The Vikings (2-0) have earned the honor of being our first BES No. 1 team of the 2016 regular season which, based on last season, bodes well for the defending NFC North champ’s odds of returning to the playoffs. That is, however, barring a string of further catastrophic injuries beyond those of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (knee) and runningback Adrian Peterson (knee).
Recent trade acquisition and Bridgewater replacement, Sam Bradford, looked stellar in the Vikings’ 17-14 victory over the Packers in Week 2. With Bradford, the Vikings may indeed have a legit passing attack that will take pressure off of backup runner Jerick McKinnon and complement their No. 8-ranked BES Defense.
The Panthers (1-1) and Cardinals (1-1), last season’s NFC Championship combatants, round out the BES Top-10 at No. 9 and No. 10 respectfully. Both have clearly earned their positions after performing quite honorably against schedules that have so far ironically included last season’s AFC Championship teams in the Broncos (2-0) and the Patriots (2-0). Both the Panthers and Cardinals feature the top two defenses in the BES, enough to fuel their continued ascent up the rankings.
The Broncos come in at No. 7 overall and have started their 2016 season in similar fashion to last year – relying heavily on their stifling, No. 5-ranked BES defense to shoulder the burden of an offense struggling to find its way. Quarterback Trevor Siemian, a former 2015 seventh-round draft selection, has been less than impressive with just one touchdown and three interceptions thrown in two games while guiding an offense ranked 23rd by the BES.
At No. 6 in BES Overall, the Patriots may find their stay among the top-10 to be a tentative one as they will find themselves leaning on the arm of rookie signal caller Jacoby Brissett for the immediate future.
Brissett, who takes over for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and draws a tough opponent in the Texans (2-0) in Week 3. It’s uncertain whether star Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will make his 2016 debut against the Texans after nursing a nagging hamstring. The Texans boast the No. 3 BES Defense with Pass Pressure and Takeaway scores above 3.70, numbers that could prove problematic for Brissett and the Patriots offense.
Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has guided the Eagles to an impressive 2-0 start and a firm third-place ranking in BES overall. A second overall selection in the 2016 draft, Wentz has thus far compiled a healthy 94.1 passer rating completing 60.6% of his passes for three scores and zero interceptions. However, the Eagles, currently at No. 3 in BES Overall, have the weakest SOS (1.50) of the top-10 teams. In Week 3, they host the Steelers (2-0) who rank second in BES Overall and are a far cry from their previous two opponents in the Bears (0-2) and Browns (0-2) who rank 29th and 31st in the BES respectfully.
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