Who will be the first undefeated NFL team to lose in 2012? The Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans all stand at 4-0. Since only one team in the league’s history has gone through a season undefeated each will lose eventually. Who will be first?
The Falcons and Cardinals both came very close to losing on Sunday. Atlanta needed to drive 70 yards to get into field goal range in a 30-28 victory over the Carolina Panthers. The Cardinals had to come back from two touchdowns down to defeat the Miami Dolphins 24-21 in overtime. Since close only counts in horseshoes, both the Falcons and Cardinals stayed undefeated.
Meanwhile, the Texans rolled over the Tennessee Titans 38-14. Houston blew open a close game with two third quarter touchdowns that extended their lead from 14-7 to 28-7.
Of the three unbeaten teams Arizona is probably the biggest surprise. They came into the season unsure of who would play quarterback. Kevin Kolb had lost the job to John Skelton. He got it back when Skelton was injured on opening day against the Seattle Seahawks. Kolb brought Arizona back to win that game then led them to victories over the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and Dolphins.
The Falcons have been a perennial playoff team since head coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan arrived in 2008. Their 4-0 start is not too much of a surprise. Besides the Panthers, Atlanta has beaten the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers.
Houston came into the season with high expectations after making its first playoff appearance last season. The Texans have not disappointed so far. Their victories have come against the Titans, Broncos, Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars. Their only real scare came in Denver where they saw a 21 point lead cut to six before winning 31-25.
Going into game five each team will play on the road against opponents that are 2-2. The Cardinals travel to play the St. Louis Rams. The Falcons will visit the Washington Redskins. Houston will play the reeling New York Jets. There is nothing tougher than winning an NFL game on the road so each team is vulnerable.
By the end of week seven there is a good chance that there will be no more undefeated teams and the 1972 Dolphins can break out the champagne. With all three playing on the road Sunday we may see the first one go down. The question is which?
After this Sunday we will probably have our answer.