COVID-19 impacts NFL Schedule
The Coronavirus pandemic forced the postponement of a number of games this weekend. Hardest hit were the Tennessee Titans, who had 20 players and staff test positive. Their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers is now scheduled to be played on the 25th October. The game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs was also affected after Patriots QB Cam Newton tested positive. The game was played on Monday instead of Sunday, with the Patriots struggling without their star man as they lost 26-10 to Kansas City.
Bill O’Brien becomes first coaching casualty
Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien became the first to lose his job, after the Texans lost all of their opening 4 games. O’Brien had drawn intense criticism for blowing a big lead in the playoffs against Kansas City this year, and incurred further wrath from Texans fans after trading away their star receiver DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona for what was deemed by many as a meagre return. It is important to note that O’Brien was not just the coach but also the General Manager, responsible for player recruitment. But he has paid the price for his teams poor start, and Houston may find it difficult to rebuild as their first two draft picks in next years draft were traded to the Miami Dolphins.
OBJ has a big day
Odell Beckham Jr hasn’t quite lived up to the hype after he was traded from the New York Giants to the Cleveland Browns, but he sure showed off his talent in Dallas on Sunday. OBJ caught 2 touchdowns and ran for another late on to secure a big statement win for the Browns against a Dallas team that was seen by many as a Superbowl contender coming into the season. The Cowboys defence surrendered 49 points, and Dallas needs to improve in this area if they are to make the playoffs. The one saving grace may be that the rest of their division is off to awful starts as well. Cleveland meanwhile has won 3 out of 4, and are positioning themselves as a playoff contender after failing to live up to such expectations last year.
Other talking points from week 4:
There are 6 undefeated teams left in the NFL. Pittsburgh and Tennessee were scheduled to play each other, but the COVID outbreak in Tennessee forced that game to be postponed. Kansas City has started 4-0 for the 4th consecutive season and look favourites to defend their Superbowl title. Seattle and Green Bay continued their strong starts by beating Miami and Atlanta respectively, and look the strongest contenders in the NFC. The Buffalo Bills won in Las Vegas to cement their status as top dogs in the AFC East, a division which hasn’t been won by any team other than the Patriots since 2008. But a changing of the guard looks to be in store.
Joe Burrow won his first NFL game as the Cincinnati Bengals defeated Jacksonville at home. The Bengals only won 2 games last year but look a much tougher proposition with Burrow at the helm.
LA Chargers QB Justin Herbert was 2 years old when Tom Brady made his NFL debut in 2000, and the veteran used his experience to help Tampa Bay to a comeback win over LA. The Buccaneers were down 24-7 at one stage but Brady showed why he is the greatest player of all time with his record 34th win after trailing by 10 or more points.