We always have teams in each season that turn out to be huge disappointments around halfway through it, but there’s a difference between the reasons, expectations and level of collapse when examining the cases of the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans and Washington Redskins.
The Giants seem to be case of the general manager falling asleep on the job, not realizing that the team was much closer to an around .500 teams all these years than their slightly streaky Super Bowl runs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a case of a terrible social situation mostly caused by a head coach who forgot he isn’t in college anymore. Washington Redskins haven’t made any changes, but their quarterback declined over the offseason, while the Houston Texans are the most perplexing case, mostly having to do with a quarterback who has lost every bit of confidence he ever had.
New York Giants, 0-6
Can they turn it around? No. Even in the terrible NFC East (best teams are 3-3), there’s just too much going wrong for this team, not to mention Eli Manning in complete self destruct mode.
What’s gone wrong? Pretty much everything. When both the running game and the quarterback are playing awful football, it’s probably the offensive line that’s where you look at first. Too old, too expensive, which might be the same when you take a look at the defensive line, which has turned from the best unit in the NFL to an overrated one that can’t effect games as much as it used to.
Simple numbers to follow? Manning has already thrown 15 interceptions this season, more than anyone else in the NFL. It’s actually more than the rest of the NFL, with the teams coming after the Giants throwing 11 so far this season. Manning has also been sacked 16 times already this season, ranked for 8th in the NFL. Their running game? Only 67.8 yards per game, averaging 3.6 yards per carry, 27th in the NFL.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 0-5
Can they turn it around? Win some games? Sure. They have a good defense and a running game that’s not too bad (99.2 yards per game). But they’re not contending for the NFC south like they thought so before the season, not anywhere close.
What’s gone wrong? Destructive relationship between the head coach (Greg Schiano) and his first starting quarterback (Josh Freeman) didn’t help, not to mention the play calling and ideas on defense (using Derrelle Revis in a zone?) haven’t been really helpful. The Bucs have some talented players, but just like the Chiefs last season, they seem to be concentrated on one side of the field, with the offense being too much of a jigsaw at the moment, averaging only 12.8 points per game, second worst in the NFL.
Simply numbers to follow? With Glennon and Freeman combined, the Bucs have a 64.5 passer rating, averaging only one touchdown pass per game while completing a league worst 51.7% of their passes.
Washington Redskins, 1-4
Can they turn it around? Not much has changed from the team that went 10-6 last year, so they’re obviously in a position to do better than they have so far, especially in the very weak NFC East.
What’s gone wrong? Robert Griffin III just isn’t special anymore, not for now. The injury hasn’t stopped him from starting games, but he just isn’t the accurate yet incredible running quarterback he was last season. The defense being one huge Swiss cheese against the pass hasn’t helped as well.
Simple numbers to follow? The Redskins can’t stop the pass (giving up over 270 yards per game) or the run (123.4 yards per game). When the defense can’t make up for that by creating turnovers (only 8 so far this season, 13th in the NFC) there’s nothing much an average offense can do.
Houston Texans, 2-4
Can they turn it around? It comes down to a game against the Kansas City Chiefs, who are perfect so far, before heading into the bye week at 3-4 or 2-5. From what we’ve seen over the last month, they won’t be able to.
What’s gone wrong? Matt Schaub’s decision making, along with Gary Kubiak’s play calling, has ruined this team’s good start, even though the signs were the from the start. Schuab threw pick-six interceptions in four consecutive games, and after his injury his replacement did the same thing in the loss to the Rams. Not being able to convert chances in the redzone has been too much for a good defense to overcome.
Simple numbers to follow? The Texans are No. 1 in the NFL in terms of time of possession (34:52 average per game) and No. 7 in yards per game (395.7), but No. 26 in points per game (17.7).