Week 1 Open Discussion
Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season begins Thursday night with the Lavonte David and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. The other prime-time games this week will see fans in the NFL's newest stadia for the first time. The Sunday night game sees the L.A. Rams hosting the Chicago Bears, while Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens visit the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night. Use this thread to discuss all the action of the NFL's opening weekend.
204 comments, Last at 19 Sep 2021, 1:07pm
#1 by Lebo // Sep 09, 2021 - 7:19pm
The Saints trade for Roby (a third and a conditional sixth) feels like a steal, especially when the Texans are effectively paying the majority of his salary this year (the Saints are paying less than $2m after the Texans converted most of this year's salary into some sort of bonus).
#7 by Spanosian Magn… // Sep 09, 2021 - 9:02pm
My hot take is still that he did fall off in terms of arm strength and timing, but with a set of receivers/TEs that big and athletic he can just throw it as hard as he can (bullets and bombs) in their general vicinity, erring high, and they'll adjust and catch it. I don't see why that won't keep working as long as they've got those guys on their roster - he'll be at this level, more or less, until cap crunch destroys the roster.
#18 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 09, 2021 - 9:46pm
he had the highest adot of the top 41 passers last year and is still grading well. Don't think any fall off is significant.
Annnnd that deep ball was nice. Crazy. And an interesting release time segment there too.
#21 by Kaepernicus // Sep 09, 2021 - 9:55pm
Much like Jerry Rice being the most important position player at 40 on a SB team or Reggie White winning DPOY as a DE at 37 he is just an absolute freak. Just completely unnatural humans playing football at the highest level.
#24 by Kaepernicus // Sep 09, 2021 - 10:09pm
Vinny Testeverde had an incredible arm and lasted into his mid-40's. Right now Brady is doing so little athletically that he is basically a pitcher. This is some Nolan Ryan shit at a much higher level.
#25 by Pat // Sep 09, 2021 - 10:09pm
The NCAA - well, the schools at least - don't care about improving the game. They care about keeping donors and alumni happy. If they're saying "hey, not happy about these kids acting like punks representing our schools," oh, they'll jump.
#48 by LionInAZ // Sep 11, 2021 - 10:21pm
Taunting is for children. Why should grown men act like children? Act like the professionals you're paid to be and let your accomplishments speak for themselves.
The real problem is that taunting is done by third-rate punks looking to show off.
#47 by IdahoPat // Sep 10, 2021 - 3:43pm
Incredibly, Brady didn't make Dallas pay with 3 cheap points before halftime. Maybe then Al and Chris would've given that decision the raspberry it deserved. Punting was the clear call there, but going for it would've been a better decision, no? You gotta figure the odds of converting 4th and 31 are in line with making a 60-yard FG. And even if you don't convert, maybe you get enough yardage to where Tampa getting a FG is reduced significantly.
#34 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Sep 10, 2021 - 12:01am
Looking forward to the game winning chance probabilities on this decision. Pretty sure odds were better to go for it rather than kick for the reasons you mention, but will see what the real stats say.
Regardless of those stats, decision was a win for McCarthy. Go for it and fail on 4th down = coach's fault. Make the kick and lose anyway = Brady beat you.
#39 by jheidelberg // Sep 10, 2021 - 12:11am
4th and 5 is about 50-50. So if you go you lose 50 percent of time and win a reasonable amount of the other 50 by having a shorter FG.
Kicking that FG, do not know odds of a make but not great the way Greg the Leg was tonight and with make you need a stop or a missed FG the other way.
Doubt it makes EDJ Sports bottom 5 so I am not sure if we ever find out what the model says.
Upon further review it was 4th and 6 officially that changes the odds, but isn’t it time to let a QB like Prescott try to win a game than to count on your grade F maybe Grade D at best Grade C- defense try to win a game?
As a Colts fan in Manning years don’t you want the opponent to try a FG in that situation?
#43 by Pat // Sep 10, 2021 - 2:33am
Yeah, you should definitely be kicking there, by the book (as in, based on averages, not the fact that your kicker was screwing the pooch all day long and you've got the GOAT on the other sideline). That being said, "the book" doesn't take into account timeouts, but regardless, pretty much the worst it can be is a wash if it was 4th and 5 (and thus 4th and 6 you should be kicking).
Simplifying things, just assume if you miss the FG or fail to gain on 4th down, you lose. Technically the two situations are slightly different due to the fact that you move back on the FG miss. But it's so minor it's not worth bothering.
49 yard field goal is ~70%, and win probability if you hit it is also ~70%. So your total *combined* win probability there is ~50%. Which, obviously, means if going for the 4th is a 50/50 shot (which it is, on average, at 4th and 5)... kicking is better, because gaining the first obviously doesn't guarantee the win - you're actually only 76% to win at that point, by the book. But I think that's due to timeouts, like I said - if you assume "gain 1st down, automatic win" then the two decisions are a wash.
Note that I'm being intentionally sloppy here because all of these silly percentages are easily uncertain to several percent anyway. Rough order of magnitude's fine.
But, in the end, I agree with you: it's Tom freaking Brady. I would've gone for it there, and pulled the Belichick argument, saying "look, there was just too much time. We couldn't let Brady get the ball back."
#44 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Sep 10, 2021 - 7:31am
Yup, the glories of NFL officiating. Multi-billion dollar enterprise that's disinterested in creating consistent game rules.
Worst call was the combo pass interference + facemasking on what wasn't actually either of the above, because the official saw a grab that wasn't there. That sort of thing will happen as long as there isn't auto-review from the booth.
What affects gameplay a lot more than that sort of thing, though, are the main staple penalties of holding and pass interference. Both the late OL holding call on DAL and the late push off by the TB WR were penalties, but penalties that are called or not called at random by officials, likely because of viewing angles most of the time.
The impact on how the game is played is huge. As a player, if you know that you can commit a penalty that gives you an advantage and that it's only called 20% to 25% of the time, there's a high incentive to hold, grab and shove in any high leverage situation. Think about the TB reception: if he doesn't push off the defender, there's a much lower chance that he makes that catch. So why not shove off and hope the officials let you get away with it? Hence we get shoves like that all the time and then the narrative becomes "you see that sort of thing every play, if the refs called all of them we'd have so many flags the came would be terrible". No, not true. If the refs called all of them the players would learn and coaches would coach players to stop doing it. After a few games you wouldn't see many flags and you'd have a cleaner, more interesting product on the field.
#45 by Pat // Sep 10, 2021 - 8:46am
"After a few games you wouldn't see many flags and you'd have a cleaner, more interesting product on the field."
Don't think so, actually. Pretty sure you'd see a completely imbalanced game. Definitely for holding, it's literally part of the game to be able to commit holding without it being visible. I don't think it's possible to pass block at the NFL level without it.
Pretty sure that's true for DPI too, as well. I don't think there's a way to write the rule such that it can be applied consistently without materially affecting the game. The entire point of the rule is that you want to prevent the defender from impeding the receiver - "a defender cannot initiate contact with a receiver who is attempting to evade him." But you don't want to prevent the defender from having free motion - "a defender may use his hands or arms only to defend or protect himself against impending contact caused by a receiver."
So there's legal contact and illegal contact, which means there's always going to be a grey area.
#50 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Sep 12, 2021 - 9:27am
I don't normally guess at the outcome of games, but no better week to do so than week 1 when I have the least amount of information about how each team is coming together for the new season. So:
DAL over TB (wrong)
HOU over JAX (right, but that was a really low bar to get over)
WAS over LAC (wrong: how could I doubt Herbert?)
SEA over IND (right)
NYJ over CAR (wrong: how could I doubt Darnold?)
MIN over CIN (wrong: how could I doubt Burrows?)
TEN over ARI (wrong: how could I doubt Murray?)
SF over DET (right, but that was a really low bar to get over)
PIT over BUF (right)
ATL over PHI (wrong: how could I doubt Hurts?)
KC over CLE (right)
NO over GB (right)
DEN over NYG (right)
MIA over NE (right)
LAR over CHI (right)
BAL over LV (wrong)
I seem to have a bit of irrational optimism about road teams. Wonder if I can follow up Thursday's wrong prediction with an 0-for week?
EDIT: through the early games, I'm not consistently bad enough to go 0-for, but my guesses have been less accurate than the average dart-throwing monkey. Which is one of the many reasons I don't gamble.
EDIT 2: a clean sweep of the afternoon games makes me a slightly better-than-average dart-throwing monkey, pending the primetime games.
EDIT 3: when all is said and done, I ended up 9-7 straight up (10-6 against the spread). Think I'll quit on 2021 predictions while I'm barely ahead.
#51 by Raiderfan // Sep 12, 2021 - 9:29am
Almost 50 comments before the Sunday slate even kicks off. Given the inability of your software to show more than 150+/- comments on a page, and it’s inability to highlight new comments on subsequent pages, I recommend you start a new thread.
#53 by jheidelberg // Sep 12, 2021 - 12:06pm
Since long time fans of FO Lost Ti-Cats Fan and I'm New Around These Parts have made picks so I will make my first pick . Congrats to I'm New Around These Parts, as he was one more missed Zuerlein extra point away from a perfect 31-28 TB prediction.
My pick is MIA-NE under the 43.5 line based upon:
1. Both teams look to run out the clock right from the opening kickoff so that they do not expose their QB. The narrative that with Cam gone, Mac Jones will no longer have to look over his shoulder proves false, as Jones will be looking over his shoulder all day to find a RB to take a hand off.
2. Fitzpatrick is not longer Tua's relief pitcher that puts up points in a pinch quickly.
3. This snoozer style of play leads to few turnovers and thus few easy scores
#101 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 12, 2021 - 5:20pm
Will the Jags beat the Steerers by 7: correctly
Who has more rushing TDs between Josh Allen, Najee and tie: correctly
Jaguars at Texans: correctly
Chargers at WFT: incorrectly (thought WFT)
Seahawks at Colts: correctly
Pitts receptions: incorrectly (thought 2 or less)
Julio TD catch: incorrectly
Passing TD in Den/NYG: correctly
Tua to have a higher passer rating than Jones
Chefs/Browns over 53.5
The Chefs to beat the Browns by 6 or more
Justin Fields not to throw a pass
#58 by Spanosian Magn… // Sep 12, 2021 - 1:29pm
Wow, the Niners are going to use Lance in the Jalen Hurts Memorial QB Who Comes In For A Few Plays And Makes Things Really Awkward For The Starter role. And his first pass is a TD - I believe the first TD pass for the 2021 QB class, would not have bet on that.
#63 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Sep 12, 2021 - 1:58pm
2nd Quarter, BUF up by 3, 4th-and-3 on PIT 46, Allen wants to go for it, but McDermott overrules him. Punter rewards McDermott with a coffin corner kick pinning PIT inside their own 5 - EDIT marked at the 7, actually.
Follow up: after a 3-and-out, PIT's Punter shanks a punt and BUF gets the ball back at PIT's 35. Also the TV announcers would never ever go on 4th down because "patience".
Second follow up: two plays later TJ Watt strip sacks Allen and now PIT has the ball back at their own 45. Football is random.
#79 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Sep 12, 2021 - 3:26pm
Early Q4, up by 4, now BUF has 4th-and-1 from the PIT 41. McDermott goes for and - I kid you not - the announcers say "You have no choice, you have to go for it here because that's who you are, Buffalo".
Anyway, the play call is to throw the ball backwards to a guy 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage who gets tackled immediately.
#65 by Spanosian Magn… // Sep 12, 2021 - 2:20pm
Woof. Goff had been looking pretty good, then decided to heave it into traffic as his own guy was being blocked backwards into him; his arm hit his own lineman's helmet, ball went askew into Niner hands, and that guy took it back for the pick-six. It's officially a bloodbath in Detroit.
#68 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Sep 12, 2021 - 2:35pm
10-0 BUF over PIT at halftime.
So far BUF has the look of a dangerous offence being kept relatively in check by a talented D.
PIT might also be a dangerous offence being kept totally in check by a talented D, but look a little out of sync. At least some of that is pressure by BUF combined with tight coverage by DBs, but whether that's the entire story I'm not sure.
#104 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Sep 12, 2021 - 5:29pm
Second half, PIT's offence got into sync, while Allen started to get the jitters under constant PIT pressure.
Both teams look like complete football teams to me, solid on both sides of the line. PIT's OL did fine, in my opinion, considering how good BUF's front 4 are. Allen regressed a little in H2 but I doubt many other teams will be messing with as much as Watts and crew were. Both PIT and BUF should be playoff teams, I'd say.
PS Watt amply demonstrated why preseason games aren't needed for established players.
#81 by Spanosian Magn… // Sep 12, 2021 - 3:30pm
Heh, Herbert throws a kind of brutal interception in the red zone, but Football Team fumbles it right back on the very next play. The Chargers end up exactly where they would have been if the pass had been completed, just with a little extra ink on the stat sheet.
#86 by Spanosian Magn… // Sep 12, 2021 - 3:45pm
In a pleasant rarity, the announcer is yelling at Football Team to go for it on 4th and 7 from the 40. He's right, of course. Instead, they line up to punt and take a false start (maybe intentionally), then punt it with a little more room. They pin the Chargers inside the 10, so it "worked" I guess, but they're still down 4 against a better team they haven't been able to stop consistently, with under 7 minutes left in the 4th.
#87 by Spanosian Magn… // Sep 12, 2021 - 3:55pm
Oh wow, the Chargers appeared to hit a long pass but had it called back for holding, ended up at 3rd and 16 inside their own 10 - validating WTF's terrible punt in certain eyes - but then Herbert hits a bullet right to the sticks; nice effort by Allen to reach for the 1st. And now the Chargers are quickly past where they would have gotten it if the 4th down play had failed, but with more time off the clock.
#88 by Spanosian Magn… // Sep 12, 2021 - 4:03pm
On 2nd and 1, Football Team tackles the RB for a loss - but that's almost unfortunate because it puts the ball back in Herbert's hands, and he connects for the 1st and it's over.
Announcer 1 (after the run stuff): 'That's why they felt okay punting it away, their defense is good.'
Announcer 2: 'If their defense is that good, they'd have stopped them if they failed to convert the 4th down anyway!'
I wish I knew who Announcer 2 was; he seems to represent a bit of a sea change in Football Knower Wisdom.
I guess Football Team can feel good that they hung close against a chic pick to contend, but that punt was a straight up surrender. I like Ron Rivera, I think he's an above average coach on the balance, but there's a reason he's only had 3 winning seasons...
#89 by Spanosian Magn… // Sep 12, 2021 - 4:20pm
Uh... Things Are Happening in Detroit. Lions scored and got the 2pt conversion to make it 41-25, they got the onside kick (Kittle biffed the catch), they scored again and got a ridiculous toe-tap catch on the 2pt conversion, failed the second onside but after stuffing the Niners twice they threw it for some reason - and it almost worked, but then the receiver fumbled after picking up the 1st. Now the Lions have it AND a timeout. Only 37 seconds left, but it's absurd that the outcome is even slightly in question here.
UPDATE: 'twas not meant to be. On 4th down at the Niners 25, the Niners get pressure up the middle and Goff tosses it to no one in particular (short of the sticks too). Incomplete, ballgame. It's still incredible (or embarrassing, depending on your POV) that that ended up being a 1-score game.
#97 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 12, 2021 - 5:01pm
From what I saw/heard, immediate dividends from all their investments.
Crazy to me we let go an unaniomous 1st team all pro OL to keep just a pro bowl RB. Love Jones but that's some poor prioritization.
And so far, Linsley winz and we're down 10 while Jones has runs of 1 and -1 yards.
#116 by DisplacedPackerFan // Sep 12, 2021 - 6:28pm
Agree with all of that, like Jones as a player but should have let some other team pay him. It doesn't help having Bahk on IR. It would at least allow Jenkins to go back inside to help a bit. The middle of the line has been awful without two of their best players there anymore.
#120 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 12, 2021 - 6:39pm
Royce has been getting whipped in pass pro and Meyers isn't exactly putting on a standout show. I'm skeptical of the ultimate value OL can bring but it's certainly more than RB.
Regardless, bad day all around. And Hill with a bad return there. When it rains it pours humidity.
#99 by justanothersteve // Sep 12, 2021 - 5:05pm
Packers DCs have yet to realize King can only cover tight. When he makes the WR fight to get past him, he's not bad. Not good, but not bad. But he's awful when playing off the line. If they line him up five yards off the WR; he'll get beat every time.
#100 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 12, 2021 - 5:09pm
(ignoring the obvious TJ Watt bring up) but man what did they expect from him in his 5th year and 3rd DC (might have to bring those Barry qs back up too soon)?
On a positive note: that first go for it on 4th was nice.
#125 by DisplacedPackerFan // Sep 12, 2021 - 6:52pm
Which is exactly what just happened on that last deep TD.
Agree with Imnew, would have been happier if that had been Stokes getting burned because at least I would have had hope that he might improve, King is who he is.
#117 by DisplacedPackerFan // Sep 12, 2021 - 6:32pm
Well I hear that Jim Leonhard turned them down to stay with the Badgers, but I'm not seeing what Barry brings over Pettine. I get the org felt they had to do something and he was a McCarthy holdover, but blerg.
#121 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 12, 2021 - 6:44pm
And Badgers have done good (defensively) so far. Made sense, what I was rooting for. Understand and fine with his decision though.
Letting Pettine go was correct. But Barry was a panic cronyism hire. Looking at his numbers in Detroit and Washington were legit puke worthy and there wasn't much redeemable. General excuse of "no talent" gets used too often and he got it upon his hire.
One of those things where I just didn't understand.
#111 by jheidelberg // Sep 12, 2021 - 5:59pm
Andy Reid does not call time out with Cleveland having 4th and 31 from own 42 so Browns run clock to 3 seconds left, call timeout and get 48 of 58 yards needed, for TD. Almost a massive swing of events to end half. Cleveland up 12 almost became 19.
#115 by Spanosian Magn… // Sep 12, 2021 - 6:22pm
Why the announcers are trying to pin that second Rodgers pick on anything other than him overthrowing his guy by a good 10 yards is beyond me.
The o-line hasn't been great, but Rodgers' mouth spent all off-season writing checks his behind has not cashed today.
#158 by Joseph // Sep 12, 2021 - 10:24pm
Even with my Saints' homer glasses on, I couldn't have seen this coming. But let's be honest: there isn't any football fan (except maybe Jameis' mother) who could have guessed that Winston would have 5 TD/0 INT and Rodgers would have 0 TD/2 INT. Man, what kind of odds could you have gotten on that outcome in Vegas today?
#118 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Sep 12, 2021 - 6:35pm
Couple rookie moments - but I am *very* happy with what I've seen from Mac Jones today - and that pass to White a minute ago was gorgeous.
I think he's had like 2-3 incompletes that didn't hit the WR in the hands. Fantastic accuracy.
Little bit of lack of pocket awareness, but that's expected at this point.
#119 by DisplacedPackerFan // Sep 12, 2021 - 6:37pm
I know he has a history of playing like crap in TB and this game is looking like him in Tampa. Wondering if he sucks in all hot and humid games. I went deep on how bad he plays in Tampa in comment 4 of this thread https://www.footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/2020/week-12-dvoa-ratings
#169 by DisplacedPackerFan // Sep 13, 2021 - 10:13am
Yahoo! sports actually has those splits looks like he does play worse in hot (> 80 F) weather though it's a sample of 9 games, so sample size is a real issue, but the temp breakdowns it still stands out. For those who don't want to follow a link (don't blame you)
- <21 F : 6 games 90.8 QBRating
- 21-40 : 46 games 107.5 QBRating
- 41-60 : 56 games 104.0 QBRating
- 61-80 : 43 games 102.0 QBRating
- >80 F : 9 games 80.1 QBRating
Does it actually mean anything? I doubt it. My initial question was mostly tongue in cheek, just like my joke about him being cursed in Tampa Bay when I broke down those awful games from him last year. It's curious, it may have an impact, but I'm guessing all those games likely being on the road (haven't verified but I'm pretty sure none of those were at Lambeau) and probably against solid defenses had more to do with it, but I'd have to dig more than just a mostly joke is worth for it.
#122 by Pat // Sep 12, 2021 - 6:50pm
Hope that finishes the "is Payton really a good coach" question.
I mean, no idea why people doubted it, having a better record without Brees than with the past two years. But, um. I know Winston wasn't exactly a bad QB in Tampa, but he, uh, wasn't this.
#141 by Pat // Sep 12, 2021 - 8:03pm
And they're willing to seriously invest in other portions of the team. That friggin' offensive line's just a massive luxury, and that bill's gonna come due, but I get this feeling like the longer Winston's with Payton, he'll also start to have his rough edges worn down, and then they'll be able to survive cheaping out when they have to move on at OL. And man, that offensive line with Kamara, they can basically win games all by themselves.
Really it all just comes down to planning and team building.
#134 by Pat // Sep 12, 2021 - 7:29pm
Mayfield doin' what Mayfield does.
Seriously, don't try to throw a pass when you're being dragged down. Jeez. Just because Brady and Mahomes get away with it doesn't mean it's not dumb. (Plus I actually think Mahomes practices that crap.)
#139 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Sep 12, 2021 - 7:41pm
Tua did the same thing while being dragged down by Judon about 20 yards behind the LOS and got picked off in what should have lost them the game.
Who had Patriots runningbacks fumble away the game on this one?
#135 by Spanosian Magn… // Sep 12, 2021 - 7:29pm
Mayfield with an absolutely terrible, Darnold-with-the-Jets-level interception as he's being tackled on 1st and 10.
I'm ready to move on from him. I hear the Packers might have a QB available this offseason. Assuming he's not washed up, anyway.
#140 by jgov // Sep 12, 2021 - 7:55pm
Aside from that ending play, I thought Mayfield played well especially considering the ragtag group of pass catching options he has (I mean seriously, look at their WRs after Landry). If the Cleveland punter had caught a snap straight to him and/or Nick Chubb hadn't fumbled, we might be talking about this game differently.
#151 by Spanosian Magn… // Sep 12, 2021 - 8:54pm
That's a fair point about the receivers. I was in and out but I thought he missed some open guys, though. And I'm not sure he's going to get any better at this point - he's 26 and other than cutting his INT% (a significant thing, to be fair) his stats haven't really improved since his rookie year (with DVOA hovering in the +/- 10% range). So is this guy good enough to win a Super Bowl with? If he keeps the INT% low... maybe? With a strong team around him? But with his contract coming due, I don't think I'd want to lock into him long-term unless he takes a step forward this year.
#138 by Spanosian Magn… // Sep 12, 2021 - 7:39pm
Dang, I saw Jerry Jeudy caught 6 of 7 targets - a good sign he might have overcome his drops issues from last year - but apparently he has a high ankle sprain. That'll be a few games out at least - lucky for the Broncos the next two are cupcakes, but the schedule gets difficult in a hurry after that, and if he's out it's not like they're teeming with great receivers to pick up the slack.
#142 by TimK // Sep 12, 2021 - 8:20pm
If he’s only got a high ankle sprain then that is actually pretty good news. It was a nasty looking going over with the defender’s weight making the ankle bend in ways it shouldn’t. Hopefully no surgery required, but they might not know how bad it is until swelling goes down a bit.