Sports

1-32 poll, plus the biggest surprise for every team

Whereas we’re not on the one-quarter mark of the season but (because of the brand new 17-game schedule), the NFL Energy Rankings although this week was the right time to debate every crew’s largest surprises within the early going.

A few of these surprises are fairly good, comparable to Cooper Kupp being one of many NFL’s high receivers for the Los Angeles Rams, Lamar Jackson exhibiting elevated passing chops for the Baltimore Ravens or the Arizona Cardinals turning into the it crew within the league’s hottest division. Others aren’t good in any respect, just like the Washington Soccer Workforce regressing on protection, the Indianapolis Colts not with the ability to hold their essential gamers wholesome and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers working out of cornerbacks. However good or unhealthy, we requested the reporters of all 32 groups to establish the one factor concerning the groups they cowl that has startled them most by means of 23.52% of the season (we did the maths).

How we rank in our Energy Rankings: Our energy panel — a gaggle of greater than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities — evaluates how groups stack up all through the season.

Earlier rankings: 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason

Bounce to:
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LV | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH

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Earlier rating: 3blank

Largest shock: Defensive dominance

Why it is a shock: The truth that the Payments’ protection is taking part in nicely isn’t a surprise, but it surely’s the numbers that the unit has put up that could not have been anticipated. Buffalo has pressured three or extra turnovers in every of the previous three video games and has held two opponents scoreless in 4 video games — together with a 40-0 win in opposition to Houston on Sunday. Regardless of the opposing offenses — the crew has confronted three backup quarterbacks — that is a giant accomplishment within the NFL. That success has led to a plus-90 scoring margin. The Payments are the fifth crew to be plus-80 or higher by means of 4 video games prior to now 20 years. — Alaina Getzenberg


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Earlier rating: 8blank

Largest shock: Success is occurring so rapidly

Why it is a shock: It isn’t that the Cardinals being good is shocking, it is that everything is clicking so early within the season. The offense added some essential items this season and it was anticipated that they’d all jell, however for all of it to return collectively and to be undefeated, lead the NFC West, have probably the greatest offenses within the league and an early MVP candidate at quarterback — nicely, that’s what’s shocking. The early meshing of all the pieces is pretty much as good of a situation because it will get for the Cardinals. Despite the fact that Arizona began scorching final 12 months after which went right into a tailspin, this begin feels completely different. — Josh Weinfuss


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Earlier rating: 1blank

Largest shock: WR Cooper Kupp

Why it is a shock: In his fifth NFL season, Cooper Kupp has established himself as quarterback Matthew Stafford‘s favourite goal and has exploded to grow to be one of many high receivers within the league. Getting into Monday night time, Kupp leads the NFL with 5 receiving touchdowns and ranks third with 431 receiving yards. Kupp has additionally been focused a league-high 46 instances, catching 30 passes. Kupp was anticipated to be a high performer within the Rams’ offense, however few may have predicted that he could be among the many best receivers within the league. — Lindsey Thiry


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Earlier rating: 2blank

Largest shock: The big variety of accidents

Why it is a shock: After making all of it the best way to the Tremendous Bowl and successful, the Buccaneers had a terrific coaching camp by way of accidents. That luck has modified rapidly, with all three beginning cornerbacks doubtlessly out now after Carlton Davis left their Week 4 win in opposition to the Patriots with a quad damage. As well as, Jason Pierre-Paul has missed a number of video games with rib fractures, and Antoine Winfield Jr. has entered the concussion protocol. The once-strong protection has taken a giant hit 4 weeks in. — Jenna Laine


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Earlier rating: 4blank

Largest shock: The offensive line holding up

Why it is a shock: Life with out All-Professional LT David Bakhtiari (recovering from ACL surgical procedure) and Professional Bowl G Elgton Jenkins (missed the previous two video games with an ankle damage) hasn’t been the dying knell to the offense that it may have been. The Packers have held their very own with one skilled lineman (Billy Turner), two rookies at middle and proper guard (Josh Myers, Royce Newman) and second-year professionals at left deal with and left guard (Yosh Nijman, Jon Runyan).

Aaron Rodgers mentioned it finest on Sunday after going through a second straight crew with a dominant defensive entrance, first the 49ers after which the Steelers. “Should you would’ve advised me early within the season we might be with out arguably two of our greatest linemen for a few video games and play these two fronts, I’d’ve been ecstatic with two wins.” — Rob Demovsky


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Earlier rating: 6blank

Largest shock: How rapidly the protection has come collectively

Why it is a shock: After ending nineteenth in defensive effectivity final 12 months, the Browns overhauled their protection within the offseason, bringing in or drafting eight new starters. The expertise improve throughout the board was evident. However how rapidly this protection has jelled in 4 weeks continues to be shocking. Already led by the league’s No. 1 cross rush win price, the Browns personal a protection that has the look of a championship-caliber unit. — Jake Trotter

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Earlier rating: 7blank

Largest shock: Lamar Jackson rating within the high half of the NFL in passing yards

Why it is a shock: It was anticipated that Jackson would take a step ahead as a passer, particularly after the Ravens misplaced their two high backs (J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards) earlier than the beginning of the common season. However this has been a giant step ahead. Baltimore ranked final within the NFL in passing final season, and Jackson completed twenty second in passing yards in every of the previous two years. This season, Jackson has actually stretched the sector. His 19 completions of 20-plus yards rank third within the NFL, trailing solely Tom Brady (23) and Derek Carr (21). — Jamison Hensley

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Stephen A. Smith needs to see the Dallas Cowboys’ protection go up in opposition to extra skilled QBs earlier than he can get behind their success.

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Earlier rating: 14blank

Largest shock: Defensive takeaways

Why it is a shock: The Cowboys have 10 takeaways in 4 video games, which is second within the league and the most effective within the NFC. How did this occur? They didn’t file their tenth takeaway a 12 months in the past till the eleventh recreation of the season. It helps that Trevon Diggs is having a breakout season with 5 interceptions within the first 4 video games. The final Cowboy cornerback to have 5 interceptions in a season was Terence Newman in 2010. The protection nonetheless has some faults, but when it will possibly proceed to get takeaways, that can give an offense that’s rolling extra possessions. Proper now, the Cowboys have a perfect feel for complementary soccer. — Todd Archer


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Earlier rating: 9blank

Largest shock: CB Asante Samuel Jr.

Why it is a shock: No person knew precisely what they had been getting when Samuel was drafted with the forty seventh decide. He isn’t his dad, however he has shocked nearly everybody with interceptions in consecutive video games (the primary off of Dak Prescott in Week 2, the second off of Patrick Mahomes within the pink zone in Week 3). Samuel has 4 passes defensed and was named Defensive Rookie of the Month however says “I’ve nonetheless obtained to grind.” He is already made a reputation for himself within the Class of 2021. — Shelley Smith


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Earlier rating: 5blank

Largest shock: The Raiders’ protection

Why it is a shock: A season in the past, late collapses in opposition to the Chiefs, Chargers and Dolphins had been the distinction between an 11-5 playoff season and the middling 8-8 the Raiders completed with. Yeah, 4 weeks is a small pattern dimension, however defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s re-imagined scheme is getting off the sector and, sure, making performs. One of the best profit for Las Vegas — the improved play on the defensive aspect of the ball is helping quarterback Derek Carr, too. — Paul Gutierrez


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Earlier rating: 10blank

Largest shock: Crimson zone protection

Why it is a shock: The Chiefs have put a lot emphasis and lots of hours on the observe area to enhance their protection contained in the 20-yard line — which was worst within the league final season — however issues have only gotten worse. The Chiefs have allowed a landing within the pink zone 79% of the time, which is fifth worst and two share factors worse than final season. It is the largest purpose the Chiefs are 31st in points allowed. — Adam Teicher


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Earlier rating: 12blank

Largest shock: QB Sam Darnold

Why it is a shock: If anybody mentioned they predicted earlier than the season that Darnold would lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns (5) by means of 4 weeks, they’d have been mendacity. Darnold had solely 5 speeding touchdowns in three seasons with the Jets. He wasn’t thought of a working menace. However groups are leaving lanes open and Darnold is taking benefit. These aren’t quarterback sneaks. These are read-options or QB draw-type performs (credit score OC Joe Brady) that Carolina was used to seeing Cam Newton run. — David Newton


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Earlier rating: 17blank

Largest shock: Jamal Adams would not have a sack

Why it is a shock: The Seahawks aren’t giving Adams as many alternatives to hurry the passer as they did final season, when he set an NFL file for sacks by a defensive again with 9.5 in solely 12 video games. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. advised over the summer time that Adams won’t blitz as a lot this season. Nonetheless, it’s shocking that he is not blitzing extra given how up and down Seattle’s cross rush has been — producing 9 sacks in 4 video games. With out benefiting from Adams’ finest power, the Seahawks don’t get essentially the most out of their $17.5 million-per-year safety. Adams has rushed the passer 13 instances by means of 4 video games after averaging 8.25 rushes per recreation final 12 months, per ESPN Stats & Data. — Brady Henderson


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Earlier rating: 13blank

Largest shock: Particular groups’ woes

Why it is a shock: On one hand it should not be a shock, as it has been fairly a while because the Broncos particular groups’ items and consistency had been paired collectively. However with the funding made in including extra velocity to the roster within the offseason, the Broncos have surrendered a 38-yard kickoff return within the season opener and a 102-yard kickoff return for a TD in Week 2, have been referred to as for a taunting penalty after downing a punt and surrendered a 42-yard punt return in Week 4. In a 3-1 begin, none of these performs have value them. But when this crew actually needs to be within the playoff dialog, repairs have to be made or these sorts of performs will value them. — Jeff Legwold

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Area Yates and Matthew Berry focus on whether or not Deebo Samuel’s fantasy manufacturing is price maintaining him on rosters.

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Earlier rating: 11blank

Largest shock: WR Deebo Samuel

Why it is a shock: Samuel confirmed as much as coaching camp leaner, more healthy and a extra well-rounded receiver. He seemed poised for a giant season, however even the largest Samuel believers in all probability did not see this coming. 4 video games in, Samuel is first in the NFL in receiving yards (490) and yards after catch (266) and fifth in yards per reception (17.5). His 490 receiving yards by means of 4 video games is the second-most by a Niner behind solely Jerry Rice’s 522 in 1995. — Nick Wagoner


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Earlier rating: 18blank

Largest shock: The Bengals’ sturdy protection

Why it is a shock: The Bengals have struggled to area a high quality protection in coordinator Lou Anarumo’s first two seasons. Nevertheless, this 12 months the Bengals are among the many finest within the NFL by means of the primary 4 video games. Cincinnati ranks fifth in yards per play allowed and seventh in factors per drive allowed. Granted, the opposing offenses have not been nice, however the enchancment in Anarumo’s unit has been very notable. Defensive finish Trey Hendrickson, who signed a $60 million deal with the crew within the offseason, is second within the NFL in cross rush first pressures, in response to ESPN Stats & Data. — Ben Child


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Earlier rating: 15blank

Largest shock: The Thirty first-ranked passing offense

Why it is a shock: The Saints are averaging simply 144 passing yards per recreation, whereas Alvin Kamara has set profession highs with 24 and 26 carries, respectively, over the previous two weeks. That sort of run-pass disparity labored when the Saints had been working out the clock in massive wins over Inexperienced Bay and New England however has been referred to as into query now after they allowed the Giants to rally for a shocking comeback win Sunday. Sooner or later, Sean Payton could have to rely extra closely on Jameis Winston and the passing offense. It would definitely assist if WR Michael Thomas returns from his ankle damage when eligible after the Week 6 bye. — Mike Triplett


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Earlier rating: 16blank

Largest shock: The struggles on offense

Why it is a shock: The Titans’ offense averaged 30 factors per recreation final 12 months. Tennessee was anticipated to keep up its high-scoring methods after including Julio Jones to the combination. By way of 4 video games, Tennessee is averaging 23.8 factors per recreation. Jones has but to submit a landing, whereas A.J. Brown solely has one. Neither receiver was available to the Titans final week, however they nonetheless scored 24 factors. The issue is they need to have scored extra. The Titans are usually not as environment friendly within the pink zone anymore both. They’ve gone from 75% touchdowns within the pink zone final season to solely 50% this 12 months. — Turron Davenport


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Earlier rating: 22blank

Largest shock: Defensive struggles

Why it is a shock: Washington ranked second in yards and fourth in factors final season. It boasted a high younger line, the defensive rookie of the 12 months (Chase Young) and added components within the offseason by means of free company (nook William Jackson III) and the draft (linebacker Jamin Davis, nook Benjamin St-Juste). However after 4 video games, they rank twenty ninth in yards allowed and thirtieth in factors. It isn’t nearly having a tougher schedule, it is about taking part in — and training — poorly. There was a giant blown protection task each week and so they’re not making use of sufficient strain (sacks on 4% of dropbacks in comparison with 7.8% final season). Quarterback Taylor Heinicke — one other shock — has bailed out the protection. When he turned the starter, the assumption would have been for the alternative situation. — John Keim

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Ryan Clark and Rex Ryan reward Invoice Belichick’s recreation plan vs. Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense on Sunday night time.

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Earlier rating: 19blank

Largest shock: Struggling offensive line

Why it is a shock: The group of Isaiah Wynn (LT), Mike Onwenu (LG), David Andrews (C), Shaq Mason (RG) and Trent Brown (RT) was imagined to be a power of the Patriots’ offense, however rookie QB Mac Jones has taken 34 hits by means of 4 video games. Additionally, the working recreation has been inconsistent, as evidenced by gaining minus-1 yard on eight carries Sunday night time in opposition to the Buccaneers. Brown’s proper calf damage, which has knocked him out of motion for all the pieces however the first collection of the season, has been an element within the efficiency, however is much from the one purpose for the wrestle. — Mike Reiss


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Earlier rating: 26blank

Largest shock: The variety of accidents to key gamers

Why it is a shock: Carson Wentz has no concept what it is prefer to play behind the projected beginning offensive line as a result of the group has handled accidents. Proper deal with Braden Smith continues to be out with a foot damage, left guard Quenton Nelson is on injured reserve with a excessive ankle sprain and left deal with Eric Fisher missed the primary recreation of the season whereas persevering with his restoration from an Achilles damage. And that is simply the beginning. Receiver T.Y. Hilton is on the IR with a disc injury. Beginning security Khari Willis, pass-rusher Kwity Paye and cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Rock Ya-Sin have all missed video games with accidents, too. Accidents are a part of the sport, however the Colts have been ravaged with them by means of the primary 4 weeks. — Mike Wells


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Largest shock: CB Bashaud Breeland

Why it is a shock: Minnesota signed Breeland to shore up the secondary and put a participant with expertise and good protection expertise (ranked 18th by Pro Football Focus in 2020) reverse Patrick Peterson at outdoors nook. By way of 4 video games, Breeland’s play has been a catastrophe. He has been focused 23 instances and allowed 20 receptions for 281 yards (14.1 yards per reception), has given up 4 touchdowns and is permitting a near-perfect passer score (157.2). Against Cleveland, Breeland left the sport after six performs with an “sickness” and did not play once more after being the closest defender on a 21-yard cross that transformed a third-and-long for the Browns. — Courtney Cronin


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Largest shock: LB Robert Quinn

Why it is a shock: After an uninspiring 2020 season, Quinn has been everywhere in the area for the Bears protection by means of 4 video games. The veteran pass-rusher leads the crew with 4.5 sacks and has recorded a number of tackles for loss. Quinn mentioned he’s in a greater place mentally and spiritually this season — and it is exhibiting on the sector. When Quinn is paired with Khalil Mack, the Bears have one of the crucial formidable edge rusher duos within the NFC North. — Jeff Dickerson

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Dan Orlovsky argues with Rex Ryan and Ryan Clark about why Mike Tomlin ought to think about transferring on from Ben Roethlisberger now.

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Largest shock: Cross rush struggles

Why it is a shock: The Steelers obtained loads of strain out of the four-man rush in Week 1, however have not been in a position to replicate the identical outcomes the previous two weeks. With out T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, the Steelers did not file a single sack in opposition to the Bengals, and in opposition to the Packers, they solely had two — together with one which appeared to simply be a visit by Watt. Watt, who sustained a groin damage in opposition to the Raiders, mentioned he felt wholesome sufficient to play in opposition to the Packers, however he — and the remainder of the Steelers’ entrance — have not carried out to the identical stage they did in Week 1. The Steelers have proven a capability to play championship-level protection, however the lack of replication is shocking. — Brooke Pryor


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Largest shock: RB Miles Sanders‘ utilization

Why it is a shock: Sanders is the Eagles’ lead again, but solely has 37 carries by means of 4 video games — which is tied for thirty third within the NFL with the Cowboys’ No. 2 working again Tony Pollard and Jets rookie Michael Carter. He has 9 rushes complete prior to now two weeks. In the meantime, rookie Kenneth Gainwell (89 complete yards and a TD vs. Chiefs) is heating up. Sanders and QB Jalen Hurts had been anticipated to be a dynamic 1-2 punch out of the backfield, but it surely’s been sluggish going for Sanders to start out. — Tim McManus


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Largest shock: Poor offensive play

Why it is a shock: Identify the offensive class and the Dolphins are both close to or on the backside of the NFL’s rankings. Getting into Monday night time, Miami was Thirty first in scoring, Thirty first in complete yards, thirtieth in first downs, thirtieth in passing yards, twenty sixth in speeding yards — want I am going on? Tua Tagovailoa‘s present stint on injured reserve has not helped, however even he cannot single-handedly solve Miami’s offensive woes. The Dolphins’ offensive line additionally ranks twenty ninth in cross block win price and has given up the fourth most sacks — regardless of seeing the eighth fewest blitzes within the league. It has been a surprisingly horrendous begin to the season for a crew that had playoff aspirations in 2021. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

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Matthew Berry argues that Cordarelle Patterson has extra worth staying on fantasy rosters than as a commerce piece.

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Largest shock: RB Cordarrelle Patterson

Why it is a shock: Patterson has been a revelation in an in any other case struggling offense in Atlanta, as he’s on tempo for the most effective speeding season of his profession (he already has 27 carries for 119 yards) and his finest receiving season (already having 18 catches for 235 yards). Arthur Smith has been capable of finding a technique to create opportunities for him, which led to him scoring three touchdowns against Washington — as many receiving touchdowns as he had prior to now 4 seasons. Patterson has been a nice shock for Atlanta in each approach. — Michael Rothstein


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Largest shock: Defensive struggles

Why it is a shock: The protection was imagined to be the power of this Giants’ crew. It is not. It’s ranked twenty second within the NFL permitting 382 yards per recreation. And it is in all probability not going to get a lot better. The Giants nonetheless have not discovered solutions at edge rusher and are with out beginning center linebacker Blake Martinez for the rest of the season. It is onerous to be a high protection like what was anticipated with a pedestrian cross rush. — Jordan Raanan


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Largest shock: Protection has overachieved

Why it is a shock: The protection ranks within the high half of the league in factors and yards allowed regardless of some powerful circumstances. High pass-rusher Carl Lawson was misplaced to a season-ending damage within the preseason, linebacker Jarrad Davis (ankle) nonetheless hasn’t performed, free security Lamarcus Joyner suffered a season-ending damage in Week 1 and three rookies are beginning. Discuss adversity. Due to good teaching, plus terrific begins by LB C.J. Mosley and DT Quinnen Williams, the Jets’ protection has managed to carry it collectively. — Wealthy Cimini


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Earlier rating: 28blank

Largest shock: Lack of manufacturing from RB Phillip Lindsay

Why it is a shock: Getting into coaching camp, the Texans anticipated Lindsay to emerge as their lead again. As an alternative, Lindsay trails veteran working backs Mark Ingram II and David Johnson for carries and has simply 31 yards and a landing on 24 makes an attempt. Since Week 1, Houston has not run the ball nicely in any respect and ranks Thirty first in Soccer Outsiders’ speeding DVOA. It’d get slightly simpler for the Texans in Week 5, because the New England Patriots‘ protection ranks twenty eighth in speeding DVOA and allowed Tampa Bay to run for 119 yards on Sunday night time. — Sarah Barshop


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Largest shock: Beginning 0-4

Why it is a shock: No person anticipated the Lions to be a playoff crew, however beginning 0-4 is not supreme — even for the Lions. Towards Chicago, they failed to score on 4 completely different pink zone drives, which tied for essentially the most by any crew in a recreation since 2000 — and Detroit’s most in a single recreation. Quarterback Jared Goff has now misplaced six consecutive regular-season begins, which is the longest energetic streak amongst QBs. It hasn’t been all his fault, with accidents and dear miscues haunting this crew, however the Lions have to enhance at limiting errors in scoring conditions in the event that they need to win a recreation. — Eric Woodyard


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Largest shock: Josh Lambo‘s struggles

Why it is a shock: There hasn’t been a lot the Jaguars have been in a position to depend on over the previous a number of seasons aside from Lambo. Lambo earned the “Lambomatic” nickname as a result of he had made 95% of his field-goal makes an attempt with the Jaguars (76-of-80) from the time he joined the crew in October 2017 by means of the 2020 season. However he is 0 for 3 this season, didn’t play last week due to private causes and head coach City Meyer mentioned Lambo should compete with Matthew Wright for the kicking job this week. An offense averaging simply 18.5 factors per recreation wants a dependable kicker and if Lambo would not rebound this week his time in Jacksonville is probably going achieved. — Mike DiRocco

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/32333691/nfl-power-rankings-week-5-1-32-poll-plus-biggest-surprise-every-team | 1-32 ballot, plus the largest shock for each crew

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