Mayhem in the NFL

The three most suprising teams in the NFL in the 2021 season


Norm Hall

Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals passes the ball against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Norm Hall/Getty Images/TNS)

A lot is going on in the NFL this season, from coaches being exposed for sending racist emails to players being accused of sexual assault. Many playoff contenders last season have been struggling early on in 2021, whether it’s due to injured players, poor coaching, or bad players. Like every year there’s always an underdog team that is performing better than any analyst predicted. This is a list of the top 3 most surprising teams in the NFL

Arizona Cardinals
Everyone knew that the Arizona Cardinals would be a solid team entering the 2021 season, but nobody expected them to be undefeated at the top of the NFL with a seemingly unstoppable offense and a great defense. The Cardinals have a stacked team with players like J.J. Watt, Travis Kelce, Kyler Murray, and Deandre Hopkins. It seems that they are an unstoppable force and are guaranteed to make the playoffs, that is if they can keep their players healthy. I can easily see the Cardinals going far in the playoffs and possibly having a Superbowl run in the next couple of years.

Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are possibly the most disappointing team in the NFL. The Dolphins were expected to improve from their 10-6 season last year, they had a top 5 defense and an offense that was improving with their young QB, Tua Tagovailoa. Now, in week 6 of the season, they have lost 5 games in a row, and former coach of the year candidate, Brian Flores is on the hot seat. Possibly, the most surprising thing about this young team is how much their defense has declined, their team is full of injured players, but it isn’t an excuse for their defensive struggles. At least, the offense of the dolphins has considerably improved with the addition of Jaylen Waddle, and new offensive coordinators.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa looks on during a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at Hard Rock Stadium on August 21, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images/TNS)

The Dolphins quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa is not to blame for the Dolphins losing streak. In week two against the Bills, Tua was sacked multiple times and was rocked to the ground with a final blow that bruised his ribs and left Jacoby Brissett to be their QB1 for the next 4 weeks. The Dolphins were not able to recover from the loss of their starting quarterback and suffered four losses until Tua was able to return to play against the Jaguars in London. Tua threw for 329 yards and was able to put the team on his back and carry the Dolphins to a 20-20 tie with 10 minutes left. The Dolphins weren’t able to finish it off due to the incompetence of their head coach Brian Flores, they wasted multiple timeouts on challenges that ended up in Jacksonville’s favor. The Dolphins lost to the 0-5 Jaguars, 23-20, breaking Jacksonville’s 20 games losing streak. Their crushing loss to possibly the worst team in the NFL leads many to wonder if the cause of their struggles is due to their players or their coaches. At this point, I wish the Dolphins did trade Tua away because right now he isn’t failing the Dolphins, the Dolphins are failing him.

The 2022 season marks fifty years since the great Don Shula coached the 1972 Dolphins to the only undefeated season in NFL history. I hope that means something to this young team because unless a miracle happens this could be a very tough couple of seasons for them. I predict that the Dolphins will rebound in the second half of this season and finish with a 9-8 record, they will end up keeping Tua and will make some big changes to their coaching staff.

The Bengals have evolved from an awful team to future playoff contenders. During this postseason they reunited Joe Burrow with his former college wide receiver, Ja’marr Chase and they are playing exactly like their days at LSU. After Chase played poorly in the preseason, many thought he was a bust, but Chase continues to surprise us as he is now a front runner for being the offensive rookie of the year. Joe Burrow seems to improve every week, but we will see he will play as they have a tough schedule for the rest of the season. Even though the Bengals started at 4-2, I doubt they will make the playoffs this year as they still need to improve their defense. In a competitive division like the AFC North, the Bengals won’t be winning the division any time soon, but
watch out for them as they could sneak in as a wildcard team sometime in the next couple of years.