As the NFL enters Week 6, three teams remain undefeated: the Denver Broncos, the Kansas Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints. It’s always a huge feat to go undefeated week-to-week but to do so for an entire season is even less frequent as the 1972 Miami Dolphins were the last team to do so.
With division play heating up, one team is bound to lose soon, blemishing its record. Which contender will go undefeated?
Of the three teams, the Broncos are probably the least surprising to be undefeated. This comes from two words: Peyton Manning. He has been leading his offense to 46 points per game and he doesn’t look like he’ll be stopping anytime soon.
Manning also leads the league in passing yards at 1,884 and his offense is at the top with 2,449 yards.
Looking at their schedule, the Broncos will meet the Chiefs twice this season and there will be a loser. One team could go 0-2 or 1-1 but you have to think most people would put their money on the Broncos to go 2-0.
The Broncos/Chiefs first meeting will come on November 17 in Denver and before then, the Broncos greatest hurdle could be the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 20. Should they win that game, followed by the Washington Redskins and the San Diego Chargers–all very doable–they could still be undefeated for their Chiefs meeting.
Hurdles for the Broncos will include the New England Patriots (Nov. 24), the second Chiefs game (Dec. 1) and possibly the Houston Texans (Dec. 22). This week they face the Jacksonville Jaguars. I think we can safely say the Broncos will go 6-0.
Upon their returns from suspensions, look for the team’s top defensive players, Champ Bailey and Von Miller, to help this team to continue winning.
Kansas City Chiefs
Of the three teams, the Chiefs are the dark horse and the biggest surprise to remain undefeated. However their wins have come against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, the New York Giants and the Tennessee Titans.
It appears the Andy Reid/Alex Smith experiment is working along with a strong defense. Combine this with low expectations (see 2012’s 2-14 season) and this could be the recipe for the Chief’s success. But good luck getting past the Broncos. Twice.
Before then, the Chiefs will face the Texans, the Cleveland Browns and the Buffalo Bills–all beatable teams. Then they have a bye week before the Denver game; they could be undefeated entering it. Their greatest challenge, besides Denver, will also be the Colts on Dec. 22 as well as facing the San Diego Chargers twice, which could also end in a split.
Will Denver get stifled by the Chiefs’ defense (No. 7 for total defense)? Keep your eye on this match up. That could be the greatest ingredient in the mix.
New Orleans Saints
We all know the Saints can win and with the return of coach Sean Payton, he was one of the missing parts last season. A second one was its defense as it ranked at league lows but with the addition of Rob Ryan as the Saints new defensive coordinator, he has really turned this group around.
Drew Brees is playing like Drew Brees (No. 2 in passing yards at 1,722) and his offensive weapons, tight end Jimmy Graham (No. 1 in receiving yards at 593) and his versatile running backs, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles, they’re hard to beat.
The Saints have won against the Atlanta Falcons, the Chicago Bears and the Miami Dolphins–all tough competitors. This week they’ll face the New England Patriots which could pose a challenge as they’ve only lost one game this season.
Looking ahead, November could be ugly. The Saints will play the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys in back-to-back weeks and then start December by playing the Seattle Seahawks in their loud stadium.
Can the Saints overcome all these challenges to stay perfect?
It’s tough to bet against Peyton Manning but the Saints, even now with their more challenging schedule, seem to be the more complete team thanks to its improved defense. My money is on them to have the best shot.