NFL | NCAA Football

NFL 2015: Devonta Freeman, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots

The might not be a better story in the NFL other than the rise of the Atlanta Falcons back into the consciousness of the football fans and the elevation of Devonta Freeman as a premiere starting tailback on a team that has lacked a true workhorse in the backfield since the days before Michael Turner.

Freeman is a diminutive back who was a fifth-round draft pick out of Florida State last season. Now, he leads the league in touchdowns and continues to prove size means nothing when it comes to totting a football.

According to AJC.com, in the 10-7 win on Sunday over Tennessee, “It was the first time the Falcons have had a 100-yard rusher in three straight games since 2009, when Michael “The Burner” Turner had 151, 166 and 111 in Weeks 8-10 against the Saints, Redskins and Carolina.”

There is a method to Freeman’s madness, as he explained in the story online.

“Doing what I do best every day, staying in a rhythm,” Freeman said. “You know, finding little creases and making stuff work.”

The running game has been so successful that it has kept rookie third-round pick Tevin Coleman on the bench. It was believed Coleman would become the starter and take the majority of carries from the offense this season.

Freeman has proven he can handle that kind of beating and then some.

Freeman has also proven to be a solid pass catcher out of the backfield as well. He leads the NFL with 621 yards rushing this season.

ROOM AT THE TOP

Here is something to think about.

There are five undefeated teams going into Week 8 of the NFL. That is literally unheard of in this day of parity and mediocrity. Here is are a few things to ponder about more than one team running the table in the regular season, according to NFL.com

The list of perfect teams will drop to at least four after Week 8 with the Packers facing the Broncos on the road in a juggernaut Sunday Night Football matchup. The Packers play the Panthers in Week 9 and the Broncos square off against the Patriots in Week 12 and meet the Bengals in Week 16.

The Patriots probably have the best chance to run the table if they get by the Broncos. Many football pundits have the Pats as the best team in the NFL, but they looked beatable for the first time this season in a 30-23 win against the Jets on Sunday.

There have been 31 teams to start 6-0 during the 12-team playoff era and 29 have reached the January tournament, per the Boston Globe. On average, teams that opened the year with six consecutive victories wrapped up the year with a 13-3 record, with 65 percent (20 of 31) of those teams finishing the year with 13 or more wins.

Remember as well, as teams clinch playoff berths, they are more likely to rest starters and key reserves for the postseason. I’m not sure if this adds to the excitement of anticipation or it soils the brand, making it difficult to watch regular season games in December.

BREAK UP THE DOLPHINS

Just two weeks ago, I was preaching how there was no team in the NFL that was in worse shape than the Miami Dolphins.

Oh how a bye week, a fired head coach and an infusion of new philosophy can make even the worst situations look rosy.

Dan Campbell has earned the right to get some consideration for the top job once the season ends. He has been charged with taking a team in disarray and corralling it into a contender. Yes, I said contender. The offense has played better, the play of quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been sharper.

As read on NFL.com

The Dolphins will have to get back to playing legitimate teams again starting Thursday night in Foxborough versus the Patriots, but there’s no doubt that the talent in Miami is showing itself again. The Dolphins essentially added one of the league’s best pass rushers and one of the best left tackles during their bye week when Cameron Wake and Branden Albert returned to health. Campbell smartly committed to Rishard Matthews as an every-down player at receiver, ignoring the pedigree of DeVante Parker and Greg Jennings.

The AFC is not deep and there are playoff spots to be had. I would not be surprised if the two wild card entries from the East, which means the New York Jets and the Dolphins will be jockeying for position with the undefeated Patriots.

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