33 thoughts on “2019-2020 NFL: Week 7

  1. Thu
    Chiefs-Broncos

    Sun
    Raiders-Packers
    Rams-Falcons
    49ers-Redskins
    Texans-Colts
    Vikings-Lions
    Jags-Bengals
    Cardinals-Giants
    Dolphins-Bills
    Chargers-Titans
    Ravens-Seahawks
    Saints-Bears
    Eagles-Cowboys

    Mon
    Patriots-Jets

  2. Current power rankings after 6 weeks:

    1a. Packers
    1b. Patriots, Saints, 49ers

    I feel pretty confident about saying the Packers are the best team in the league. They are one of the most balanced, and I think they have one of the best defenses. If they can run the ball, and don’t overpass (something I would worry about), I like their chances of winning it all.

    The other three teams are a notch below. I have the Patriots here because they haven’t played against any good teams, and from what I’ve seen (I haven’t watched complete games of them), their offense struggles at times. I do have the Saints because I think they’re the most balanced team, along with the Packers. I also put them there because I’m thinking Brees will come back. If they could and did rely more on their run game, depending on Brees to make key throws, I’d like their chances a lot more. (Their offense seems to struggle a bit, too; or at least they’re not as explosive as they were in the past.) Finally, I have the 49ers because they potentially could have a great defense, and their run game is strong. I’m iffy on Garoppolo, though.

    (Note: The rankings can change dramatically if any of these teams make big trades in the next couple of weeks.)

    2. Vikings, Seahawks, Cowboys, Eagles, Rams, Chiefs, Texans

    Too hard to rank these teams–they’re basically on the same level. For most of them, I don’t think the game between them and the tier above is really large; but they seem a bit less. Here are some problems per team:

    Vikings: Brittle OL. And their defense just seems good, not great. The OL is so brittle, I’m a bit skeptical they can go far into the playoffs;
    Seahawks: Vulnerable OL, and their defense, currently, isn’t very strong. They don’t have much of a pass rush, and if they don’t generate turnovers, they just average.
    Cowboys: I’m having some doubts about building a team around Prescott–and him being taking them to the Super Bowl this way. More importantly, I’m disappointed by the defense. They’re playing below my expectations.
    Eagles: The secondary seems vulnerable. Their offense seems inconsistent, running and passing, although that could be due to injuries. I think getting D-Jax back could really make the offense take off. Also, how far they go will depend on how well they can run the ball.
    Rams: Their OL was dominant at times last year. This year, their OL is far from this. They also put one of their starting guards on IR (but traded for a Browns center). If you take away the Niners game, they’re still a solid team in my view (as long as they don’t panic. Also, they traded Marcus Peters to the Ravens, but also traded picks for Jalen Ramsay. They also put Talib on IR, too.)
    Chiefs Their defense is a significant weakness, and their offense isn’t nearly as potent. I suspect the latter will improve though, so I’m not dropping them.
    Texans I don’t know if they have any glaring weakness, but I don’t know if they’re really good in any area, either. I think the key is how well and how often they can run–making them a more balanced offense.

    On that note, I could say for almost all the teams above, the key is the quality of their run game. Tell me any of the teams above will have one of the best run games, and I will predict they would be contenders.

    3. Ravens, Colts, Lions, Chargers, Panthers, Raiders, Bills

    I’m too tired to write about every team. But my knock on the Ravens is their defense, and I have questions about Jackson making throws from the pocket, in big moments against good defenses. Raiders defense probably not good enough to put them in here, but if they keep running the ball like they did in the past two games, they could be dangerous.

    1. I’m surprised, because my thoughts of the Packers are they aren’t good in any areas. They are not a great run defending team, which could really hurt them, and their passing offense is average. Their o-line is also banged up, and could be good, but it’s too early to tell. The Packer’s strength may be their young DBs, but I’m not sure if they will hold up as well.

      I’m also surprised that the Chargers can be on any list. They seem to be a hot mess right now. At least the Browns have left the list.

      I really don’t have a problem with the Packers in the top tier (mostly based on Rodgers), but I wouldn’t have them a little above anyone. I’m sort of more on the side of last rankings where there are a bunch of guys jumbled up in the second tier, but if I had to put anyone above the rest it would be New England, Saints, and maybe still the Chiefs.

      I’ll also probably, not smartly, put Indy up there in tier two. If that defense could do a little more, they would be a true tier two or maybe one team. Man, I know their FO doesn’t seem to want to make splashy trades, but Jalen Ramsey could have made them a true contender.

    2. I’m surprised, because my thoughts of the Packers are they aren’t good in any areas.

      Aren’t good in any areas, or aren’t great? I might agree with the latter, except their secondary may be more than just good; their pass rush, too. Other than that, they seem solid in other areas, or not glaringly weak in any other areas. Which team would you say is more well-rounded them the Packers?

      A big reason I feel fairly confident picking the Packers (slightly above those other first tier teams) is the quality of the teams they’ve played so far. And this is the reason I have the Patriots slightly below them.

      I’m also surprised that the Chargers can be on any list.

      That’s a fair point. I probably should take them off.

      I’ll also probably, not smartly, put Indy up there in tier two. If that defense could do a little more, they would be a true tier two or maybe one team.

      You can say that at about a lot the teams on the third tier, though. The thing I would ask is how likely is this type of jump in improvement? For example, I think the Seahawks could make the leap because they’re going to add a good player like Jarran Reed, and Clowney and Ansah had a late start. There are some other adjustments. I don’t get the sense the same is true for the Colts, but if they add players, via trade or coming off injuries, or younger players improve, they could make a leap.

      Also, I think their run game has to be better for them to have a chance. It looks pretty good now, and I think there is a chance it could get better. (Brissett looks more like a game manager.)

      1. I probably think higher of Brissett than you, because I don’t see him as just a game manager. I also see this team a lot like Dak’s rookie year, Cowboy team. They can control the game with their o-line. Add to that, Reich seems like a much better coach than anything Dallas had. I just think some of what you see now with Indy could be growing pains, with the lost of Luck. But coming down the stretch they could be legitimate.

    3. I also see this team a lot like Dak’s rookie year,

      I don’t really see this. I think every offensive position group of that 2016 position group was either better or significantly better than Indy’s in my view. Reich might be a better coach though.

      I just think some of what you see now with Indy could be growing pains, with the lost of Luck. But coming down the stretch they could be legitimate.

      That could be. You can’t rule out that teams can get better, and I think that’s one of the reasons having confidence in assessing a team’s chances of winning the Super Bowl is really difficult–not counting the bottom five teams.

  3. I hate to say it, but this is justified, or at least understandable. The hard truth is that Mariota hasn’t played well, and doesn’t seem to have developed very much from his first year, and might have gotten worse. He struggles with accuracy, and can’t seem to make all the throws. I feel like a lot of the problems stem from his footwork, but that’s mainly a guess.

    I’d like to see him go to another team, work with a good QB coach, and get a fresh start. (If Mike McCarthy were still coaching, I’d want him to play for him. I wonder if the Patriots would take a look, too.)

    1. Best thing for Mariota… His time is done there. The hope is that a team like New England picks him up so he can take over a “good” team once the incumbent leaves. Or maybe Pittsburgh would be good, because of similar reasons. San Diego??? But Rivers might play for a while more.

    2. Maybe the Rams, or Niners with Shanahan. In general, I think he would benefit from playing with a good west coast offensive coach.

      On the other hand, I wonder if he would have success with the Cardinals. Then again, I don’t think Mariota can make the type of throws Murray has made.

      1. Yeah there might be better options, but those aren’t really realistic, since Goff just got a new contract, and Garoppolo is highly paid as well. To me his best hope is to be picked up by a team with an aging QB and hope he gets to play sooner rather than later.

      2. Do you think another team would have to give up a lot to get Mariota? I was thinking the cost would be low. If that’s the case, I think the Niners and Rams should get him as a backup. Shoot, I would like it if the Seahawks got him as a backup (but it probably wouldn’t be great for Mariota). The Jags, Bears, and Steelers are some other teams that should consider getting him–although I think it would be better if he has time to develop out of the spotlight. (I heard Marcus Spears say that he thinks Mariota has lost confidence. That’s not something that occurred to me, but when he said that, I think that could be accurate.)

        1. Yes, I also think he has lost confidence. But based on the little we know of Marcus, he seems like a thoughtful guy – not like thinking of others thoughtful, but a guy that thinks about things. I think he is overprocessing things, instead of relying on his instincts. The amount of sacks he is taking now versus early on in his career is night and day. Any change in which he will get a chance to play, hopefully will change that.

      3. I don’t like your list of teams. If he’s going to be a backup, he should stay put for now and let his agent find him a good fit as a starter for next season. Unless his agent think he can find him a spot as a starter NOW and the Titans aren’t afraid to deal him in the middle of a season.

        The Steelers, Redskins, Bears, and Titans are three teams now with starters who aren’t better than Marcus. If the Jaguars think they have a shot at the playoffs, Marcus might think of going there as a backup in case the wheels fall off the Gardner Minshew wagon.

        Edit: Oh, I just saw the part where you mention Pittsburgh and Jacksonville.

        1. If he’s going to be a backup, he should stay put for now and let his agent find him a good fit as a starter for next season.

          I guess if he went to a team with good coaching, especially at the QB position, that would be fine. A part of me leans towards him being a backup on another team. I feel like getting a fresh start is better for him; and I’m not sure the Titans have good coaching.

          1. Well his rookie contract expires at the end of this season, so he’s a free agent anyway. In a sense, it would make sense for a contending team to trade for him if it thinks it needs a decent backup. In another, teams might not be willing to trade much since it’ll be a three-month rental.

  4. Baldwin seems really bought into this idea that Rodgers has declined and isn’t as good as people say. (For a few years, I think he’s believed Matt Ryan is better.) But this is based on what I’ve seen on twitter. Mitchell, if you read the article, I’d be interested in hearing a breakdown–specifically if Baldwin finds a way to isolate Rodgers’s play from his supporting cast, offensive system, etc.

    As you probably know, my hypothesis is that Rodgers hasn’t looked as good because of a decline in quality of his WRs/TEs. Ryan has had way better pass catchers, and if Rodgers played on the Falcons I think his number would be way better (and Ryan wouldn’t look as good if he played on the Packers).

  5. Chiefs-Broncos

    To me, here’s the whole story of the game. The Broncos couldn’t run (probably because the blocking wasn’t great), and the OL was often overwhelmed in pass protection. Shorter: The Bronco OL wasn’t good. (Note: I stopped watching early in the 4th.)

    Pyrrhic victory

  6. Ravens-Seahawks

    Seahawks turned the ball over twice–both times leading directly to TDs. Russ’s pick 6 was probably the bigger of the two. Lamar made plays with his legs.

    Raiders-Packers

    This game was close, but in my opinion the turning point came on Carr’s boneheaded play where he reached into the end zone and lost control of the ball, giving it back to the Packers. That came when the score was 14-10, Packers ahead. The Packers drove down with a little under 2:00 minutes and scored a TD, putting them up 21-10. (Had some errant, high, throws as well.) On the Packers first possession, they scored a quick TD, making it 28-10.

    The Raiders had trouble stopping the Packers, but maybe the Raiders could have controlled the ball more, if the score hadn’t gotten away from them so soon.

    Vikings-Lions

    The first half was really good. Both offenses were playing well, but it’s not like the defenses were really bad, either–although the Lions pass rush is pretty weak. (They’re probably worse than the Seahawks.)

    Eagles-Cowboys

    Eagles two early turnovers, leading to two Cowboys put them in a hole they never seemed to recover from. The hole wasn’t big, but they could never get back on track after that.

  7. Redskins, Niners – The rain game. It wasn’t raining hard (so the announcers said), but it was constant. However, that field wasn’t draining well at all. Callahan can coach running, because this Redskin team looks different running the ball for sure. But the Redskins just do not have enough talent to do much on offense. The Niners wasn’t doing much on offense either. The Niner running game was nonexistent in the first half and beginning of the third quarter, which is the parts I watched. I’ll be surprised if this Niner team will be a real contender in the end, but as we stated before there really isn’t a great team out there.

    Cowboys, Eagles – I still contend that the Eagle’s coaching is overrated. I understand that they have a lot of injuries, and their skilled position players aren’t great without Desean playing, but that offense is horrible. But whatever, after winning a Super Bowl that coaching staff will be there for a long time, and if I’m right and they aren’t great (mostly offensively) that’s a plus for the Cowboys. I will add that part of my “blaming” the coaching is I still think Wentz is special. Every time I watch him play, I’m impressed with his accuracy, his ability to move in the pocket, his arm strength and his ability to throw on the run. I don’t see him far from Aaron Rodgers in any QB skill-level. The Cowboys have a long way to go, to climb out of the hole they dug themselves in, but this is a great start beating their only division competition.

    1. I think it’s hard to judge the Niners on the last game, especially their offense. It was rainy really hard and the field was really soggy. It seemed to neutralize the passing game, almost like a heavy snow game.

      I still contend that the Eagle’s coaching is overrated.

      If you mean they’re kinda bad, I don’t wouldn’t go that far, but if you mean they’re not as good as people think, I agree with that. What Pederson/Reich did to revamp the team when Foles came in was impressive though. I tend to think Wentz’s playmaking really helped them

      It’s hard to get a bead on the Eagles sometimes they can look really good, and other times they seem mediocre. (I didn’t realize you were so high on Wentz.)

      1. Hmmm, you bringing up Reich is probably why the Eagle offense hasn’t been anything special since he left.

        Wentz is probably a top five guy in my book (talent wise), but not in this Eagle offense (obviously).

      2. I didn’t really think their offense, in terms of play design and play calling, was exceptional when Reich was there. This was Wentz’s first year? If so, what sticks out to me was Wentz’s ability to extend plays and improvise. He reminded me of a cross between Wilson and Newton. These plays really helped them extend drives, if I recall correctly.

        As for Wentz, I actually thought more highly of him–my estimation has gone down some.

        1. I’m pretty sure it was Wentz’s second year that they won it all. I was down on Wentz when Reid was high on Wentz, because he was super inconsistent. He would have numerous bad throws before making an exceptional play. Now I see him much more consistent especially throwing from the pocket. He still has the improvisation skills too. He just seems much more in control and mature as a QB. He was very much like Mahomes in his rookie year.

        2. Oh OK, his second year. I thought he was a legitimate MVP candidate at that time. He can still improvise, but I don’t think it’s as good as he did that year. In a way that’s a good thing because he took way too many hits playing in that style.

          I don’t know if that’s why I think a little less of him. I think I expect a little more from him, even with the injuries (i.e., lesser talent). I don’t think he had more talent on that 2017 team, did he?

          1. You said under Reich, the Eagle’s offense wasn’t exceptional, but you probably stand alone in those comments, because everyone was talking about the Eagles as the RPO inventors, at least in terms of bringing it to the NFL. I’m not sure what changed, partly the league just caught up to the RPOs. The Eagles are definitely not running the RPOs as much, but I think they did run it quite a bit last year and it was pretty much ineffective. I read that when running the RPOs, the Eagles WRs would basically always run slants on those plays making it easy to defend. Well easy to defend once a team seen it enough times. I felt that last year’s Eagles offense ran a lot of the plays they ran in the Super Bowl year (ie: two years ago Eagles). This year I don’t see much similarities. Whatever the case, I just don’t think their offense is sophisticated enough to get by with their talent at their skill positions. But really I’ve seen the Eagles play in three (maybe four) games this year and the total I’ve seen them play total couldn’t add up to much more than 2.5 games. Last year maybe all the times I’ve seen them play couldn’t add up to much more than 4 games total. So I wouldn’t put too much stock in what I’m saying.

    2. By your eye test, you thought the Eagles offense, under Reich, was exceptional? More than the play calls and play design, what stood out was Wentz’s playmaking ability. I recall that they ran fairly well, or at least better than they do now.

      1. I was never a fan of the Eagle offense even at that time. To me it was because of their failures on first and second downs, especially in Wentz’s rookie year. I’m not sure if that has to do with the offense or Wentz himself. It’s probably a combination of the two. However, I know pundits thought Pederson was a genius. Now people are saying Reich is a genius at Indy. The link between the two is Reich as now Pederson’s offense isn’t great.

        I’ll also add that Indy’s offense doesn’t look exceptional now (especially when comparing to the Chiefs and Rams of two years ago), except they are an effective group overall. They can run (when they stick to it) as well as the great running teams of recent history, but that could just be their o-line and not anything to do with Reich. But I know pundits love Reich for whatever reason. I’ll also point out that pundits think Nagy is a genius as well, and I can’t stand his offense and if I was a Bear’s fan I would be cheering for his firing – so what do I know.

      2. I think a big reason the Eagles, under Pederson and Reich, didn’t seem exceptional was that I was comparing them to Andy Reid. They don’t have the same impact in my opinion. Reid, in my view, is one of the few coaches who can elevate his offense by his coaching. I want to say he’s second to Belichick in this regard.

        But that’s probably an unfair way to evaluate Pederson and Reich. With that in mind, I think Reich is doing a good job. I think both of them have offenses feel like a kind of contemporary west coast offense, where spread passing is used for ball control, just as much as scoring.

        As for the Colts, their offense may not be exceptional, in terms of productivity, but I would say Reich well with what he has (although Brissett played well last Sunday, by the way).

        They can run (when they stick to it) as well as the great running teams of recent history, but that could just be their o-line and not anything to do with Reich.

        I still don’t get this impression–not in terms of doing this consistently. They do have moments of this, e.g., the recent games of the Chiefs. I think 2014, 2016 Cowboys were better. Probably Seahawks when Marshawn at his peak, too. Maybe 2018 Rams as well.

        As for Nagy, I’m with you–I don’t really care for him. Also, they seem to have a really talented roster, with the exception of the QB.

  8. Patriots-Jets

    Pretty bad way to start a game for the Jets. Patriots have a ten minute drive, ending in a TD. Jet turned the ball over–I think on the next two downs, and then another near the end of the half.

    Another INT on the first drive of the second half for the Jets. I’m not watching any more.

  9. Reid,

    Which rookie QB has looked the best or in what order would you have these guys: Kyler Murray, Gardner Minshew, Kyle Allen, or Daniel Jones? I never saw Allen play at all. I saw only a little of Murray, but thought he was pretty good. Minshew has spunk and grit, but not sure how much actual talent. Not sure why, but he sort of reminds me of a shorter Trevor Siemian. I thought Jones is close to the real deal. He had just an awful game this past weekend (I didn’t see it.), so how he responds next week is critical. Mike Lombardi was sort of killing him (that’s Mike’s way), saying his ceiling may be an average starter (maybe not in those words). I think he has the potential to be a star.

    1. Murray is the most impressive passer. With a good OL, I could see him having a lot of success, assuming he can stay healthy. (He is tiny.)

      I like Minshew. The Siemian comparison is pretty good, although I think Minshew’s arm is better.

      Jones looks OK, but I think he would be more impressive if he wasn’t such a high draft pick. I don’t know if he was worth that pick.

      Allen looks solid, but I’m unsure if he can be a starter.

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