29 thoughts on “2019-2020 NFL: Week 1

  1. Thu
    Packers-Bears

    Sun
    Falcons-Vikings
    Titans-Browns
    Bills-Jets
    Ravens-Dolphins
    Redskins-Eagles
    Rams-Panthers
    Colts-Chargers
    Bengals-Seahawks
    Giants-Cowboys
    49ers-Buccaneers
    Lions-Cardinals
    Steelers-Patriots

    Mon
    Texans-Saints
    Broncos-Raiders

    1. Games that seem like they could be good:

      Falcons-Vikings
      Rams-Panthers
      Steelers-Patriots

      I’m curious to see how well the Vikings run and how good the Panthers defense will be. If both are really good these good by Super Bowl contenders.

      I think the Steelers could be really good this year. The Patriots seem to give them problems. On the other hand, I feel like the Patriots can start slow, especially on defense. This should be an interesting one.

  2. Packers-Bears

    LaFleur has Rodgers under center more–at least that’s what it seemed like to me. Rodgers didn’t look all that great though. He had a lot of errant passes. Maybe it’s just rust.

    I can’t remember if I said this here, but Trubisky might be one of the worst starters–and he looked that way tonight.

    1. Let me start by saying I didn’t watch much of the game, but listened to most of it, so my observations may be wrong. But here are my thoughts anyway:

      This is the first game so it’s hard to make general statements on how good either team is going to be. Is the Packer offense going to struggle this year or is the Bear’s D that good? On the other hand, is the Bears offense that bad or the Packer defense that much better? My guess is that is it has to be a little of everything including first game struggles.

      I will say that the Packer’s d-line was doing a great job on obvious passing downs, and I don’t remember the Bear’s o-line being that bad last year. It wasn’t like the Packers were blitzing a lot either.

      Also I didn’t see a lot of different wrinkles in the Packer’s offense from the McCarthy era. What am I missing?

      I didn’t think Trubisky played as bad as Reid said, and I doubt he’s even in the bottom five starting QBs. He did some good things, but the Bears couldn’t run the ball, and they definitely didn’t stick to run it. That interception was bad, but my guess is he just didn’t see that defender in the back. I didn’t pick Chicago as one of the teams with a chance to win it all because of Trubisky, but he probably looked a little (very little) better than I thought he was from his performances last year.

      Edit: Shoot, I didn’t read Reid’s comments right. I thought Reid said Trubisky is the worse starter in the league, not “one of the worst”. I will agree that he could be bottom 7-10 for sure.

    2. This is the first game so it’s hard to make general statements on how good either team is going to be. Is the Packer offense going to struggle this year or is the Bear’s D that good? On the other hand, is the Bears offense that bad or the Packer defense that much better? My guess is that is it has to be a little of everything including first game struggles.

      It’s really hard to say, but I don’t get the sense that either defenses was dominant/great.

      But I can’t help but feel the Bears offense isn’t going to be that good–or Trubisky isn’t going to be that good. For what it’s worth, I think it might have made a difference if you actually saw his throws. To me, he looks like a back up QB, and not a really good one, too.

      But I should also say that first game rust could be factoring into everything, as you alluded to.

      Also I didn’t see a lot of different wrinkles in the Packer’s offense from the McCarthy era. What am I missing?

      To me, like the Rams, they used a lot more 11 personnel with the QB under center, running more and using more play action–again, like the Rams. That’s the most notable difference to me.

      I will agree that he could be bottom 7-10 for sure.

      OK, here’s a list of some of the weaker QBs in the league in my opinion:

      Josh Allen
      Josh Rosen/Fitzmagic
      Jacoby Brissett
      Marcus Mariota
      Nick Foles

      Eli Manning
      Case Keenum
      Kyler Murray
      Jameis Winston

      Which QBs are worse than Trubisky–ones you choose Trubisky over? I have a hard time choosing any. It’s not necessarily that I think Trubisky is significantly worse, but I don’t see him being so much better that I’d prefer him.

  3. One thing worth saying: The first quarter of the season came be really misleading. It’s not wise to put a lot of stock into what one sees. The teams can change dramatically afterward.

    On a side note, I hope there are more teams that play with consistency this year.

    Lastly, I expect games where teams look rusty. There’s been talk about getting rid of the preseason. In my view, I don’t care about preseason games from a viewing perspective, but they seem valuable in terms of getting teams prepared for the regular season. On the other hand, if teams don’t play their starters, then preseason loses a lot of its value–at least it terms of preparing teams for week 1. I’ll say this: When teams use the first four games like preseason, that kinda stinks. I want to see teams ready to go by week one.

  4. Bengals-Seahawks

    Seahawks weak in the trenches, especially their OL. I think that’s the main reason they didn’t play well. At times, they looked like the offense in ’15-’17. The DL played a little better perhaps, but the Bengals were banged up.

    Turnovers and a bad penalty by the Bengals, keeping a drive alive.

    Falcons-Vikings

    Vikings running game looking much improved, making me wish the Seahawks had gotten Kubiak last year.

    Falcons turned the ball over too many times, and blocked punt.

    Titans-Browns

    Titans didn’t look all that great early, but they got going a bit, especially in the run game. The 3 INTs by the Browns didn’t help (and there was almost 2 more).

    Rams-Panthers

    Panthers two turnovers really hurt, almost missed a field goal. Their OL looked overwhelmed at times; Cam looked real rusty One thing I’m watched for: can they run in more traditional ways–i.e., without Cam as a runner.

    Panthers had two blocked punts. (Seemed like Rams had trouble blocking up the middle on punts. A defender came close on a third punt.) Rams offense looked rusty. (I believe they were effective with quick snap runs in the red zone. I don’t know why more teams don’t do this.)

    Giants-Cowboys

    Cowboys offense looked good. They seemed to hold onto the ball a long time, running a ton of plays–a lot of it passing. The pass pro looked really good, way better than last year.

    Really like Saquan.

    Lions-Cardinals

    I only watched the first part and the end. I don’t know how the Cardinals got this game to a tie.

    Ravens-Dolphins

    Maybe the Ravens offense is good–I really don’t know. But the Dolphins performance on the field seems like they’re tanking, especially on defense, and that’s pretty lame. If they’re games are like this all season, something is wrong; the fans deserve a refund or something.

    Colts-Chargers

    For the most part I thought the Chargers controlled this game. Two turnovers really hurt them, although the Colts played well, certainly not bad. (I think Vinatieri missed two FGs, though, which was important.)

    One thing that stood out. Both teams are pretty versatile, executing plays from the shotgun and under center. Both teams had nice runs from under center, too. Just a good mix of plays and solid play calling by both OCs, I thought.

    Chargers seem like the better team, but not by a lot.

    Steelers-Patriots

    Almost end of the first half: Steelers very one-dimensional, especially in the spread/shot-gun formations. I don’t really understand why they play this way against the Pats, as I think it’s very difficult to beat them this way.

    Patriot offense so varied, balanced. Play calling terrific so far. Whether Steelers defense not that good, it seems like Patriots so much more advanced, in terms of coaching and play calling, than the Steelers.

    Beginning of first half, seems more obvious that Steelers want to pass their way back into this. I think this is mistake. They don’t have to abandon the run even with a 20 point deficit going into the second half.
    (I stopped watching close to the end of the 3rd.)

    49ers-Buccaneers

    Sloppy game by both QBs.

    Bucs were grounding and pounding, seemed to wear down the 49ers defense on the ground, but Winston’s pick 6 near the end of the game sealed the deal.

  5. How did Jacoby Brissett look?

    Vinatieri missed two FGs and a PAT, the first time he’s missed three kicks in one game since 1999! I’m guessing most kickers with long careers don’t ever miss three kicks in a game, but to be able to say he did it 20 years ago is pretty awesome.

    The fourth quarter and OT in the Lions-Cardinals game was a fun watch. I didn’t see any of the earlier part, so I didn’t see how awful the Cardinals were, but I enjoyed the heck out of what I saw. In fact, I kinda liked watching both teams, but I always did have a soft spot for the Lions.

    The Steelers are gonna be bad; not putrid bad but 8-8 bad.

    How did Kirk Cousins look?

    The Cowboys DID look good. Geez. Dak can win a Super Bowl with a team like this.

    1. How did Jacoby Brissett look?

      Just OK imo, and I like him and am rooting for him. I would say their run game has to be exceptional for the Colts to be serious playoff team.

      The Steelers are gonna be bad; not putrid bad but 8-8 bad.

      I wouldn’t conclude this from playing the Pats. Even if they were a really good team, they could get shellacked by the Patriots. My sense is that the Patriots just have them figured out, and the Steelers just don’t know how to adjust. But I’m kinda guessing, here.

      How did Kirk Cousins look?

      He looked good, good enough to take them all the way.

      The Cowboys DID look good. Geez. Dak can win a Super Bowl with a team like this.

      I agree. With the pass pro he had, and guys getting open, he better look good, though.

  6. I’m going to guess that Reid thought the Vikings looked like the best team so far. They only threw the ball like 10 or 11 times, I read. And their defense was dominate.

    The games I saw were pretty darn bad (disappointing). I saw the first halves of the Panthers, Rams and Titans, Browns. I was flipping back and forth. Both first halves were abysmal, but I guess the Panthers, Rams, and Titans got it going a little bit in the second half. I don’t think the game changed my “preseason” feelings of any of these teams. I think all four teams (maybe not the Browns, especially if they don’t turn it around quickly next week) will be decent, but maybe not contenders. If any of these teams looked a little better than I thought, it would be the Titans’ and their defense, which struggled in the first series, but then really picked it up especially against the run. But the Browns’ o-line may be terrible.

    I would have thought Reid would have something to say about the Cowboy offense. They were really pass-centric. They threw in some runs, but they look to be a pass first team. It could be the opponent, as the Giants’ secondary was terrible last year, only made worse by having less of a pass rush this year without Vernon. I wouldn’t put too much stock in this game as the Giants could be horrible on defense this year.

    I’ve always liked Brissett as a player. I thought he stands inside the pocket with the best of them and he’s decently accurate. His problem, if anything, is he holds it too long. He has that Alex Smith gene, where they don’t want to take chances. Peter King took this Indy team without Luck, to make the playoffs, and I think they can too. Their problem may be with Luck, this team’s receivers may be sufficient, but without him, they will need a little more than just T.Y.

    1. I’m going to guess that Reid thought the Vikings looked like the best team so far.

      One of the best, especially in terms of my type of team. The Patriots and Chiefs also looked really good.

      I would have thought Reid would have something to say about the Cowboy offense. They were really pass-centric.

      It’s one game, and I would be shocked if this is how they’re going to play, especially since they signed Zeke. I think they also used a ton of play action.

      I’ve always liked Brissett as a player.

      I kinda like him, too. I just liked his demeanor and poise. To me, he seemed kinda like a Friesz or Brady type of QB–not saying that he’s great like those two, though.

      1. Yeah Brissett seems super poised. Are you serious that he’s not as good as Friesz? I don’t even remember Friesz being all that good. I thought you just liked his name.

        The Indy, Charger game was not on TV so I didn’t see any of it, but I’m guessing that both played pretty well and both are prime to make a good run at it this year.

        Yeah I agree, the Colts should move to get another receiver like a Dorsett. What about the Raiders? I would think they would have to make a move for a receiver as well, especially after this win.

      2. Are you serious that he’s not as good as Friesz? I don’t even remember Friesz being all that good. I thought you just liked his name.The Indy, Charger game was not on TV so I didn’t see any of it, but I’m guessing that both played pretty well and both are prime to make a good run at it this year.

        I think you would have liked the game, but my recollection is that the Chargers were clearly the better team; or at least I wouldn’t say the Colts are “primed to make a good run.” Tell me their run game will be really good, and I would agree. If not, I think they’ll be close to a .500 team. (If they win 10 or more that’s really good.)

        What about the Raiders? I would think they would have to make a move for a receiver as well, especially after this win.

        Yeah, although if they can run well and Tyrell Williams and Waller play like they did, I think I would prefer a defensive player. They need a playmaker on defense, especially DL.

        By the way, with McVay, especially in 2018, and his disciples, there’s been a return of 90’s football–which is lots of pro-style, 11 personnel with the QB under the center. Also, bunch formation of WRs, with lot of play action. And then mix in spread formations. Raiders looked like that last night, too. All of this part of the west coast tree.

        1. I kinda think that was misleading. The Colts (and the Chargers) definitely had moments of good running. I didn’t get the sense that it was consistent enough for me to say it was dominant.

          By the way, on side note, watching the diversity of both offenses–in terms of plays from shotgun spread to plays under center–provides a strong contrast with offenses like the Seahawks. (I guess you could say that about the Viking, too.) I’m saying this as a positive. It’s good for an offense to have this versatility. At the same time, I think it can be hard to have and use this versatility and also have a consistent ground attack, too.

          1. I didn’t see the game, but it’s pretty hard for 170 some yards to be viewed as misleading. Mack had a few of those games last year as well, yet you viewed the Cowboy game as the anomaly. I wouldn’t doubt if the Cowboy game was like Mack’s third best game last year (just guessing).

          2. What if you had two or three big runs and runs for smaller gains after that? My memory could be faulty, too. To be clear, are you saying the Colts were a run-based offense last year? And your claim is that they had a really good run game last year? Besides the Cowboys game, how many games are you basing this on?

            By the way, do you think the Steelers, have been a run-based team, including with LeVeon Bell? And what do you think of Christian McFaffery?

            I really like Bell as a RB, but Steelers have been a pass-based team for a while. Someone mentioned 1,000+ yard season by Bell, which kinda surprised me. I know he was productive, but the way he was used, just seemed more complimentary. When I say the Colts need a really good run game to win with Brisett, I’m not talking about that type of run game. If you had put Brisett in the same offense where Bell got a 1,000 yards, my sense is the team wouldn’t have a lot of success.

            McCaffery is similar in the sense that he seems more complementary to the offense versus a bellcow like a Frank Gore with the 49ers, Zeke with Dallas, Chris Carson with the Seahawks or even Jonathan Stewart with the Panthers. It’s not just the style of running, but the way the offenses emphasize, use and are able to rely on running. Short-yardage situations, could you pound it with Bell, McCaffery, or Mack? If the weather was bad for throwing, could you just go rely on those guys? (Bell in a different offense, maybe. Colts didn’t do it last year in playoff game in KC). Or what about the four minute drill? Could those guys, in their offenses, be great at that?

          3. Based on the little I know, I’m pretty sure Indy was a pass-first team last year. However, there were a hugely different team from the previous Luck teams. Not only in the improvement in o-line play, but overall scheme. Reich, who seems to have a “modern day” west-coast offense, really stressed getting the ball out quickly and throwing the underneath. I think Brissett can thrive in that offense. Would he be better in a Dallas or Seattle type offense, maybe? Yet, I think Indy shown that they will be willing to stick with the run if it’s effective. They ran more times than threw in this game (and they were behind the entire game), and you keep bringing up Kansas City last year, but in the playoffs, I’m pretty sure Indy ran the ball well against Houston.

            I think Indy is more of a running team the Bell Steeler teams (not by a lot), and the Bell Steeler teams used to run a whole lot more than last year’s Steeler team. But overall I think Steeler team with Bell is pretty comparable to this Indy (or last year’s) team in terms of how much they want to throw it. But, again based on the little I know, Indy seems way more of a ball-control team than the Bell Steeler team.

            What about Shanahan’s Falcons? They were not a running team, but they could run. I sort of see Indy more in that vein, but with much less talent.

          4. Reich, who seems to have a “modern day” west-coast offense, really stressed getting the ball out quickly and throwing the underneath.

            I agree, but I tend to think you need a more dynamic passer to make this work, whereas in a really good run-based O, you don’t. I don’t think QBs like Flacco or Cousins would thrive in that offense, not as much as a good run-first O. A lot of the burden isn’t on the QB to create or throw a lot. They just need to protect the football and make a handful of plays. Brissett strikes me as a QB in that mold.

            and you keep bringing up Kansas City last year, but in the playoffs, I’m pretty sure Indy ran the ball well against Houston.

            I think they ran better than the Texans, but the Texans run game stunk. Also, I keep bringing up the KC game because a) the Chiefs run defense was horrid, and b) the Colts really could have used to the run game. I think their inability to run is a big reason they lost.

            But overall I think Steeler team with Bell is pretty comparable to this Indy (or last year’s) team in terms of how much they want to throw it. But, again based on the little I know, Indy seems way more of a ball-control team than the Bell Steeler team

            I agree. The Steelers can look like a run-and-shoot team. The Colts are not as aggressive. The thing is, it seems obvious that running is more of a complementary part, with the passing coming first. In this type of offense, I tend to think more is placed on the QB.

            What about Shanahan’s Falcons? They were not a running team, but they could run. I sort of see Indy more in that vein, but with much less talent.

            I think Shanahan’s Falcons are very, very different. The first year, they were more pro-style centric, I think. But the second year, they got more aggressive passing the ball, and even relied on hurry-up offense.

            Colts and Eagles are not as aggressive in my opinion.

    1. No, he was a healthy scratch. I think the ‘Hawks really like him, but my sense is that he might not be ready. Carroll made the comment that Ursua and another rookie are behind or have a lot to catch up on with regard to the playbook. The thing is, if he was not on the roster, some other team would have likely taken him. Maybe he’ll dress up against the Steelers, though.

  7. Texans-Saints

    Exciting game. I feel bad for the Texans.

    Broncos-Raiders

    Last year I heard that Gruden wanted to run the ball, in a physical way. I didn’t really see that. I saw it tonight! Based on the way the Broncos played, I’m feeling like they may be one of the worst teams in the league. Still, having said that, this might be the best I’ve seen the Raiders play going back to Carr’s first year. I’m not saying the Raiders are really good, but the way they played looked like they took a meaningful step.

    Waller looked good, and Tyrell Williams made some nice catches. The defense still looks kinda iffy, but a little better. I hope this continues.

      1. Hasn’t Dorsett been in the league for a while now? I think WRs can really blossom in the second or third year, maybe fourth, but after that, my sense is that it’s pretty rare for a WR to pop. Can you guys think of any examples off the top of your head? (The Seahawks have a 6th year guy who has been mostly a #4 WR, maybe an OK #3. He’s slated as their #2. If he’s a good #2, I think that’s a pretty big achievement. I would be happy if he’s a good #3. (He had zero catches yesterday, although the ‘Hawks only threw the ball 20 times.)

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