It's early in the NFL season, but already there are some teams that we know everything we need to know about to make good betting decisions. We know that the Patriots are the robots they always are, the Browns are even worse than we thought, and that shockingly two Ryans aren't better than one in Buffalo. Unfortunately, for every team that we know a lot about, there are about five that are really confusing. How in the world, for example, did Carson Wentz look so good in his debut for Philly, and can he do it again?
Here's a look at four of the most confusing teams at this point in the season:
Los Angeles Rams: Wow, the Rams were terrible in their first game since returning to the West Coast. It was a truly hideous performance against the Niners in every way. There was literally nothing impressive about the game. You have to ask, though, whether they can really be that bad this year. I don't think anyone expects them to win the division or threaten for the playoffs, but they have a great running back, a few great defensive players, and some other things going on. They shouldn't look like a bad team from the Sun Belt conference.
There is a bigger issue that really confuses here, though. Case Keenum was fun to watch in college but has largely disappointed in the pros. In that opening game he was profoundly horrendous. So, so bad. Now, the Rams traded a king's ransom to move up to the first pick and selected Jared Goff as their QB of the future. He's healthy as far as we know, and it's not like the team really has anything to lose. Yet they didn't even dress Goff in the opener. Either the Rams are exercising incredible patience, or Goff is way behind Keenum - and Keenum is clearly not awesome. Either way, it's tough to get a sense of what the team will do with the QB position, and what it means for their success.
And then there is Jeff Fisher - if this team looks this bad much longer then you have to imagine that the team will make a move because he could really not be the guy to usher in the new era in L.A.. Add it all in and this team makes my head hurt.
Seattle Seahawks: This one isn't exactly rocket science, so I won't spend long on it. This is a team that was expected by many to win their division heading into the season - and perhaps much more than that. They have long been elite, and people don't expect that to change. But then they came out in their opener at home and tried their hardest to lose to Miami. It was a pretty ugly effort, and it came against a team that doesn't seem like a playoff squad.
It's only one game, and last year they started slow, too, but we know how hard it is to stay at the top of this game for a long time, and you can't help but wonder if this is the year the team takes a bit of a step back. I was hoping for clarity from this team in the opener, and we certainly didn't get it.
Kansas City Chiefs: For 40 minutes against the Chargers it looked like the Browns had quietly moved to Kansas City and stolen the Chiefs' uniforms. San Diego isn't exactly a great team, but they looked like world champs for almost three quarters. For the last 20 minutes and into overtime, though, the Chiefs not only looked dramatically better, but looked like a team that could beat any team in the league. They made it look easy, too - like they knew they were going to win, and knew exactly what they had to do to get there.
So, is Kansas City closer to the first team or the second one? Or are they somewhere in the middle. I was pretty bullish on this team heading into the season - I expect them to win their division. We are supposed to know more about a team after seeing them play, but I feel like I know less than I thought I did here.
Oakland Raiders: The story for the Raiders is much the same as it was for the Chiefs. They came into the season with high expectations - the highest since the Bill Callahan era in 2002 and 2003. They opened against a New Orleans team with several issues, and after three quarters they were in trouble. But then they scored 22 points in the final quarter, capped by a ballsy two-point conversion to avoid overtime. They looked ordinary for three quarters and extraordinary down the stretch. Teams gain swagger from finishes like that, and from the confidence their coach showed in them by making the call.
Will this team build on that effort and reach their full potential? Or are we going to see more of the flat performances we got for much of the game? Your guess is as good as mine.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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