27 thoughts on “2019-2020 NFL: Week 10

  1. Thu
    Chargers-Raiders

    Sun
    Giants-Jets
    Falcons-Saints
    Chiefs-Titans
    Ravens-Bengals
    Bills-Browns
    Cardinals-Buccaneers
    Lions-Bears
    Dolphins-Colts
    Panthers-Packers
    Rams-Steelers
    Vikings-Cowboys

    Mon
    Seahawks-49ers

  2. Chargers-Raiders

    I can’t remember the last time I said the following–the Raiders defense won this game, and they played well, particularly their front four rushing the passer. (Crosby, a rookie, looks like he has potential and I’m not just basing this on one game.) Well, let me qualify that–the pass defense played well (with Erik Harris having the game of his life with two picks, including a pick 6, and should have been three picks, if not for a penalty), but the Raiders struggled to stop the Charger run game. (I thought the Chargers should have ran more.)

    The Chargers OL is banged up, but if the Raiders pass rush can duplicate their performance on other teams they have chance to do damage.

    On a side note, the Raiders have drafted or picked up some good players. Renfrow, the slot, and Waller, the TE, look like two really good pickups. Ingold looks like a solid FB. Also, Tyrell Williams looked better than I thought he would be. Brown and Ingonito have worked out well, too.

  3. Falcons-Saints

    For once, the Falcons played well in the trenches. Brees got sacked 6 times, I believe–the most he’s ever been sacked, according to the announcers. The Falcons pass rush, which has been non-existent for most of the season, came alive today. (I wondered if the Saints have injuries on the OL, because they looked a little brittle.) The Saints couldn’t, didn’t really run well and they had very little explosive plays.

    On offense, the Falcons really did a good job of picking up the Saints blitzing (and the Saints were blitzing quite a bit). The Falcons also ran the ball fairly well in the first half. In terms of ball control, I think the Falcons did far better than the Saints, but that’s a guess.

    Chiefs-Titans

    I watched portions of this, and then fast forwarded to the end. Tannehill didn’t look all that great, but he did have a few nice throws on the last drive.

    KC’s offense is not as explosive as last year. Their defense seems a little better, but that’s not saying much.

  4. Rams-Steelers

    While watching this game, I had the thought if the Steelers win, it would be because of their line play, on both sides of the ball, and I think that’s somewhat accurate.

    You could also say that the Rams lost because of their shaky OL play. The Rams offense is like a machine that depends on rhythm and precise timing. When that timing is slightly off the machine starts to sputter and break down. Much of the timing has been thrown off because the OL is no longer rock solid like it was in 2018. The other players aren’t good enough to overcome this.

    In any event, I was into this game–rooting hard for the Steelers, and their boneheaded plays made me as frustrated as if Seahawks or Raiders were doing this. I’m thinking of the fumbles, especially the high snap that lead to a Rams TD. I’m glad the Rams eventually lost.

    Vikings-Cowboys

    The Cowboys OL looked shaky at times. But when the Vikings pass rush couldn’t get home, the Vikings secondary often seemed porous. The Cowboys moved the ball through the air fairly well.

    Dalvin Cook is really good. That Vikings drive at the end of the 3rd was a thing of beauty. For a brittle OL, they can be surprisingly effective in the run game.

    Panthers-Packers

    I was going to say, once again, that the Packers play with the same offensive philosophy as last year, despite a new coach. But in the third they ran the ball well and ran it more, which undermines that narrative.
    Overall, I think the Packers have diminished in my eyes. Then again, the Panthers are a solid team. I don’t know how good Kyle Allen is or will be, but he made some impressive throws. Overall, I feel like of the good teams, the Packers have had the toughest schedule. (Besides the 49ers and Vikings, their road gets a lot easier the rest of the way.)

    On a side note, that roughing the passer call on the Panthers, when the Packers were in their own end zone really was a big momentum shift. I really didn’t like the call. While thinking about the call, to inflict a big penalty like that the violation should either be egregiously damaging or egregiously intentional. If neither seems to be the case, I don’t think they should throw a flag. In the review of the game, if the NFL deems that the hit was egregious they can administer a really stiff penalty–e.g., suspension and/or big fine.

  5. Seahawks-49ers

    Russ said that was one of the craziest games he played in and it felt like an NFC Championship game. I sort of agree. It was crazy, and it felt like a playoff game. (If Russ is thinking about the 2015 NFCCG, his comment makes sense.)

    This defense came alive, especially the DL and pass rush. To be fair, the 49ers were without Kittle and Emmanuel Sanders left the game due to injury at one point. Niners couldn’t really run the ball. Still, they got back their starting tackles, and the Seahawks got good pressure–pressure and sacks that have been absent all year. Clowney was a beat, looking like a serious pass rushing threat. I’ve never seen him play like this. Quandre Diggs started at free saftey, and he had some nice hits. The 49ers dropped a lot of balls, and I can’t help but think the hard hits had something to do with this.

    Several sour notes:

    Wilson’s INT in OT was pretty bad and disappointing;
    KJ Wright dropped an INT that likely would have ended the game in regulation.
    Tyler Lockett sustained an injury. I heard in could be serious, but I hope not.

    If the Seahawk defense and pass rush plays like this for the rest of the way, they have a chance to go all the way.

  6. Dallas, Vikes:
    Dallas’ D was horrible in this one. A Cowboy reporter said, “Why does the screen pass keep working against the Cowboys and nothing get changed”? Collinsworth during the broadcast said the Cowboys is the worse screen pass defense in the league, so I guess there is some truth to both statements. Outside of Dalvin Cook, the Vikes didn’t really have much weapons (unless you count Rudolph), since Diggs was held to almost nil, yet the Vikes could move the ball consistently.

    Dallas offense was good, but because they were unable to run the ball, they struggled to score when the field got shorten (ie: inside the redzone). That really cost them in the end. I’ll say this though, Amari was amazing in this game, and I cannot believe he is not considered a top three receiver in the league.

    Hawks, Niners:
    I thought both teams played pretty badly especially offensively. Are both defenses that good, maybe the Niners are good, but I thought there was also a lot of bad play from both offenses. Only two players stood out to me as playing well and that was Clowney and Wilson and even Wilson had a terrible INT and a fumble that was credited to Ifedi (?). I saw Garappolo play twice (or maybe three) times this year, and I’m not impressed. Physically he has tools. He looks pretty accurate overall. My problem with him is, he seems to throw the ball late or is hesitant to throw it at times. When Garappolo was completing passes, while Sanders was still playing, he had a few medicine balls, where he led the receiver into a big hit or maybe his ball was just taking too long to get there. Garappolo also has poor or just average pocket presence. I like that he will stand in there, but he has to make quicker decisions on getting rid of the ball or getting out of the pocket. I like to say Tannehill is my average QB starter, I would have Garappolo right about where Tannehill is or maybe even a little below. He will not be able to win a game in the playoffs, I think.

    1. If I were a fan, I’d probably say the Cowboys defense was horrible. What I will say is that they’re playing below my expectations. One of the bigger disappoints this season. (I’d be ambivalent if the Cowboys fired Garrett because the defense under-performed.)

      Dallas offense was good, but because they were unable to run the ball,…

      Do you think this is because they are truly unable to do this, or is it because of offensive design/philosophy? I sort of feel like the situation is similar to the Packers. I think they have the RBs and OL to be good at running, and where running truly threatens and damages a defense, but they (Rodgers?) just don’t really want to commit and build around it. That’s the sense I’m getting from the Cowboys. They’re building around Dak.

      By the way, I’m curious to hear if you think Dak is one of the best QBs in the league–playing like an MVP? Some analytics guys hear are pushing this.

      I thought both teams played pretty badly especially offensively. Are both defenses that good, maybe the Niners are good, but I thought there was also a lot of bad play from both offenses.

      The Seahawks defense played dramatically better than they have all season especially the pass rush. It was weird. Did you see the Falcons-Saints game? The Falcons defense, especially their pass rush, came alive, and they were largely inert for most of the season–and this was against a good Saints OL. Seahawks DL had a similar performance. It’s weird, and I don’t really have a plausible, compelling explanation.

      Additionally, it’s important to remember that the Niners were playing without Kittle and Sanders (for most of the game).

      On the Hawks’ side, I had low expectations. My expectation dropped dramatically after the Niners had a lot of long drives and Seahawks had a lot of short ones (in the first quarter especially). I thought the Niner DL would overwhelm the Seahawk OL. I think the strip fumble and Clowney TD was super huge momentum shift (which was shifted back when Metcalf fumbled in the red zone). In short, I would say Seahawks offensive performance can be explained by a good Niner defense.

      The turnovers and dropped passes, though–I think that might have been from the playoff intensity and physicality of the game. It was almost like the players weren’t used to this, which lead to the fumbles and tipped passes.

      1. Marinilli’s style has always been to limit big plays. And by that standard, Dallas has been somewhat okay, except they keep giving up long screen passes. So that may be his vulnerability, but that play is fairly easy to run so teams can run it a few times a game.

        I thought Dallas stayed committed to the run against the Vikes. I’m pretty sure I was the one saying, “pass more on first down” as the game went on.

        Dak is playing better than both Brady and Garappolo, QB of both first place teams, but of course he’s not in the category of Wilson and Deshaun and now maybe Lamar (although from the start of the season, Dak probably has been playing better than Lamar too). So as far as MVP, maybe third to fifth because you have to add McCaffrey to that list.

        I think Clowney was a force, but Garappolo and that receiver who couldn’t catch ball was making the Seattle’s defense probably look better than they should. Seattle was playing the one high, and daring the Niners to throw the ball, and yet Garappolo and crew couldn’t do much. In fact, I want to say they were pretty horrible. Yes, Seattle had pretty decent pressure on Garappolo overall, so give them credit, but Garappolo wasn’t doing a great job stepping into the pocket, he didn’t do a great job getting outside the pocket, and he didn’t do a great job when he did have time to throw the ball. I’m not a fan of what I’ve seen this year or even the little I saw him last year. I will even go so far to say if Trubisky was playing for the Niners, he could look just as good as Garappolo. I really think Nagy’s system is making Trubisky even worse than he already is.

    2. Marinilli’s style has always been to limit big plays. And by that standard, Dallas has been somewhat okay,…

      Yeah, but I expect more control, even dominance at the line of scrimmage and even more suffocating coverage. They’ve shown flashes of this, but they haven’t been consistent in my opinion.

      I thought Dallas stayed committed to the run against the Vikes. I’m pretty sure I was the one saying, “pass more on first down” as the game went on.

      But do you think the offense, structurally and in terms of play calling, is based on the pass or run? To me, the offense looks very similar to Reich’s and Pederson’s–which to me are more pass centric offenses, even though both offenses can be effective running the ball. Running is a complement to passing, not the other way around. With the 49ers, Vikings–it seems clear that running is more of foundation, while passing is more complementary. Seahawks are sort of like this, but they’re actually harder to judge in this regard–passing has taken a more prominent role.

      Dak is playing better than both Brady and Garappolo, QB of both first place teams, but of course he’s not in the category of Wilson and Deshaun and now maybe Lamar (although from the start of the season, Dak probably has been playing better than Lamar too). So as far as MVP, maybe third to fifth because you have to add McCaffrey to that list.

      I basically agree with this, although I didn’t think of Prescott as an MVP candidate. I do think he’s playing better than Brady, maybe even Brees. The thing is, with Brady and Brees, it’s hard to separate their performance from their supporting cast. Are the aging or just don’t have enough weapons? It’s hard to say.

      I think Clowney was a force, but Garappolo and that receiver who couldn’t catch ball was making the Seattle’s defense probably look better than they should.

      To be fair the Seahawk defense, I think the drops had something to do with the hitting by the Seahawks safeties–Quandre Diggs (who played his first game since coming over from Detroit) and McDougald. The latter nailed a receiver who looked like he was in pain when he slowly got up. Carroll also mentioned this as well, and it’s believable. (They dropped a lot of balls.)

      Having said that (and I forgot to comment on this), Garappolo did not play well. I agree with others who said that he looked scared. The hits and pressure really did seem to be getting to him. He had games like this earlier in the season, but he seemed to settle down–including last week against the Cardinals. In that game, I saw him hang in the pocket under duress and make nice throws. I didn’t really see the jitters there. The questions I had about him earlier have come back up.

      As far as Trubisky being just as good, I disagree with that.

      1. There were times especially in the last drive Garappolo looked out of sorts (scared is probably too strong of a word), yet I thought overall he did a decent job of standing in there. Maybe too much standing in there would be my major criticism. When I think of scared QBs, I see them looking at the d-linemen or sometimes looking around, instead of keeping their eyes down field. I didn’t think Garappolo was doing that. I’ll also add that as I stated before, Garappolo’s late throws caused some of those big hits by Seattle I thought.

    3. You’re right that there could have been more dramatic signs of panic and fear, but you don’t think he seemed jittery–that the pressure was getting to him? What about the throw to KJ and Wagner at the end? Those were really two bad throws that should have been intercepted. It seemed like the pressure was getting to him.

      1. Yes he looked bad on the last drive… That’s what I said in the prior post. But I think a QB needs to take more chances in that situation. It doesn’t excuse it, which is why I mentioned it, but it should weigh a little less in terms of overall assessment, in my opinion. But he wasn’t that bad in terms of being erratic prior. The interception was probably 40% on Garappolo because the pass was off, but most of that was on that receiver.

      2. You think a QB should take more chances with the score so close? To me, taking more risks when a team is losing pretty badly seems more justifiable.

        But he wasn’t that bad in terms of being erratic prior.

        It’s more that he seemed jittery, and the pressure was adversely affecting him a little too much.

        1. Not because the game was close, but because it was the Niner’s last drive and they had to score at least a field goal. They couldn’t punt on that drive in which those two passes were almost intercepted.

      3. Was that in the 4th or OT? If it’s in the OT, you can’t turn the ball over. If it’s in the 4th, you gotta score, but unless it’s 4th down, I don’t think you take too big of a risk. The one to KJ would make more sense if it was on 4th down, Garappolo was under heavy pressure.

        By the way, I’m confused on what your stance on Jimmy G is. Initially, it sounds like you think he’s not good? Is that still your position? Are you just disagreeing with my perception that he was scared, letting the pressure affect him, etc.?

        1. Yeah I didn’t get the sense the Garappolo was panicking in general. He didn’t look good in the last drive of the fourth, but overall I thought he was poised overall. My knock on Garappolo was when he throwing the ball and maybe who he was choosing to throw it to. Yes I cannot see anything like the all 22, so maybe guys weren’t open and Garappolo was throwing it when he needed to. But he didn’t seem to throw anyone open ala Wilson’s TD throw to the TE. Garappolo also didn’t seem to make any throws in the entire game where you see him throw it before the receiver makes his break or with any anticipation. That is true of Dak too, but based on the little I’ve seen of Garappolo, he’s even worse.

          Garappolo seems a little more accurate than Trusbisky, but Trusbisky can run better. I wouldn’t put these two guys far from each other on the QB ranking, based on the little I’ve seen on both guys.

        2. Yeah I didn’t get the sense the Garappolo was panicking in general. He didn’t look good in the last drive of the fourth, but overall I thought he was poised overall.

          How would you rate him in terms of his accuracy when under pressure? He didn’t seem that good, and to me I link this to panic or being scared. I think Goff might be similar. Indeed, I heard someone say Garappolo is just like Goff in this regard. (I don’t know if I would say that.)

          As for throwing guys, open, I’m not really sure about that.

          But I think Garappolo is better than Trubisky–I don’t think it’s close. I would choose Goff over Trubisky as well. With Goff and Garappolo, I think if you give them good supporting cast they will perform well. I can’t say that about Trubisky.

        3. Here are the dropped passes by the 49ers:

          Diggs had two big hits (he also came close to a third on a completion), and B-Mac had one. On two of these hits, the 49er players got up slow. It looked like they were in pain. Also, I wonder if Sanders took a bit shot–because he left the game with a rib injury.

          It’s believable to me these type of hits contributes to drops–just as hits on the QB can adversely affect accuracy and decision making.

  7. I watched the second half of the Cowboys-Vikings game and really enjoyed it. The Vikings look good to me — I don’t know what you guys are griping about.

    And yeah, Amari Cooper was amazing. He’s been good every time I’ve seen him this season.

    Prescott is having a great season so far for sure. I can’t tell how much of that is him. If Tannehill were the Cowboys’ starter, would he look much worse?

    McCaffrey gets my vote for MVP as of right now.

    On the Kornheiser show this morning, Kornheiser mentioned that when the Falcons played the Saints Sunday, it broke the record for most times two QBs played against each other. Super interesting discussion. The record they broke belonged to Jim Kelly and Dan Marino. I wonder who’s now third?

    You almost have to pick two QBs in the same division, two guys who started long enough to face each other a good number of times. It was a fun conversation to listen to. Wouldn’t Flacco and Roethlisberger have to be up there? I feel like every time I turn the TV on, they’re playing against each other.

    1. I watched the second half of the Cowboys-Vikings game and really enjoyed it. The Vikings look good to me — I don’t know what you guys are griping about.

      Well, Don’s team lost so you can see how he’d gripe. I thought the game overall was a good one, but I was mostly talking about the Cowboys defense–specifically how they’re playing below my expectations.

      Prescott is having a great season so far for sure. I can’t tell how much of that is him. If Tannehill were the Cowboys’ starter, would he look much worse?

      My sense is that the Cowboy offense is QB friendly, but I’m a bit skeptical that Tannehill would be doing as well. He doesn’t look much better than Mariota with the Titans. Overall, I think Dak is a better QB.

      Wouldn’t Flacco and Roethlisberger have to be up there? I feel like every time I turn the TV on, they’re playing against each other.

      That’s a good pick. I’m having trouble thinking of two really good QBs who played in the same division (not counting flash-in-the-pan QBs).

  8. (Seahawks-49ers con’t)

    I forgot to mention one other thing. Coach Holmgren was kinda critical of Kyle Shanahan’s playcalling. Basically, he thought Shanahan got away from the run game too quickly–basically becoming too one-dimensional. I think that’s a valid criticism. What comes to mind is how much Kittle allows the offense to be versatile–allowing formations to run or pass, and do so in a variety of ways. Off the top of my head, the offense not only seemed one-dimensional at some point, but it didn’t seem all that creative. (Also, I noticed that in a few games, Shanahan would run a lot of misdirection runs. There didn’t seem to be much of that in this game, although maybe I’m forgetting.)

    1. But the Seahawks was daring the Niners to throw. Shanahan should have called plays which would force Garappolo to throw it down the field regardless of the outcome, just to see if it could alter the Seattle’s defense.

      1. I think good offenses and more importantly in this case, good QBs should make a defense pay if you overplay them a certain way. If Garappolo and the Niners did that, there would be no issues with the play calling,

        But doesn’t that relate to the actual pass plays/formations utilized? I’m not just talking about passing a lot–although I think they did overpass–but that they seemed too obvious. Romo and the Cowboys used to do this a lot in 2013. I think Rodgers does this too often, too.

        Maybe the approach could be viable if they had more weapons–they were without Kittle and Sanders.

    2. But the Seahawks was daring the Niners to throw.

      So you liked their approach? I feel like they not only passed too much, but they were too obvious about it. From what I recall, they went to a lot of shot gun, and it seemed like there was little chance of running. I feel like this made it seem like the Seahawks could pin their ears back and go after Garappolo.

      1. I think good offenses and more importantly in this case, good QBs should make a defense pay if you overplay them a certain way. If Garappolo and the Niners did that, there would be no issues with the play calling, I think because Seattle would have to balance out that defense.

  9. The Raiders broke into the top 10 in this week’s Power Rankings at the Athletic, up from 16 last week. This is what Lindsay Jones wrote:

    Can the NFL figure out a way to flex one more Raiders home game into prime time this year? Because there is nothing like the Black Hole, under the lights, when the Raiders are good. And suddenly, it looks like the Raiders might be good. Like, playoff good now that Oakland has discovered a pass rush and balanced offense between Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs, whose dagger of a touchdown run last week against the Chargers showed why he’s the favorite to win offensive rookie of the year.

    Ahead of them (in ascending order):
    Texans, Chiefs, Vikings, Packers, Saints, 49ers, Seahawks, Ravens, Patriots.

    1. The Raiders have definitely taken positive steps this year. I’m not a fan of Gruden’s, but they look better; they’ve found some good players, and they have a physical run game, maybe underrated.

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