18 thoughts on “2019-2020 NFL: Week 16

  1. Sat
    Texans-Buccaneers
    Bills-Patriots
    Rams-49ers

    Sun
    Steelers-Jets
    Saints-Titans
    Panthers-Colts
    Bengals-Dolphins
    Ravens-Browns
    Jaguars-Falcons
    Giants-Redskins
    Lions-Broncos
    Raiders-Chargers
    Cardinals-Seahawks
    Cowboys-Eagles
    Chiefs-Bears

    Mon
    Packers-Vikings

  2. Tier 1
    Ravens 13-3 (13-14)
    Saints 12-4 (12) (Two weeks: 10-6 (10-11)
    49ers 12-4 (12-13)

    I probably said this before, but if the Ravens keep running the ball like they do all through the playoffs, they’re a great team.

    The Saints and 49ers are in good to very good range.

    One comment about the Saints: Their offense looks significantly better–particularly their passing game. Brees is looking like the younger version of himself. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs outdoors. I think if the Saints have to play outdoors in the playoffs that’s a huge disadvantage for them.

    With regard to the 49ers, if the defense can get healthy, and Garappolo can protect the ball, I think Shanahan find ways to scheme success for their offense and that could make the difference. (Then again, I could Sean Payton doing something similar.)

    Tier 2
    Seahawks 10-6 (10-11)
    Patriots 10-6 (10-13)*
    Bills 10-6 (10) (Two weeks ago 9-10)
    Vikings 10-6 (10)
    Packers 10-6 (10)
    Chiefs 10-6 (10)
    Texans 10-6 (10)
    Cowboys 10-6 (9-10)
    Rams 10-6 (9-10)

    All these teams seem pretty equal to me. They’re good, but they have enough flaws or inconsistent play to prevent them from being very good. Belichick and Wilson gives a sight edge to their respective teams. Comments about specific teams:
    Vikings,–Secondary is a concern and pass protection, especially against team with strong DL.
    Packers–Their offense does not look good. Rodgers doesn’t look so good as well. Actually their defense looks far more vulnerable than at the start of the season.
    Bills–Arguably the best defense in the league. Solid run game. Allen can make plays. (One thing I noticed: His deep ball isn’t very accurate. I feel like this should be a top priority. Run game could use a good vertical threat. I think it may be hard to beat the Patriots without hitting on one or two deep passes.)
    Chiefs–I may have been a little dismissive of them because of a defense that isn’t great. My thinking is that if they play a defense that can slow down their offense, they’re in trouble. The thing is, their may not be a defense that can do this. Maybe the Texans qualify as well. I also think the run game for both teams might be the difference.
    Cowboys–I don’t know if they can turn things around, but I feel like they’re a sleeping giant. If they can play to their potential on both sides of the ball, they can win it all. At the same time, they kinda remind me of the Browns–but not as dysfunctional.

    Tier 3
    Steelers 9-7 (9) (Forgot to list them!)
    Chargers 8-8 (8-9) (Two weeks ago: 9-7 (9-10))
    Titans 8-8 (8-9)
    Eagles 8-8 (8-9)
    Colts 8-8 (8-9)
    Bears 8-8 (8-9) (Two weeks ago: 7-9 (6-7))

    Tier 4
    Browns 8-8 (8-9)
    Raiders 7-9 (7-8)
    Broncos 7-9 (6-7)
    Panthers 7-9 (6-7)

    Falcons 6-10 (6-7)
    Buccaneers 6-10 (6)
    Cardinals 6-10 (5-6)
    Jaguars 5-11 (5-6)

    Lions 4-12 (4-5)
    Jets 4-12 (4-5)
    Dolphins 4-12 (3-4)
    Bengals 4-12 (3-4)
    Giants 4-12 (3-4)
    Redskins 4-12 (3-4)

  3. I’m in agreement with this list. I do think the winner will be from your tier 1, if I had to bet, but I have the least confidence of that group in San Fran. However, if I had to pick one other team to bet on not in tier 1, I think my pick right now would be the Chiefs. They should get healthier, and I think Spags can scheme them up to win a game if need be. I don’t think the Chiefs will have to worry about the Pats’ offense this year either. And if it’s a shoot out between the Chiefs and Ravens, the Chiefs can win that because of Lamar inability to win from the pocket. All if’s, but I sort of like their chances.

    Reid,

    If the playoffs started today, what would be your rankings of NFC teams you would like Seattle to play. The list would be from Minnesota, Green Bay, SF, New Orleans, and Dallas. Basically, which team would you say Seattle matches up best against from weakest to strongest.

    1. They should get healthier, and I think Spags can scheme them up to win a game if need be.

      Against the Saints, Niners, and Ravens, I think the Chiefs defense will have trouble. But with the Ravens, I suspect a good scheme/game plan could slow them down–or at least I wouldn’t be surprised. In that case, I think the game will be close. I’m not sure who I’d favor in that situation. I also think Seahawks offense, if their OL plays well, could give the Chiefs problems. Cowboys, too.

      Basically, which team would you say Seattle matches up best against from weakest to strongest.

      Off the top of my head,

      1. Packers
      2. Cowboys
      3. Vikings
      4. Niners
      5. Saints

      Actually 1-3 is a toss up and 4-5 are toss ups as well. If Cowboys play in an uneven way, I’d want to face them. If they play well, I could be the 3rd team I’d want the Seahawks to face.

      1. Actually maybe I should have wrote, “Spags can scheme them up to make enough stops to win a game.” Unless you think for sure the Saints or Niners will be able to stop the Chief offense and that the Chief’s D would have to actually win a game. I’m not saying Saints or Niners cannot, but if the Chief’s offense is healthy, I think I would bet against the Niners or Saints’ D winning that battle.

        Wow the Packers was in a tier by themselves at one point in the season I believe. Or maybe with the Pats. And now they are at sort of at the bottom. I think I would say Cowboys, Vikes, Packers, Niners, Saints. Not that I think the Packers are better than the other two, but because I have seen Rodgers do amazing things in the playoffs. Or maybe he can only do it to the Cowboys.

      2. Unless you think for sure the Saints or Niners will be able to stop the Chief offense and that the Chief’s D would have to actually win a game.

        I look at it this way. First, I think both the Niners and Saints defenses should be able to keep the game within reach (although I’m less sure about the Saints defense). Second, the Chiefs defense will have a harder time, than those two defenses, stopping the 49ers and Saints offenses. With the 49ers, they’re going to be running the ball and likely controlling the clock limiting snaps for their defense and opportunities for the Chiefs offense. I like the 49ers in that scenario. The biggest question mark is if Garappolo and the 49ers can protect the football.

        Wow the Packers was in a tier by themselves at one point in the season I believe.

        The first quarter or first half the Packers looked like one of the best teams. Their offense and defense have declined a lot in my opinion. Their defense looked potentially one of the better defenses in the league. Now, they’re no longer in that tier. The Packers offense doesn’t look so good, too, even with Davante Adams back. I’m most concerned about Rodgers who just looks out of rhythm. He doesn’t seem as accurate as he used to be. Aaron Jones is a solid RB, but the Packers still seem too one-dimensional. If they employ a run-based approach and run well, I would like their chances a lot more.

        1. By the way, if for some improbable reason the Rams make it in, I wouldn’t want the Seahawks to play them. They’d be in the 49ers and Saints group (in terms of teams I wouldn’t want the Seahawks to face).

        2. Against the Niners, I sort of see Spags trying to crowd the box to stop the run, and trying to put the Niners in passing situations and then blitzing Garappolo. Man, the Chiefs are aggressive enough to make that work. Stopping the Saints may be a little harder, unless the Chief’s blitzing can slow down Brees, but I wouldn’t really want to bet on that.

          With the Chiefs on offense, if they are healthy and are anywhere close to the offense they were last year, they could light up just about anybody including the Saints and Niners.

          Again I wouldn’t bet on the Chiefs over the tier 1 teams, and mostly because I don’t think their offense will get to be close to last year’s level. But I think there are scenarios in which they can win it all in my mind, and they are playing better and seemingly getting healthier.

        3. Man, the Chiefs are aggressive enough to make that work.

          I could see this approach working for the Patriots, Saints, Bills, Ravens, or Steelers more than the Chiefs. But as I mentioned later in the thread, defenses, especially with good DCs, seem to be able to play at higher level than the regular season. But then this could apply to 49ers defense facing the Chiefs offense, too.

          Again I wouldn’t bet on the Chiefs over the tier 1 teams, and mostly because I don’t think their offense will get to be close to last year’s level.

          The Chiefs offense cooled down a bit at the end of the season, including in the playoffs.

          Anyway, of the tier 2 teams, I think the Chiefs are a good pick to win it, that’s not in tier 1. I actually like them slightly more than the Packers or Vikings. I might put them above the Seahawks, too. But all in all, I think the tier 2 teams are basically equal.

  4. Any Great Defenses?

    I skimmed an ESPN article about teams that are hoping their defense can carry them in the playoffs. That prompted me to revisit one of the questions I ask at the start of the season–namely, will there be any great defenses this year? At week 16, I would say the answer is no–although the 49ers come the closest I think. I think I would choose the Bills next, or maybe the Patriots (although they’re not as good as they seemed earlier in the season). I might mention the Saints (although they lost Davenport and Rankins) and Steelers. None of these teams are really great, as in dominant or all-time great. They’re not on par with 2015 Broncos for example. I don’t think any are like 2013 Seahawks or the best 49er defenses under Harbaugh, or Rex Ryan’s best Jets defenses.

    I’m also watching the Ravens. I would guess their defense has played close to the least amount of snaps for the entire season. They’ve had several blowouts to, so I would think they took out their starters, decreasing their snaps even more. The Ravens defense might play a lot better in the playoffs, especially if their offense can control the clock.

    That’s another thing I wanted to mention: I have a feeling that defenses can really elevate in the playoffs. Last year, the Chiefs and Rams defense, during the regular season, looked awful, especially against the run. But during the playoffs they looked significantly better–almost an entirely different defense (especially the Rams). This sort of thing has happened in the past, too. (I think the Super Bowl winning Giants defenses improved quite a bit in the playoffs.) I think this might also be true if the DC is really good. I’m expecting the Patriots defense to be even better, for example.

  5. Texans-Buccaneers

    Buccaneers turn the ball over 4 times, including a pick 6 (almost 2!), a blocked punt, and Winston badly missed open WRs 3 times (possibly 3). But the Texans turn the ball over 2 times, and the score is tied at the end of the first half.

    If you’re a Texan fan you have to be worried (although I don’t know how many injuries they have. Will Fuller goes down near the end of the half). The offense struggled run and score, even with Fuller. The Buc’s offfense could move the ball even without Evans and Goodwin.

    If you’re a Buccaneers fan, you have to be really optimistic about next year. If Winston’s ball security can dramatically improve, they’re going to be a force next year–especially if they can have a strong draft and FA off season. Normally, I would say there’s little chance Winston will improve. What gives me pause is Palmer’s first year with Arians in Arizona. Palmer’s ball security was awful (not as bad as Winston, if I recall, though), but he dramatically improved after that. If Arians sticks with Winston, it suggests he believes the same thing can happen. One thing I’ll say: If you’re a QB you gotta love playing for Arians. I just get the sense that a QB can make a lot of mistakes and not feel a lot of pressure from the coach. This creates a good psychological environment for a QB. Of course, the QB has to care about ball security, at least to some degree, and has to also have the ability to pass effectively and protect the ball. If not, Arians’s approach isn’t worth much.

    Welp, Winston throws another pick to lose the game.

  6. Bills-Patriots

    Allen hit on two big deep passes, which was critical to giving them a chance in my opinion. But the Patriots grounded and pounded quite effectively. The offense may not have been super explosive (although they did have a few of those plays), they operated like a well-oiled (running) machine.

    On another note, I got the sense that the Patriots were geared up to stop the run, and I almost felt like the Bills should have gone to spread passing approach in the early downs and run on a 3rd and medium. Or, their 1st and 2nd down run based offenses had to capitalized on one-on-one pass situations, especially deep.

  7. Rams-49ers

    Exciting, intense game, reminding me a little of the Seahawks-49ers game. Both offenses at times were really humming, and it felt more like a product of good offense and not just bad defensive play. Both defenses seemed to settle down a bit, though. Also, the turnovers, by both teams, weren’t good.

    The Rams are a good team, with a mercurial QB. At times he can look like one of the best QBs and at other times he can look like the worst. Overall, though, I think a lot of credit for the offense should go to McVay. If he were more run-oriented I would really like him. I know I’ve said this several times, but it’s interesting that his offense feels like a late 90s NFL offense. I also like the way he uses running and play action, combined with perimeter constraint plays (jet sweep, end around–although I feel like he didn’t use these enough yesterday).

    Back to Goff. I hear some people say he’s overpaid. Maybe. The thing is, with a good OL (which should lead to a good run game), he and the Rams offense will be tough to stop. In this way, I think he’s worth the money. However, his performance declines too much when he’s under pressure. His ability to make something happen when plays breaks down is far from what you’d want in a franchise QB. And plays will breakdown in the playoffs. Based on the way I evaluate QBs, I wouldn’t want him on my team. But with the right supporting cast, he can direct a potent offense, if that makes sense.

    The NFC West is a really good division, and I would think they’ll be really good next year, too. (We’ll have to see how free agency and the draft affect the teams.)

  8. Raiders get the last wildcard if

    Raiders beat the Broncos
    Ravens beat the Steelers
    Texans beat the Titans
    Colts beat the Jaguars

    Doable, but the toughest part of it is the Ravens beating the Steelers. They don’t have to win that game — will they play to win and get the Steelers out, or will they play not to get hurt?

    1. I’m pretty sure the Texans don’t have anything to play for either, unless it’s just to keep the Titans out. But I guess you can say that about the Ravens too.

  9. Cardinals-Seahawks

    Ugly, ugly game for the Seahawks. Even worse they’ve lost Chris Carson for the season, and Prosise. With Rashaad Penny out with a torn ACL, that’s their top three RBs out. Starting LT Duane Brown, who didn’t play, had knee surgery–and has a chance to come back in the playoffs.

    On defensive side, Quandre Diggs has high ankle sprain, Al Woods out for games for PED violation, and Clowney is iffy. My expectations are incredibly low for them going forward.

    Oh, I’m hearing that there’s a good chance to resign Marshawn Lynch. If he plays well, and the Seahawks win, that will be a heck of a story.

    1. The chances that either of them are productive seem slim, but this is great theater.

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