In the NFL, it is easy to become the team that starts out strong and then fizzles out, or the team that starts out the season poorly and just can't get that momentum to make a run. However, every year there are the teams that start strong and finish strong, that will win most of their games in the first half, then go onto the second half to finish their season off on a positive note.
In this article are 5 teams that I believe will do just that, as they will be the first teams to tally 10 wins in the 2011 season.
Week 13 is certainly early in the year to tally 10 wins, and this will be no small feat for the Ravens. But the Ravens are already a very strong team that had 12 wins last year, and nearly won their division. I expect the same for the 2011 Ravens, who play the weakest division in football in the NFC West.
The Ravens can easily get 4 wins in the NFC West, as well as wins against division rivals Cleveland, Cincinnati, and likely at least once against Pittsburgh. They also play the AFC South, which includes beatable teams such as Jacksonville and Tennessee.
The Ravens schedule is not overly difficult, especially considering the fact that they are a top-tier team in the NFL, and they may surprise some people, and be the first team in the NFL to tally 10 wins.
The New York Jets proved last year that they were a force to be reckoned with. And while they missed out on both the division and the Super Bowl, they made it to the AFC Championship Game, and I don't expect the Jets to disappoint this year.
The Jets open the season with two winnable home games against the Cowboys and Jaguars, and then a winnable road game against the Raiders. Although I think they may struggle in the weeks after that in games against the Ravens, Chargers, and Patriots, I see a six game win streak after that stretch in which they can get on a serious roll, where they play the Bills twice, the Patriots at home, and also the Broncos, Redskins, and Chiefs.
The Jets will be among the first to tally 10 wins, but a division rival of theirs will get to 10 wins at around the same time...
The New York Jets and New England Patriots will both contend for the AFC East division together for a long time. With the mind of Bill Belichick and the arm of Tom Brady, the Patriots will almost always have at least 10 wins on their season, and will compete for a playoff spot.
2011 will be no different for the Patriots, as they will get their 10th win in Week 14 against the Redskins, after wins against the Dolphins, Jets, Bills, Raiders, Cowboys, Giants, Chiefs, Colts, and Steelers. Two 10-win teams in the AFC East will certainly set up for an interesting finish to the 2011 season in that division.
The Eagles have been the hype of the NFL this preseason, with all of their free agent acquisitions. Although the Eagles are no lock to get to the Super Bowl, the talent that they have added has no doubt improved this team. The Eagles will run away with the NFC East, which I feel is much weaker than some might think, as I feel the Giants and Redskins will struggle, and the Cowboys will play well, but are still outmatched by this Eagles team.
Another thing going for the Eagles is that they play the NFC West, which, given the talent of this team, should amount to 4 easy wins. The Eagles will also defeat each of their division rivals at least once, and will beat the Bills and Dolphins in the AFC East to get to 10 wins in Week 14.
Repeating is always difficult, especially with the difficult schedule that the Packers have, but they are a talented team that I believe will be able to rise above the struggle to defend their title.
The Packers are already in a difficult division, as the Vikings, Bears, and Lions will all give the Packers a run. They also play the NFC South, with the Falcons, Saints, and Bucs all legitimate playoff contenders.
However, they do play the AFC West, which are among the weaker divisions in the NFL. They will defeat the Raiders, Broncos, and Chiefs fairly easily. They will also be able to beat their division rivals at least once this season, and should be able to beat other easy opponents like the Panthers and Rams.
The Packers will certainly have some bumps in the road on their way to their quest to repeat, but they will overcome and will be among one of the first teams to get to 10 wins.