12 thoughts on “2018-2019 NFL Week 8”
Pre-game comments on Seahawks-Lions
I’m really looking forward to this game, primarily because I’m anxious to see if the ‘Hawks are really as good as they seemed in the last few weeks, and the Lions should (or could) provide a good test for that, especially since they just traded for Damon “Snacks” Harrison.
I still don’t think Schotty is a great OC, not the type whose coaching could make the Seahawks into a great offense, and a part of me feels like Carroll made a mistake in hiring him. That is, one of his top priorities should have been to hire someone better. With Carroll’s acumen on defense, all he’d need would be a great run-based OC, and I believe the Seahawks could be a great team.
Having said that, the Seahawks are running the ball way better, and they’ve been more physical, not just on offense, but defense, too. This display of physicality has been something that has really kindled my enthusiasm. I’m just hoping that this physicality and newfound run success is something real, and not primarily a product of weaker competition. Same with the defense. The Lions should provide a good test for that.
These are two teams that could make noise later in the season.
Pre-game Comments on Other Games
I’m interested in the Panthers-Ravens game, mainly to see just how good both teams are. If the Ravens play well, I’ll feel more confident that they’re a good team. I would also like to see them run more and run better than they have. Their chances of winning the Super Bowl would if they don’t have a strong run game that can carry them, and if they have to rely heavily on Flacco–i.e., a throw first, run second team.
If the Panthers play well, that will be a good sign, but I’ll still need to see more from them. My concern is that their defense and RBs seem good enough to make them a serious Super Bowl contender.
Saints-Vikings are also high on my list. I want to see the Saints defense play well. With the Vikings, I’m curious to see the impact of having Eversen Griffin. Also, my biggest concern with the Vikings is that they’re one-dimensional offensively. The trio of Diggs, Thielen, and Rudolph is excellent and Cousins has been playing well (making me a believer that he can lead them all the way), but not only do the Vikings seem like a pass-based offense, but they don’t have a run game that they can really rely on in a complementary role. I think this hurts their defense, or doesn’t help the defense be as strong as it could be.
Packers-Rams. Given the way the Packers defense has looked, I can’t imagine they’ll be able to do anything to slow down the Rams. Maybe they should try something radical a go with a 3-1-7 (D-line, LB, DB) line-up, daring the Rams to run? I also don’t see the Packers controlling the ball, Or would McCarthy be willing to run a lot and run from a pro style offense?
Two early turnovers by the Eagles hurt.
Jaguars are mostly a pass-first, spread offense, at least in this game.
Man, the Seahawks offense is looking scary. They’re looking good running the ball, and tying deep passing into this, which is a deadly combination.
Defenses had lapses on the two TDs, but they got 3 turnovers.
My sense is that the Lions didn’t really play badly (except for the turnovers)–the Seahawks just played better.
Man, I’m starting to let myself believe that the Seahawks are a good team. If so, look out.
This is a typical 2018 game that has made me so uncertain about NFL teams this season. I’m not sure if the Panthers OL got healthier, but I thought the Ravens front seven was supposed to be really good. They didn’t look like it to me. The Panthers OL did a solid job.
I can’t say the same for the Ravens OL, which is supposed to be among the best. The Panthers front seven put pressure on Flacco and stymied their running game.
Flacco had two INTs and didn’t look good, although to be fair, the entire Ravens offense didn’t look good.
Does this mean the Panthers are for real? The way they played against the Redskins (last week?) makes me a little unsure, but if they’re as good as they looked, they could be a scary team in the playoffs as well. (By the way, I liked Norv Turner’s play calling in this game.)
Broncos had a chance. They had some nice runs, but their OL looked like the old Seahawks OL, primarily in terms of penalties, which killed them.
Mahomes threw a near end of the game, and almost a second one.
One thing: Chiefs return game good. It’s not just Hill, but the blocking for him that would concern me if I played them.
(I’m writing this at the beginning of the 2nd half. Packers defense has been really good. They’re minimizing Gurley’s yardage and getting pressure on Goff. Rams dropping some passes as well.)
Packers getting away from the running the ball with Rodgers under center. You can tell McCarthy doesn’t like operating in that way or even running the ball. But I think the Packers won’t do as well if they’re playing from shotgun. Let’s see how it pans out.
End of 3rd. Seems like Packers going to trying to win by shoot out in the second half, instead of controlling ball and helping their defense. Defense seems to be breaking down. Also, I think Packers offense could function better with Rodgers under center, utilizing play action, but what do I know.)
Game’s over. Maybe the Packers playing from the shotgun, getting more one-dimensional wasn’t the reason they lost. It’s hard to say, as we don’t know if the offense would have functioned better with Rodgers under center and running the ball more. Would Donald have come up with those two big sacks? Hard to say.
The fumble on kick return was definitely ended the game.
Rams OL didn’t play as well. Goff looked a little rattled and played like it.
Side note about Seahawks-LIons game. Not sure if you guys saw or heard, but Seattle converted a first down on a punt that was supposed to be an intentional safety. Seahawks were about by 14 with two-minutes left in the game. Dickson, the punter, scrambled to his right, and when he saw open space ran for the first down. It wasn’t completely wide open as he took a hit near the first down marker.
This wasn’t part of the plan. Dickson just did this on his own, and Carroll publicly expressed enthusiasm for it. But I would be shocked if he and Schneider, the ST coach, don’t say, “That was fun, but in the same situation, don’t do that again.” It was a really stupid move that could have cost them the game.
I didn’t watch the entire Rams, Packers game, but I was trying to watch Rams’ o-line. On the running downs, the Packers seem to be willing to stack the box (which seems like a sound game plan). But in pass-pro, the Packers were rushing four and getting decent pressure.
I would agree Goff wasn’t always great, but I think he was able to show a little bit of what kind of player he could be outside of the Rams’ system. Was he holding the ball a few times where he should have gotten it out, I thought so, but other than that he played decent.
The Rams OL did not look as good as they did in the previous games. Indeed, I think this is the worst game by them. You mentioned surprise that other teams haven’t figured them out, and I suggested there might not be anything to figure out. Well, maybe this game suggests you were right. I have a vague sense the Packers figured something out. My guess is that the Packers figured out better fits and angles to clog running lanes and also find ways to fool the OL in terms of pass protection.
If it’s not that, then the other alternative is that the Rams Ol and offense overall had an off day. (They were also dropping more passes then I’ve seen from then. The Packers also had fairly stifling coverage, so that probably had something to do with it, as well as getting pressure on Goff.)
It’s more how he functions when pressured, particularly his ability to throw the ball. I can’t think of another QB whose passes malfunction under pressure. There was some of that in this game.
Did you see the Packers offense in the second half? I’m pretty annoyed by how they approached it (but this is in keeping with McCarthy)–getting away from a pro-style and going to almost exclusively to a spread. Yes, I believe they scored twice, but they did so relatively quickly. What they needed in my view was to also eat up some clock to help their defense. Their defense figured out a way to slow down the Rams offense. If the Packer offense controlled the clock, I think they would have been in a better position to win the game.
Then again, if Montgomery didn’t fumble the ball, Rodgers could have drove them down for a FG. (I understand that they told Montgomery to stay in the end zone. If this is true, this is another big blunder on ST from McCarthy’s crew. The other one that I’m thinking of is the one in the 2014 NFCCG, on the onside kick. The TE jumps up for the ball, and he was told to just block and let the ball go over him to their player.)
Just to clarify a couple things. Where do you have Goff overall? A top ten guy or closer to a top twenty guy (so average NFL starter). Also, when you said the Packers should have been in the spread less in the second half, is that based on what how they played in the first half or just as an overall offensive scheme? I didn’t watch the entire game, but wasn’t sure if you were saying they were productive in a pro set in the first half and got away from it too quickly or if you are saying the Packers in general shouldn’t go to the spread unless they absolutely have to.
I’m not sure. How would you rate a QB who was really good when not really facing pressure from a pass rush, but struggles to function when they do? Maybe the #10-#15?
This is what I meant. Based on what I’ve seen, the Rams don’t have a really good run defense. The Packers seemed to be effective running from a pro set, and I think play action could help their WRs/TEs. But for whatever reason, McCarthy (and maybe Rodgers) prefers to operate from a shotgun and find ways to get their WRs/TEs open through other means. Again, maybe the approach would have worked, if Montgomery hadn’t fumbled. But it’s also possible they would have put themselves in a better position to run, if they had consumed more clock, limiting the plays their defense would have to play.
Whatever they did on defense, it was the best defense I’ve seen against the Rams. It might have been better if the Packers controlled the clock better. (Then again, the Rams may have just had an off day, too.)
I would probably have Goff between 8-12 so we are definitely close. Tannehill is my line of demarcation. He is like the classic average QB at right about 15-18. I would put Goff above him. I would probably put Goff in a tier with Cousins, Mariota (although he has really struggled, so maybe not), and Ryan, which would be above guys like Keenum, Big Ben (currently), Dak, Garoppolo, and Dalton.
I’m pretty sure the only thing the Rams have on defense is their run defense. But I didn’t watch the game close enough to know if the Pack should have run more from a pro-set versus the spread. Interesting question is whether or not Rodgers would rather play from the spread. I could see both sides of that, because you could also see Rodgers wanting the team to run the ball more. Rodgers complained about his offense being too vanilla (Those are my words not his.), and in most cases spread offenses are more vanilla.
You asked about the Saints being a run-first team last year. There were numerous games last year like this week where Brees didn’t put up big numbers (maybe not as bad as this past week) and often his completions were to his running backs. I’m going to guess you have different definition of a run-first team, but last year the Saints were a scaled back version of a Payton/Brees normal offense for sure.
How would you rate a QB that is great with good pass pro and targets, but pretty bad when throwing under pressure? I put a lot of stock into that, and if a QB can make throws under a lot of pressure, they get a lot of points. If they can make difficult throws under pressure, they get even more points from me. Cousins has shot up my list because of that. Same with Ryan (and his ball security, under pressure, seems a lot better).
If you put aside throwing under pressure, Goff is pretty awesome. I think he’s making anticipation throws as well.
Mariota is sinking on my list. Of the guys you mentioned here, he might be last. Dalton is similar to Tannehill to me, although I think I’d give the edge to Dalton. Roethlisberger has been shaky/unreliable, but I would think he’s closer to the top of this group. Prescott may be slightly above Dalton–but he seems to be more the type that needs a strong supporting cast. He’s still young though. If he improves his reads and accuracy, I think he could rise above that.
The difference between Goff and QBs like Dalton, Tannehill and Prescott is that that his throws seem to really malfunction when under pressure. All QBs passes are affected by pressure, but I’m talking zero chance of being completed. I could be seeing things, but that’s something that has stood out for me. I don’t think there’s another QB like that (except for maybe rookies that aren’t that good).
Re: Garappolo. I’m not totally sure about him, but he has really nice tools–his footwork, ability to throw on the room. He kinda looks like a Bill Walsh type of QB.
You mean, this is the strongest part of their defense? I really don’t think this is the case. So far, they haven’t been good at defending the run–not by my eye test anyway.
I’d be more surprised if Rodgers was willing to run more, and throw less; utilizing more of a pro style offense. I tend to think more pro style offenses are more vanilla than spread or pass-oriented offenses.
I agree–if you mean, they were more balanced and may not as pass-happy, aggressive. But would that make them a run-first offense? In a way, I think at their best, they’ve been a two dimensional offense. Unlike some other pass happy coaches, I really think Payton values running, but he favors passing more, and probably favors spread formations more than under center ones.
Vikings were in pretty good control of this until Thielen fumbled in the red zone, which lead to the Saints running it back for good field position, and eventually a TD. Cousins’s pick 6 put the Saints in the drivers seat, and the Saints long drive (about 7-8 minutes) at the end of the 3rd basically sealed the game.
I didn’t have the Patriots or Saints so high the last time, but if I thought about the teams that had the best chance to win, I would have put the Patriots, and maybe the Saints. The main reason I’m putting both those teams above the Rams and Chiefs are the QBs. Specifically, I think both Brady and Brees will handle pressure situations much better. They will also handle different looks the defenses throw at them. I tend to think both Goff and Mahomes will face pressure situations and looks they’re not used to. Will they be able to perform in those situations? Maybe, but if I were betting, I wouldn’t be on them, mainly because they’re younger, and I’m not confident that Goff can handle the pressure.
The defenses of both the Patriots and Saints concern me, although the Saints defense looks a lot better (and they’re more of a balanced team, I think). The Patriots D might be inferior, but Belichick is the x-factor, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he has something funky that messes up opponents.
Seahawks, Panthers, Ravens
Vikings, Eagles, Chargers
I can’t believe I’m choosing the Seahawks this high, but the way they’re running the ball, and their physicality is what’s making me choose. I tend to think that the quality I see is real and not just a function of weak competition, but maybe I’m wrong. Their defense is generating turnovers, but I tend to think that won’t continue, and that the defense won’t be able to win games for them. But the offense’s run-first approach may be enough.
The Panthers look good,but I’m iffy on their defense. (Newton’s velocity seems less, but it might be a good thing. He doesn’t seem to be having as many accuracy issues, and his ball security is good. He’s so critical for all the option stuff they do, too. I think Turner is doing an excellent job of play calling as well.)
Ravens defense might be one of the best (but they didn’t look that way against the Panthers). I’m not fan of their offense, particularly the way they run the ball and utilize Flacco in a lot of spread formations.
Vikings OL is shaky, and they seem like a one-dimensional, pass-oriented team. I don’t like that; I think it hurts their defense, which is still good.
I don’t know what to think of the Eagles, but I think Wentz is an x-factor. If they can get better at ball control I think that should help their defense and could make them very dangerous.
With the Chargers, I’m uncertain about their defense. I’m waiting to see what Bosa’s impact will have on them.
I’m not crazy about the Packers, their defense or even their pass-heavy offense.
I guess I should put the Steelers in here as well.
Some teams that could really emerge:
Texans Cowboys Bears
The Texans lost Fuller, though, and that should hurt. If the Cowboys can get their run game going, I think they could make noise. As for the Bears, I’m waiting to see if Mack can come back healthy. (I don’t trust Trubisky with protecting the ball, though.)
I’m not a believer in the Redskins, but maybe I should pay more attention to them.