Halfway through the NFL season, there are some predictable events that have happened. The Buffalo Bills are in first place in the AFC East. Derrick Henry is leading the league in rushing. Travis Kelce is still the best tight end in the NFL. However, this NFL season has also had some unexpected things happen to both players and teams. Here are some surprises of the NFL season so far.
Biggest Surprises of the 2021 NFL Season
The Kansas City Chiefs are 5-4
Entering the 2021 season it was expected that the Kansas City Chiefs would be favored to reach their fourth straight AFC Championship game. However, through nine weeks the Chiefs are third in the AFC West Division. One of the main reasons for this mediocre start is quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He is on pace for his worst yards per attempt average (7.0) and already has 10 interceptions (the most he’s had in a season is 12). Teams have begun to play two safeties deep against Mahomes, forcing him to either throw short passes or hand it off to the running back. Every team has its strengths and the Chiefs’ run game and defense aren’t good enough to support Mahomes if he is struggling. Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid are going to have to figure out a way to adjust. If not, the Chiefs are looking at an uphill battle to get into the playoffs.
Cooper Kupp is the best wide receiver in the NFL
When most people think of the best receiver in football, they might say Davante Adams or Tyreek Hill. Over the first half of the NFL season, that distinction belongs to Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams. Kupp has posted 74 receptions, 1,019 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns. These numbers would be good in an entire season but Kupp has posted these in nine games. The main reason for his breakout has been the Rams’ quarterback change from Jared Goff to Matthew Stafford. Not only is Stafford a better quarterback, but he is peppering Kupp with targets. Kupp’s career-high in targets is 134. He is already at 103 targets through nine games. With eight more games remaining for the Rams, it’s scary to think what Kupp’s stats will look like by the end of the season.
The Washington Football Team’s Defensive Struggles
There were big expectations for the Washington Football Team entering this season. They just came off a successful 2020 campaign where they made the playoffs. The driving force was their defense, which had a vaunted pass rush led by the defensive rookie of the year Chase Young. This season, Football Team’s drop-off on defense has been stunning, to say the least. They currently are giving up the most passing yards per game in the NFL (286.8 yards per game). Last season they ranked 3rd (201.9 yards per game). Also, the Football Team gave up 20.6 points per game in 2020 on average (4th in the NFL). In 2021, they are currently giving up 28.4 points per game (30th in the NFL). Because the Football Team’s offense isn’t explosive, they need their defense to play well in order to win games. This is why the Washington Football Team is currently 2-6.
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