There have been seven shutouts in the NFL this season and the Ravens own three of them. No one else has more than one. The last NFL defense to post three shutouts in a single season was the 2003 New England Patriots, who were on their way to a second Lombardi Trophy.
Tom Brady has thrown 110 passes without an interception this season. He was the only quarterback to pass for 1,000 yards through the first three weeks (1,092) and also led the NFL with his 8 TD passes.
This is the youngest the NFL has ever been. Those experienced players who don’t make mistakes have been disappearing, replaced on rosters by the salary cap-friendly younger players who do make the mistakes that can cost a team games.
The two key elements for any Super Bowl contender are quarterback and pass rush. The Raiders have both with Derek Carr taking the snaps and Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin pressuring the quarterback off the edge.
Just as Tom Brady makes the Patriots the annual favorites in the AFC, Aaron Rodgers makes the Packers the annual favorite in the NFC. The NFL is all about the quarterback position and these are the two best.
The eighth overall pick of the 2012 draft, Ryan Tannehill was steering the Dolphins to their first playoff berth in eight seasons when he went down in the 14th game with a knee injury. The Dolphins were 9-5 at the time and finished 10-6 to claim an AFC wild card.
David Johnson at the top of this poll makes sense for a lot of reasons. In both fantasy and real football, it’s all about putting the ball in the end zone. No one does it better than Johnson, who scored a league-leading 20 times last season on 16 runs and four receptions.
Matt Ryan was the NFL’s MVP in 2016 after passing for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. He completed 69.9 percent of his passes and led the league with an average of 9.3 yards per attempt.
September will mark the third consecutive year the Texans have opened the season with a new starting quarterback. It was Brian Hoyer in 2015, Brock Osweiler in 2016 and this season rookie DeShaun Watson appears likely to get the call.
With a healthy Derek Carr plus playmakers Marshawn Lynch and Amari Cooper on offense and Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin providing the edge rush on defense, the Raiders are as talented as any team west of the Massachusetts state line.
The Patriots have owned the division ever since Tom Brady took over at quarterback in 2001. New England has won the East in 14 of the 16 seasons Brady has been the starter, including the last eight years in a row.