Entering week six of the NFL season, fans have already witnessed thrilling moments, heated rivalries and record-breaking performances. However, some teams in the bottom half of the NFL have been disrupted by key injuries and have suffered devastating losses this early in the season. Below, we will dissect the challenges certain teams face, coaching and leadership issues, and underperforming teams.
The worst team in the NFL
The Carolina Panthers lost to the Detroit Lions 42-24 and could be the first team in NFL history to go 0-17. The Panthers are 0-5, the only winless team in the league. They traded away their 2024 first-round pick to the Chicago Bears as part of the wide receiver DJ Moore/quarterback Bryce Young trade. Young has not lived up to the hype and expectations Carolina fans thought they were getting thus far. After Cam Newton left Carolina and Luke Kuechly retired, the Panthers have not been a relevant team. It all starts with David Tepper, the owner. Hiring Matt Rhule who had no experience coaching in the NFL didn’t last long as head coach and he went right back to College Football. The new head coach Frank Reich has worked with plenty of quarterbacks and played in the NFL. He has a lot to work with on the offensive side, but the offensive line is the weak link for this team. The Panthers are cultureless, and their schedule doesn’t get easier, as they head into Miami facing a juggernaut offense in QB Tua Tagovailoa and star wide receiver Tyreek Hill.
Coaching and leadership issues
The New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick must take a hard look as to why their teams are 1-4. Daboll won the NFL Coach of the Year award last season and Belichick, who is widely considered the greatest coach of all time, has been exposed. It all comes down to the roster for both these teams and the level of talent. The Giants and Patriots fall short every week and have gotten blown out in their own stadiums by over 30-point margins. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and Patriots quarterback Mac Jones have been through plenty of different offensive coordinators and have dealt with different rotating offensive linemen. These quarterbacks have not been put in positions to succeed and get booed constantly at their home stadiums. Without Tom Brady, Belichick has not shown the public that he can take a team far into the playoffs. For the Giants, Daboll must reevaluate the plays he’s running because from last year to this year, it looks like two polar opposite Giants teams.
The most underperforming team in the NFL
The Minnesota Vikings might be the biggest disappointment so far. Last year, they finished in first place in the division with a 13-4 record and made it to the playoffs with first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell. Despite this, the Vikings have not been the same since losing to the Giants in the playoffs last season. Minnesota superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson just got placed on injured reserve for a minimum of four weeks because of hamstring issues. Quarterback Kirk Cousins does not look like the player we saw last season who led a dominant offense with tight-end TJ Hockenson. The defense gives up big plays, which has been the common narrative for the Vikings. They have put themselves in a tough spot to make it to the playoffs this year with a tight division race between the Detroit Lions and the Green Packers.
The playoff picture for the Giants, Patriots and Vikings looks to be out of reach for each of these teams. These next few weeks should be interesting if any of them decide to trade players before the Oct. 31 deadline.