Can’t Be Beat: Record Perfection Headed to Week 9

U.S. President Barack Obama honors the 1972 season Miami Dolphins, the NFL Superbowl-winning football team in the East Room of the White House in Washington, August 20, 2013. The team were undefeated in their season, currently the only team to do so. Pictured at front left is former quarterback Bob Griese and on front right former coach Don Shula. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SPORT FOOTBALL TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

by Ethan Michaud 11/5/15

 

NFL history has now been set two weeks in a row. For the first time in NFL history, 5 franchises entered week 8 of the season without a blemish on their record, and now a record 4 will also enter week 9 still perfect.

 

The Patriots (7-0), Bengals (7-0), Broncos (7-0), Panthers (7-0), and Packers (6-1) all had yet to meet a team that could end their season-long winning streak this past week. That was until the Packers and Broncos met on Sunday Night Football, one destined to leave with their first loss.

 

Under the command of veteran QB Peyton Manning, the Broncos still remain untouched despite some very close calls. Denver’s schedule had not been very challenging up to this past Sunday, with matchups against teams like the Ravens, Lions, and Browns. However, the Packers stood tall in their path.

 

Before Sunday, for the first time in Peyton’s 18-year career, he was averaging a completion percentage under 62, along with a record low 3.0 TD percentage and 10.4 yards per completion. Winning by only an average of 6.16 PPG so far, the Broncos no doubt looked to step up their offense to keep their record near perfect. While their defense ranked 1st overall in the league in total defense, the team simultaneously ranked 30th in total offense.

 

After their powerful win Sunday, their defense now only ranks 21st.

 

The Packers looked strong headed into SNF, hoping to maintain or improve their average 27.3 points per game. Amid the absence of Jordy Nelson, the Packers had been finding other targets in players like Eddie Lacy, and in facing a moderately difficult schedule (including the Seahawks), the team looked strong.

 

Denver was dominant when the two teams met, finally seeing their offense step up to compliment their 1st rate defense to secure the win by 19 points. Manning threw for 340 yards and went 21 for 29 in the air. Denver’s rushing game also soared to new heights as C. J. Anderson rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown, followed closely by Ronnie Hillman who rushed for 2 touchdowns and 60 yards on the night.

 

The Green Bay offense looked weak up against the Broncos defensive line, which kept Rodgers to 77 yards passing, and Eddie Lacy to 38 yards rushing and only 1 touchdown. The Packers fumbled 3 times and allowed Rodgers to go down 3 separate times on sacks. The team would only put up one touchdown and one field goal for a season low 10 points at the final whistle.

 

As for the other 7-0 teams, they continue to roll onward.

 

The Pats are on a revenge tour in the hunt for another Super Bowl after dealing with Deflategate throughout the entirety of the offseason, and are proving it so far. They lead the league with an average 35.3 points per game and no defense in the league has kept Tom Terrific under 28 points in any game (only by the Steelers in week 1).

 

The rest of the Pats’ schedule doesn’t look like anything they can’t handle. Facing the Redskins and Giants in the next 2 weeks, they look solid for now, and will only face one other team on this list, the Broncos, before the playoffs. With arguably the most difficult part of their schedule behind them, New England looks like a force to be reckoned with come January.

 

The Bengals have gotten off to fast starts before, but this year Andy Dalton and the rest of his team looks especially strong in Cincinnati. Dalton himself has been putting up record numbers, and is averaging some of the highest statistics of his now 5-year career.

 

Included in those record stats are his 66.2 completion percentage, 6.5 TD percentage, 13.0 yards per completion, and QBR of 76.66, alongside his 1992 yards, good enough for 9th overall in the league. After losing the AFC WildCard the past 4 years, this is the year, if any, the Red Rifle looks ready to go deep in the playoffs.

 

In his 5th season staring for the Panthers, Cam Newton has looked stronger than ever this year. He has stormed past teams like the Seahawks and Eagles so far, and shows no signs of slowing down as he gets set to face the Packers this week, while they may, however, be Cam’s toughest test yet.

 

Newton and his Carolina team have been tested by each opponent so far but have proven themselves, currently leading the league overall in average rushing yards with 144.0 per game. This facilitated largely in part by Jonathan Stewart, combined with the strength of players in the lineup like Greg Olsen, has set the Panthers up with a mission to take this momentum and run with it all the way to the playoffs.

 

Each of the 4 remaining undefeated teams could theoretically continue that way until at least week 12 when the Broncos meet the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. Besides that, the only other matchup between any of these 4 teams will not come until Monday Night Football in week 16.

 

There is still plenty of time in this season as we just now pass the halfway mark, and the fate of any of these 4 remaining teams lies vulnerable to injuries and each new opponent the face.

 

All that aside, it is still a notable record for the league to see 4 teams without a single loss this far into the season.