardinals did win 34-33, so they did make the list. The Cardinals face the most formidable opponent of any team on this list: the LA Rams. I am picking the Rams to win that matchup as they just beat the Buccaneers and are the home team.
However, it is not out of the realm of possibility for the Cardinals to win on the road. Suppose they do beat the Rams, they faceoff against the 49ers at home, another tough matchup. The Cardinals then get back on the road to take on the Browns.
Because the Cardinals are in the NFC West, I simply don’t think they have the potential to go 17-0.
Of the five remaining teams, I think that the Panthers are the likeliest to see their streak end this week. The Panthers go on the road to take on the Dallas Cowboys without CMC, a key offensive weapon. They also will be lacking Jaycee Horn, who is out with a broken foot.
Assuming the Panthers advance beyond the Cowboys game as an undefeated team, they will likely lose to the Vikings in Week 6. I do get that the Panthers had a solid three opening games, but they have beaten teams who are a combined 3-6, which is not great. I also think their offense got weaker of course because they are missing CMC but also with the departure of Dan Arnold.
Las Vegas Raiders
As I mentioned with the Arizona Cardinals, two teams should not be undefeated, and the Raiders are the other. The Raiders needed overtime to beat both the Ravens and the Dolphins, and in both situations, the Raiders could easily have lost.
But call it luck, call it being clutch, call it random, call it the NFL: the Raiders are undefeated. But not for long.
In Week 4, the Raiders head to Los Angeles to face off against the Chargers. I like the Chargers to win that game because they have a better defense and have an offense to match it.
But of course, the Raiders can win that game. They then face off against the Bears, which should be an easy win.
After the Bears, the Raiders head back on the road to face down the Denver Broncos. I believe the Raiders will lose their perfect record between going on the road to play the Chargers and the Broncos.
I’ll come right out and say it; the Broncos are a sort of a mirage team. They have played the Giants, the Jaguars, and the Jets, who combined are 0-9. Football Reference puts their expected Win-Loss at 2.8-0.2, so I’d hope they go 3-0.
The Broncos are a great defensive team, and I think that will continue throughout the season.
I am slightly worried about the Bronco’s offense, and I think it looks better than it is because they have played weaker teams. I don’t think the problem will be like the Steelers by any means, but their offense is going to struggle at moments.
Of the teams on this list, the Broncos have the weakest strength of schedule, ranking 27th and a win % of .471. However, the Broncos do not have a weak portion of the schedule ahead of them. Denver will play the Ravens, the Steelers, the Raiders, and the Browns.
Those teams will be a lot for the Broncos to handle, and I simply don’t think they can get through it. That and they play the Chiefs twice a year.
Unlike the Denver Broncos, the Rams have earned their 3-0. They beat the Bears; while not an excellent offensive powerhouse, they do have a respectable defense. They defeated the Colts in a close game on the road and then beat the Buccaneers at home.
The Rams are my clear favorite to go 17-0, they have the Sean McVey-led offense to do it, and while their defense is not as good as it was last year, it is still going to be top-10. I only worry that the Rams are in the NFC West, meaning they play the Seahawks, the 49ers, and the Cardinals twice each, which is a tall task.
So while the Rams may not go 17-0, I think they can go unbeaten until Week 10 when they play the 49ers and then Week 11 when they face off against the Packers.
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