41 thoughts on “2020-2021 NFL: Week 4

  1. Sun
    Saints-Lions
    Chargers-Buccaneers
    Jaguars-Bengals
    Vikings-Texans*
    Seahawks-Dolphins
    Steelers-Titans*
    Browns-Cowboys
    Cardinals-Panthers
    Colts-Bears
    Ravens-Washington
    Giants-Rams
    Patriots-Chiefs
    Bills-Raiders
    Eagles-49ers

    Mon
    Falcons-Packers

    Power Rankings

    1st Tier
    Chiefs

    Packers, Rams, Ravens
    Seahawks

    I think the Chiefs are the best team and clearly ahead of others, and if I had to pick one team to win the Super Bowl, it would be them. The Chiefs are a pass-first team, but they seem to do a really good job of ball control, and their running game seems better than last year. If another team emerges with a great defense and run game with a QB that can make a handful of throws (Titans?), then I would point to that team to beat the Chiefs. Really, the Niners were on this way to reaffirming (Mahomes had two INTs, I believe), but Jimmy G failed to fulfill the last criterion.

    I don’t think the Rams have the QB that can do this, and I have big questions whether Lamar can, too. (I also have questions about whether both could just go to the spread and pass a lot to lead their teams to a comeback.) If it wasn’t for this, I’d choose the Rams as the second team, followed by the Ravens. In my view, the Rams and Ravens win with either dominant running game or defense/ST (with turnovers, big returns). In other words, the QBs aren’t really put in a position where they have to win the game.

    I put the Packers ahead because of Aaron Rodgers. but I have questions about their defense, though.

    I have the Seahawks here because I think they can beat all the teams above (although they’d have to get turnovers to beat KC, I think)–but their defense, right now, doesn’t meet the minimum level to win a Super Bowl. Could they get there? Maybe–if they trade for a good pass rusher. Barring that, I’m not that optimistic.

    2nd Tier
    Buccaneers, Saints, Patriots
    Titans, Steelers, Bills, Cardinals, 49ers
    Colts, Texans,

    It’s hard to really separate all these teams. I put the Bucs first because their defense might be one of the best defenses in the league, and of the teams in this tier, they might have the best chance to improve on their weaknesses. Saints are there, too, because getting back Michael Thomas might make all the difference. If these improvements occur, they should move up to the first tier.

    Bill Belichick is incredible, but I don’t think he can overcome the lack of talent on his team–not against the best teams in the league. I will marvel and not be completely surprised if the Pats beat the Chiefs this week.

    What I said about the way the Ravens and Rams would win the Super Bowl applies to the Titans. There’s a chance their run game and/or defense/ST could become dominant.

  2. This sucks on several different levels. My understanding is that the NFL has postponed the game til Monday or Tuesday. It’s obviously not going to be the same without Cam. Boo. (I think Jordan Ta’amu, backup Chiefs QB, also tested positive, too.) Hope this doesn’t mean more players/staff got the virus.

  3. Seahawks-Dolphins

    The Seahawk defense looked way better–they looked like a functioning Pete Carroll defense (read: not great, but working like it’s supposed to). I can’t remember the exact number of INTs from Fitz, but he could have had more.

    Seahawk ran the ball, but they’re still looking like a pass-first offense. And while I might be seeing things, I feel like Wilson this is because Wilson has more control of the play calling.

  4. Chargers-Buccaneers

    Chargers started off fairly strong, creating a decent lead, partly because of a pick 6 by Brady. But by the second half the Bucs picked things up and took the lead. Gilbert’s pick ended the game.

    Bills-Raiders

    Raiders hung in there and entering the 3rd quarter I thought, “Hey, I didn’t see any boneheaded plays.” Then Carr almost fumbled the ball (It looked like he was trying to pitch it), and then Waller fumbled giving the ball back to the Bills. I only watched a little more after that.

    Rams-Giants

    In the first half, I thought: “The two New York teams might be the two worst teams in the league”–although the Giants defense is not bad. Actually, the latter played well, with the Rams turning the ball over twice.

    Two key moves: Rams go hurry up in the 4th. The Giant defense was giving them problems, but that broke them, and the Rams scored a TD. The other is Jones’s INT to end the game.

    The one thing about Jones: he has poise to hang in and throw from a crowded pocket.

    Dang it, Giants!

  5. Saints-Lions

    Lions jumped to a 14-0 lead. But the Saints came roaring back, mainly because the Lions struggled to stop the Saints run game. The Lions don’t tackle very well in my opinion. Brees still looks a little shaky, but Michael Thomas didn’t play.

    Stafford looks like he has regressed in terms of decision-making/ball security. He had a bad throw for an INT. Also, he made a bad decision on a throw, but his TE made a great play.

  6. Vikings-Texans

    Vikings looked like the team they’ve been in a past few years–a good one. I know I was skeptical that their passing game and offense would get going, but they looked good today. I think the Texans had trouble containing the run, which is the key to the Vikings offense. And I’ll just say that Dalvin Cook is one of the best RBs.

    The Vikings defense basically controlled the Texan offense in the first half, but Harrison Smith was injected before the second half for a helmet hit. In the second half, the Texan offense came to life, and made a game of it.

    Seattle be prepared to run the ball next week. Also, I think the key will be if the Vikings can contain the Seahawk offense by just rushing 4. If they can get a lot of pressure this way, while containing Wilson’s runs, the Seahawks will have to run the ball and run well.

  7. Cardinals-Panthers

    The Cardinals have looked good enough that I thought they were a potential dark horse to go deep into the playoffs. If they are as good as they looked, then the Panthers might be a good team. It’s one game, but prior to this they did not look good to me. In this game, they were in control the whole time. Their OL did a good job, and their offense did a solid job.

    The Panther defense also did a good job of containing Murray.

    Before the game, I heard a tidbit that Matt Rhule and Kliff Kingsbury faced each other three times in college. So I’m wondering if Rhule just knew a great game plan against him.

    1. The Cardinal’s two wins against the Football Team and Niners are not looking as strong as it first may have appeared. Those two teams are horrible right now, with the Niners only wins coming against the Jets and Giants and the Football Team beating only the Eagles.

    2. I agree with you. Washington is one of the teams I have a hard time watching, because they don’t look so good, especially on offense. I’m not that impressed with Haskins so far.*

      To be fair to the 49ers, they (Mullens) didn’t look as bad as they did last night.

      In any event, what you’re saying about the Cardinals could apply to the Rams, too. Besides, the Bills, I would argue they haven’t played good teams. On the other hand, if the Bills are really good, the Rams did give them a run for their money (although it’s possible the Bills mistakenly took the game too lightly in the second half.

      (On a side note, who are the 1st or 2nd year QBs that look good to you? Minshew has poise and good mobility. I feel like he’s in the Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick vein.

      Drew Lock–I don’t know about his QB skills, but he has a strong arm. I can’t remember a QB that can throw for distance while backpedaling–not just throwing off his back foot. Justin Herbert is kinda like that, too. I think Herbert has more potential to be a really good QB.)

      (On an even bigger tangent, do you remember how MJD ran the ball? I’m wondering if Josh Jacobs has a similar style. They seem to have a similar stature and build. I think their style is kinda similar, too. MJD might have been faster, but Jacobs’s cutting might be superior.)

      Kyler Murray: I guess he looks good, but for some reason, I’m not that excited by him. One thing though: He really does a good job of avoiding getting hit. I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the least hit QB, and it’s not because the Cardinal OL is great.

      1. I suspect the Panthers are on the verge of being good, like within this season. They have more talent than people talk about.

        They were talking about Maurice Jones-Drew and Josh Jacobs during the broadcast. The commenters (I can’t remember who they were) also said MJD tweeted something about their similarities.

      2. Man, I hardly know who is on the Panthers now? Who did you have in mind? I know they got that DE, Burns, who was a high draft pick….a good DT, at least a few years ago, but I can’t remember his name now. Is Russell Okung there now? They lost Christian McCaffery, though, which is rough.

        Jacobs and MJD definitely have similar body-types, although MJD might be more squat. Jacobs, as a runner, is sleeker in a deceptive way. Actually, his speed and power seem deceptive, too. In that way, he might be like Marcus Allen, although totally different styles. In a lot of ways, Allen might be one of the most boring, great runners of all time.

        1. In the absence of Christian McCaffrey, Mike Davis has at least 91 all-purpose yards and a TD in each of his last two games. I’m hoping Carolina sees what they’ve got here, and when McCaffrey comes back, the Panthers don’t rely on McCaffrey for their entire offensive output.

          Bridgewater is Bridgewater, but as we’ve seen, teams can win with him at QB. I don’t know if he can win games himself, like some of the more exciting QBs we’re seeing these days, but he doesn’t stink up an offense.

          The Panthers have two receivers who could go off this week, according to some fantasy writers. D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson. I like Moore better, but Anderson’s been getting more looks each game. Marc has Moore and Don has Anderson; I’d like to see which of them gets more fantasy points by season’s end.

          I don’t know much about Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State) except what I heard about him during the draft (his father died saving him in a boating accident, and his brother died from a lightning strike — just terrible stuff) and I think I heard Mina Kimes talking about him on her podcast. Rookie edge rusher, the second DE taken in the draft after Chase Young. I just looked him up to make sure I’m not getting any of this wrong, and he’s the guy who strip-sacked Kyler Murray last weekend.

          They have another rookie LB named Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois), who I followed in the draft too, trying to find out if he’s got any Asian in him (he doesn’t appear to). He’s Steve Atwater’s nephew.

          So ignore those two defensive guys if you want; I only like them and am rooting for them although I don’t think I’ve seen them play. But add McCaffrey back after Davis gets a little playing time, and that’s a pretty good set of runners and catchers.

          And yeah, they do still have Russell Okung. Also not Asian, I don’t think.

          1. I’ve heard of Gross-Matos, because some Seahawk fans talked about him during the draft–I don’t know how good he’s been this year, though. Same with Chinn (who I also don’t think is Asian).

            Davis used to play for the Seahawks, and I think he’s solid, but not necessarily great. I’m rooting for him, though.

            Bridgewater, to me, is a good backup, but not much more than that.

            I’ll have to watch them more, but they looked pretty bad in the first game. They looked way better this past Sunday, but I don’t know if that’s because the Cardinals are not as good as they’ve looked.

  8. Patriot-Chiefs

    I was cheering pretty hard for the Pats in this one. Their defense played great for most of the game–except they failed to couple of opportunities to take away the football. (On one, the refs blew a relatively quick whistle.)

    Hoyer had a few nice throws, but he had some boneheaded plays in the red zone. I did love the ground-and-pound offense of the Pats.

    Mahomes and the offense didn’t look as sharp. Their OL doesn’t look as strong as it did last year (although I know they’re missing one starter).

    Belichick using smoke-and-mirrors again, and it almost worked.

    1. I was completely with you on the Belichick take, but this game gave me some pause. Not that I’m not saying Belichick hasn’t a lot to do with it, but I have to give some of those Pat’s players credit too. For one, we see that the Pats are not great on offense without Cam. The Patriots can run the ball, even in this game they proved that. They must have an excellent o-line. I read that Onwenu is the highest graded rookie on PFF. He topped guys like Justin Jefferson and Joe Burrow. Even with Cam, their passing game isn’t great, without Cam it’s much worse, and it’s not that Cam is a great passer, but his running threat helps his passing game. So I’m giving that o-line some credit, because even without Cam, the Chiefs had a hard time taking away the run completely.

      And this could be attributed to Belichick, but although the defensive line cannot rush the passer a lick, they must be able to play the run. Belichick loves himself big run stuffers, and in this game, a lot of the times the Pats only had 5-6 in the box with the safeties playing two deep, and the Chiefs couldn’t run the ball consistently. That’s some crazy stuff, especially seeing how well the Chiefs ran against the Texans. So yes, the Pats have good coaching, but they must have players that can be effective, albeit not flashy.

      1. New England came out with six DBs, I think, and played as many seven at times.

        They are the most frustrating team to watch if you have fantasy interests. I hate them.

        The Patriots could have won this game with their second- and third-string QBs. If Cam had been playing, they might have pulled it off. They kept the Chiefs offense off the field for most of the third quarter. I really think the Chargers and Patriots are showing the league how to beat the Chiefs — over the course of the season, I expect other teams to piece these things all together and at least find a way to contain the KC offense.

        I’m not going to minimize what happened to the Titans, nor minimize the consequences to the Steelers and Titans of moving their bye week to week 4*, but in a way the fact that the Patriots only had one positive test and the Chiefs only one was a huge disadvantage to the Patriots. If it had been more players, they might have been postponed to a later week, and not have had to play without their quarterback. This is not an insignificant disadvantage. In other words, if the Patriots had been more careless with protocols, they might have won this game — in some other week.

        * The Steelers didn’t have a true bye week this week, which is super unfortunate. Since they didn’t get word until late in the week that the game was rescheduled, they still practiced! Sure, they didn’t suffer the wear and tear a game week would have caused, but neither did they have an actual week to rest and recover. This virus sucks balls, man.

        1. Super good point about the Steelers not having a bye. That is super unfair now that you pointed it out.

          In terms of New England not getting to postpone, I think if only two players got Covid and both were QBs, they would have to postpone. So my guess is how disseminated a part of the team is, will and should determine if the game will be postponed or played.

      2. Mitchell,

        I really think the Chargers and Patriots are showing the league how to beat the Chiefs.

        My sense is that the Chargers didn’t employ the same blueprint. The Chargers front four (Bosa wasn’t injured) really put a lot of pressure on Mahomes. I doubt a lot of teams can replicate that pressure.

        but in a way the fact that the Patriots only had one positive test and the Chiefs only one was a huge disadvantage to the Patriots.

        This is a good point, but here’s something else to consider. Suppose they moved the game, but at some point in the future, the Pats have a virus problem again, but now they have to forfeit the game (for whatever reason). That still might happen, but maybe they would allow them to play this game at a later date.

        The virus sucks, but what do you guys think of the way the NFL has handled this? Someone said that the NFL is making decisions on the fly, and that’s what it feels like. To me, that’s not good planning…Well, I guess we’ll have to see, but that’s what I think. But I think they should have either reduced the games or allowed to push back the playoffs–i.e., create a cushion where make-up games can be played.

        By the way, does the NFL policy regarding playing when a team has positive tests seem wrong to you guys? What I’m thinking about is the incubation period. For example, Stephone Gilmore tested positive today. That sounds like he could have been had the virus during the game, just not enough to show up on the test–or maybe the test was a false negative–but had enough virus to spread it to others. If this is true, that’s crazy. They can’t play the games under these circumstances.

        And now I hear two more Titans players tested positive? Man, their team is screwed, and this might really mess up the schedule.

        Yeah, the virus sucks.

        1. I heard that one option is that the Titans will have to forfeit this weeks game. That doesn’t seem fair even if it’s their fault so many players have the virus. If the teams were told prior to the season that forfeiting games was an option, I guess it’s more bearable, but they should have been telling the fans as well.

    2. Remember they have 7 players (or was it 9?) that opted out due to Covid–Hightower, Chung, and Cannon. Hoyer kept them in this game for a long time. Take away three of his mistakes, and they might have won. Yhat’s amazing, right? Any other coach and you’d say they’d have no chance, right? And I’ve been saying this since Belichick started coaching with Patriots. You look at the roster and say, “That’s not a Super Bowl contending team,” but then they would go to the Super Bowl. And they did enough times that I didn’t really factor in the roster, as it almost didn’t seem to matter.

      They must have an excellent o-line.

      They’re one of the best I’ve seen this year (and last year, too). But the question is, is that because of talent or coaching? I do think they have talent–actually, I think that’s the most talented part of the team–but I think the schemes are huge. I’m starting to feel the same way about Sean McVay and the Rams OL or even someone like Kubiak and Shanahan. At times, I think, they don’t have the talent to do what they’re doing–and yet they do. So it’s gotta be the coaching, right?

      And this could be attributed to Belichick, but although the defensive line cannot rush the passer a lick, they must be able to play the run.

      Couple things. The pass rush isn’t great, but I think they were better than you’re suggesting, although I’m getting the impression that that was because of the Chiefs OL, which hasn’t look as good this year.

      As for their run defense, I don’t get the sense that it’s great. They didn’t look great against the Seahawks (and they weren’t so good last year, too, if I recall). Here’s my guess at what happened. Reid didn’t stick with the run, and Belichick counted on that, and game-planned accordingly. He was rushing three maybe even two at times. That seems like a similar strategy he used against the Bills in the Super Bowl (Norwood miss) or Rams (Greatest Show on Turf).

      I normally hate the Pats, but I think Belichick is unbelievable. He’s worth like 3 or 4 first round picks.

      1. I think this week will be a better test for the Pats. We will see if they can be good without Cam, which would side me closer to your take on Belichick or closer to where I was to start the season. It’s not that I’m disagree, but I just don’t feel as strongly as you do after this game.

        Maybe the Pats run defense isn’t great and maybe the Chiefs was a good match up, sort of what you are suggesting. But more then once on the broadcast, Romo pointed out how many Pats were in the box (and the safeties was playing really high) and how the Chiefs went with the right call of a run play, but it got stuffed or limited may be a better word. In my view, it’s not like Belichick was outsmarting Reid or Bienemy, it was more the players on the field, at least in this instance.

    3. It’s not that I’m disagree, but I just don’t feel as strongly as you do after this game.

      You know, I’m not sure what your position is or how we differ. Do you think the players have more to do with the Pats effectiveness than I do? (That’s kinda what it sounds like.)

      Where would you rank the Pats roster in terms of talent? What kind of record would you expect this team to have with a good coach?

      Another reason I think much of the credit goes to Belichick is that the players that leave don’t seem to have a ton of success. Chandler Jones is one exception.

      Maybe the Pats run defense isn’t great and maybe the Chiefs was a good match up, sort of what you are suggesting. But more then once on the broadcast, Romo pointed out how many Pats were in the box (and the safeties was playing really high) and how the Chiefs went with the right call of a run play, but it got stuffed or limited may be a better word. In my view, it’s not like Belichick was outsmarting Reid or Bienemy, it was more the players on the field, at least in this instance.

      Against, other teams the Chiefs run game has looked good–similar to when Kareem Hunt was there. But when you talk about being a bad match-up for the Chiefs, that’s part of morphing the scheme. It’s like when the Patriots defense shut down the Rams offense in the Super Bowl. To me, that Patriot defense wasn’t great, but I think they played the right scheme–and the Rams stubbornly stuck with the pass.

      By the way, against Manning’s Broncos, I think the Pats employed the same approach, but this time, Manning handed the ball off a lot. I think Knowshon Moreno had 200 yards. I don’t know if Edwards-Helaire would have been productive, even if the Chiefs ran the ball a lot though.

      1. If we were both 10s in terms of this is Belichick’s best year ever, I probably moved to a 7 or 8. Yes there is plenty the Pats don’t have, but there is a lot they do have. They have the best secondary and I don’t know if anyone would dispute that. The Pats may also have the best o-line at this point. I would say that the addition of Cam has made this offense more dynamic, and they are a better offense than under Brady last year.

        I think the Pats are missing guys in flashy areas like WR and pass rush, but they make up for their deficiencies with yes coaching, but strengths in other areas like secondary play and running the football.

        1. Do you think the secondary and OL are great primarily because of the players or the coaching? Obviously it’s a combination of both, but would you point more towards coaching or the talent of the players?

          On some level, for me, the answer is murky–I can’t answer this with a lot of confidence. Gilmore seems legit talented, but what about the other guys? As for the OL, I’m not sure. But here’s the thing: they can lose players and still perform at a high level. The OL can lose Trent Brown, Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, and they can still look like one of the best OLs in the league. And this has been a pattern for about 20 years. That suggests to me that coaching is a bigger reason for their success.

          1. I think in terms of offensive line, the Pats do have a track record of being coached up. I will say though, Brady probably made some of those o-lines look better than they really are by getting the ball out quickly and reading defenses.

            I don’t get the sense the the secondary is in the same vein. They had decent players in the secondary, but I wouldn’t say they have always been good. I said this before, but I thought the best Patriots defenses were led by their LBs like Bruschi, Vrabel, McGinest, and maybe Ted Johnson (?). They were a underrated group that could run and tackle well.

        2. I will say though, Brady probably made some of those o-lines look better than they really are by getting the ball out quickly and reading defenses.

          This argument is persuasive if the OL rarely forms clean pockets that last for a long time. When the OL has been good they’ve shown they could do this–I’m pretty sure this applied to the 2018 season, when they won the Super Bowl. (Last year, they were decimated with injuries, and the OL was OK if not less than that.)

          I said this before, but I thought the best Patriots defenses were led by their LBs like Bruschi, Vrabel, McGinest, and maybe Ted Johnson (?). They were a underrated group that could run and tackle well.

          That was a talented group–Richard Seymour was talented as well–and you’d agree that they’re more talented than the current unit now or the one that beat the Rams in the 2018 Super Bowl, right?

          As for underrated, it depends on your perspective. Does their talent explain why they beat the Greatest Show on Turf Rams? It’s not like the 2013 Seahawks stopping Manning’s high-powered Bronco offense. Carroll is a great defensive coach, but he had great players. People may overlook that linebacking corps, and in that way, they’re underrated, but where would you rank them on an all-time LB group? I think I’d choose that Niner unit under Harbaugh–Patrick Willis, Navarro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith. I think they’re getting in the all-time great ball-park.

          What I’m saying is that Bruschi, et al., wasn’t sufficient to explain their level of success–they’re not like the ’86 Giants, Dome Patrol or the early 90s Steelers LB crew.

          And the thing is, when the Patriots loss talented players, they still could have great success.

          1. I think the LB group is underrated in that I’m guessing they are never mentioned as being a great LB group. I don’t think people even talk about them as being good, or one of the better, LB corp. It’s probably because none of those guys are considered great or Hall of Famers, but I think they were versatile. My point, though, is that I don’t get that the secondary was anything special other than very recently. And that during the Pats best years, I give most of the credit to the LB corp more than any other group on the defense.

          2. So are you saying they deserve to be discussed among the all-time best? Or are you saying they should be as a good LB corps, but people rarely do that?

            As for giving the LBs credit, I agree with you, but I went to look at their early 2000s rosters, and I forgot they had Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy. At some point they added Vince Wilfork, Ashante Samuel, and Rodney Harrison. And Richard Seymour was there as well. Those guys can’t be overlooked.

            As for the secondary, besides Gilmore, are you confident that the other players are really good–or is it Belichick elevating them? I’m a little uncertain. The McCourty twins are 33. Also, 2014 team had a really good secondary, with Revis, Browner, a younger Devin McCourty, and Butler.

    4. Yeah, I heard about the Titans forfeiting a game, too–which is what made me think of the Patriots might have been better off playing the game, even without Newton.

      My sense is that the NFL hasn’t really planned well. They haven’t really implemented a schedule that had a high chance for succes with minimal disruptions that would really frustrate the teams and fans. They key words are “high chance” and “minimal” here–because there is no plan that would guarantee success and eliminate schedule disruptions that would frustrate everyone. But some plans/schedules would reduce those disruptions far more than others. They seem to be winging it. My guess is that this is about greed. If they shortened the season, they could create flexibility to make schedule adjustments, but maybe they didn’t want to forgo profits. But now they seem like they’re making adjustments on the fly, hoping that teams and fans will understand.

      1. I still say the best recourse would have been to shorten the season. Baseball played a shorten season and it has worked pretty well for them. But the only way a shorten season would work is if the plan was laid out prior to the season starting. It too late now, so my feeling is the season should be extended one week with every team getting two byes. If the Titans have to take their two byes in a row, so be it. It’s better than the alternative of taking a loss via forfeit. But what if the Titans need to miss games in the future and worse what if the Titans have to miss games and it’s because they contracted it from another team. What would the NFL do then?

        I think greed is too easy an accusation. They can make money in other ways, and extending the season a week, which I haven’t heard being an option would increase TV revenues by having 18 weeks of games to show instead of 17. I think the issue is just blind optimism.

      2. I have hard time believing blind optimism explains the situation. For a billion dollar industry, I tend to think there are really smart people running things. Being blindly optimistic is almost mutually exclusive from being smart in my view. Now, if hubris caused this optimism–OK, that would make sense. It’s possible, but with something so novel, would they be so arrogant? Would they be so arrogant as eliminate the idea that some players would get the virus? That seems like a remarkable level of hubris.

        If the military was in charge of the planning, I would not expect them do what the NFL did.

        Edit

        I forgot to add that I agree with you that they should reduce the length of the season, but it might be too late. Then again, some of the alternatives might be worse, too.

        1. Sorry yes I should have been clearer, I did mean hubris. I meant that the NFL thinks they do everything correct (great contact tracing with everyone wearing trackers and testing) and they set up all these other protocols that nothing like this would happen.

          1. OK, that’s more believable, but man what a big mistake. If they went the NBA route, hubris would be more understandable. I still think greed is a factor, and while that word makes them seem really bad, if the profits from just one game are really high, it’s understandable they would not want to give that up.

            Plus, by winging it they might make fans and players unhappy, but not enough to hurt the leagues bottom line or the popularity of the sport. If this is correct, then their current approach is only a big mistake from a fan’s perspective, but not a business one.

          2. I’m guessing you mean cancel a week or two worth of games instead of some teams just playing less games. You could be right that the NFL didn’t want to announce something like that preseason because of money. My stance however, is that it’s unfair to do that now. There are only 16 games in a season unlike MLB which played at least 50. It would be hard for teams like the Cowboys for example who are 1-3, to accept that the season will only have 10 more games instead of 12 more. But if the NFL is even considering it, they better do it soon, because that window is only getting smaller.

        2. I’m guessing you mean cancel a week or two worth of games instead of some teams just playing less games.

          Wait, what is this referring to? I didn’t mention anything about this. I do think they should have made decreased the number of games, giving them a cushion for make-ups.

          I agree it would be unfair–and that’s partly what I mean by frustrating fans and teams. But again, I’m wondering if the NFL doesn’t care if the fans and teams feel this way. Their rationale could be: We’re in a pandemic, and we may have to make changes that are not entirely fair, but that can’t be helped. The thing is, they could have mitigated the unfairness, but that might have required sacrificing profits. Their current approach might be to go for the most profits they can, and if the pandemic thwarts this, they adapt on the fly. If that’s the case, “greed,” while an ugly word, explains what they’re doing. Ora more charitable description: this is purely about business (versus making the fans and players happy).

          1. You wrote, ” if the profits from just one game are really high, it’s understandable they would not want to give that up.” So you must mean reducing the season from 16 games to a lesser number. That why I wrote that you must mean reducing the number for all teams and not just teams that need to miss games.

            I heard the Titans and Bills games is being moved to Tuesday and not being cancelled. So upward and onward….

          2. I forgot to add…. That keeping teams and more importantly fans “happy” does matter in terms of profits, though.

        3. So you must mean reducing the season from 16 games to a lesser number. That why I wrote that you must mean reducing the number for all teams and not just teams that need to miss games.

          OK, got it. And yes, I meant reducing the total number of games played for every team. Reducing the number of game for the teams that got Covid would be unfair and unsatisfying to me.

          As for keeping fans happy, this is linked to profits, but it’s not a binary issue. There are things that can make fans unhappy that ultimately don’t have a huge impact on the bottom line. All the injuries for the past several years makes me unhappy, but not unhappy enough to make me stop watching. And I would guess that applies to many fans (or the injuries don’t bother them as much). My point is that the unhappiness with the way they handle changes in the schedule likely won’t make fans stop watching and lose interest in the sport.

          On a side note, I heard Diana Russini say the league has planned to move the Super Bowl into March, if they need to. That suggests they are prepared to extend the season to make up games. To me, if that’s the case, I like the idea of putting in more byes throughout the season. This gives flexibility and allows players to heal up. And you could see how additional byes would impact the health of the players and the overall quality of play.

  9. Falcons-Packers

    How good are the Packers? I don’t know. They look good, although for some reason I’m uncertain about the quality of their defense. Actually, I’m uncertain about how good their offense is, too. For one thing, the offense looks more like the old offense under McCarthy. Maybe the run a bit more, and more effectively, but overall, this looks like a shot-gun, spread, pass first offense. The other thing is that they’ve been doing well with no-name WRs (Davante has missed two games.). Finally, Rodgers’s footwork still doesn’t seem to be great. Now, I thought all these factors explained Rodgers decline, but now he and their offense is humming. So I’m not sure what to make of it.

    The explanation may be linked to the league reduction in OL holding penalties and the lack of crowd noise. All offenses look better–in terms of sustaining drives. Indeed, there’s a sameness to the games because of this, I think. If holding calls are drive killers, then if offenses almost never commit a holding penalty more drives will be sustained. This allows offenses to get into a groove, and also may wear out defenses.

    On a side note, this season has made me wonder if holding penalties should be 5 yards, instead of 10. Or they could keep being lenient, I guess.

    Oh, one more thing. I actually went back to watch a few series of the Packers in 2011. Rodgers footwork was way better than. Specifically, he’d bounce off his back foot, hitch, or just step into a throw. I would say he rarely does this, and I think that could mess up his timing and accuracy. His accuracy looks pretty good this year so far, though.

    1. I thought McCarthy liked to push the ball down the field more than LaFleur or maybe it was McCarthy’s QBs that like to do that. Even with Davante playing, I get the sense LaFleur’s offense is more predicated on taking the underneath stuffs.

      I sort of agree on the Packers. Their offense seems a lot of smoke and mirrors at this point. The TE and RBs shouldn’t be able to dominate a game like that, but it is the Falcons. In terms of defense though, I thought the Packers D did okay against this high powered Falcon offense.

    2. My impression is that they’re chucking it down the field now.

      When I think of the Packers, under McCarthy, at their best, I think of what I call “aggressive slants”–because they’d throw them a lot, and they could be exposive. The OC, McAdoo(?), that became the Giants head coach–I think he brought that with him to the Giants, at least initially. But the Packers got away from that.

      Under McCarthy and LaFleur, running seems more complementary. They’re not lining up and then running and passing from the same formations–not like Rams or even Vikings. I’d like to see the Patriots go against them. My guess is that the would have success. I don’t know, maybe the Packers are more balanced than I think.

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