In 1972, the Miami Dolphins made history. Winning the Super Bowl and going undefeated, the Don Shula perfect team entered immortality in the NFL world.
At least Dolphins fans can still be happy about the fact no one has beaten that record. That’s pretty much all they can cheer for right now.
Eight teams will enter the fourth week of the NFL season undefeated. Sure, one of those teams comes in with a tie, but the league will still count that. History states that an undefeated season will likely never occur again, but hey, anything is possible right?
Several teams look like they could compete for the title while others could have found their early success against weaker teams. The real question is not if, but rather when will every team fall before the end of the year.
It’s ok; you don’t have to do the math, we took care of it for you. Here are our predictions for when your undefeated roster will head back to reality and keep the historic record alive.
Detroit Lions: Week 4 versus the Kansas City Chiefs
The Lions were lucky to be on this list. Following a fourth-quarter meltdown against the Arizona Cardinals, Matthew Stafford and the offense held on to win against the Chargers and Eagles. Part of that is due to the strong offense, but it’s a majority on other teams failing to execute.
Both Philadelphia and Los Angeles have key injuries that could derail their season early on. The Kansas City Chiefs biggest loss has been speedster Tyreek Hill, and they replaced his production with rookie Mecole Hardman. While the defense still is struggling, they look better than last season.
Credit to Stafford and the Lions, they won a pair of games most expected them to lose. No one has been able to stop Patrick Mahomes and the air-raid offense this year. Detroit certainly isn’t either.
Buffalo Bills: Week 4 versus the New England Patriots
It feels weird saying the Bills are good but low and behold, they somewhat are. Sure, Josh Allen still is making careless mistakes, but he’s improved into his second season. The Bills’ defense has been one of the top units in the league with last week creating a pair of turnovers.
The only problem is New England’s defense is looking like the top unit in the league. After dominating against the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers, the team clobbered both Miami and New York, collecting three interceptions, two going the other way for touchdowns.
The Bills should still be considered contenders even with a loss. If Allen continues to improve, the defense should carry the way moving forward. But Tom Brady and New England are just too strong this early to drop the ball. It was an excellent run Bills Mafia, but not even the comeback kid of 2019 can probably lead this team to a victory late.
Green Bay Packers: Week 4 versus the Philadelphia Eagles
One of the biggest reasons Green Bay has struggled to return to the postseason is due to their inadequate defense. That’s no longer a problem for the team after a productive free agency. With the additions of Za’Darius and Preston Smith and growth of players such as Kevin King and Jaire Alexander, the Packers are looking like legitimate contenders.
Even though the Eagles have struggled on offense, they still are one of football’s top rosters. Coming off back to back losses, Carson Wentz is going to want to prove he can be the quarterback worth a massive contract extension.
The Eagles defense will step up their game, predominately in the secondary. After allowing 521 passing yards in two weeks, they’ll likely be playing close against Aaron Rodgers‘ arsenal, making the team rely on the run game. Aaron Jones struggled early but bounced back the last two outings. Could he continue his success against a top three run defense?
This game will all come down to the quarterbacks. It should be close, but Philadelphia is likely going to playing like their season is over Sunday evening.
Dallas Cowboys: Week 5 versus the Green Bay Packers
The Cowboys have to be one of the more impressive teams this year. Under the direction of new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Dak Prescott is looking like an MVP caliber quarterback. And despite paying Ezekiel Elliott a massive contract with limited production this season, he’s still finding success in a pass-heavy offense.
But what we said about the Eagles, it’s the same for the Packers. Pissed about the week before, they’re likely coming for vengeance.
In man coverage, Alexander has looked to be the next great NFL corner. He’ll be paired up with Amari Cooper or likely trying to limit the targets to Jason Witten. King has looked impressive early on, but can he handle Cooper? Meanwhile, there have been moments where Dallas’ defense has struggled in coverage. Will they be able to contain Rodgers for four quarters as the Bears did?
Dallas is an early Super Bowl favorite. They still should be despite a loss to another NFC contender. But a loss is inevitable, and Green Bay would be a prime candidate to give “America’s team” their first.
Los Angeles Rams: Week 5 versus the Seattle Seahawks
The Rams might be 3-0, but let’s not call them impressive just yet. After signing a $134 million contract extension this offseason, Jared Goff has been iffy at best. Sure, while he’s made some impressive throws, he’s also thrown four interceptions in three games. Todd Gurley‘s still productive, but his workload has diminished some.
Meanwhile, the defense has been a liability at times. In three straight weeks, Wade Phillips’ unit has been able to hold onto victory after giving up the lead late. Aaron Donald is still one of the best players in football, but he can’t do all the work alone, can he?
Which is why a loss to Seattle seems pretty plausible don’t you think? Sure, Pete Carroll’s squad has their own issues, but Russell Wilson has guided this team to a near-flawless start. He’s done his job as he’s yet to throw an interception and is working well with Doug Baldwin‘s replacement in D.K. Metcalf. Chris Carson has three turnovers in two weeks, but that could be corrected or replaced with Rashaad Penny.
Eventually, Los Angeles’ defense is going to give up the lead that ultimately will lead to a loss. Wilson’s ability to guide comebacks and evade pressure plays into his favor. Don’t worry though; the Rams will have a chance to give payback to another undefeated NFC West team the following week.
San Francisco 49ers: Week 6 versus the Los Angeles Rams
One could argue that the 49ers should be 2-1 already. Jimmy Garoppolo struggled immensely against the Steelers, and if not for a late touchdown to Dante Pettis, he probably ends up with an even worse stat line than the one he claimed.
The Cleveland Browns should be in the running to knock off San Francisco, but too many injuries on defense likely keeps the record alive another week. It will be high scoring, and Myles Garrett should have at least two sacks. Baker Mayfield, however, is suffering from the sophomore slump and could struggle against San Francisco’s top-two defense.
But their undefeated record will come to a halt the following week against the Rams. Both quarterbacks are struggling but who do you trust more; Goff’s receiving corp or Garoppolo’s? With both quarterbacks struggling, it’s all about the surrounding products. Los Angeles is healthier right now and has a veteran squad while the 49ers are still building chemistry with young talent.
This could go either way, but for now, San Francisco is going to likely head in underdogs. If they defeat Cleveland, they’ll likely run out of luck the following week.
New England Patriots: Week 9 versus the Baltimore Ravens
The last two teams could be undefeated in their match up come December. The winner of that game could probably go 16-0. If there’s one team that could derail the Patriots before they face Kansas City, it would be Baltimore.
In his second season, Lamar Jackson is looking like one of the top young players in the league. A dual-threat weapon which is finding chemistry with young talent, the former Heisman Trophy winner has dominated through the air without causing a turnover yet. Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews certainly are looking like the future in his receiving corp as well.
New England’s dominance on offense has been overshadowed by the production of their defense. The top-ranked unit has collected 13 sacks, six interceptions and returned two to the house. On offense, Tom Brady is looking like an ageless wonder, producing without the likes of Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski.
If Jackson continues to play the way he has, it’s going to be hard for the undefeated defense to bring him down. That and the growth of his weapons like Mark Ingram and Willie Snead will only play into his favor. It could be a shootout, but this is the only team besides Kansas City that probably could knock off the Super Bowl champs in the regular season.
Kansas City Chiefs: Week 14 versus the New England Patriots?
Kansas City will face Green Bay in Week 9 and Minnesota in Week 10. If they can’t stop this high-tempo offense, New England might be the only team that can. Despite the late efforts from Baltimore’s offense, Patrick Mahomes threw for 374 yards.
As mentioned, New England’s defense has been the star of the season. Looking like a juggernaut on both sides of the ball, that could be the downfall for Kansas City. Although the unit has improved with the additions of Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu, they only have one interception on the season.
Mahomes can have whoever he wants on his offense, and it still might not be enough. In coverage, New England has been dominant against receiving corps. Then again, it’s the reigning MVP we’re talking about here. He could dance around, throw no-look passes and come away with the victory.
If New England doesn’t knock off the Chiefs, no one will. This is the one team that will challenge the ’72 Dolphins for a chance at undefeated immortality. Their defense still is struggling, but the offense is going to make up for it.
Cole Thompson is the Lead NFL writer for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter at @MrColeThompson.