2018-2019 NFL Week 2

Thu
Ravens-Bengals

Sun
Panthers-Falcons
Chargers-Bills
Vikings-Packers
Browns-Saints
Dolphins-Jets
Chiefs-Steelers
Eagles-Buccaneers
Texans-Titans
Colts-Redskins
Cardinals-Rams
Lions-49ers
Raiders-Broncos
Patriots-Jaguars
Giants-Cowboys

Mon
Seahawks-Bears

26 thoughts on “2018-2019 NFL Week 2

  1. Some general comments heading into week 2.

    My general sense is that there really aren’t any great teams, or any really great defenses (especially physical defenses). There seems to be many teams that range between OK and good but not really very good. The first tier teams would be in the very good range. This leads to some evenly matched, but relatively dull games in my view.

    By the way, if this is true and remains true, this puts the Patriots in play to win it all. Without a great defense and really good run team, it also puts into play the pass-oriented teams.

    I’m going to be keeping an eye on Carolina. They could be a dark horse and a potential favorite to me. They play in a style that I like. If their defense gets better and more physical, and they can control the clock, I think they could be emerge and do damage in the playoffs. If, these things occur.

    I also mentioned the Niners as a dark horse/team to watch. (I didn’t realize that Garappolo had 3 INTs, though. That’s not a good sign.)

    Of the games, I’m most interested in Panthers-Falcons, Seahawks-Bears, Vikings-Packers, Chiefs-Steelers, and Giants-Cowboys.

    1. More evidence that the Raiders are returning to the last chapter of Al Davis’s career–they signed Martavis Bryant, after they cut him:

      1. …or the middle chapters of his career, when he signed Lyle Alzado, John Matuszak, Ted Hendricks, George Blanda, and Jim Plunkett.

        1. Meaning, you think there is a reasonable chance that this could be the case? What percentages would you give it? I would be ecstatic if you’re correct, but I think the odds are very low. Doug Martin looks like he’s done. I liked the Jordy signing, but I don’t think he’s much more than a solid #3 or a an OK #2 at best. I’m skeptical Derrick Johnson, at 35 and coming off an injury I believe, has much left in the tank.

        2. I’m not saying there’s a reasonable chance of anything. I’m just saying the Raiders won Super Bowls with guys other teams didn’t want, at a time when people said the same thing about their guys as you’re saying about these guys. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.

          1. I guess I don’t think the odds of these players working out are the same as if they don’t. I’ll be surprised if these players/moves will be good for the team.

          2. I think you’re missing my point, which is that Al Davis sorta made his hall-of-fame career making moves where people like you (and people with even more knowledge than you) said the same thing. Your skepticism is warranted, but I think your citation of the “later years of Al Davis” could as easily be a citation of the middle years of Al Davis.

  2. Seahawks declare KJ Wright, Bobby Wagner and Doug Baldwin all out for Monday night at Chicago. Flowers, Hill and Fluker are doubtful. Shaquill Griffin questionable.— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) September 15, 2018

    This could get ugly for Seattle’s defense. It’s not just not having good players like Wagner and Wright, but the lack of discipline, knowledge and proper positioning that I worry about. I think these things are crucial when facing a misdirection, college-style offense.

  3. Ravens-Bengals

    Two good teams, that seemed pretty evenly matched. Bengals just got out to a big lead.

    Good OL play from both sides especially in pass protection.

    Ravens are more of a pass-oriented/shotgun team, which I don’t really understand. I don’t think Flacco is good enough to build around in this way, but I think he could be really good on a more run-first team (like Jags or maybe Vikings. I’d rather have Flacco than Cousins).

    I like what I’ve seen from Joe Mixon so far.

  4. Jets-Dophins

    Jets turned the ball over 3 times. That’s probably the main reason they lost.

    I like how Miami runs out of shotgun/spread.

    Darnold looks good, even though he had two bad picks.

    Jets OL struggled, losing battle in the trenches.

    Panthers-Falcons

    This was a pretty good game. I thought Falcons OL and running game was the key, while Panthers OL struggled a bit (including penalties). It got to the point where the Panthers D couldn’t stop the Falcons offense.

    Vikings-Packers

    Packers OL very good, and that’s a big reason they got a big lead. The Vikings D, to their credit, held the Packers to a bunch of FGs, keeping them in the game.

    Vikings OL was OK, but shaky.

    Treadwill for the Vikings had two passes bounce of his hands, one that would’ve converted a 3rd down and the other lead to an INT.

    3 misses by Vikings kicker, including the game winner. (Vikings might be in trouble with their kicker.)

    Eagles-Buccaneers

    Buccaneers have weapons, but the OL was key. I don’t know if the Eagles front seven just isn’t as good as we thought or the Buc’s OL is really good. They could go be very dangerous if the OL is as good as they’ve looked so far.

    Buc’s DL looked like they wore down a bit at the end.

    Patriots-Jaguars

    Jaguars decided to pass a lot to win this, and it worked (making my claim that Bortles has the yips a little dubious, if not silly).

    However, the Jags had two turnovers that almost allowed the Patriots to come back into this.

  5. Browns-Saints

    Tyrod Taylor’s INT near the end of the game was a costly mistake, but he made up for it with a bomb for a TD a little later.

    Browns defense did a pretty good job of containing the Saints offense.

    Browns kicker missed three crucial kicks at the end.

  6. KC, Pitt:

    Mahomes looks like the real deal. I’m going to guess that Reid, will give the other Reid most of the credit, but Mahomes looks great in and out of the pocket. His accuracy isn’t in the elite category, but better than average. There are many pundits who were saying Deshaun is the future, where I wasn’t on board, I think Mahomes could be the future (It’s way early, but he looks that good.). The Steelers D was pretty nonexistent for most of the game. They can play the run decently, but had no answers for the Chief’s passing attack. Big Ben played well, though. He was sort of making the Chief’s D look terrible almost single-handedly.

    Jags, Pats:

    It almost seemed that the Pats were out-coached. I think I watched almost three quarters, and I don’t think Jacksonville punted once. The Pats game plan had to be stop the run, and the Jags came out throwing the ball all over the place. One would have thought the Pats would have adjusted, but never seem to, at least while I was watching. The Belichick backers will say that this was a master scheme to see how his players would adapt or learn, but it definitely didn’t seem that Belichick wanted to change his defensive scheme.

    Cowboys, Giants:

    I’ll start by saying that I have to back off a little bit from Dallas as a contender talk. They cannot run the ball at will as they once could. They really seem to miss Leary who was able to fill out the line and be nasty. I do think Dallas’ defense can carry them, but if the offense is as bad as these first two games, they will struggle to win games consistently. FWIW, Dallas will welcome back Irving making their defense even better. Back to game though, the Cowboys front four struggled to get pressure early in the game, but the Giants played a lot of max protections, keeping their TE in to block on passing plays. I thought it was a bad sign that Dallas had to blitz to get pressure and that Dallas’ defense would eventually crack. But as the game wore on, the Giants front couldn’t stop Dallas defensive front, and that was when it didn’t seem the Giants had a chance to do anything on offense. Dallas, on the other hand, couldn’t run the ball with Zeke and it really limited their offense. Will they have to run Dak more and loosen up the defense, maybe, but outside of Dak’s runs, Dallas could barely run the ball. I’ll just end by saying how good Barkley is. He was the only guy doing anything for the Giants. Dallas could never get him down on first contact. He is special.

    Reid’s first week picks as best teams held up pretty well in week 2. Did anybody else join the first tier after week 2?

    1. Re: Steelers-Chiefs

      Mahomes looks like the real deal. I’m going to guess that Reid, will give the other Reid most of the credit, but Mahomes looks great in and out of the pocket.

      I think Reid is critical for their offensive success, but I admit I’m awed by the way Mahomes has looked/played so far. The real test is going to come when the stakes are higher, and/or when Mahomes has to pass, to bring his team back. Can he make the plays and protect the football? Alex Smith looked really good in regular season games, too, but it’s how he performed in the playoffs and in situations where he had to pass a lot to win the game. I have no idea how Mahomes will look in those situations. He sure looks good now, though.

      The Steelers D was pretty nonexistent for most of the game. They can play the run decently, but had no answers for the Chief’s passing attack.

      That basically describes their defense for the past one or two seasons. (Prior to that they might not have been great against the run, too.) It’s a huge problem, one that has lingered too long in my view.

      My guess is that the Steelers have never been able to advance and adapt successfully beyond the Dick LeBeau 3-4 blitzburg defense, and that’s really a significant failing in my view. I feel like Tomlin either should have gotten a new DC (and switched to the 4-3), or the Steelers should have moved on from Tomlin.

      Just to expand on this a bit. In the past three or four years (maybe more), I think I’d argue that the Steelers have really underachieved, given their roster. Now, maybe they’ve put up good offensive numbers, but with their roster I think they’ve should have been more competitive in the playoffs. My bias for run-first offenses is showing here, but I think they would have a better playoff record (especially against the Patriots) if they installed a more run-first/play-action based offense.

      Jags-Patriots

      It almost seemed that the Pats were out-coached….The Pats game plan had to be stop the run, and the Jags came out throwing the ball all over the place. One would have thought the Pats would have adjusted, but never seem to, at least while I was watching.

      I agree with a lot of this. Here’s what I think happened. The Jags offense ran a more spread-based, pass-heavy attack. That might not have been that surprising (for me or for Belichick), but the surprising thing is that once they got a lead, they kept playing in this style. In the playoff games, if I recall recall correctly, the Jags got conservative and started trying to pound the ball. The Patriots seemed ready for this. My guess is that the Patriots employed the same approach, daring the Bortles to beat them. And that’s exactly what he did, although I got the sense the coaches were really prepared for this. There were WRs that were wide open, fairly deep down the field. But credit should be given to Bortles for being poised and making those throws (also running quite well at times).

      I don’t think this was about Belichick not adjusting. This was the decision–make Bortles beat them, especially when they got a lead. The Patriots don’t seem to have a good roster on defense; it’s the same story of relying on smoke and mirrors–meaning, they’ve got to game plan properly, and if they do, they can look great.

      By the way, this game made me think of the Patriots-Panthers Super Bowl. Patriots seemed to game plan to take away the run, and make Delhomme beat them. What was surprising was that Fox turned Delhomme loose, and Delhomme almost lead them to victory, playing schoolyard ball. Unlike the Jags, I think this was an act of desperation, Fox didn’t plan this.

      Cowboys-Giants

      I’ll start by saying that I have to back off a little bit from Dallas as a contender talk. They cannot run the ball at will as they once could. They really seem to miss Leary who was able to fill out the line and be nasty.

      I tend to think if they had Frederick, things could be significantly different. (And maybe if Frederick didn’t struggle so much.)

      I do think Dallas’ defense can carry them, but if the offense is as bad as these first two games, they will struggle to win games consistently.

      This is especially true if they face a lot of long yardage situations (which reduced yesterday, and stayed on schedule). The defense does seem solid, one of those defenses much better than teams think. The windows seem smaller against their secondary, and they defend the run well.

      This would be a really strong contender if they the offense in Dak’s first year.

      the Cowboys front four struggled to get pressure early in the game, but the Giants played a lot of max protections, keeping their TE in to block on passing plays. I thought it was a bad sign that Dallas had to blitz to get pressure and that Dallas’ defense would eventually crack. But as the game wore on, the Giants front couldn’t stop Dallas defensive front, and that was when it didn’t seem the Giants had a chance to do anything on offense.

      I agree. The Giants OL isn’t awful perhaps, but they’re not that great, either. They’re going to have to be a lot better for this team to do damage in my opinion. This is not only for Eli, but for the run game as well.

      I’m close to saying Eli is done–or at least not good enough to be the focal point of the team. I feel like they need a much better run game.

      Reid’s first week picks as best teams held up pretty well in week 2. Did anybody else join the first tier after week 2?

      I look at my list and see if anyone else joins the first tier, but as for my list holding up, the one that comes to mind is the Saints. They’re not looking as good as I first had them. They’re defense is not looking as good as I thought they would be.

      1. Reid,

        I will say Alex Smith looked good for half a regular season (the first half) last year in all his seasons with KC, but other than that, never as good as Mahomes has thus far.

        I was actually referring to your list after week one, which was Vikes, Chiefs, and Niners. What about the Rams? Hard to judge after this week’s opponent, but they have to be in the conversation at least for tier 1. They have dominated their first two games, especially after the first half against the Raiders.

        No comments on Barkley? Mitchell was impressed with him as well, based on his comment. And that’s with him rushing for a mere 27 (?) yards.

        1. I will say Alex Smith looked good for half a regular season (the first half) last year in all his seasons with KC, but other than that, never as good as Mahomes has thus far.

          The difference for me is mostly arm talent, though. This difference won’t be significant if Mahomes struggles under pressure and/or in a situation where he has to pass the ball a lot in a conventional offense. (Cf. Trubisky at the end of the week 1 Packers game.)

          I was actually referring to your list after week one, which was Vikes, Chiefs, and Niners. What about the Rams? Hard to judge after this week’s opponent, but they have to be in the conversation at least for tier 1.

          No comments on Barkley? Mitchell was impressed with him as well, based on his comment. And that’s with him rushing for a mere 27 (?) yards.

          For some reason, just based on the performance I saw, “special” isn’t the word I would use. I think he could be, but the performance didn’t evoke that word. What I did see was that he was working really hard to constantly turn nothing (or worse) into something. That stood out for me. With a really good OL, it’s not hard to believe that he would be really good, if not special.

  7. For what it’s worth, I’m hearing others give Andy Reid a lot of credit for Mahomes as well.

    My overall impression of the Cowboys-Giants game is that it was a fast game. It was over by 5:15, and those games usually go to 6:00 or so.

    Elliott was more effective in the third and fourth quarters, something that might suggest the Cowboys should work a little more ground-and-pound into their plan. Also, are these Dallas receivers going to get better? I still like Cole Beasley but he can’t be your best option or you’re never making the playoffs.

    Manning was sacked six times. Barkley looks like a high-first-round NFL running back. I like him catching the ball out of the backfield too.

    1. I think Deonte Thompson was Dallas’ best receiver last night, well sans the Austin TD. I have some hope for the Cowboy’s receivers, but they definitely need to be “secondary” to a good running attack.

  8. Seahawks-Bears

    Seattle, for most of the night, looked like a bottom tier team. The defense has some excuse as Wagner, Wright, and Flowers, their rookie starting corner, didn’t play. But the offense doesn’t have the same excuse. For most of the night they looked overwhelmed by the Bears defense. Having said that, they had a chance to win this, until Russell Wilson’s two turnovers, especially a pick 6.

    On the Bears side, Trubisky didn’t look good tonight, and he gave kept the Seahawks in the game, in my opinion.

    One last thing. Some commentators and fans criticize Wilson for not throwing the ball away more, particularly from the pocket. The commentators said this when Wilson took a sack near his goal line. But I have a feeling Wilson is reluctant to do this because the ball can get deflected or knocks away, as Mack did on one play. I feel like Wilson’s height is one of big reason for this.

  9. I only watch parts of the game, but here are some of my thoughts. The Bears have the most gimmicky, college offense in the NFL is my guess. 60-70% of their plays seem to have some kind of misdirection element to it. I feel like the Bears and Trubisky needs to throw the ball down the field more and open up some of that underneath stuffs.

    Seattle’s D was pretty good especially against the run. The Bears, outside of the jet sweeps, couldn’t do much in the running game. On offense though, it’s more of the same with Seattle. They seem to really miss Doug Baldwin and without Baldwin, I don’t think there is a big difference in weapons between the Seahawks and Cowboys. Seattle didn’t seem to want to stick with the run as much as they did in the past. I was surprised at how the Bears could blitz Wilson, maintain their lanes and be effective doing it.

    Is Baldwin back for the Cowboy game?

    1. They seem to really miss Doug Baldwin and without Baldwin,…

      True. What’s sad is that with a healthy Baldwin, plus Lockett, Marshall and Dissly (TE), this could be the best pass catching group Wilson has had since 2012.

      Is Baldwin back for the Cowboy game?

      I think so, but if he does, he won’t be 100%. Before his recent knee injury, he was coming an injury on his other knee, saying that it would be an issue the whole year.

      On a positive note, Dickson had a pretty good game (except for one muffed punt). He also dropped kicked a kickoff. I want to see him drop kick a field goal:

      1. Based on Marshall’s lack of production and your past admiration of Jimmy Graham, I find you claim that this could be one of Seattle’s better receiving corp, somewhat surprising.

        1. I thought Graham was a playmaker, and when the Seahawks traded for him (after they lost to the Super Bowl to the Patriots), getting a pass catching playmaker was a priority (as much as improving the OL in my view).

          But Graham proved to be a bad fit for Seattle’s run-first offense (and maybe he’s just not as good a playmaker as I thought).

          With Marshall, he hasn’t put up big numbers, but he’s made some nice catches. Without Baldwin, defenses can put better defenders on him. If Baldwin played and defenses had to put their #1 and #2 CBs on Baldwin and Lockett, I think Marshall could be productive against the #3.

          Wil Dissly is looking good as a TE. He has good hands, and he is a better runner than people may think. He’s also not easy to bring down.

          I really think a healthy Baldwin could make a significant difference–how significant, I’m not sure.

        1. I don’t think there’s much benefit, but it’s something novel and cool to see.

          On the other hand, given the distance that Dickson can get on these kicks, if he could do this for a FG or extra point, you could theoretically go without a kicker, opening up a roster spot. That seems kinda crazy, though. (Also, if I’m not mistaken, a drop-kicked FG is worth only 2 points.)

  10. Josh Gordon is a Patriot.

    This makes me think of something I heard someone say a couple of months ago. It’s been a running joke that the Patriots like small, white WRs, and they seem to pluck these guys out of nowhere and turn them into Wes Welker and Julian Edelmann.

    But this person hinted that maybe it’s not a preference for little white guys. What if Belichick is exploiting a market inefficiency? What if little white receivers are undervalued, therefore making it cheap and easy for the Patriots to pick up guys who are good enough for their system while paying them less for their production than they’d pay other receivers for the same production?

    The market is obviously down on Gordon, and he’s making less than a million bucks per year. It seems like a low-risk proposition to suggest a new environment on a winning team might be the thing Gordon needs, while cheap yardage is exactly what the Patriots need.

    1. What if Belichick is exploiting a market inefficiency?

      My sense is that the Belichick believes he can get WRs (and RBs*) on the cheap and still be very successful. He picked up Chad Johnson, Michael Floyd, and Brandon LaFell, to name three bigger, black WRs. Except for the QB position, I get the sense Belichick thinks that he doesn’t need super talented players to be successful. He’s backed this up over a long period of time.

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