21 thoughts on “2018-2019 NFL: Week 11

  1. Packers-Seahawks

    I’m happy with this win–I really am, although what I’m about to say will suggest otherwise. This was a sloppy game. The offense had so many penalties, and Wilson had errant throws, including a wide open throw to Baldwin that would have been a TD. I don’t t get it. I feel like something is wrong with Wilson. Is he pressing? Is he not right psychologically? Injured? I even wonder if not having a lot of passing attempts is making it hard for him to get into a groove.

    The running game looks good, and I’m really happy about that. At the same time, I think the Packers are really banged up. (They always seem to be really banged up every year.) I’m not sure they’ll be able to run this well against better defenses. (The Panthers will definitely provide a good test, I think.) So I think the Seahawks offensive success–and they struggled at times in this game–should be taken with a grain of salt. Speaking of struggling, the WRs/TEs seem to be rarely wide open. Many of the completions seem to occur with tight coverage. Some of this may be due to limitations by the WRs/TEs, but I’d guess Schottenheimer’s limitations are a factor here.

    On the defensive side of the ball, I think they give up too many explosive plays, especially for a Pete Carroll defense. But my guess is that this is due to a lot of young players. It’d be great if they could clean this up and get into the playoffs.

    The pass rush was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. I’m wondering if the Packers had injuries on their OL. I do think that some of the pass rush success was due to good coverage. I still think a big problem with the Packers are their WRs. They need a playmaker.

    One other thing. With Aaron Jones, I think the Packers should utilize a more run-first offense. But McCarthy will never do that. I was glad they didn’t do this more in the game.

    1. I only watched the second half, but I thought Wilson did okay. In fact I thought he played better than Rodgers for the parts I watched. Rodgers’ last pass on third and two was ridiculous as he one hopped Adams on one of the biggest plays of the game (It was really disappointing as the excitement level of the game was at it’s height at that point.). Rodgers also didn’t take the dump off to Jones (for about 6-8 yards) on the first down of that same series which led to an incompletion (and a bad one at that). All that being said, Seattle was lucky to get the win because Lockett definitely didn’t make that catch along the sideline on the third down play that led to the TD to Dickson. McCarthy should have challenged that, and he had the time to do it, but I’m not sure what his staff was looking at. Seattle actually has a decent offense. I would say as good as or maybe even better than their Super Bowl years, at least to me.

      1. I only watched the second half,…

        I think the struggles were more in the first half. I wouldn’t say Wilson is throwing a lot of errant passes, but the few he does throw are kind of egregious in my view.

        In fact I thought he played better than Rodgers for the parts I watched.

        I agree with this. I really wasn’t scrutinizing Rodgers’ performance, as I was more emotionally invested in the Seahawks, but thinking about this, I would say his performance at the end was a significant failure. The way I felt about Wilson at the end of the last Rams game is sort of the way I feel about Rodgers last night.

        In fairness to Rodgers, the pass catchers he has seem pretty weak. I mean, he has has some no name players, and even someone like Adams doesn’t seem like an elite player. My sense is that the WRs are the lowest priority for the Packers FO–OL and the defense take a higher priority. I think this approach is sound, but I’m beginning to question this, given how that offense looks and the McCarthy’s preference for a pass-first offense. I think if Rodgers had one or two better WRs/TEs, the Packers would have one of the most explosive offenses in the league.

        All that being said, Seattle was lucky to get the win because Lockett definitely didn’t make that catch along the sideline on the third down play that led to the TD to Dickson.

        What stands out more to me are the lapses on defense and the struggles on offense–especially against a Packer team that isn’t very strong right now. From this I conclude that the ‘Hawks are not a great team, that they’re slightly above average or maybe a little better than that.

        Seattle actually has a decent offense. I would say as good as or maybe even better than their Super Bowl years, at least to me.

        “Decent” is an apt description, and I would say their running is about as good as they were in their best years, although I think the overall quality of defenses and the league in general aren’t that great. Against a really good defense, I think this offense could struggle quite a bit.

        That was true of the 2013 offense, especially after they lost Sidney Rice.

        I really think that if they had a top-flight OC–someone like Mike or Kyle Shanahan–I think with the current personnel, the offense could be so much better.

  2. Cowboys/Falcons:

    The Falcon pass pro isn’t great. Dallas hasn’t been getting a whole lot of push in recent games, but against the Falcons the d-line looked good. Dallas’ D won this game and it took a great pass and reception for Atlanta to get into the end zone. Dallas’ offense wasn’t great with the exception of Zeke. With Alex Smith going down, there is a decent chance Dallas will make the playoffs, which could mean no changes to the coaching staff. Urgggh, but they should at least get rid of Linehan.

    Bears/Vikes:

    Vikes’ o-line isn’t great and against a good Bears d-line, it looked even worse. I liked that the Bears didn’t do any or much of the misdirection plays. I still think against a team like the Vikes where their d-line can dominate, the Bears should run the ball more. Let the defense win those games, instead the Bears had some costly turnovers and almost gave the Vikes a chance to win.

    1. …Dallas will make the playoffs, which could mean no changes to the coaching staff. Urgggh, but they should at least get rid of Linehan.

      I haven’t commented on this recently, but I have long thought the problem is the owner, not the coaches. Actually, since they switched to a more run-based offense, I think their problems have stemmed more from personnel issues, especially injuries. Romo got hurt in ’15; Zeke missed time in ’17; injuries in Frederick, even Smith and Marin, and the loss of depletion of pass catchers in ’18.

      Re: Vikings-Bears

      I stopped watching this game at some point. What’s your sense about the Bears–are they for real? I just don’t trust Trubisky–to make key plays, especially if they’re behind and he has to pass a lot, or for him to protect the football. I’m uncertain that the defense is good enough to overcome these things.

      What’d you think of the Vikings? The parts I saw, the Vikings defense just doesn’t look dominant to me. Also, I think the OL and lack of running game is a huge problem. They’ve been a disappointment.

  3. Cowboy’s coaching:

    To me it’s the coaching’s fault when the guys you mentioned cannot play and no “real” adjustments are made. It’s just hard to see a team like the Rams and think how much better they are on offense than the Cowboys. Add to that, that even with the guys you mentioned missing, their offensive personnel is not as far away from the Rams as the scoring difference indicates. I don’t think Dallas has great offensive personnel especially if the o-line isn’t playing well, but Dallas’ offensive output is terrible. I noticed a difference since Coop got there, which really speaks about the Raider situation, but even then they haven’t been a great offense. The Cowboys are barely an average offense.

    I’ll add that the Cowboys did throw a little more on first down against Atlanta, although from the shot gun, which kind of eliminates the surprise factor. And they have been mixing it up by having the full back play slightly more and act as a lead blocker instead of their two or three tight end sets. At least we are seeing some kind of wrinkles, which we didn’t for the first 6-7 games of the season.

    1. To me it’s the coaching’s fault when the guys you mentioned cannot play and no “real” adjustments are made.

      This reminds me of the conversations I have with other Seahawk fans, and it basically comes down the influence of the players or coaching upon offensive success. For me, I concluded that the talent on the OL the previous three seasons has been bad. That by itself made me think the players were more of the problem. This may be a crude way to analyze coaches, but if the team performs well when the players are good, and the team performs poorly when the players aren’t good, then I tend to thing the coaches are at least competent, and I tend not to blame them when the team does poorly (unless I can point specifically to aspects I hold coaches responsible for).

      With the Cowboys, I look at like this. Their pass catchers and their OL was really good in 2014-2016. In 2018, both have declined significantly. The OL, which has been the heart and soul of the offense, has looked awful, at times this year. (I haven’t mentioned their LG, who has looked overwhelmed in several games.) If you could show how the coaching is a big reason for this, then I’d be more apt to blame the coaches. But if not, I tend to put more of the blame on the personnel, more than the coaches.

      Having said that, if the Cowboys can get a coach like Sean McVay, then I think that would justify a coaching change. I’m not sure how easy that would be, though. (Also, would you like a no-huddle offense?)

      At least we are seeing some kind of wrinkles, which we didn’t for the first 6-7 games of the season.

      The question is, is the wrinkles helping or is the opponent weak? Another factor could be a favorable match-up in terms of style and personnel. There are so many inconsistent teams this year. One week they can look good, and the next week not so good. Favorable/unfavorable match ups could explain this. Or maybe if you play weaker opponents, you look a lot better. For example, the Seahawks might have looked good against the Packers, but I think this impression is based on the assumption that the Packers are good. I don’t think they’re that good; and I think the Seahawks offense might have looked better because the Packers aren’t very good.

      1. I’m not trying to suggest that Dallas’ offense carry this team like they did in the past and that a coaching change would do that. Dallas has definitely moved to a defensive centric team. Yet it almost seems like Dallas’ coaches’ believe that the offense still needs to “help” the defense with ball control and methodical drives. If Dallas still had the offensive line they had I agree, why not concentrate on ball control more than scoring. But this is not the current Dallas team, so I believe the coaches need to adapt and open up the play book a little. I’m not looking for a pass first offense, but they cannot run the ball on 70% of first downs (or whatever the number is). I heard that Dallas had the highest percentage of runs on first down (not sure if that’s still the case), that’s being too predictable and reliant on an offensive line that you used to have.

        Why would we not move away from Garrett though? He hasn’t produced much as a coach. He has had a couple good years, but overall I’m not sure he has made the team better than their talent. Most NFLer’s are looking at Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma State as the new up-and-comer. He has McVey to thank as he is going to be a team’s star hire and he is only 35.

        Do you see anything different between Bevell and Schottenheimer? The offense seems generally the same. I know you were against the Schottenheimer hire, but does that mean you would rather have Bevell?

        Dallas’ o-line has not been as bad as the offense would suggest. The o-line has not been great (until the last 3-4 games) creating running lanes consistently, but part of that is the 8 in the box that teams like to play on first down. Their pass-pro has been decent if not good and I fault most of Dallas’ sacks to Dak. He is super poised in the pocket, but his time clock in his head doesn’t work. There are times the pass-pro is good, but he is still holding the ball. Connor Williams by most Dallas reporters has done a good job as a rookie. He lacks strength, but he’s super athletic, but I think most think he has played well. I think most think Looney has done incredibly as well. The two ends Collins and Smith has played inconsistently, but I think overall the line has done fine.

        Yeah I wasn’t really trying to suggest Dallas’ new “wrinkles” in their offense were productive. In fact I would say those wrinkles have been inconsistent, but at least we are seeing something new. Which has to make teams have to prepare a little bit more.

        1. But this is not the current Dallas team, so I believe the coaches need to adapt and open up the play book a little.

          I’m going to echo the response I would give to Seahawk fans who blamed the coaching, over the past few years: I doubt the tweaks you’re suggesting would make a big impact–not big enough to overcome the problems with the personnel. I think a handful of OCs could elevate the offense with their coaching, but I’m not sure you should blame the coaches who are not at that level. (Now, again, if you can get one of those OCs, I would support that. For example, if the 49ers for some reason fired Kyle Shanahan, a part of me really would want Carroll to go after him, as messy as that would be.)

          Why would we not move away from Garrett though?

          If he (and the coaches) aren’t the primary problem, then I generally don’t support moving on–unless you’re confident that you can get a coach that is significantly superior. (For example, I think Lions removing Lions to Caldwell and his staff for Patricia was a mistake. But if they took someone like Mike Shanahan or Jim Harbaugh, I would have been supportive of it.)

          Do you see anything different between Bevell and Schottenheimer? The offense seems generally the same. I know you were against the Schottenheimer hire, but does that mean you would rather have Bevell?

          The biggest difference is that Schotty employs more power running, while Bevell used ZBS exclusively. Also, Cable was in charge of the run game, so there was a weird two-headed OC sort of thing going on.

          I actually feel like Bevell is a little better, although I don’t have a lot to base that on. One thing I worry about is the way Schotty’s offense looks in predictable pass situations, particularly when they run a spread offense. They don’t seem as good as they were under Bevell/Cable.

          Having said that, the offense was in such a mess–and there were signs that some players questioned the Bevell, to the point of not respecting him–that I supported the change. We’re talking about a three year period where the offense not only didn’t improve but actually got worse. In my view, firing Carroll after last year would have been justified.

          Dallas’ o-line has not been as bad as the offense would suggest.

          I think what would be accurate is to say they’re inconsistent. Sometimes they have looked really bad (especially early on), other times OK, and a few times pretty good. They’re far from how they were in the past, even on their best days this year in my view.

          Connor Williams by most Dallas reporters has done a good job as a rookie.

          This kind of surprises me, although I guess within the context of him being a rookie, you could justify this. Against really good defenses fronts, I would see him exploited.

          Yeah I wasn’t really trying to suggest Dallas’ new “wrinkles” in their offense were productive. In fact I would say those wrinkles have been inconsistent, but at least we are seeing something new. Which has to make teams have to prepare a little bit more.

          OK, but if the OL is struggling–to the point where the offense is facing more long-yardage situations, for example–or WRs/TEs are struggling to get open–these problems far overshadow any type of benefits that these little wrinkles can bring.

          Some Seahawk fans want give Schotty credit, but their run-blocking and run game have been doing well, and the offense has stayed on schedule (although they committed a lot of penalties against the Packers). The OC looks good when these things happen, especially for run-oriented offenses. But when the offense gets in long-yardage situations (via negative runs, sacks, or penalties) and/or the run-blocking isn’t so success, then the OC is awful.

          It’s possible that the OC deserves credit or blame–I don’t know enough to say for sure–but I tend to think the players (and their opponents) are the bigger factor.

  4. I’ve only seen the Vikes play 2-3 times this year and every time they lost. So I’m guessing I’m not a great guy to ask, since I’ve only saw they losses. I didn’t think their o-line is as bad as they looked against the Bears, but they are not a great bunch. Sometimes I wonder if Cousins is holding the ball to long when he is struggling. Keenum would throw the ball to his guys even when they were not open and those guys could make the play.

    The thing with the Bears is they have a decent if not very good defense. Would they be able to slow down the Rams and Saints? It’s not ridiculous to think they could in a playoff game (although it will be tougher on the road). Of course I don’t love their chances, but they might be able to move the ball against both the Saints and Rams so they may have a puncher’s chance.

    1. I’ve only seen the Vikes play 2-3 times this year and every time they lost.

      OK. As for the OL, judging OLs can be difficult these days. I feel like there are more degrees of bad OL play then there were when we were growing up. For example, OLs that seem average now might be considered awful in the past. What’s also difficult is that one some weeks, an OL can look really bad, and in other weeks they can seem OK. Some OLs that come to mind: Cowboys, Giants, Panthers, and Vikings. In any event, I think the Vikings OL is a weak link.

      Sometimes I wonder if Cousins is holding the ball to long when he is struggling.

      I haven’t watched all their games, but, in general, he’s impressed me. I’ve seen him make some incredibly difficult throws, and I didn’t really notice making those passes before. And this is with a vulnerable OL, and sometimes a non-existent run game.

      The thing with the Bears is they have a decent if not very good defense.

      I don’t know how good they actually are, which is one of the reasons I have a hard time assessing them. If they are, or become, a legitimately dominant defense, then I think they could do damage. (Right now, I’m saying they’re not really a dominant defense–just in the very good range.)

      Of course I don’t love their chances, but they might be able to move the ball against both the Saints and Rams so they may have a puncher’s chance.

      I don’t really have a good sense of whether they’d do this or not. (The Saints defense looks much improve, by the way.) But the main thing, to me, is Trubisky’s ball security, and his ability to throw when they need him to (including from the spread). Actually, unless they can function great in the other situations (and their defense is dominant), I don’t think they have much of a chance.

  5. Some comments off the top of my head.

    I mentioned above that teams are really inconsistent. Some examples are Titans handily beating the Patriots, and then getting shellacked by the Colts. Steelers shellacked the Panthers last week, and then barely beat the Jaguars.

    Steelers-Jaguars
    I want to say more about the Steelers-Jaguars game. The Jaguars ran the ball well, and their defense looked really good (intercepting Roethlisberger three times). But Bortles couldn’t make a few throws to keep the chains moving at the end, and I think that’s the main reason they lost. In my view, Bortles is a the primary reason the Jaguars aren’t Super Bowl contenders. (Actually, to be fair, if Fournette was healthy, I think they could have gone to the playoffs and maybe did some damage.)

    By the way, the defense looked good–like they did last year–yesterday–and I thought the Jags ran the ball well. Is this just coincidence, or is this simply long drives helping the defense to perform better?

    Lions-Panthers
    Interesting game. Some general impressions:
    Based on the way he played, Gollyday is the best WR you never heard of, and is a rising star.
    The Panthers defense is disappointing. Maybe the match-up wasn’t great or just inconsistency, but they’re not that good.

    Broncos-Chargers
    The Broncos sneak out a victory, but I’m not downgrading the Chargers.

    Texans-Redskins

    I only skimmed this game. For some reason, I’m not that interested in the Texans, which is a little weird because I think Watson is a good QB, and they can do some interesting things on offense. Anyone have any opinion on how good the Texans are?

    Titans-Colts

    I stopped watching this game pretty quickly.

  6. Chiefs-Rams

    I never would have guessed that the defense would have played such a big role in this–especially scoring TDs. (Did the Rams D score two?)

    The other thing that sticks out to me: I feel like Scandrick lost the game, by dropping that INT.

    Edit

    I don’t know if you guys agree with me, but, to me, there are two objective for an offense–scoring and ball control. Ball control, specifically the ability extend drives, run a lot of plays and eat the clock, while also protecting the football, is an aspect of the offense that is underappreciated, misunderstood, and generally flies under the radar for many fans. It is really important. However, there is an exception–namely, when two teams forgo ball control and are great at scoring. That’s when you get a game like tonight.

    1. What was weird to me was the wild swings in o-line play especially from the Rams. There were times Goff could scan the field 2-3 times before throwing the ball, and there were parts of the game where the pocket was collapsing before Goff could set his feet to throw the ball.

      This was more like a college game. How did you think the QB’s look in this one? Mahommes looked more accurate and consistent, but maybe he had more help because Hunt was a factor and Gurley really wasn’t (running the ball anyway).

      1. What was weird to me was the wild swings in o-line play especially from the Rams.

        Yeah, this is a good point. I think this is the most quick penetration I’ve seen from this OL. Even in the run game, the blocking didn’t seem that consistent. A part of me wondered if some of the Rams OL were getting tired. (I think they’re a fairly old group.)

        On another note, I feel like the Chiefs OL is not as consistency as they should be–Ford, Jones, and Houston seem really good, and I feel like they should be better. And actually, given the tempo, the Chiefs defense actually played fairly well–good enough to win this. (I once again wonder if the Chiefs–and Rams–lack of ball control weakens their defenses.)

        How did you think the QB’s look in this one? Mahommes looked more accurate and consistent, but maybe he had more help because Hunt was a factor and Gurley really wasn’t (running the ball anyway).

        Goff’s accuracy seems to be dipping a little more, even when he’s not hurried. (I noticed this in the Seahawk game as well.) To be fair, earlier in the season, his accuracy was stellar. He’s still doing well, but the groove he was in earlier isn’t as strong.

        Mahomes looks poised, and he made good throws, but he did not deliver when the offense had to pass a lot (from spread formations) at the end of the game. This was the primary problem with Alex Smith. Mahomes is essentially a rookie, and given what I’ve seen, I expect him to improve significantly in time. However, if he can’t perform well in these situations, this significantly diminishes their chances with going all the way.

        Let me ask another question. I had conversation about defending the Rams. Me and this other guy thought that you should just play with a lot of DBs and dare the Rams to run, like the way Belichick decided to defend the Bills in ’91 or the Rams in ’01 (?). Do you think McVay is the type of coach that wouldn’t run 30+ times and pass for 20, even if the defense dared him to do so?

        1. Goff is missing Cupp and Cooks has been playing at far less than 100%. This has to hurt timing and thus could appear Goff is looking less accurate, but I hear you. He wasn’t as good as the score makes him look for sure last night.

          Mahomes last play was a weird one by Reid. He had Kelce blocking a guy one on one, and my guess is that the hope is the player Kelce was blocking wouldn’t rush the passer because he needs to stay with Kelce? But he had Mahomes rolling to that side, so Kelce losses that defender and the defender hits Mahomes’ arm causing the interception.

          I have a question too. You would take the combo of Mahomes and Reid or McVey and Goff? As to your question, I don’t think the Rams throw as much as you would think. And if you take out the designed passes to Gurley I think the Rams are very close to 50-50 running and passing. Would McVey run a RB 30 times a game I wouldn’t think so, but those jet sweeps might increase to 10 a game. Man the Rams do a lot of stuffs with the same personnel and in most cases the same set.

          1. Goff is missing Cupp and Cooks has been playing at far less than 100%. This has to hurt timing and thus could appear Goff is looking less accurate,…

            Valid point, but Cupp and Cooks(?) got knocked out of the first Seahawk game. It didn’t seem to affect Goff.

            Mahomes last play was a weird one by Reid.

            I don’t remember the play. (Wait, did Mahomes throw two INTs at the end of the game, or am I remembering that wrong?)

            I have a question too. You would take the combo of Mahomes and Reid or McVey and Goff?

            I think I would choose Mahomes/Reid–mainly because I’m higher on Mahomes than Goff. I still have some questions about Goff. The other thing is that I have a feeling that McVay’s offense depends heavily on use of no huddle. I don’t really care for a heavy reliance on that.

            As to your question, I don’t think the Rams throw as much as you would think.

            It’s not that I think they over-throw the ball, but just watching them, I get the sense that McVay is a guy who prefers passing. It’s like Denny Green’s Vikings with Reed, Moss, and Carter. I don’t get the sense he’d want to pound the rock, if the defense dared him to do so.

            Man the Rams do a lot of stuffs with the same personnel and in most cases the same set.

            It’s really the same as Chip Kelly (at the end of his tenure), except the Rams are running a pro style offense, with the jet sweep thrown in (as a kind of modern version of the end around). Actually, I remember Bill Walsh saying something about the no huddle offense being the wave of the future. McVay’s offense seems like the actualization of that.

            But if he’s the type of coach that wouldn’t run it a lot, I think you have to consider going with more DBs. Force them to beat you by running. The danger is that if they oblige, they’ll gash you, and help their defense.

            How do you think the 2015 Broncos, 2012 Niners, 2013 Seahawks, 2014 Cowboys fare against the Chiefs, Rams, and the Saints?

            I’d like the chances of the older teams in the playoffs (although Seahawk and Bronco offenses and Cowboys defense would give me pause). I think the Saints would pose a good match up, at leas if we’re talking indoor games.

          2. Yeah I didn’t see Mahomes very last INT, so the play I’m talking about is his second INT, which happen about one and half minutes left in the game.

            Man I had to look up the 2012 Niners. I knew we were talking Kaep’s team, but I didn’t completely remember them. But yeah they had a good defense, but maybe not in the vein of the Seahawks and Broncos. I think these teams could slow down the Chiefs, Saints, and Rams so each of them will have a shot, but I wonder how much they could stop them. The Seahawks would have the best chance just because of Wilson. But those offenses against those defenses would be fun to watch for sure. As for the Cowboys it would test your theory about a ball control against a high octane offense. The Cowboy offense would dominate these defenses, even the Saints. But the Cowboys’ D could get steam rolled themselves.

            The Saints and Cowboys will play next week, I believe. I would be surprised if the Cowboys defense don’t put up some kind of fight. I suspect the Saints will move the ball in the air, less so on the ground, and maybe have to kick some field goals. But I don’t trust the Cowboy offense to do much so the Saints should still win.

  7. Current Power Rankings

    The only thing that is consistent is inconsistency. That would be my theme for 2018. (Also, there are no dominant defenses, and a handful of very explosive offenses.) Because of this, I feel like power rankings are almost useless. I can only speak confidently about the quality of a handful of teams–a few at the top and a few at the bottom. The rest is a crapshoot, most of them hovering around slightly below and above average. Many of these teams could take elevate their play and remain there, which I guess is another way of saying they could hit a hot streak. Again, there really does seem like a lot of teams one could say this about. I’ll get to that below, but first let me mention the top and bottom tier teams.

    Top Tier
    Saints
    They’re alone at the top for me. They are the most balanced and complete team. They’re mostly offensive oriented, but their defense seems to have stabilized, and while I wouldn’t call the defense great, they’re seem far from bad, and may even be a good at times. The offense is a versatile, and I liken them to team that prefers to fast break, but can also play a little half court if they need to. A big part of their chances has to do with playing indoors. If they can secure home field throughout the playoffs (or play indoors at least), I really like their chances to win it all.

    Rams, Chiefs
    Both defenses seem really vulnerable. I think the Rams are better offensively, but their offense seems to be cracking just a little, as if teams are getting a better feel for them. Also, they seem seem to rely a lot on changing tempos. If they can’t perform as well at slower tempos, I think this is noteworthy weakness.

    The Chiefs also don’t seem to be great at ball control, but the bigger concern is the ability for Mahomes to carry the offense, especially in the pressure situations. I’m not sure he’s there, yet. (Getting Eric Berry could make a big difference.)

    Bottom Tier
    Dolphins, Buccaneers, Jets, Browns
    I’m a little less certain about these teams being in the bottom tier, but I’d be surprised if they play really well for the remaining games.

    Cardinals, 49ers, Raiders, Bills

    OK, now on to the biggest group. I’ll try to break them into two, one better than the other.

    Chargers
    I was tempted to put them in the first tier, even though they lost to the Broncos. I don’t know, they seem consistently good.

    Patriots
    Steelers
    I can’t count out the Patriots, but Brady is looking old, and the team overall hasn’t looked great. But I would be more surprised if they sputter versus improve their performance.

    With the Steelers, I’m wondering about their defense, especially their DL. Can they dominate or come close to it? If so, I think they could do damage.

    And everyone else. I could probably rank the remaining group, but that’s too much of a hassle, and it’s too unpredictable for me.

  8. Yeah I didn’t see Mahomes very last INT, so the play I’m talking about is his second INT, which happen about one and half minutes left in the game.

    Dang, it’s kinda unreal that he threw two picks at the end. Also, his first pick was pretty bad. And some of his throws were pretty inaccurate at the end. The more I think about it, the more I think he didn’t play very well.

    Man I had to look up the 2012 Niners. I knew we were talking Kaep’s team, but I didn’t completely remember them. But yeah they had a good defense, but maybe not in the vein of the Seahawks and Broncos.

    Maybe the 2012 defense was slipping from 2011–but they were physical. Also, Bowman, Willis, Brooks, and Aldon Smith–that was a really good LB crew. I feel like they were approaching some of the previous all time great groups. I think the physicality of the team overall would get to some of these teams. The teams now aren’t as physical as the ones I mentioned. I really believe that if you can out physical your opponent that is a huge advantage.

    As for the Cowboys it would test your theory about a ball control against a high octane offense. The Cowboy offense would dominate these defenses, even the Saints. But the Cowboys’ D could get steam rolled themselves.

    Right, but the Cowboys defense did surprisingly well against the Packers in 2014. Granted, that was in cold weather, which maybe slowed the Packers down. If we’re talking indoors, that’s something else entirely. Still, if you can really dominate the clock on offense, a lot of good things can happen the playoffs. I think with the high stakes, these fast-break offenses could get frustrated and tighten up if they sit for long stretches.

    The Saints and Cowboys will play next week, I believe. I would be surprised if the Cowboys defense don’t put up some kind of fight. I suspect the Saints will move the ball in the air, less so on the ground, and maybe have to kick some field goals. But I don’t trust the Cowboy offense to do much so the Saints should still win.

    I just don’t know what to expect from the Cowboys, on both sides of the ball. If I had to guess, I think they’re just be uneven and inconsistent. But if they play well, that wouldn’t totally surprise me, either.

    The Saints are so well-rounded. I think they can run fairly well. By the way, in terms of defensive snaps played, their defense is one of the lowest in the league. I guess if they give up explosive plays, and then their offense controls the clock, that could contribute to the low snap count? It’s kinda weird.

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