Rilwan Ameen, Staff Writer
Imagine a sporting world where everything is turned upside down. You look and see all the underdogs on top, while presumed favorites fall by the wayside like dominoes. Well look no further, as reality has set in this NFL season as prohibitive doormats. The San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills have coined a new meaning to “surprise teams.” The 49ers lead the way in this category thus far, with a 5-1 record and a hot shot rookie head coach Jim Harbaugh. With relatively the same roster as last year’s 6-10 squad, the Niners are shocking the league with their top-ranked defense led by all-pro LB Patrick Willis and 5th ranked running attack led by RB Frank Gore. They don’t wow you, but the 49ers play mistake-free football and rarely beat themselves. With the NFC West all but locked up at the near midway point of the season, Niners fans can rejoice in hosting a home playoff game for the first time since 2002.
Up next is the Detroit Lions, with QB Matthew Stafford finally healthy and the man simply known as “Megatron” having revived the Motor City darlings into national prominence. Calvin Johnson has claimed his stake as arguably the best WR in the NFL with an astonishing nine touchdown receptions through six games. The Lions haven’t won a division title since 1993, and they haven’t won a playoff game since 1991. Before last week’s loss to the 49ers the Lions held the NFL’s longest winning streak at eight, dating back to last season. Lions’ fans can rejoice in a 5-1 record thus far, and, at this rate, a trip to the playoffs as a wild-card for the first time since 1999.
Last but not least is New York’s overlooked team, the Buffalo Bills. With a 4-2 record the Bills have crashed the gates of the AFC East that the New England Patriots and New York Jets have had a stranglehold on in recent years. No one except for devoted fans saw the Bills exceed expectations after a disastrous 4-12 record last season. Led by QB Ryan Fitzpatrick out of Harvard and unheralded RB Fred Jackson who is 2nd in the NFL in rushing with 610 yards you can see how with each victory people are starting to take notice of the underrated team from Buffalo. Bills fans can rejoice in their team being respectable once again. We do not know how long the Bills can stay afloat but at this rate Bills fans should enjoy the ride and hope that they can be the third surprise team to invade the NFL playoffs this season.
All in all, let’s think about this for a minute; three franchises that were everybody’s easy victory for over a decade have now said enough is enough. This is the beauty of sports, and why we root for David to conquer Goliath.