2018-2019 NFL Week 1

Thu
Falcons-Eagles
Sun
Bengals-Colts
Bills-Ravens
Buccaneers-Saints
Texans-Patriots
49ers-Vikings
Titans-Dolphins
Jaguars-Giants
Steelers-Browns
Chiefs-Chargers
Cowboys-Panthers
Redskins-Cardinals
Seahawks-Broncos
Bears-Packers

Mon
Jets-Lions
Rams-Raiders

14 thoughts on “2018-2019 NFL Week 1

  1. Falcons-Eagles

    This was a close game, but I was kinda bored for most of it. In a way, it felt like two teams that were a little above average going against each other. I believe Mike Lombardi said that games in September come down to conditioning, and it seemed like the Eagles won that battle. In any event, the Falcons defense looked like they ran out of gas at the end.

    I think the other reason I was bored was that this was basically two pass-first offenses.

    One last thing. Matt Ryan’s arm looked slightly weaker than normal. His balls seemed to float more than I remember seeing, but I could be wrong about that. (The way he slides and hangs in the pocket is still outstanding, though. He’s up there with Rivers and Brady in this regard.)

    Edit

    Note: The ending was exciting. But most of the game before that was kinda dull for some reason. If every NFL team played like this–and at this level–I think I would stop watching.

  2. The Falcons under Quinn seem miserable at the end of games. In my mind they are in the Lions category in terms of losing heartbreaking games late. Reid may be right that the Falcons D ran out of gas, but give credit to a terrible Eagle offense making that last drive.

    I also agree with Reid that Ryan looks pretty good in the pocket, but he makes terrible decisions. He took two sacks during the last drive that took time off the clock which would have given the Falcons at least 2 more chances to score at the end of the game. Not to mention the Falcons may have even got to call a running play near the goal line which would have made them much less predictable. Yes Ryan was under pressure, but he has to get rid of the ball. This cost Atlanta the Super Bowl as well, when a sack took the Falcons out of a potential game sealing field goal. Reid also stated that he didn’t think Atlanta’s o-line is special and for most of the game that was incorrect, but in the end they were getting crushed by the Eagles rushing only four guys.

    Yes the game wasn’t exciting, but mainly because Foles sucks and both teams had so many penalties and mistakes. Julio was pretty darn good though, and Atlanta had a couple toss sweeps that was awesome.

    1. The Falcons under Quinn seem miserable at the end of games. In my mind they are in the Lions category in terms of losing heartbreaking games late.

      You could be right, but I don’t really have this impression.

      I also agree with Reid that Ryan looks pretty good in the pocket, but he makes terrible decisions. He took two sacks during the last drive that took time off the clock which would have given the Falcons at least 2 more chances to score at the end of the game.

      I had more problems with the INT, but the sacks were definitely costly. For some reason, I’m a little more forgiving to QBs that have the ability and willingness to hang in the pocket. The issue is similar to scrambling QBs. Both are going to get sacks because they held on to the ball so long–that’s bound to happen. As long as good far outweighs the bad, I like the approach.

      Not to mention the Falcons may have even got to call a running play near the goal line which would have made them much less predictable.

      One thing I didn’t mention was the play calling–not just at the end, but the entire game. The OCs I like, the ones that I think are the best, integrate running and passing in a way that enhances both and keeps the defense off balance. In this regard, Sark was bad in my opinion. (He was not committed to the run at all, but that’s another story.)

      Reid also stated that he didn’t think Atlanta’s o-line is special and for most of the game that was incorrect….

      I agree with this. The pocket wasn’t crumbling fast in the way that I remembered. Well see if they can sustain this.

  3. Titans, Fins:
    Mariota was horrible for most of the day, but even then the offense was much more capable than when Gabbert came in. Hard to gauge the team Miami will have, because for most of the day both teams didn’t look great. I didn’t watch the entire game though.

    Cowboys, Panthers:
    Man, the Cowboys struggled on offense. I think part of it was the Panthers were a bad match-up. The Panthers are big enough to bottle up everything inside and Kuechly and Shaq Thompson did a great job getting to the outsides. Dallas will need to be able to put up some kind of run game for them to be effective. Dallas’ pass-pro was probably better than the six sacks will indicate. I still have faith that this Dallas team could contend, but they will have to be able to run the ball a little better. Dallas D held up decently despite being on the field for long periods of time.

    Packers, Bears:
    I didn’t watch the first half, but I saw Rodgers dominate the game by himself. Yes his receivers made plays, but Rodgers without being able to plant his foot well, still was able to make great passes. Amazing performance… The being said the Bears were unable to throw the ball at all (at least in the parts I saw), and if I had to guess that says more about the Bears offense than it does about the Packer defense.

    Oh and in response to Atlanta’s o-line, they were horrible in the last game-winning drive, though. They were crumbling almost instantly on every play with the Eagles rushing only four.

    1. Mariota was horrible for most of the day…

      Yep. Last year, he regressed, and he either hasn’t improved or has gotten worst. He is approaching the point where he will be ruined, and I think this is largely a psychological issue.

      The Titans overall don’t look that good, although the defense might be a little better than last year.

      Man, the Cowboys struggled on offense. I think part of it was the Panthers were a bad match-up.

      There were too many long-yardage situations, from penalties or sacks. I also thought this was one of the worst games I’ve seen from Prescott, especially in terms of accuracy. To be fair, the OL and run game wasn’t all that good, and if the WRs/TEs weren’t getting good separation, then that makes it really tough on a QB. In any event, a run-first team has almost no chance of functioning if they get into a lot of long-yardage situations.

      Dallas D held up decently despite being on the field for long periods of time.

      For the most part this is true, although if you’re judging this by the score, I think that’s not a good way to judge this. Carolina is more of a ball-control offense. Initially, their RBs weren’t effective (but Newton keeping on the read-option kept the Carolina offense going), later on they became much more effective. But I think the Cowboys defense started getting gassed, and that was a big reason for that.

      Carolina looked solid overall.

      I didn’t watch the first half, but I saw Rodgers dominate the game by himself.

      I watched the early part of the game, and stopped watching after a few series with Kizer. Then I fast-forwarded to the ending.

      The Bears looked good in the first half. They basically look like a college team, with a running QB. They remind me of KC with Alex Smith. I especially thought of Smith at the end of the game, when Trubisky was forced to throw the ball in more conventional plays. He struggled.

      On another note, watching Mack have a great game, left a bitter taste in my mouth.

      Oh and in response to Atlanta’s o-line, they were horrible in the last game-winning drive, though. They were crumbling almost instantly on every play with the Eagles rushing only four.

      Was that only the last drive? In any event, I think this is accurate on the last drive. What stands out to me, though, is how they looked for most of the game–which is better than what I remember.

  4. Bengals-Colts

    I don’t know if the Colts are actually better than what I’ve seen or if the Bengals are bad. Overall, Luck looked good, although his ball security has to be better (if they ever get to the playoffs).

    Bills-Ravens

    Only watched a little of this game. I don’t really have strong impressions, but I have two: Ravens offense looks better, but the Bills are candidates for the worst team in the league.

    Buccaneers-Saints

    Bombs away! I don’t know how many deep passes were thrown in this game, but there seemed to be a lot. Today the Bucs QB was Fitzmagic. Also, the Saints won’t go far unless they dramatically improve their defense. (To be fair, the Bucs may have a lot of pass catchers that create difficult match ups for any defense.)

    Texans-Patriots

    A typical game where the Patriots don’t look all that dominant, but the score suggests they are. I don’t know if the Patriots just had the right schemes/gameplan, or if the Texans aren’t that good. The Texans certainly don’t like great. Brady consistently had great pass protection, and they could run the ball quite well, from what I recall.

    Although I hate the Patriots, Belichick and his team are truly amazing.

    49ers-Vikings

    Even though the Niners lost, the game adds credence to those who think the Niners are a playoff team that could far. The Vikings controlled the game in the first half, but in the second half, that seemed to be flipped around. The Vikings offense struggled, and the Niners offense got going. I get the impression that play calling was huge, especially for the Niner offense. It’s not crazy to me that the Niners could emerge as a top tier team in the league.

    The game felt like a harbinger of what we’ll see in the future–namely, these two teams in a big playoff battle.

    One other thing. Cousins still has tendency to throw dangerous passes. If he doesn’t change that, I predict the Vikings likely won’t go far into the playoffs because of this.

    OK, one more thing. The Vikings defense is still very, very good, but for whatever reason they just fall short of greatness/dominance. I don’t know why I feel that way.

    Jaguars-Giants

    Based on this game I don’t t get the sense that the Jags defense has taken the next step (although I don’t think they allowed a lot of explosive plays).

    I’m not sure what to make of the Giants. On offense, they look a little better, but not by a lot. Playing against a good defense like the Jaguars could be a big reason for this, though.

    Steelers-Browns

    I didn’t watch a lot of this game, but Roethlisberger didn’t look good.

    Chiefs-Chargers

    Tyreek Hill was a one-man wrecking crew. Mahomes showed off his arm, and his ball security was really good. It should be noted that the Chargers didn’t have Bosa and Liuget (also Verrett is out for the season). In any event, the Chiefs looked significantly better than the Chargers. (I liked the Chargers play calling for the most part, especially the way Whisenhunt got the run game going.)

    Redskins-Cardinals

    I only watched a few plays. The Cardinals defense looked really bad. Actually, same with the offense. Based on this, they could be a candidate for one of the worst teams in the league.

    Seahawks-Broncos

    Seahawks had some nice explosive plays, but they sucked on 3rd downs, and didn’t really have any long, clock-chewing drives. As I’ve said, I think that’s the key to their success. I have to go back and watch the game, but I wasn’t as disgusted with the OL. I think the main reason for this is that the OL didn’t really allow for any free rushers or a lot of blown up run plays. The pocket wasn’t really chaotic. It’s sad that I felt initially satisfied because I didn’t see these things.

    Still, the pass protection wasn’t that good. However, some of this could be due to coverage. Baldwin wasn’t 100% and he had to leave the game due to injury. Some of this is on Wilson, too (e.g., he had two sacks for big losses).

    If it wasn’t for Keenum’s (awful) turnovers (3 INTs, which should have been 4), the game wouldn’t have been so close in my opinion. I suspect the Joseph had to think about benching him.

    The Seahawk defense is a work in progress. The Broncos ran the ball well against them. Shaquem started, but he struggled, and I believe he was taken out of the game.

    On a positive note, Wil Dissly and Michael Dickson looked really good.

    1. Re-watched the Seahawks-Broncos game. Thoughts:

      1. The OL wasn’t great, but they look significantly better from last year–in two specific areas. In pass-pro, they’re at least not allowing free rushers, and they’re forming decent pockets even if duration may not be always long (although they had a few, which seems better than last year). In the run game, they often got a good push and created good space to run. They also limited the amount of penetration. If Denver has a really good front seven and they played fairly well, this is a good sign.

      2. If the defense can get better in terms of positioning, I feel like they can reduce the explosive plays that lead to scores and can better defend the run. I feel like this is an attainable goal. (In contrast, I doubt the pass rush is going to significantly improve.)

  5. Rams-Raiders

    Raiders actually kept this close, and I don’t think it’s the defense’s fault, especially if the Rams are supposed to be a great offense. (They didn’t look it.) To me, the blame goes to Carr. He had two bad throws that lead to INTS, and another atrociously bad throw leading to another (reminiscent of Neil O’Donnell’s INT to Larry Brown in the Super Bowl).

    Marshawn had a couple of nice runs.

    Both teams ran a lot of no huddle. Hurrah.

    Lions-Jets

    Lions look similar to last year only worse, on defense and the QB position. Stafford looks like his earlier pre-Jim Caldwell self. (Read; Bad passes leading to turnovers.)

    The Jets didn’t look great. The ZBS running game was just OK, thought.

    1. I wanted to add something about the Gruden and the Raiders offense. Yes, the did run the ball, utilizing heavy run packages. That’s cool. The problem, in my opinion, is that Gruden seems to have run formations/plays and pass formations/plays. I prefer utilizing a lot formations/plays where an offense can, and does, run and pass effectively. Play action (and draws) should be used to integrate the running and passing. Throw in some constraint/misdirection plays, and you should be set. This isn’t how Gruden’s offenses operate, and that’s one of the reasons I disliked him. (I’m pretty sure he did this when he was coaching previously, too.)

      tl;dr I hated Gruden’s style of offense before, and he really hasn’t changed.

  6. I watched parts of the first half and thought Carr looked good. Did not see his interceptions though.

    Reid,

    It’s just one week, but which teams did you think looked the best this weekend?

    1. Don,

      I watched parts of the first half and thought Carr looked good. Did not see his interceptions though.

      If you watched the whole game, I think it would have confirmed your negative impression of Carr. In the early part of the game, I thought, “OK, maybe he’s getting returning to form,” but by the end of the game, I’m moving into the camp where I have serious doubts of whether he’ll ever be a really good QB. I assume he’s healthy, so injuries explains this.

      It’s just one week, but which teams did you think looked the best this weekend?

      First tier:

      Vikings
      49ers
      Chiefs

      These teams look like the best, but the gap between them and some other teams in the next tier might not be that far or could be closed by the end of the season.

      Interestingly, of these teams, the 49ers are the most intriguing. If we assume that they will only improve as the season goes on, they have the chance to be one of the best teams in the league. Defensively they might not be dominant, but they could be formidable, and my sense is that Shanahan could be the difference maker in elevating this offense. That Niners-Vikings game had almost a slight playoff feel, a kind of foreshadowing of what’s to come.

      This impression is based on only one game, and teams can look great one week and totally different the next, so I could be totally wrong.

      With regard to the Chiefs, you can see the arm talent of Mahomes. It’s not just power, but accuracy, too. If his ball security is good–and he can perform in pressure situations–and the defense is as good as they seemed against the Chargers (not great, but good enough), they are also serious contenders.

      1. Based on what I heard and add to that what I saw, the Eagles may have gotten better on defense. Could it be that the Falcons are not as good as people thought on offense, at least in this first game, maybe. But Sal Pal, said that the Eagles secondary could be really, really good this year. Add that to an already great front seven and they could be scary.

        1. Based on what I heard and add to that what I saw, the Eagles may have gotten better on defense.

          I didn’t really see that, not in the Atlanta game. But this is colored by my expectations that the front four would be terrific, and the Atlanta OL can be shaky. Maybe the Atlanta OL is better than I thought. It could also be that the defense hasn’t hit their stride.

          It’s really too early to make any strong claims about the teams, at least for me. A lot of teams could perform significantly better than what we’ve seen, and other teams may regress.

          Could it be that the Falcons are not as good as people thought on offense, at least in this first game, maybe.

          I haven’t been impressed with Sarkisian, and my theory is that the offense in Sark’s first year had some residual effects from the previous year with Shanahan. (I think this is not uncommon.) In year two, those effects should be wearing off, and now Sark’s influence will be more pronounced. Again, I don’t think he’s that good. To put it in a more kind (and maybe fair way), he’s not the type of OC that can really elevate an offense. (I’d put Shanahan in that group; Sean Payton; Belichick; not sure who else.)

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