The Worst Units in the NFL at the Season's Quarter Mark
There has been an abundance of awful units through the first quarter of the NFL's 2012 season, but only three units can lay claim to being the absolute worst of the worst.
We have seen plenty of pleasant surprises in the form of the Arizona Cardinals defense, the play of the rookie QB class and the Seattle Seahawks defense.
Those performances have been somewhat overshadowed by the bad play of others throughout the league.
The New Orleans Saints have fallen from the mantle of the NFL's elite to an 0-4 record.
The Cleveland Browns are proving every week that they are the worst team in football.
Squads like the Detroit Lions, New York Jets and Carolina Panthers are performing far below expectations.
So, which offensive, defensive and special teams units are the worst of the worst?
Offense: New York Jets
There may be offensive units with less talent (here is looking at you Jacksonville and Arizona), but none have been worse this season than the New York Jets.
The Tim Tebow Wildcat packages have been almost nonexistent with just one pass and seven rushing attempts.
Mark Sanchez has been as inconsistent as ever, throwing for under 150 yards twice in four games.
The Jets have no rhythm, no balance and no hope to succeed if something does not change.
Sanchez is clearly not the answer at quarterback and the running game has been equally bad.
New York is averaging just 84 yards per game on the ground.
Those 48 points scored in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills seem like a distant memory at this point.
Dishonorable Mention: Cleveland Browns
Defense: New Orleans Saints
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
The New Orleans Saints are not 0-4 because of Drew Brees and the offense.
No, this team is being clearly held back by its poor display of defense at the season's quarter mark.
Whatever the reason, be it the loss of Sean Payton, Gregg Williams or missing Jonathan Vilma, the Saints have lost a step defensively.
New Orleans ranks 32nd against the run and 24th against the pass across the NFL.
The Saints are allowing 32.5 points per game and giving up 463 yards of total offense per contest.
Brees, Sproles, Colston and Graham are trying to keep this team in games, but the defense is doing them absolutely no favors so far.
Dishonorable Mention: Tennessee Titans
Special Teams: Detroit Lions
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The Detroit Lions have played not just the worst special teams of the season's first quarter, but of recent memory altogether.
This tweet pretty much sums it up:
RT “@larrylage: Lions 1st team since at least 1940 to allow a punt and kickoff return for TDs in back-to-back games, according to STATS LLC”
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) September 30, 2012
Detroit sits at 1-3 on the season and pathetic special teams play is a large reason why.
The Lions actually allowed zero offensive touchdowns to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 4.
In Week 3 Detroit allowed an alarming 44 points, but only 14 of those were scored by the Tennessee Titans offense.
There is a potent offense in Detroit that needs support from the special teams. Otherwise, the NFC North race may just move on without them.
Dishonorable Mention: No one is even close to Detroit's awfulness thus far.