27 thoughts on “2020-2021 NFL: Week 6

  1. 2020-2021 NFL: Week 6

    Sun
    Texans-Titans
    Ravens-Eagles
    Falcons-Vikings
    Browns-Steelers
    Bengals-Colts
    Lions-Jaguars
    Bears-Panthers
    Washington-Giants
    Broncos-Patriots
    Jets-Dolphins
    Packers-Buccaneers
    Rams-49ers

    Mon
    Chiefs-Bills
    Cardinals-Cowboys

  2. Power Rankings

    1st Tier
    Chiefs, Rams
    Packers
    Seahawks, Patriots, Vikings, Titans, Ravens,
    Buccaneers

    The gap between the Chiefs and the other teams in the first tier have narrowed—and I would say all the teams in the first tier are close to a toss-up. Some quick comments about each, in order:

    Chiefs: Injuries might be hurting them, especially on the OL. If they get healthy, the could distance themselves from the rest (which doesn’t mean that the others can’t beat them);
    Rams: What’s holding me back is that they’ve faced weak competition, with the exception of the Bills. My sense right now is that their quality of play isn’t just based on weak competition;
    Packers: They seem like the third best team, but I don’t know why I don’t put them on the same level as the Chiefs and Rams—or higher than the Chiefs. I’m unsure about their defense (although it doesn’t seem worse than the Rams), and I’m unsure about the degree to which their offense is balanced;

    Seahawks: Their defense is still pretty weak—and they’re playing the most snaps in the league by a pretty wide margin. If that keeps up, their defense may have played the equivalent of one or two games more than their playoff opponents. Their offense is too one-dimensional. I gotta believe Carroll is going to work super hard to change this, but who knows. If he doesn’t I don’t think their chances of winning the Super Bowl is great. But you can’t count out Russell Wilson;
    Patriots: I shouldn’t doubt Belichick, but their roster seems too weak for them to win. But I’m actually not counting out Belichick, so that’s why they’re here.
    Vikings: In the last two games, I wanted to say that they look like one of the best teams…but then I remember the turnovers and the brittle pass protection. That’s going to be an issue, especially against teams with good front sevens. On a positive note, I don’t think Danielle Hunter has been playing. If he comes back healthy, the Vikings could be a dominant defense.
    Titans: The Titans looked great against the Bills. Their defense looked like its improving (although the Bills seemed predictable/one-dimensional, so that might have made the Titans d look better than it is). I don’t think I’ll be able to answer whether Tannehill can deliver in the clutch or when the Titans are forced to pass, until the playoffs, though.
    Ravens: I didn’t watch their latest game, but I have the same questions. Also, they drop a bit because their run game doesn’t seem as good as it was last year. Their defense doesn’t seem to have taken huge leaps as well.
    Buccaneers: While their defense may not be dominant, it might be in the top five by the end of the year. Brady’s age, and whether that leads to turnovers and failure to make key plays, is a big question for me.

    2nd Tier
    Steelers, Colts
    Saints, Bills, Bears
    Browns, Raiders
    49ers

    I’d be more high on the Steelers if I thought their defense was dominant or close to it. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Some have called for the benching of Rivers, and I can definitely seem some justification. The Colts D looks good. My sense is that they should try to build their offense around the run game—like the Titans, Vikings, Ravens, and Rams. If they want to run from shotgun, I’d consider getting Le’Veon Bell, who has shown he can run effectively from that formation.

    With the Saints, I have doubts about Brees and the offense. (They too should be more run-oriented. I think they’re trying a little to move in that direction.)
    With the Bills: too one-dimensional, pass oriented. Allen can make great plays, but he’s too reckless. (By the way, another QB he reminds me of is 2017 Carson Wentz, particularly with the way he converts on 3rd down by extending plays.)
    With the Bears, their defense might not be dominant, but they may be top five by end of the year. If Foles gets in a groove, they have a chance.

    Browns and Raiders: I don’t trust their QBs. The Raiders defense stinks.

    49ers: Just putting them here in the event they get healthy.

    1. Are you talking about Philip Rivers? I was confused at first but I looked at the Steelers roster and they don’t have a Rivers so I’m assuming this was the lead-in to your Colts comment.

      The Steelers are starting to have that look. Man, if they stay healthy my prediction that they could be the Chiefs-stoppers in the post-season is looking good.

    2. Yeah, Rivers was a reference to the Colts.

      The Steelers are looking pretty good, but they haven’t played a lot of good teams–Giants, Broncos, Texans, Eagles, Browns–although i guess you can say Texans and Browns are fairly good? The upcoming game against the Titans will be a test, as will their games against the Ravens. I have questions about Roethlisberger, his ball security and his age.

      On another note, the way the Titans have played in the last two game, they’re looking like one of the best teams in the league.

  3. Is your stance that Goff is more reliable and/or a better QB than Tannehill, Brady, and Lamar? It’s not super ridiculous, as he lead the Rams to a Super Bowl already, however I think if I had to rank these guys I would have Goff fourth.

    I watched much less than you, but I would have the Packers in the top tier with the Chiefs and Ravens. I’m pretty much fine with the rest with the exception of the Vikings and Niners, who both don’t seem great at this point. They would have to fix stuff pretty quickly, and probably win a few games that they shouldn’t just to make the playoffs. It’s early, though…

    1. Is your stance that Goff is more reliable and/or a better QB than Tannehill, Brady, and Lamar?

      No, I wouldn’t put really put Goff over those QBs….It’s interesting because I have basically the same issue with all of them: Can they protect the ball/avoid disastrous decision and make handful of key plays in big moments–during the playoffs? I’m probably most confident about Brady…In some ways, I’m the most confident that Goff won’t be able to do this–particularly when he’s facing a heavy pass rush. So I probably should drop the Rams down.

      But here’s the thing with the Rams, and why I could rank them high in spite of what I said: When the can run the ball effectively, they’re a machine. My sense is that they don’t really have elite players–not Cupp or Woods or any of the linemen or RBs. It’s the system and play calling that makes them greater than the sum of its parts.

      Then again, I’m skeptical that the Rams will be able to completely avoid situations where Goff is under pressure. I guess if they can really limit this number they could go far. But, again, they would have to run well for every playoff game.

  4. LeVeon Bell to the Chiefs.

    I didn’t see anyone recommend he go to the Colts. To me that was a good match for him and the team. Dang, with Andy Reid’s creativity, it’s scary to think what he’d do with Bell.

  5. Welp, at least the NFL made it to week 5 without many cancellations. I saw the following tweet and–“And the walls come tumbling down and the walls…”–starting playing in my head:

    What’s going to happen now? Those teams can’t play tomorrow, right?

  6. Texans-Titans

    This game kinda reminded me of the Vikings-Seahawks, where the Titans, as a run first team was in control of the game, and might have won handily if not for two crucial turnovers. But the unlike the Vikings, the Titans came back, and Tannehill should be given credit.

    Edit
    This is pretty cool.

    Browns-Steelers

    Browns looked overwhelmed. Steelers looked good.

    Bears-Panthers

    Except for some turnovers, Foles and the Bears looked solid, although the Panthers ball security probably bailed the Bears out.

    1. I wish I got to see the Panthers-Bears game. I did read the box score though. D. J. Moore: 5 receptions for 93 yards with a long of 38 (on 11 targets). Robbie Anderson 4 receptions for 77 yards with a long of 39 (on 5 targets). Mike Davis didn’t do so well and he lost a fumble.

    2. From what I remember, the Panthers looked pretty good overall, but Bridgewater played more like a backup. They might be sneaky, darkhorse type of team if Newton was still there.

    3. That Vrabel tweet is super funny. I don’t think Vrabel’s team looks outstanding or exceptional when they play. I like how Reich’s Indy’s offense looks more than anything I see from Vrabel. That being said and I said it before, but I think Vrabel’s teams know how to win close games, and he seems to understand clock like how he and Belichick was taking multiple penalties to run extra clock last year.

    4. You didn’t think the Titans looked good against the Bills and Texans, particularly on offense? Their offense, and Tannehill, look like they’re in a good groove right now. We’ll see, though. I don’t know, maybe they looked like this at the end of last year, too, I can’t remember.

      And to be clear, when you say you prefer Reich’s offense, are you referring to two years or just this year? This year, the Colts offense looks a little shaky, but that’s mostly because of Rivers, in my opinion. The Titans offense, at least in the last two games, seems way better than the Colts so far.

      1. I just see Reich’s offense like I do Shanahan or McVay. When it’s clicking it seems like the defense is completely off-balance. I don’t see that with the Titans although you are right the Titans look much better this year then last on offense. But they have some weapons and Tannehill is playing well.

    5. You’re speaking in general about Reich’s offense, not just this year, right? Keeping teams off balance is not something that would come to mind, although my memory of his first year with the Colts is really hazy now.

      In terms of keeping defenses off balance, utilizing a more pass-based offense, I think of Mike McCoy’s best offenses in San Diego, with all those draw plays to Danny Woodhead. I think I’d choose Belichick at keeping defenses off balance, over his career anyway.

      1. What about Reich in Philly or do you give most of that credit to Pederson and/or Wentz? I could be wrong but I think Reich will be viewed like McVay and Shanahan one day. There are already some, not only me, that view Reich like that even now. I just don’t get that feeling with Vrabel’s teams.

    6. I don’t know who to give the most credit when Reich was there. The roster, including injuries, makes this really tough. Even for Reich, he had to play with Brissett as the QB last year. Rivers is been careless with the ball this year, too.

      What I will say is that I wouldn’t put Reich, or Pederson in the same category as Belichick, Reid, Shanahan, McVay, maybe Payton. To me, these guys seem to be able to make an offense better than their roster talent. Oh, Kubiak may be another, particularly in terms of the run game.

      I definitely wouldn’t be Vrabel or Al Smith in that category, but their offense is playing well right now. At least in the last two games, I’d say they played like one of the best offenses. But that doesn’t mean I think Vrabel or Smith are great offensive minds. Reich could be better than them, although I’m not sure.

  7. Vikings-Falcons

    After the Cousins 3rd INT, I stopped watching. The Falcons defense came out on fire, I thought. I thought Dalvin Cook was super important to the Vikings, but I might have underestimated how much.

    Eagles-Ravens

    Eagles make one mistake or another on offense–an errant pass, a penalty, a dropped pass and yet they were in this to the very end. The Ravens don’t look as good on offense, particularly in the run game. (Then again, they set an incredibly high standard last year.)

  8. Packers-Buccaneers

    Packers seem to be in good control early on, on both sides of the ball. Then a rare pick six by Rodgers and almost another soon after (which eventually results in a Bucs score). And then the Bucs took control, on both sides of the ball. And that was it.

    Bengals-Colts

    The impression I get from the first quarter is that the Colts, especially on defense, have taken the Bengals lightly. (Actually, the early fumble by the Colts offense also adds to that impression–Doyle just carelessly dropped the ball.) Colts seemed to settle down after that, for the most part, particularly on defense. The Bengals did miss a field goal near the end, which was huge, though.

  9. Patriots-Broncos

    Broncos played good defense and had a nice balanced attacked. Lock almost lost the game with two late picks. Inexcusable. (I was cheering for the Broncos in this one.)

    By the way, in my opinion, this is the type of game where I’d be less willing to go for it–punting or kicking a field goal would be the better bet, generally, in my view.

  10. Rams-49ers

    (Cheering for the Niners)

    49ers ran over the Rams on the first drive.

    Goff and the passing attack of McVay’s offensive machine seemed off all night, and it wasn’t just when Goff was pressured. The run game got going in 3rd quarter, but it was a bit too late. Nice “4:00” minute drive by the 49ers to ice the game. (That end around to the WRs seemed really effective all night.)

    1. Every NFL QB can have one of those games where he finds a groove, everything clicks, and he hits all his receivers in good spots. When Garoppolo does it, it looks different. Like he’s watching the plays unfold in slow-motion, or like he knows before the snap where his open receivers are going to be. He looked like this in the first half. There was something kind of football zen about it.

      When any Joe Quarterback has a game like this, it doesn’t look like what Garoppolo did in the first half, so now I’m confused. I thought after last week he’s just not a good quarterback. But there are times when he looks special.

    2. How many passes did Garappolo throw in the first half, particularly those beyond 10 yards, or even beyond the line of scrimmage? The Niners seemed almost like a one-dimensional running offense, kinda like they played in last year’s NFCCG. It could be that their effective running is obscuring the nice passes Garappolo had, though.

      For what it’s worth, I’m pretty close to writing Garappolo off–i.e., I think he’s the type of QB that you need a dominant defense and run game to win the Super Bowl–and one of them has to be in the all-time great category.

      1. I think both Goff and Garoppolo are both “two-read” guys. I made up the term “two-read”. haha But both guys can make only one or two reads. I think they are coached up, and their coaches will say stuff like, if you see the safety lean outside, throw it to the TE running the post. Or if you see the LB step up to take the first level crossing guy, throw it to the second level. However, once you take away that first or even second option or read, they cannot anticipate. It’s like they don’t have Jason Kidd’s vision. Which is why when you see these QBs get rid of the ball quickly, they look good. Once they have to hold it a while, they both can look lost. To me that’s why Goff didn’t look great against the Niners, and that’s because the Niners know a lot of the Ram’s tendencies.

        I don’t know why Reid is saying he’s moving away from Garoppolo after this year. He was hurt most of this year, and in the game against the Rams, the announcers were saying that Garoppolo wasn’t great the week before because he had no strength in his ankle after the high ankle sprain. So he was unable to push off his back foot. That being said, I favored Goff a little over Garoppolo because when Goff gets to the outside, he seems to be able to make good throws on the run. But Goff and Garoppolo is pretty much the same guy to me.

    3. Which is why when you see these QBs get rid of the ball quickly, they look good. Once they have to hold it a while, they both can look lost.

      I’m less certain than you are about your theory. My sense is their problem has to do more with handling pressure from the pass rush. For example, did you see that one TD throw that Garappolo had. It was one of those “throw-and-spin-for-cover” throws. It looks like he’s throwing it out of panic.

      By the way, the reason I’m saying I’m giving up on him is that the problems I’ve seen in the past seem to still exist. I tend not to think they’re caused by injuries. I could be wrong though. Also, it doesn’t seem like the 49ers have great WRs. I could see him being really productive with a great supporting cast, but I’m skeptical he’d be able to protect the football and make the key plays in big games.

      I do agree that Goff and Garappolo are essentially equivalent.

  11. Chiefs-Bills

    Both defenses start off geared to stop the passing game, almost indifferent to the run game. Then both teams start going to the run game, and start having success. At the start of the 3rd I thought the team that could run better would win.

    The Bills defense rushed four and their LBs and DBs were so far off the LOS, the Chiefs RBs had a ton of space to run.

    I’ll be cheering for the Cowboys in the next game. (On a side note, I saw that Tony Dungy got flack for saying that the Cowboys might be better off without Prescott, or something to that effect. But he clarified by explaining that if the Cowboys emphasize Zeke more, that might make them a better team. I agree. Now, if they play the same pass first approach with Dalton, I don’t agree they’ll be better off.)

  12. Cardinals-Cowboys

    The story of the first half: two fumbles by Zeke and a dropped TD by Gallup. If you take that away, it’s not like the Cowboys offense was doing great, but you could see signs that the run game could get going, and Dalton had a nice drive at the end of the first half. Going into the second half down 18, Pete Carroll says the key is not to try and get everything back so quickly. Another way of saying that is, you don’t have to abandon the run.

    Kyler Murray looked off a bit.

    After the INT on the Cowboys first drive, I stopped watching.

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