The NFL season is still young, yet select franchises are beginning to emerge as early contenders. After five weeks into the regular season, five rosters in particular seem primed for a successful postseason run. While only one team will wind up hoisting the Lombardi trophy in February, here are five franchises who stand out after five weeks of play:
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2)
After premiering with the best defensive unit in 2017, the success has correlated into the 2018 season for the most part. Starting with a record of 3-2, the Jaguars defense ranks among the best in points allowed, passing yards allowed, as well as total yards per game.
The offense holds similar gaps in comparison to the previous season, but with it being early in the season, there is more than enough time to develop. Jacksonville lost their top wide receivers this past off-season in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, and with Leonard Fournette continuing to battle injuries early on, the Jaguars sliding in at #5 seems appropriate.
4. New Orleans Saints (3-1)
Anytime that Drew Brees is under center for the New Orleans Saints, they need to be considered a legitimate contender in the NFC. Ranked as one of the top offensive units in the early weeks, New Orleans has proceeded to hold three consecutive victories over the Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants.
The story is quite the opposite for the Saints defense, as the roster is towards the bottom of the league in points allowed per game. If New Orleans can find their rhythm down the stretch, they could emerge as one of the top contenders for the Super Bowl.
3. New England Patriots (3-2)
Although mediocrity has surrounded the New England Patriots through the first five weeks, the roster needs to be considered an AFC powerhouse. According to Bryan Thiel of Sports Betting Dime, a slow start for the Patriots more often results in a quick turnaround.
With the backfield leaning on Sony Michel in recent weeks, perhaps New England can find an identity to their game. With the return of Julian Edelman, after his four-game suspension to start the season, this offense has the potential to rise as the favorite later down the road.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)
There is no getting around the fact that Patrick Mahomes is the future of the AFC, but will his first full season under center result in a Super Bowl title? Inexperience has hurt quarterbacks before; just ask Dak Prescott, Jared Goff and Mitchell Trubisky.
The Chiefs have been the highest-scoring team in the NFL, but there is plenty of aspects to build upon on the defensive side of the ball. Near the bottom of the league in multiple defensive categories, history will justify that an elite defense wins championships. With a change of pace in the second half of the season, the Chiefs can polish themselves into a Super Bowl contender.
1. Los Angeles Rams (5-0)
With undoubtedly the deepest roster in the NFL, the Los Angeles Rams need to be considered the early Super Bowl favorite. On offense, Jared Goff has been playing the best football of his career, and finally has the appropriate system around him in order to be successful. As for defense, some minor adjustments need to be made, but Los Angeles is elite nonetheless.
As long as inexperience does not emerge as the downfall of the Los Angeles Rams, they are the only roster in the league that contains enough firepower on both offense and defense. While other rosters may emerge in the home stretch of the season, for now, the Rams are the favorite to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
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