5 biggest surprises through three weeks of the 2020 NFL season
The 2020 NFL season has been unique so far due to COVID-19, but the NFL has handled the virus well and played all games as scheduled.
The early part of the season has paved the way for quite a few disappointments, which we examined last week, as well as quite a few surprises. Here’s a look at five of those surprises, with an emphasis on positive stories.
5. Jason Pierre-Paul still getting it done
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the biggest story of the offseason, but it’s actually Jason Pierre-Paul who is playing the most dominant football on that team. What makes that even more astonishing is that JPP is one year removed from suffering a neck fracture and five years removed from losing several fingers in a fireworks accident. JPP has recorded a sack in each game this season and has the NFL’s longest active streak for consecutive games with a sack (5). That’s not bad for a guy who many have labeled “done” several times now.
4. Aldon Smith is elite with rust
Prior to his reinstatement earlier this year, Aldon Smith had not played a single down of football since 2015. But with his life back in order and another opportunity to play the game he loves, Smith has excelled. Despite obvious rust, he has still managed to dominate through three weeks of the season and appears to be improving each time he takes the field. Already this year Smith has amassed 20 tackles (three for a loss), six QB hits, and a league-leading four sacks. Whether you like the guy or not, his story of redemption is a solid one. And the extra weight seems to be helping.
3. Alvin Kamara is ridiculous
The New Orleans Saints signed Alvin Kamara to a five-year, $75 million contract extension one day before their season started. In three weeks, he’s already made that decision look like a genius move. While the Saints have gotten off to a rocky start as a team, it has not been Kamara’s fault. He leads the team in rushing (153), yards per carry (4.9), receptions (27), receiving (285) and touchdowns (6). In fact, Kamara leads the entire league in scoring (36), which is a spot generally held by kickers.
2. NFC West is rocking
Teams in the NFC West have been up-and-down for years now, but early on here in 2020, there’s an argument to be made that they are home to four of the most talented teams in the entire league. The Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals are a combined 9-3 (7-2 in the conference) to start the season. One of those three losses came as part of a divisional game. They are also the only division in the NFL where all four teams are in the green in point differential. And all of that success is highlighted by quarterback Russell Wilson, who has gotten off to one of the hottest starts in history.
1. Josh Allen is an MVP candidate
It was obvious last season that Josh Allen had very real talent and was going to turn into a quality quarterback, but there were still some reservations on how high his ceiling actually was. Through three games in 2020, it’s safe to say he’s already among the best in football. Allen has already eclipsed 1,000 yards passing to go along with 10 touchdowns and just a single interception. Perhaps more impressive is that he’s completing 71.1 percent of his passes and doing most of his damage with his arm and not his legs. If not for the video game-like start for Russell Wilson, many would be arguing that he’s running away with the league MVP award.