21 thoughts on “2019-2020 NFL: Week 11

  1. Thu
    Steelers-Browns

    Sun
    Jets-Redskins
    Jaguars-Colts
    Bills-Dolphins
    Cowboys-Lions
    Texans-Ravens
    Falcons-Panthers
    Saints-Buccaneers
    Broncos-Vikings
    Cardinals-49ers
    Patriots-Eagles
    Bengals-Raiders
    Bears-Rams

    Mon
    Chiefs-Chargers

    1. I hear it’s the Falcons and Lions with interest. I hope it’s not the Ravens — I’m still hoping Robert Griffin gets back in the game somehow.

    2. I agree about Baltimore. At some point, the Panthers would have made sense, too.

      I wonder why there’s interest now. The only thing that would make sense for me is if Kaepernick won’t really protest or the emotion behind the protest has died down. I would be surprised if a team takes him and Kaepernick is going to be a lightning rod.

      The Falcons and Lions don’t make that much sense to me. I think the Texans would be a better fit or even the Bears.

  2. Power Rankings

    Power Rankings heading into week 9 (i.e., after week 8)

    Tier 1

    1a.
    1b. Ravens, Packers, 49ers, Patriots, Saints, Vikings, Cowboys, Chiefs, Seahawks, Texans

    The point of leaving 1a blank is to convey that there are not truly great teams. All these teams are good-to-very-good in my opinion, and the difference between them isn’t great. If I was forced to choose one team at the top, I guess it would be the Ravens right now, especially if we can assume they’ll continue to run the ball as well. Their defense seems to have improved significantly as well. Here are some quick comments about the other teams:

    Packers–At the beginning of the season, they looked like they could have a great defense. In the last couple of games, my perception has changed. Now, they seem good, but not great. Despite a new coach, and while their run game looks solid, I get the sense they’re too one-dimensional. Still, they could end having the best regular season record. (Their schedule gets a lot easier.)
    49ers. They miss Kittle, and Sanders seems like a vital piece of their offense. Still, if they can run well and play defense they’ll be in it. I’m not confident Garappolo can deliver under pressure.
    Patriots–Their offense looks anemic, and their defense doesn’t seem as dominant.
    Saints–Their offense also seems to struggle a bit. I think the key is going to be Kamara and the run game overall. They might struggle to put away teams without a better run game. They’re one of the better overall teams, though.
    Vikings–I think Dalvin Cook should be an MVP candidate, but their pass pro is too brittle. Their defense just seems good, but not more than that. (The need to upgrade their secondary.)
    Cowboys–I kinda feel like they’re a sleeping giant. They have potential, but for whatever reason, they’re not putting it all together. This is the type of team that could get hot, and make a run and win it all.
    Chiefs–My guess is that Mahomes has to get healthier. Or their offense just needs to be more explosive for them to have a chance.
    Seahawks–The question is, has the defense turned the corner? Will they play like they did against the Niners or revert back? If they turn the corner, they are contenders. If not, I think they are a long shot. (They are turning the ball over way too much, too. If they don’t correct that, forget about it.)
    Texans–To me, the key is their run game–can it be productive and a threat in the playoffs. If so, I think they can go far. (Actually I can say that about almost ever team on the list.) And if not, I think they don’t have much of a chance.

    Tier 2

    Eagles, Colts, Bills, Panthers, Raiders, Chargers, Rams, Steelers

    Eagles are a kind of borderline team for me–i.e., I almost threw them in the first tier. The Rams and Steelers are borderline at the other end–I almost left them off the list. (I took off the Lions, too, because I think Stafford is not playing. It seems like they’re kinda tanking.) I’d be surprised if the Steelers become a factor. The Rams kinda look like they’re falling a part a little.

    By the way, I looked at the Bills opponents so far. They’ve had a weak schedule. I don’t think they’re as good as their record suggests.

    1. Yeah. I know some are saying Pouncey should be suspended, too–and yeah, kicking another player in the head is bad, but I guess right now, I’m pretty angry, and I have a hard time blaming Pouncey. What Garrett did was awful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that. (Wait…did Lyle Alzado swing a helmet at another player. I have a vague recollection that he did that–more than once. Am I remembering this wrong? I don’t think he hit another player on the head, especially without a helmet, though.)

      1. I don’t remember if it was Alzado — there is an NFL Raider rule along the lines of “no throwing a piece of your equipment at another player” that exists because someone in black and silver did it. The league rulebook is full of Raider rules. 🙂

      2. Haha. I will say this though: I’m almost certain Alzado didn’t use a helmet like a hatchet on a player without a helmet. (My vague memory is that he swung it around at players or threw it at an opponent.)

        By the way, I don’t know if you heard Max Kellerman’s take on this. I hope the league isn’t as dumb as he is. Basically, his take–Garrett went too far, but Rudolph was an investigator, and even aggressor. For this latter point, Kellerman mentions Rudolph going after Garrett, suggesting this was significantly threatening to Garrett. My disagreement was so strong, I was getting angry and willing to call his view dumb.

        1. Willie McGinest, and others like David Carr and Primetime, all said Mason should have been suspended. Their claim is Mason was pulling Garrett’s facemask first. And then when Garrett was getting held back by the Steeler guys like Pouncey, Mason continued to follow the group and Garrett yelling and taunting. Their claims were that normally when the person gets held back, the other guy just walks away and the scuffle ends, but in this case it continued because of Mason. None of those guys are claiming Mason deserves what he got or almost got, nor are they backing Garrett, but they all claim Mason not only started it, but didn’t want to end it.

      3. Willie McGinest, and others like David Carr and Primetime, all said Mason should have been suspended. Their claim is Mason was pulling Garrett’s facemask first.

        It’s important to remember what preceded Rudolph grabbing Garrett’s facemask–namely, Garrett’s sack of Rudolph. In my opinion Garrett’s not only wrestles Rudolph to the ground in a questionable way, but he’s holding onto Rudolph for a rather long time. I can’t tell if Rudolph is angry and trying to get Garrett off him, and grabs Garrett’s helmet because of the position he’s in, or if he’s really targeting the helmet. I’ve heard some say Rudolph instigated the altercation, but I point to Garrett first. (There’s also 8 seconds left in the game, and the Browns are going to win.)

        I can see their position, and it would be more compelling in the following scenario: Instead of hitting a helmet-less Rudolph with a helmet, suppose Garrett shoved, or maybe even punched, Rudolph in the face. Penalizing both players.

        Actually, I would be fine if Rudolph received some punishment.

        What stands out to me is Garrett’s response–which was so out of proportion. The intent is almost murderous. Think if a batter got hit by a pitch and ran up to the pitcher–with his bat in hand–and then reared back, taking a fairly clear shot at the pitcher’s head. A person, with a fairly good sight of the target, swinging a bat, helmet, or even a hockey stick at someone’s head, and that seems like they’re trying to kill the person or get close to it. I would question Garrett’s mental health.

        I think this is why I’m sympathetic to Pouncey’s reaction. It’s like he saw someone just try to kill someone else.

    2. If Pouncey is suspended, and if I were a teammate, I’d pay him his lost game salary. If he’s fined, and if I owned the team, I’m paying his fine. He may deserve whatever discipline he gets, but I can’t say that in the context of the situation he did the wrong thing.

  3. Cowboys-Lions

    The Lions defense is horrid, especially their pass rush, but the Cowboys defense wasn’t all that great, too, going against a backup QB for the Lions. A part of me is a little disgusted with the Lions, as they seem like they’re tanking. Another part of me feels wants them to do poorly so that they can have a better draft. (They need better players.)

    Saints-Buccaneers

    It was hard to watch this, as I was cheering for the Bucs and they often looked hapless.

    Texans-Ravens

    I watched a little more than half way in this. The Ravens dominated. What stood out was the way the Ravens defense dominated–shutting down the Texans’ run game, and the secondary blanketing the Texan pass catchers (at least that’s what it seemed like).

    And if the Ravens can keep running the ball (and avoiding long yardage situations), they can go all the way.

    Cardinals-49ers

    49ers had a slow start, while Cardinals came out fast. Jimmy the Grape still looks shaky to me, but the Cardinals couldn’t stop him in the end when they needed to.

    1. Only saw parts of the games this week. I saw only a little bit on the Ravens game, but I saw Lamar’s long run. I’m surprised at how he good he is in the open field.

      I also saw parts of the Eagles, Pats game. The parts I saw looks like it was going to be a defensive battle and it turned out to be. Man, if the Pats win it all this year, it will be all coaching because that team lacks a lot on offense.

      How did Wentz look? I saw the parts when the Eagles were winning 10-0, and although Wentz wasn’t dominating I thought he looked good again. I didn’t see the parts where the Eagles couldn’t do anything though, so I guessing he didn’t look all that good overall.

    2. I’m surprised at how he good he is in the open field.

      For some reason, I didn’t think he was in the same class as Michael Vick, but I think he may just be. Maybe he doesn’t look as aesthetically pleasing–I’m not sure–but he is really good at making defenders miss and outrun them.

      The Ravens have what seems like a college offense, and they are dominating opponents, especially in terms of running. I heard John Harbaugh tell Jackson, on the sidelines, “You’re changed the game.” I think that could be the case, especially if they can sustain this through the playoffs–against the Patriots. (The Patriots look vulnerable against the run, but I gotta imagine Belichick is going to really take away the run from them if they meet.)

      How did Wentz look?

      To me, he didn’t look good. Part of this is the errant throws. But I think this is a game that is a decent example of how bad a QB can look with weak pass catchers–when the latter is struggling to get open and the QB doesn’t have a lot of wide open targets. Brady also didn’t look that good. If he had a healthy Gronk or another play maker, I suspect he’d look a lot better. Same with Wentz–he looked really different with Jeffery and D-Jax in the game.

      1. All the pundits seem to agree that Lamar is a better passer than Vick. I would probably lean the same way, but Vick had a pretty long ball.

        I’m pretty sure when I was watching Wentz, I only saw one bad throw in the first quarter and half or so.

      2. I want to say that Lamar is better passer, but what makes me hesitate is the offense he’s in–basically an option offense, with a run game that has been hard to stop. If Vick played in this type of offense, he might look like a better passer.

        I’m pretty sure when I was watching Wentz, I only saw one bad throw in the first quarter and half or so.

        I might feel the same for that time period, but not the whole game. I understand frustration from Philly fans–Wentz is not looking good in my opinion. The question is, is the problem him or the supporting cast? He was without Howard, Jeffery, and D-Jax. I think the Eagles lost Lane Johnson at some point, too.

        (By the way, there seemed to be a lot of injuries for some of the games that I saw.)

  4. I’m feeling pretty good about writing this on September 5.

    The Ravens might be this year’s Chiefs, not in the way they play but in the way the fans get excited about watching a team they don’t usually root for.

    1. Yeah, you did better than me. I thought that other teams (like the way the Chargers did in the playoffs) would have a good gameplan against their offense, and they wouldn’t be as successful.

  5. Chiefs-Chargers

    Rivers with 4 INTS. It’s really hard to win under those circumstances. The Chargers were running the ball well, and they seemed to abandon it inexplicably. I can’t help but feel the Chargers being one-dimensional was a reason for this.

    The Chiefs didn’t look that good in my opinion. Losing Hill didn’t help.

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