21 thoughts on “2020-2021 NFL: Week 8

  1. Sun

    Steelers-Ravens
    Rams-Dolphins
    Jets-Chiefs
    Vikings-Packers
    Colts-Lions
    Raiders-Browns
    Titans-Bengals
    Patriots-Bills
    Chargers-Broncos
    49ers-Seahawks
    Saints-Bears
    Cowboys-Eagles

    Mon
    Buccaneers-Giants

    Power Rankings

    1st Tier

    Chiefs, Buccaneers
    Steelers, Rams, Titans, Ravens, Packers, Seahawks
    Bills, 49ers

    I wavered on putting the Bucs below the Chiefs, ahead of the Steelers, but I’m thinking their defense and the well-rounded nature of the team puts them there. I have the same issues with all the other teams. Just one thing about the Seahawks: they depend way too much on Russ playing spectacularly, particular in do-or-die situations. It’s really hard to win the Super Bowl under those circumstances.

    2nd Tier

    Cardinals, Colts, Bears, Patriots, Saints
    Vikings

    I’ll just comment on the Patriots. Cam did not look good, almost like he’s not fully healthy. The team overall looks like they’re playing to their roster and Belichick’s smoke-and-mirrors has reached its limit. It must be said that what he can do, over twenty years, is nothing short of amazing.

  2. Steelers-Ravens

    Kind of a sloppy game by both teams–not just the turnovers, but both QBs looked shaky at times. I thought the Steelers pass rush did a good job of pressuring Jackson while also containing him, for the most part. The Steelers might have the best front seven in football. This is not a game that would be give me confidence about Jackson.

    Rams-Dolphins

    Tua and the Dolphins offense did not look good. Tua looked overwhelmed at times. Luckily, the same can be said about Goff and the Rams offense. Both defenses dominated, but the Rams turned the ball over and gave up big plays on STs. That was the difference.

  3. Raiders-Browns

    Raiders playing beautiful ground-and-pound football. Josh Jacobs may not be a hammer, but the guy does not go down easy; and he has some wiggle. Ingold, the fullback, had some nice blocks, too! I love it!

    Overall, the Raiders have a good short-passing game. It may look impressive because it’s a dink-and-dunking style, but Carr and the offense can get into a nice groove when they go this route.

    Vikings-Packers

    Speaking of run game, this game almost looked like a game from the 80s–nay, the 70s. Cook looked like a great back of yore. The ZBS running scheme worked well. And yes, even the Packers played in a more run-oriented style, too.

    The big play, in my opinion, was the Packers decision to go for it on 4th in the 3rd. The Vikings scored on the next possession, but giving them a 14 point lead.

  4. Bills-Patriots

    Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry didn’t play in this game. Sony Michel has been out, too. The Bills defense were in control for most of the game, but then the Patriots run game came alive. They were driving, beautifully, to put themselves to win this, until Newton fumbled. (I was cheering for them, too.)

    I’m a broken record, but Belichick is unreal. (He tried an onside kick in the 4th, but couldn’t get it.)

    By the way, the Patriots seemed to gameplan to take away the pass, leaving themselves vulnerable in the run game. The Bills ran the ball quite a bit and effectively.

    1. You keep hyping Beli this year. I’m not saying he isn’t great or isn’t doing a great job, but they haven’t played great the prior two weeks (not sure about this Bills game). Why do you think he’s doing an amazing job this year? I know you say lack of talent, but have they looked good despite their talent? The Pats only have two wins this year and one can make the case that those two wins are because of how Cam looked in those games. Do you think the Dolphins have much more talent than these Pats, for example? I think there are parts of the Dolphins that are better than the Pats, but I don’t think overall they have way more talent. The two teams seem pretty close unless you say Cam is way worse than Fitz, which is probable after these last few weeks. I think I would take the RBs, o-line, and DBs of New England over Miami.

    2. Why do you think he’s doing an amazing job this year? I know you say lack of talent, but have they looked good despite their talent?

      I’d argue their roster is not that much better than the Jets, if at all–but they could have beaten the Seahawks, Chiefs, and Bills. To even have a chance in those games is a huge accomplishment. (Against, the Chiefs, they didn’t have Newton; they didn’t have Harry, Edelman against the Bills)

      In the Bills game, as well as some others, you can see how limited they are. They’re trying to win by controlling the clock, good defense, and getting turnovers, trick plays, or big plays on ST. It’s not like they have a great defense, particularly in terms of talent and their run game wasn’t really working against the Bills, except at the end of the game. To see them driving down with under two minutes in the game down by 3 was unreal. If Newton didn’t fumble there was a good chance they’d score a TD or at least tie.

      I think almost any coach, with the same roster/injuries, would not have even be competitive like the Pats have. They would be likely be the Jets. That’s amazing to me.

  5. 49ers-Seahawks

    I was worried about this game, and while the Seahawks are still too one-dimensional for my tastes, the 49ers are more one-dimensional, at least for this game. The Seahawk defense was a big reason for them winning. I don’t see this happening against the Rams, but I hope I’m wrong.

  6. Buccaneers-Giants

    I was cheering for the Giants. Daniel Jones was frustrating. He struggled to throw the ball down field, and the two INTs, which were utterly horrid throws, basically cost the Giants the game. There are things to like about Jones, but if he doesn’t improve his ball security, he’s not a starting QB. The Giants definitely had a chance to win this. (The Giants also looked good against the Rams.) They’re actually not that bad of a team; they have some solid pieces; you can see the roster moving in the right direction.

    Brady’s accuracy was a little off tonight, too. I don’t know if the Bucs took the Giants too lightly, or if the Giants just played well or a better than we think.

    1. Penalty or not?

      My initial reaction was that this was an obvious penalty, and I still lean that way. How is this different from a go route, when the QB throws the ball a little short, the WR slows down and the DB runs/bumps into the WR? That’s almost always called, right?

      Some mention that the pass is bad, but the pass in my example above isn’t good, too. I don’t like calling DPI on a bad pass–i.e., non-catchable ball. But I wouldn’t say this was non-catchable.

      In some ways, it would have been tough to call this and then give the Giants another shot, but to me it kinda seems obvious that that would have been the right call.

  7. I didn’t comment on the Titans-Bengals game, but I skipped a lot and just watched the end–so I can’t really comment. Tannehill did drive them down to score when they were behind though. Burrow almost lost the game by throwing an INT on their side of the field near the end of the game. (I think the Titans committed a penalty.) But I didn’t notice this play, which is ridiculous (lucky?):

    I’m guessing Burrow’s throwing this hoping he’ll get a flag.

      1. If I’m rebuilding I roll the dice on Burrow, as the Bengals did. If I’m trying to be competitive now, I take the only proven NFL QB in this bunch, Murray. I know he’s not really that proven, but he’s more of a known quantity than the others.

        In either case, I’ll take Herbert second and be pretty happy. If I’m rebuilding and someone ahead of me takes Burrow, I won’t be sad with Herbert. If I’m trying to be competitive now, and someone take Murray ahead of me, I’m not sad with Herbert.

        1. I like the answer and agree. I would be happy with all three. My only concern with Murray is, he might have the highest ceiling, but he also has the lowest floor, based on the small sample size. So although I mostly agree with Mitchell, that gives me some pause on Murray. But man can Murray be great in moments.

          Also I know I’ve said this before, but Burrow just looks special. Part of that is I view him in this “rookie prism”, but this guy doesn’t look like a rookie. And Herbert’s physical abilities is just crazy. He can move and has a rocket arm.

          I think it was Sims (the son not the father) on the Dan Patrick Show in which I heard this, and Sims pretty much said what Mitchell said that he would take Murray just because he has that one extra year of experience. But he didn’t think he could go wrong with any of them.

      2. I think I’d want Burrow, first, then closely followed by Herbert. I would choose Burrow over Herbert because I like the former’s poise and “spontaneous genius,” although Herbert does seem to have a good arm, and is a better athlete. But I’m not super confident in this as the sample size is really small. (Drew Lock’s arm is also really impressive–but he might be the typical strong arm, bad ball security type of QB. I’m not sure how good Herbert’s ball security will be.)

        The reason I have Murray at the 3rd spot is that, like Lamar Jackson, I think a lot of his effectiveness depends on elite quickness and speed–and Murray might be speedier and more elusive than Jackson, which is saying something. If he loses that, and he likely will over time, he’ll need an exceptional OL. The OL will not only have to give him time, but more space than the typical QB (similar to Russell Wilson). Murray’s mobility might help get around this (like Wilson) and maybe that will be enough to make him effective. But I sort of think his exceptional speed and quickness has really been the difference maker, at least this year. Defenses can put a super fast spy on him, and that may not be adequate. I feel like there’s very few defenders that can effectively spy Murray, especially in the open field. If his running diminishes, his effectiveness could dip quite a bit.

        The other two QBs don’t need an exceptional OL and they don’t really depend on athleticism.

    1. I have yet to see Burrow play. I’d like to see the Bengals in the next few weeks, to see Burrow and Tyler Boyd. He’s been in the league four years and I don’t think I ever heard of him until this year. But I’ve been casually following his stats and I’m kind of intrigued.

    2. For what it’s worth, Burrow has looked good, but my uncertainty with him stemmed from the fact that all offenses have been good this year, so I wondered to what extent he looked good because of some advantages offenses had. But after watching Tua–and factoring in the play of Daniel Jones, maybe even Carson Wentz–I’d say he’s likely the real deal.

  8. No comments on the Eagles-Cowboys game. It was a pretty sad affair, which I guess can be said of both teams and their entire division. Injuries and illness have been more of a downer this year than ever before, league-wide. It’s a bummer.

    I feel bad for Ben DiNucci. Gardner Minshew II II. He was terrible but he can hardly be blamed for being thrown into such a non-ideal situation. I was rooting for the Nooch and am disappointed he’s being benched so casually. Like the Cowboys have such great options.

    On the other hand, he was a seventh-round pick out of James Madison, and for the rest of his life he’s going to tell his kids and grandkids that for one day, he was the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. Maybe I don’t feel SUPER bad for him.

    1. I didn’t have any desire to comment on this game. If I did, I’d focus on Wentz’s awful play, specifically his ball security and turnovers. I stopped watching the game and fast forwarded to the end after one a few of Wentz’s turnovers. Maybe I’m not being entirely fair as he has limited weapons and a banged-up OL–and he might need to take more chances…then again, the Cowboys were struggling, and Wentz turning over the ball was probably the main way the Cowboys could win.

      1. I thought the Cowboy defense had some life against the Eagles. They of course was playing against a horrible offense, but at least the Cowboys’ defense looked like a NFL team, which they haven’t in the other games this year. This defense with Dak would win the East easily, but that’s not saying much I guess.

  9. Murray does seems more elusive than Jackson at times, but not as fast. That being said though, with his weapons, which is pretty darn good, Murray seems very capable in the pocket. He looked good in the pocket against a horrible Seattle pass rush.

    Yes Herbert has the physical tools, but he has looked poised as well. I agree small sample size, even smaller for Herbert, but he looks better than Josh Allen did at the same point in Allen’s first year, for sure. What I like about Herbert is he seems comfortable in the pocket. He doesn’t have antsy feet, and he moves pretty well within the pocket. That reminds me Brady had a couple plays in which he seems to bait the rush to get to him from the outside so he could step up in the pocket. Like he was waiting until the rush got to him before he stepped up in the pocket. Ridiculous pocket presence.

    1. If Jackson is faster than Murray, it doesn’t seem like by much. As far as playing in the pocket, it seems like he can do it, but if it’s not spacious he might have some problems.

      Yeah, Herbert looks pretty comfortable in the pocket, but so does Burrow if I’m mistaken. (I’ve been impressed with Daniel Jones’s ability to wait in the pocket, although sometimes it gets him in trouble.)

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