Straight Out the Lew on the Opening Weeks of CFB and the NFL

Which non-traditional CFB team has a great chance to be in the College Football Playoff this season?

Dylan: University of Southern California. The electric duo of Caleb Williams and Jordan Addison has proved to be nearly unstoppable through the first three weeks of the season. USC’s schedule has been subpar thus far, but putting up a total of 152 points through three games is impressive regardless of the opponent. If USC’s defense plays with a bit more consistency, they could easily roll through one of the lighter regular season schedules and sneak into the playoff.

Luke: University of Arkansas. Despite having a challenging game this weekend, Arkansas is a talented team with great strength of schedule. If they can find a way to get past Alabama then they would have a great shot at making it to the playoff even without winning the SEC Championship.  

Chris: North Carolina State University. A lot of eyes have shifted to Clemson in the ACC, but the Tigers’ refusal to adapt to the usage of the transfer portal in the modern game is going to cost them. NC State is ranked No. 12 in the country in returning production and battled through a tough non-conference game at East Carolina to enter a favorable conference schedule. The Wolfpack will be a force all season, and if they run the table or even go 12-1, they’ll be in consideration. 

Which NFL team has impressed you the most over the first two weeks?

Dylan: Detroit Lions. The Jared Goff to Amon-Ra St. Brown connection that put up big numbers at the end of last season is back in a big way through the first two weeks of the year. Dan Campbell has this Detroit team back on course towards being a competitor with his hard-nosed mentality and capable roster.

Luke: Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens, led by Lamar Jackson, have been scoring at will. Their ability to pass without a top receiver out wide is a perfect balance to their running offense.  Likewise, once J.K. Dobbins recovers from injury, they could be even scarier down the stretch.

Chris: New York Giants. It hasn’t been pretty, but the Giants are 2-0. The win over Tennessee is especially impressive given the track record of the Titans over the last few seasons. If the Giants can scrap some wins over division opponents, they may find themselves in the NFC East hunt. 

Who comes out of the crowded AFC West as the division champ?

Dylan: Denver Broncos. If it were not for their head coach’s two goalline fumbles and poor game management, the Denver Broncos would have left a difficult environment in Seattle with a win and positive press coverage. The Broncos have an extremely high-powered roster with big play potential on both sides of the ball, and combining that with Russell Wilson guarantees additional wins this season.

Luke: Kansas City Chiefs. The boring answer for sure, but there is no getting around how good Patrick Mahomes is. His ability to lead the offense and come from behind with no issues is very impressive. Great division, but this year the AFC West still runs through Arrowhead. 

Chris: Kansas City Chiefs. Everyone is rallying around the Chargers, but the Chiefs will be reliable as usual. I am never going to doubt Patrick Mahomes again. Critics will talk about their receivers, but they still have speed there, and they still have Travis Kelce. I was tempted to go with Denver here, but that loss in week one definitely puts them behind the eight-ball.