23 thoughts on “2020-2021 NFL: Week 16

  1. Vikings-Saints

    Man, could the absence of Eric Kendricks really make that much of a difference in the run defense? I have to wonder because I haven’t seen the Vikings look this bad under Zimmer, maybe ever.

    That was the story of the game. The Vikings D got two turnovers and even that wasn’t enough. The Vikings offense did well, for the most part–their defense was just too porous, especially on the ground.

  2. 49ers-Cardinals

    Shanahan is an offensive wizard, especially in the run game. What’s also interesting is that he isn’t just utilizing his father’s and Kubiak’s offense, but he’s done something different with it.

    On the other side of the ball, I’ve been impressed with Robert Saleh. I had doubts about how good he was, given that he had such a strong roster. But with all the injuries, the Niners even have greater depth than I realized or Saleh is better than I thought. His defenses are physical, too, which I like.

  3. Colts-Steelers

    Weird game. A game of old QBs. In the first half, Roethlisberger looked old, and their offense was one-dimensional. Rivers looked solid, helped by a good run game. Then the tables turned at some point in the 3rd quarter, after the Steelers hit on a bomb. After the that the Steelers defense and offense looked strong, and the Colts looked the opposite. So weird.

    1. I agree, and I think both teams have had weird seasons. I mean even in the midst of the league’s having a weird season. With the Chiefs looking beatable, I wouldn’t be shocked if either the Colts or the Steelers won the AFC championship. I totally would never bet on either team, but it’s not inconceivable.

    2. The thing is, both QBs are not dependable–in the way that deteriorating QBs are not. They can really good or really bad in the same game.

      The Chiefs are kinda struggling right now, mainly because of their OL. They also don’t have Edwards-Helaire. After today’s Falcons game, I would say they really need him back. But if the Chiefs are beatable.

      Going back to the Colts. This was a real disappointing loss for them. They were in total control of this game. Sometimes a team in this position can lose because they take their foot off the gas pedal, and get too conservative. Opponents can dink and dunk and move the ball down the field. But the Steelers started hitting on passes downfield (whereas earlier they were focusing on shorter passes). The Colts seemed to be taken off guard by this.

      By the way, with regard to the best defenses, I would say the Colts are a candidate. But in this season, the best defenses can have games when they don’t look like this. I’m not really talking about a fluke game, either. My theory is that not having fans, officials calling OL penalties more leniently has lead to longer drives by offenses and that’s stressing out even good defenses.

      Finally, I have a hard time seeing the Steelers go far. They are really one-dimensional–almost no run game, and Roethlisberger is shaky to me. The Colts are more balanced on offense, and I think their defense is better. But Rivers is shaky, too.

      1. I agree with Reid and that I think the Colts despite Rivers still have a good chance to win it all. I don’t really feel the same way of the Steelers.

        The Colts had some injuries to their o-line. I’m not sure when they will be back, but the Colts can be better, hopefully for their sake, in time for the playoffs.

  4. Rams-Seahawks

    Great job by the Seahawk defense. They contained the run, and put pressure on Goff. Terrific goal line stance, too!

    The Seahawk offense on the other hand did not look good in my view. What stands out is that they seem to have an aversion towards running the ball–specifically, allowing their run game to get into a rhythm. It’s like one good run satisfies them and they go to passing a lot. I highly doubt this will work against the better teams–because the Seahawks defense is not going to be able to repeat this performance against the better offenses.

    1. Seahawks D made the Rams look like pretenders, which maybe they have been all along, held up by a really good coaching staff who can pull victories out of surprising places. I kind of enjoyed this game for some reason.

    2. I think it depends what you mean by pretenders. When the OL wins in the trenches, their run game and passing game–WRs/TEs, and QB–look terrific. But when they struggle in the trenches, they get penalties and/or negative yards, and then Goff gets pressured/hit, they can fall a part. Does that make them pretenders? I don’t know. But I think McVay’s coaching is a big reason they’re so good–similar to Belichick, but not to the same degree.

      If only the Hawks can play on a similar level against the best offenses….

      1. I’m having some doubts about McVay. His offense is amazing, but it’s almost like it’s a novelty offense at times, and if you figure it out you can really make it hard for the Ram’s offense. We’ve seen it so many times since McVay’s Super Bowl run, where his offense can be completely stagnate. Yes maybe we can blame that on the o-line and/or Goff, but I think a huge part is some teams (others do not and just gets steamrolled) know how to play McVay’s offense. That being said though, maybe the Rams need a big-time WR. Woods is amazing and so is Cupp, but I think they can be blanketed. They need a WR that needs to be doubled team. I thought Higbee could be that guy, but he hasn’t been reliable.

    3. There’s some truth to your novelty comment, but I have no doubts about McVay. Here’s why: My theory is that the players were never great–it was mostly McVay’s system. Woods, Kupp, Goff, RBs, O-linemen–how confident are you that they would be really good on another team? They’re not bad players, but I would be surprised if most of them would be good or better than they have been in McVay’s offense. When I watched them in ’18, their OL was dominant, playing at a similar level to those really good Cowboy OLs a few years ago. Yet, they didn’t seem to have the same level of talent. To me, it was McVay’s system (and embracing no-huddle that year, which seemed to catch everyone off guard for most of the season).

      If I could improve one area for them, it would either be the OL or QB. If they Andrew Whitworth was closer to his prime, and another good-to-great O-lineman, they might be great even with Goff, which is amazing. If you put better players in his system, the system is going to be awesome in my view. And he’s a really good play caller; he’s probably the best at using no-huddle, hurry up as well.

      To me, you should compare McVay’s coaching tenure similar to what Shanahan is doing this year and in 2018, when the 49ers were decimated by injuries. They still played well considering the backup QBs, second or third string WRs, O-linemen and RBs. Put good players in Shanahan’s system, especially at QB, and his system will be great, too.

      1. Shanahan teams don’t “lay eggs” like McVay’s teams, offensively. Shanahan’s running game is more consistent and even with a bad QB, their passing game isn’t horrible. I cannot say the same about McVay’s Rams.

      2. Shanahan may be a better coach, especially in terms of installing a run game, but what about the theory I gave above? Do you disagree with it? Do you disagree with the theory that that the roster isn’t that great–that their success is heavily dependent on McVay’s coaching elevating their talent?

    4. Some of the plays in the great goal line stand:

      After the clip of chasing down Newton, which was a great play, Adams saves a TD on a similar play:

      (As good as Adams has been at the LOS–especially in the pass rush–at this point, I’m still not sure the trade was worth it.)

  5. Titans-Packers

    I know the Packers offense is good, maybe having one of the best offenses, but the Titans defense is disappointing. They just couldn’t stop the Packers.

    Ravens-Giants

    I don’t know what the Ravens playoffs hopes are, but they’re run game is coming alive–which is making whole offense come alive. They could be a dangerous team, if they get in.

      1. I think Adams is great, but I still have doubts he is a top five receiver in the league. I think most would take Hopkins and Michael Thomas over Adams. But what about guys like Diggs, Tyreek, AJ Brown, Metcalf and maybe even Ridley? I think I would take all of those guys over Adams. I would put Adams in with Amari and McClaurin.

      2. Someone said that Adams might be the best WR in the league. I don’t think that’s a crazy claim; I definitely think he’s in the top 3. I say this with the caveat that I’m not analyzing his individual skillset, and I’m sort of seeing him in connection with Rodgers. (A guy that should get some consideration, but probably won’t is Allen Robinson, who has been good with mediocre/bad QBs.)
        As I mentioned, they might be the best QB-WR tandem in the league–I’d choose them ahead of Russ-DK, Murray-D-Hop, Allen-Diggs.

        Diggs and Hill would give him the biggest competition for me, and, dang, I think I would go with Adams. (Thomas hasn’t played enough this year. Julio has been hurt, too.)

        1. In terms of Diggs, I’m specifically talking about this year. He’s having a really good year. But I think that’s a function of a strong supporting cast, and playing in a pass-centric offense. If he were playing on the Vikings this year, I’m not sure I’d feel the same way.

    1. Man, I am. He and Rodgers have a great connection, and I think this goes back to last year as well. In terms of best one-two punch, they’re up there. The thing is, I wouldn’t have said that in the past–say, 2017 and before. I’m not sure I’d say that in 2018–although maybe he and/or Rodgers was hurt a lot.

      Edit:

      I forgot to add that the Packers do have one of the best OLs. But the Titans don’t really have a great pass rush. Their pass rush has been a disappointment. Actually, their entire defense. If they were on par with the Colts or Saints–with their run-based offense, I’d like their chances to win it all.

  6. Yeah, if we mean teams that have a chance of winning. I don’t have a problem with this list, if these are the teams Colin thinks will mostly likely win. But “can?” I’d put other teams in there. The Ravens, Titans, and Colts come to mind. I haven’t watched the Bucs in the last couple of weeks, but have they looked really bad? I wouldn’t count out the Steelers as well.

    There are reasons the list of potential SB winners has to be bigger:

    1. The gap between the teams are relatively small, and because of this–
    2. Match-ups are a big factor in who goes to the SB and wins it, and
    3. if a team gets hot for a short span, they can go all the way.

    If the Ravens or Titans get in, I wouldn’t want to play them (except, man, the Titans defense is so disappointing. And I don’t think having Clowney would have made a huge difference. Vrabel seems like a solid head coach, but as a defensive guy, it’s disappointing to see his defense at this level. To be fair, he might not have the talent to be a great defense.)

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