NFL offering surprising stories

By: Paul Fritschner ~Staff Writer~

Photo courtesy of | Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot has taken the league by storm, leading the NFL in rushing in just his first season.

This NFL season has proven a bit different than previous years, as ratings are down and teams that don’t typically excel are reigning supreme. As the 2016 season lurks into week 11, we took a look at what has gone on around the league so far.

One of the biggest storylines of 2016 has been the league’s appeal to fans and viewers. Often deemed the “No Fun League,” the NFL has struggled with declining ratings for its regular and primetime broadcasts. At one point, a tie happened in back-toback weeks, and to compound the problem for the NFL, both were primetime games. However, this Sunday, a thrilling Dallas Cowboys-Pittsburgh Steelers matchup was the defibrillator to the NFL’s heart attack. Bolstered by this primetime performance combined with the end of election season, the NFL will hope to ride the wave of momentum from this week’s games.

As far as the teams around the league go, the standings do not resemble what fans may be used to.

The Oakland Raiders, who have surpassed preseason expectations, sit atop the AFC West tied with the Kansas City Chiefs at 7-2. The Broncos sans Peyton Manning also have seven wins, but they are in third place with three losses.

Elsewhere in the AFC, Tom Brady and the Patriots are just about as good as advertised. They’re also 7-2, but one has to expect Brady to lead a strong playoff charge in a season mired by his suspension due to Deflategate.

The Dallas Cowboys are without star quarterback Tony Romo. But powered by rookie Dak Prescott and bolstered by fellow rookie and the NFL’s leading rusher Ezekiel Elliot, the Cowboys have sprinted out to an 8-1 record, good for first in the NFC East and the best record in the league.

On the flip side, a handful of teams are looking particularly abysmal. The Cleveland Browns, those of “Believeland” with so much hope and promise to start the year, have yet to win a game. At 0-10, many are wondering if they will replicate the 2008 Detroit Lions’ winless season.

The San Francisco 49ers are 1-8, and close to home here in Cincinnati, the Bengals have been a severe letdown. After last year’s stellar season that ended abruptly in the first round of the playoffs, they are in third place with a 3-5-1 record.