Week nine just wrapped up in the National Football League as teams enter the second half of the season. The playoff picture becomes much more clear as teams prepare for week 10, mainly spotting the pretenders from the contenders. The New England Patriots kept pace with yet another win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football as the New Orleans Saints handed the Los Angeles Rams their first loss as well. Also, the Dallas Cowboys dropped their fifth contest of 2018 to the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football by a score of 28-14. Lastly, the potent Kansas City Chiefs rolled over the Browns 37-21. Here are two contenders and two pretenders for the rest of the 2018 season.
New England Patriots (6-2): As quarterback Tom Brady battled Aaron Rodgers on Sunday night primetime, it was a very back-and-forth game and this matchup was everything fans hoped for. However, that all changed when Green Bay Packers’ running back, Aaron Jones, fumbled in the third quarter of a tie game. This shifted the momentum towards the Patriots where they scored two unanswered touchdowns to win 31-17. Green Bay had no answers and New England continues to grow stronger as the season wears on.
New Orleans Saints (7-1): Whenever Drew Brees is under center, this team is a contender because he is still lethal at 39 years old. This passing attack, with Michael Thomas and the inclusion of Alvin Kamara, is pretty much unstoppable. Along with channeling his inner Joe Horn with the flip phone celebration, he recorded 211 receiving yards and caught one of Brees’ four touchdown passes. The dynamic duo of Thomas and Kamara are lethal as Brees can use either of them in many different ways, plus, the Saints defense just needs to stop opposing offenses just a few times a game with such a powerful offense.
Dallas Cowboys (3-5): This choice seems obvious with their dreadful loss on Monday night to the Titans. This team had a lot of attention swirling around heading into the season, especially after they acquired wide receiver Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders during their bye-week. This loss just affirmed Cowboys fans’ worst fears, that the Cowboys are simply pretenders this year. All playoff hopes diminished as the clock struck zero, losing 28-14. Many questions will be asked and jobs will certainly be in jeopardy as another disappointing Cowboys season resonates with its fans.
Kansas City Chiefs (7-1): Just as the last one was obvious, seeing the Chiefs as a pretender may be just as (un)shocking. Under Andy Reid, the Chiefs are just 1-4 and have never gotten past the AFC Divisional Round. Two of those losses were utter collapses to the Indianapolis Colts in 2013 and to the Tennessee Titans in 2017. The Chiefs are looking for their third consecutive AFC West title, but they have been one and done’s in the past two years as well. Lastly, as great as Patrick Mahomes is playing right now, surely a Most Valuable Player candidate, this is his first year as a starter where he has no experience on the big stage.
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