2018-2019 NFL Week 4

Thu
Rams-Vikings

Sun
Texans-Colts
Bills-Packers
Buccaneers-Bears
Dolphins-Patriots
Lions-Cowboys
Bengals-Falcons
Jets-Jaguars
Eagles-Titans
Browns-Raiders
Seahawks-Cardinals
Saints-Giants
49ers-Chargers
Ravens-Steelers

Mon
Chiefs-Broncos

12 thoughts on “2018-2019 NFL Week 4

  1. General thoughts.

    The Rams-Vikings match up should be a good one. Normally, after the buttwhooping the Vikings received, I would think they would be sharp and hungry. What gives me pause about this is that the team has removed Eversen Griffin, and he can’t return until he clears a psychological test. I wonder if this really disrupted the Vikings last week, or if they just took the Bills for granted?

    Anyway, the Vikings defense should present a good challenge for the Rams. They seem to rely more on a base defense, so the Rams manipulation of tempo shouldn’t be too disruptive. I also except Zimmer to successfully dial up some pressure on Goff in a few crucial moments. If that happens, it’ll be interesting to see how Goff handles this.

    In terms of the Viking offense, the OL has to be better against this front. And they need to run the ball better than they did.

    It’ll be interesting to see the way the Patriots respond. If they don’t respond well, the Dolphins could crush them.

    Cowboys could get crushed in this, too.

    I was getting excited about the Seahawks, but I’m coming down to earth. They should win this, but I’m going to guess they’re an 8-8 team.

  2. Vikings-Rams

    I don’t know if you guys agree, but the Rams defense is not that good–they’re just OK. (Having said that, they came up huge at the end of the game, with two sacks and stripping Cousins and recovering the ball to basically end the game.) If the defense was very good, around the Vikings level, the Rams could be approaching the all-time great level.

    The offense is dominant. They don’t seem to have any weaknesses, and they are approaching the ideal vision of a pro-style offense in my view. Opposing defenses are constantly in the position of picking their poison–which is when a pro style is functioning at the highest level. I don’t think any other offense has reached this point. It all starts up front in my opinion. The Steelers, Saints, and Packers have really good OLs, but the Rams are the best in my opinion. They remind of the recent Cowboy OLs when they were at their best. For run-blocking, if they’re not creating good lanes, they’re frequently getting a good push off the ball. I counted maybe one or two plays where the Vikings got good penetration. A few more where Gurley only gained one or two. The rest seemed like 4 yards or more. To this, they add a ton of play action and constraint plays–like jet sweeps and quick screens. It seems like a simple offense, or at least not super complex. But when you have an OL like they do, with the skill position players, not only can work, but it’s almost unstoppable. (I think the variations in tempo also helps. They seemed to use slightly less hurry up tonight.)

    A word about Goff. This is what a QB looks like when they’re comfortable, confident, and in a groove. He reminds of Carson Palmer and Cam Newton in 2015, or even Dak Prescott in 2016, to some degree. The OL is doing a really good job of protecting him. The pressure and hits are minimal, and most of the time he has a very clean pocket with more than enough time.

    The Vikings bounced back from the Bills and played really well. They were just facing a better team, I think. I’m still concerned that they can’t run the ball so well. Their OL looked much better, but they kind of broke down near the end of the game.

    One last thing about the Rams. While I think they’re mostly a pro-style offense, I’m slightly hesitant to call them this–or at least I’m hesitant to call them a run-based offense. I get the sense that they favor passing more. That is, they’re more aggressive, more about scoring, then they are conservative and more focused on pounding the ball. This is not a ground-and-pound offense for sure. They feel more like Air Coryell. What do you guys think?

  3. This does not bode well for the Vikings in my opinion, especially if Cousins achieves this. When I look at the rushing from the last two weeks, it may be a necessity. Or it just may be DeFilippo’s style. In either, case, this lessens my view of their team and their Super Bowl prospects.

  4. Reid,

    How did you think Goff looked? He had couple nice throws on the run. I may have to change my tune on him. My criticisms were more accuracy to the outside. I’m not sure how much that has improved. And in the past there were times he looked like he was looking down receivers and maybe not going through his progressions. I’m going to guess that, that part of his game is improving.

    Eagles, Titans:

    I only watch part of this game. Mariota was not always great in this game, but he had more good than bad for sure. His run in the OT to get their team to 4th and 2 was the game winner. He seems to perform when his teams needs him. I don’t understand how the Eagles offense fall “behind the chains” and still be a good offense. The Eagles were constantly in third and long.

    Steelers, Ravens:

    Big Ben was unbelievable in the Chiefs game. In this one he was horrible. Who knows what Ben the Steelers are going to get. The Ravens and Flacco look decent. Give Flacco some weapons and weapons that can good deep, and he can be okay. I like how the Ravens consistently threw long. The Steelers are close to done.

    Earl Thomas:

    I don’t really blame Thomas for being angry. Not classy in any sense of the word, but I definitely can feel for him. On the other hand, Earl’s value took a nose dive and who knows if Seattle will get anything for him.

    1. How did you think Goff looked?

      He looked really good. As I said, he is in a groove right now, and I think even if other aspects of the offense struggles, he’s playing with such confidence that I suspect he can overcome little glitches like that.

      As I mentioned, my main problem with Goff last year was his ability to throw when facing pressure. Right now, he is facing very little pressure, so the jury is out on that. If you tell me the Rams will be able to maintain this through the playoffs up to the through the Super Bowl, I think they have a good chance of winning it all. (This is especially true since there doesn’t seem to be any great defenses or teams with really good run-based offenses.)

      I only watch part of this game.

      Same here. I stopped after Mariota’s INT, but then I fast forwarded to the OT. As Daryl Johnston pointed out, the Titans converted 3 4th downs, and there weren’t 4th and short. I think that says something worse about the Eagles defense than something positive about the Titans offense.

      One impression I had: The Titans defense is significantly better than last year, and could be one of the better defenses in the league (which may not be saying a lot this year).

      The Steelers are close to done.

      I didn’t really watch this game, but I wonder if the off-field stuff is affecting the team. Actually, even if you take that away, the direction and performance of both their offense and defense hasn’t been good in the last few years, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Their offense has been impressive at times during that stretch, but I never got the sense it could beat the Patriots. If you’re the Steelers, you’ve got to assume that that you’re going to meet the Patriots in the playoffs, and you’ve got to have a style that can beat them. They haven’t done that, in my opinion.

      I don’t really blame Thomas for being angry.

      Yeah, I agree. It’s a complicated issue. On one hand, I can understand why Earl’s mad. On the other other hand, the occurrence of the injury is precisely why the Seahawks (and probably other teams) are reluctant to give him a long term contract with significant guaranteed money. You can say the injury vindicates the Seahawks’ decision not to extend his contract.

      This is a really terrible, unfair situation for football players. My thoughts turn to ways that they could get guaranteed money without either hurting the team (because of the cap) or without giving an unfair advantage to wealthier teams (if you made some exceptions to the cap). One thought I had was to have a pool of money that the league and all teams would equally contribute, and that pool would pay for players that had season-ending injuries. These payments would not count against the cap. I have no idea if this is feasible, though.

  5. Seahawks-Cardinals

    I felt pretty disgusted at the end of the game, not satisfied at all with the win. The way they played, I want to say the Seahawks suck–on both sides of the ball. They’ve played worse, but overall this is not a good team. The Cardinals are not a good team, so when you don’t play well against such an opponent that is a bad sign.

    Lions-Cowboys

    Ezkiel Elliot. He was the story. Cowboys need to keep trying to sustain this. Make him the focal point, and getting him going should be a key goal for every game.

    I don’t get the Lions. I used to think they’re missing a few pieces–and you could say that on defense, and maybe at the RB position, but they’ve got a third WRs in Kenny Golladay, now.

    Bengals-Falcons

    Lots of offense.

    Browns-Raiders

    Lots of offense. But also a game that was going to be decided by which team lived up to its woefulness more.

    For a very long time (maybe twenty years), the Raiders have been characterized by boneheaded lapses. When Reggie McKenzie came on board, with each year they seemed to be moving away from that, although they never really got rid of it. I was expecting more progress on this front with Gruden, but that is not the case.

    1. I don’t get the Lions.

      The Lions offense wasn’t good? They seem to be doing okay. I think Stafford had 300 yards. I thought Dallas D took their worse beating of the year in this one, although I didn’t watch so I cannot say for sure. I would have thought that Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith would have made Sean Lee’s absence a little better, but this game proved to be much of the same with Lee out and Dallas just getting steamrolled.

      1. I thought Dallas D took their worse beating of the year in this one, …

        There’s something to this. I remember thinking: Maybe this defense isn’t as good as I thought. Still, there was something lacking, maybe the running game. I also was thinking about the Lions, overall. For example, the defense didn’t look that good, against a Cowboys offense that has struggled significantly up until this point.

  6. Chiefs-Broncos

    I was feeling disappointed that no team had a strong defense and run game this year. The Broncos came close to that type of team tonight. If they can run the ball like they did (and against teams with weaker defenses, it’s possible), they have the type of team that could upset explosive offensive oriented teams in the playoffs.

    Chiefs seemed to utilize a lot of spread. The offense was less explosive, I thought, and Mahomes didn’t look as good. I wondered if Reid wanted to get Mahomes used to playing in this style. In any event, I think Mahomes came up big–evading the pass rush and making throws–at the end of the game. This is the kind of thing that Alex Smith is usually not good at, and it’s the kind of thing the Chiefs will need to go deep into the playoffs.

    1. My sense is that the Raiders/Gruden aren’t really a true run-first offense. For one thing, when it comes down to it, I think Gruden prefers to pass over running the ball. Second, I still don’t think they do a good job of meshing the running and passing, especially using the run to set up the pass via play action. (Rams have been good at this; Patriots, when they go to a more pro-style offense, and even the Cowboys.)

      I think Gruden wants running to be a feature–he doesn’t want to be one-dimensional–so that’s a good thing. But the problems above remain.

      (On a side note, I don’t know why they play Doug Martin. I wonder if Lionel Washington is hurt. I think I’d rather have him or even Jalen Richard.)

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