What a difference two weeks make. When the Carolina Panthers lost to the 0-2 New Orleans Saints in Week 3, there were many, myself included, that voiced concerns that the 2017 season might mirror the frustrations of the 2016 season.
The concerns have been put to rest, for now at least, as Carolina has won two straight games, both on the road. The Panthers followed their win at New England with a 27-24 success at Detroit.
Carolina, at 4-1, now lead the NFC South. Next up, Carolina hosts Philadelphia tonight. The Eagles improved to 4-1 Sunday with a 34-7 rout over the Cardinals.
The current resurgence has been led by quarterback Cam Newton. After a shaky start to his season, Newton has looked like the 2015 version the past two weeks. The 2015 league MVP has thrown for more than 300 yards in consecutive games for the first time since his first two games of his rookie season.
It has always been said that the NFL needs Los Angeles. We heard this for years and years while the city did not possess a franchise. Now Los Angeles has two teams and fans are not showing up.
Yes, so far the residents of the City of the Angels are not latching on to either the Los Angeles Rams or the Los Angeles Chargers who both started play in the city this season.
What is alarming is that the Rams are in first place in the NFC West. They are an exciting young team, with a developing franchise quarterback in Jared Goff, a young, innovative head coach in Sean McVay, and one of the best runningbacks within the game in Todd Gurley.
What is also alarming is that the Rams were hosting division rival Seattle last weekend and television shots showed thousands and thousands of empty seats. And there are even more empty seats at the Los Angeles Chargers games.
I lived in Los Angeles for a spell and I never bought into the long standing narrative that there is a huge appetite for NFL football. After all, the market has 18.1 million people. Eighteen million people who are not going to NFL football games.
The league expected instant success. What it has gotten thus far is embarrassment. The bottom line is that Los Angeles didn’t need the NFL and barely wanted it. At best it’s a one-team market. And that did not work a while back with the Los Angeles Raiders.
NFL In Review
Another week of NFL football, another round of serious injuries to star players. Odell Beckham fractured an ankle and is out for the year.
Three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt broke his leg and is out for the year.
The New York Giants were Super Bowl contenders back in August. Now they are 0-5. The only undefeated team left is the Kansas City Chiefs at 5-0. Their quarterback is Alex Smith who is easily the MVP after five weeks. Previously, Smith was only known for being the quarterback taken before Aaron Rodgers in the draft.
Speaking of the draft, how about rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson. In his fourth NFL start, he threw for five touchdowns against the best team in football.