We are used to sports throwing up shock results. No one thought that Team USA would be victorious in hockey at the 1980 Winter Olympics. Just like Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson in his prime was also unexpected, to say the least.
The way that the NFL is set up just about guarantees parity over the course of a few years and that way it can be a little more predictable. But this season is already gearing up to be the least predictable in recent memory. The Super Bowl betting markets might still like the Buffalo Bills to finally win the championship. But there are a few teams that might make it to the playoffs this year after being disregarded before the season. Here are five that have started 2022 surprisingly well.
New York Jets
The Jets haven’t made the postseason since 2010. They haven’t even enjoyed a winning season for seven years. But things seemed to have changed this year. Tom Brady might not be in New England anymore but the AFC East is still seen as a tough division because of the re-emergence of Buffalo and Miami.
But it is the green team from New York that has been the biggest surprise this year so far. There were hopes that second-year Robert Saleh would be able to get some of the exciting new additions on the roster to click. But a blowout win over Miami at the weekend has taken the Jets to 3-2 and a run at the divisional title is not beyond the realms of possibility.
It was generally thought that the NFC East would, once again, be one of the worst divisions in the league this year. It was also thought that the Eagles would probably do just ok. Neither of those predictions is coming true right now, as the division is probably the best in the NFL and the Eagles are on fire.
Going into week six, Philly is the only team to still boast an undefeated record and is catching comparisons with the Super Bowl winners of 2017. QB Jalen Hurts has been the main reason for the success – with flawless passing and running for TDs of his own. Dallas is up next and the divisional title could depend on that game.
The Cowboys will be no pushovers for even a very impressive Philadelphia Eagles. There is obviously something in the water in the NFC East, as Dallas is also looking very good – with a win over current Super Bowl champs the Rams in week five taking it to a record of 4-1.
The Cowboys have also beaten the Bengals and the New York Giants (which might not seem impressive but just wait until you read the next section). All of this has been done without an injured Dak Prescott, the QB who seemed like the only star on the roster. If Dallas does beat Philly, it might be the Cowboys who could make a surprise run to the Super Bowl.
New York Giants
We promise we will turn our attention away from the NFC East in a moment. But, to be fair, it is full of surprises this year. None more so than the New York Giants looking like a contender for a winning record and a playoff spot for only the second time in ten years.
The Giants upset the Green Bay Packers in London, England in week five to go 4-1 and sit nicely behind the Eagles and Cowboys, who play each other in week six. QB Daniel Jones was excellent against the Packers – but there will be a worry over the status of star running back Saquon Barkley after he missed some of the game through injury.
Figure 2 The Vikings are on course for a divisional title
We move away from the east for our final surprise NFL team of the year so far. The Minnesota Vikings are hardly a complete shock package, but not many people had them leading the NFC Central after five games. There have been three wins against divisional rivals so far too.
One of the reasons why the Vikings are usually considered potential playoff contenders but not really much more is Kirk Cousins. But the divisive QB looked very good against the Bears in week five and could be playing his best football ever. Minnesota is still working on being better on both sides of the ball though – so we will hold back from naming them as Super Bowl material just yet.