Football Outsiders
Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis

Week 3 Open Discussion

Tyler Lockett
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Week 3 kicks off on Thursday night with the Facial Hair Fracas as Ryan Fitzpatrick's Beard and the Dolphins travel to Jacksonville to play Gardner Minshew's Moustache and the Jaguars. Notable Sunday games include the Rams at the Bills, the Cowboys at the Seahawks, and the night game between the Packers and Saints. And nobody's going to miss the Monday night game when the Chiefs visit the Ravens. Use this thread to discuss them all. 


216 comments, Last at 29 Sep 2020, 7:12am

1 I'm seeing a lot of love for…

I'm seeing a lot of love for JAX in this week's game predictions.  Personally, I'm not buying it.

I'm going to try and successfully predict the start of National Jump to New Conclusions Week by guessing that MIA wins tonight, beginning the return of the Fins to the category of "modestly bad but no longer wretched" in 2020, while the Jags begin to show us that preseason predictions were more accurate than their first two games suggested.

Beard >> Mustache

2 CJ Henderson got torched…

CJ Henderson got torched like a creme brulee, the open receiver fell down catching a slightly errant throw, Henderson started clapping (??) instead of tagging receiver down, receiver got up and ran for 10 more yards. It was funny. It also helped along a methodical opening drive by Miami, culminating in a touchdown just now. Not an auspicious start for the 9th overall pick.

7 In addition to the other…

In reply to by gomer_rs

In addition to the other comparisons people are making, they sport an average Wonderlic of 45/50 between the two of them.

On another note, Jay Gruden trending on twitter, for the wrong reasons.  I hadn't followed at all, so I didn't realize he landed on his feet as an OC.  I figured he might've had to take a year off or settle for a position coach role due to his Washington Team off-field issues...

6 Jags finally manage another…

Jags finally manage another touchdown after a pity PI call in the end zone. But they shank the extra point, penance to the football gods for their ill-gotten score.

8 The Dolphins aren't that terrible

They're not "good" exactly, it was only the Jaguars, they have plenty of needs, but compared to last year they look visibly better.

12 Fitzpatrick's whole career…

Fitzpatrick's whole career tells us he'll have great games followed by horrid games, then bounce right back. I don't think the the Fins' decision about when Tua (did I look that up?  nope, I'll be going with his first name exclusively) plays will have much to do with Fitzpatrick's recent performance. 

I would expect Tua to start based on when the coaching staff think he's ready.  Presumably that'll be sometime mid-year.  I agree that a surprise playoff run may change things, but I don't see a playoff run as a realistic possibility.  If he sits for the whole season, or until week 17, it's more likely to be based on his own development than Fitz's performance, I'd expect. 

19 I personally don't think…

I personally don't think they'll start Tua at all this season unless out of necessity.  Hopefully Fitz doesn't suffer some catastrophic injury.  But if it gets to week 9 or 10, they're not in contention, and Fitz's arm/body is too banged up to make all the throws, then I think they bring in Tua.

Fitz is already on record stating he knows the situation.  His play is so infectious - lead blocking on a run play just because, standing up after scrambling with an expression like he's on bath salts - the team definitely loves him.  I don't think there would be a Joe Flacco/Lamar Jackson situation where even the players all think it's time to move on.

Just like at Bama though, when Tua comes in that's it for Fitz in Miami.  I don't believe there is any rush from any side to do that.

And let's be honest - while we're all excited for the future with Tua, Fitz is so damn fun to watch.

23 "And let's be honest - while…

"And let's be honest - while we're all excited for the future with Tua, Fitz is so damn fun to watch."

Darn right. Results will dictate when Tua gets to play, but I'm in no hurry to see him.

30 Yup, I agree with the Fitz…

Yup, I agree with the Fitz is so much fun to watch sentiment.  He's the perfect QB for a team that's not quite good enough for the playoffs, yet.  If you don't play hard and fight to the end with him as your on-field leader, who would you fight for?

I'd guess he'd help keep things light after a loss, too, without undermining prepping to play hard for the next game.  

24 That 7th seed could…

That 7th seed could certainly add some drama for some teams. A team sitting at 5-7 at 3/4 of the way through the season could only be one game out of a playoff spot. And if you look at Miami's next 9 games, there are dates with Denver, NYJ x2, a decimated SF, and Cincy. Do I think they'll end up making a run? Not really, but I bet there will be a handful of 8 win teams that could be in contention in Weeks 16/17!

29 IMO winning seven games would be a realistic goal

It's an improvement from last season and something to build upon. Last year they won five (and got jobbed vs. Jets) which IMO was stunning given how totally crappy that roster was. The running game is bad, the pass rush isn't good and they stall a lot inside the 20 but overall they're visibly better and playing hard. They're not going to be an easy out, even when they're obviously outclassed. My main gripe during the (sigh) Sparano/Philbin/Gase years was that they never seemed to legitimately improve year to year. I hope Flores is changing that and thus far he appears to be doing just that.

10 Yes the Jaguars look bad…

Yes the Jaguars look bad. Offence missing their best receiver, I suppose. Defense was atrocious. Worth reminding yourself that they had the best pass defense in the league in 2017 (indeed a historically good pass defense). They were ranked 31st in DVOA through 2 weeks this year, and surely won't be improving after that. Really illustrates the issues with roster building around defense, especially when it disguises the fact that your QB is not good. 

13 It illustrates issues with…

It illustrates issues with poor cap management. You can absolutely build around defense, and the perennial contention of the Ravens and (historically) the Steelers is a testament to that. The Seahawks as well, although the Cap Termites eventually ate that one up.

A great QB gives you a lot of long-term offensive continuity, but that can be bungled as well (see Marino, Dan and Rivers, Phil).

14 Of course there are…

Of course there are exceptions. But we know very well about the year to year volatility of team defensive performance, compared to offense. 

I believe many of the Jaguars issues were specifically caused by poor player management, rather than cap management. 

15 Yardage

You would think a team that pecks the other team to death with short yardage plays, yet sustains drives and controls the clock would get reflected positively in DVOA since it would have to make the "more important" short yardage plays to keep moving the ball.  Does it?

18 I think someone brought this up last week...

In reply to by richRod

And in the comments they showed a team that got exactly 4 yards per play every down had an offensive DVOA of 27 or 28%.  So, very good, but behind say this year's Seahawks.

16 Kevin is in trouble

Kevin Ballage might soon have company as worst Miami running back in history as Howard is averaging well below 1 YPC. However, he's no longer the primary back so he might be spared. Why Miami can't run block at all is a mystery to me. That Miami is using a 7th round pick ahead of their two off season high priced backs, does make you wonder about their free agent signings. As one Miami beat writer said, their rookies and young players have out played their free agents so far and last night was more of the same. That's very worrying for the season. Their pass blocking is much improved this season, but the run blocking is still just dreadful. 

17 If you could only do one or…

If you could only do one or the other, I'd take pass blocking.  Keeping Tua healthy when he eventually becomes the starter has to be important.

I've no idea if this is a purposeful trade off by MIA's coaching staff, either by focusing practice time on pass protection drills or selecting their starters based on pass protection ability exclusively, but if it is, it's justified, in my opinion.   

28 And more of the same...

...when you play in division, Scrapster.

Chandler Jones made a living in Seattle's backfield last year.  I expect the same, but from other guys because most teams have doubled Jones off the snap.

Scrimmaging against Kyler Murray is the best way to prepare for Seattle!

37 Howard ranked 9, 14, [ugly],…

Howard ranked 9, 14, [ugly], and 6 in rush DVOA in his three years with the Bears and one with the Eagles. And at least in Chicago, he was running behind some pretty mediocre offensive lines. The reason the Bears traded him is that someone decided he couldn't catch the ball (but his receiving DVOA was positive with the Eagles).

Anyway, this is just to say that if Howard is gaining <1 YPC, that must be a truly terrible run-blocking line (or he is hurt).

27 Minshew.

This game reminds of what I always thought about Minshew, even amidst Minshew-Mania.

He's not a franchise QB, but someone you can get by with UNTIL you find one.

Fitzpatrick on a good night reinforced that for me.

Minshew plays well with the rural demographic.  Wins aside, I could seem him being popular in many areas of the country.

31 Really?

“Minshew plays well with the rural demographic”. Where did that come from? You do not think he is popular in Jacksonville, with A metropolitan area That has a population of 1,523,615?

32 What's your definition of a metro area?

In reply to by Raiderfan

1.5 Million to me barely qualifies as a "Metro area".

To put this in perspective, Mesa, AZ alone has a population of about 2 million and that is only a suburb of Phoenix.  I've lived there.  It's much larger than Jacksonville and has more people as well.  Phoenix itself is a huge metro.  Jacksonville is a small city.

I can tell you're probably from the country/rural area if you think 1.5 Mill is anything.  Even Austin, TX dwarfs Jacksonville.

35 Where did you get your stats?

Mesa has about 2 Million people by itself as a suburb.  I've lived there.  It's even larger now.

Jacksonville is small.  

I can't imagine you navigating a city like Houston or Dallas if you think Jacksonville is anything significant.

Maybe try living in these places instead of quoting stats of the internet?

38 Mesa AZ has ~518,000 people,…

Mesa AZ has ~518,000 people, not 2 million. Don't pull numbers out of your ass. The metropolitan Phoenix area does have around 4.7 million people, larger than Jacksonville city (~900,000) or the JAX metro area (1.5 million).

39 Every time I come on this…

Every time I come on this site, you're here talking shit and picking fights. This isn't the place for that. I know other people have told you that too, you should really start listening. Or just leave and go talk shit on r/NFL on reddit

44 one can hope

Insisting Mesa has 4x what is verifiably actually has is a weird hill to die on.  

Oh, and anybody who's been out west knows that the cites have large populations, but not population density.  Of course the same applies to Jacksonville.  

46 The weird part about the…

In reply to by RickD

The weird part about the west is how stark the line is between urban and rural. You head SE from Phoenix and it’s all populated density until one big shopping plaza, and then the freeway goes from 4 lanes to 2 and you don’t see another human until Tucson.

162 Farming

It's a weird consequence of lack of agriculture - though the American south-east is unique in my experience in how large the urban centers are in the midst of a totally inhospitable environment. something similar happens in Ontario when you get north of cottage country. Mining town (or other small town) - then nothing but moose-pasture.

40 I live in Arizona and there…

I live in Arizona and there's no way Mesa has 2 million people. 

Probable doesn't realize hasn't figured out that Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, and Apache Junction are separate cities. I mean, if you through them all you can't tell them apart.

People from the East Valley aren't very smart in general.

41 Your tone

Division, if you don't get your act together and change your tone, a bunch of us who have been here long term are going to start requesting that FO ban you. See my reply to your post on Ben Muth's column.

Maybe try realizing that you aren't always right, and that you are on a stats site. I've driven in almost every big city in the US without a GPS. I dare you to find ANY statistic that shows ANY suburb in the US with a population anywhere close to 2 million people. Not 2 big cities that grew together, like Dallas/Fort Worth for example. I don't know that you can find one over 1 million. Just because you lived in Mesa doesn't mean you can count to 2 million inhabitants. Insulting other people is not welcome here. 

48 Houston is off to a…

Houston is off to a promising start against Pittsburgh. It would actually be a good start for them if they went 1-2 against the slate of KC, Baltimore, and the Steelers.

49 Chase Young is out for the…

Chase Young is out for the game. There was no obvious injury so hopefully it's just a pulled muscle or something.

51 Fun sequence in Cleveland:…

Fun sequence in Cleveland: Haskins throws a truly terrible pick, DB returns it about 30 yards weaving through traffic, then gets decked by an o-lineman and coughs it up. Takes a Cleveland bounce and they ultimately recover, about 5 yards closer to the end zone than if he hadn't fumbled. A play or two later, Chubb takes it in with a great 15 yard run.

56 At the half Raiders-Patriots…

At the half Raiders-Patriots is one of those odd games where a team is much more efficient while still losing. The Raiders have a 7.4-4.7 advantage in yards per play but have fewer total yards and are almost being doubled up in time of possession.

57 Haskins played well for the…

Haskins played well for the first drive or two but has been downright terrible since: two bad picks from staring down receivers, and he would have had a third but for a nice form tackle by a Football Team receiver to knock it lose after Ward bobbled it a bit. He looks like he did last year when the wheels were completely off (other than, I guess, he's not just plain missing open throws by as much). He seemed to have improved over last year and the first few games this year, so there's hope that this is fixable.

To be fair, Cleveland's defense is, I believe, genuinely pretty good, especially the defensive line. Myles Garrett sacked Haskins by his shirttail, and while overall it hasn't been quite the feeding frenzy that Burrow faced last week, the Browns' defensive line is generally outplaying Football Team's o-line, and the LBs and DBs have been all over his throws when he can make them.

On the other side, Mayfield's had his characteristic bizarre struggles with shorter targets, but he's been helped by the short fields Haskins has been giving them, and overall they've done reasonably well against a good defense. Hard to see how Football Team comes back without a total meltdown by Cleveland (admittedly, their first possession of the second half might qualify).

64 Mayfield was about as…

Mayfield was about as reliable on short targets as you could get in 2018, then in 2019 they got away from what worked when they put Freddie in charge, and tried to sling on long plays constantly.

With that 3rd qtr disaster drive and the intentional grounding call, I have a bad feeling about that being a momentum shifter.

The Football Team doesn't need Haskins to do much if they just have Gibson keep running it.

59 Josh Allen looks…

Josh Allen looks otherworldly and is destroying the rams with 10 ypa and 3 tds.

60 I thought Allen had to be…

I thought Allen had to be only average with the defense they have for the Bills to contend for the division.   If he’s actually good, I don’t see why they don’t run away with the division.

61 Browns win a challenge on …

Browns win a challenge on "when is a catch a catch" to get 14 yards back at their 34, then promptly give up a 33-yard reception and then a Gibson TD run.

WAS then misses the XP and Browns are up 17-13.

62 Trubisky apparently benched…

Trubisky apparently benched for Nick Foles.  With the tinted visor and jersey number #9, he’s clearly trying to channel Jim McMahon.

69 Bears game too. …

Bears game too.

"Simultaneous catch goes to the offense" would give those to Tyler Kroft & Allen Robinson.

"Simultaneous catch goes to the guy who had the ball first" would also give those to Kroft & Robinson.

The rulings seemed to be based on: you let them go to the ground, and then you wait a little longer, and then you see who has more control of the ball. Which gave the ball to the defender in both cases - with the Bills-Rams that withstood review, and with the Bears-Falcons it was originally called a catch for the offense & then overturned on review.

65 After a wild drive that…

After a wild drive that included a 4th down conversion, then a botched handoff that Haskins was able to fall on, WAS gets a TD from Inman to take a 20-17 lead.

66 Not watching the game but I…

Not watching the game but I see Trubisky has been replaced by Foles. It was probably a matter of time. Meanwhile the Rams might actually have a chance to erase that 25-point deficit. I guess Josh Allen as the best QB in the league wasn't going to last forever...

74 Kerrigan of all people falls…

Kerrigan of all people falls for a hard count, to get the Browns a new set of downs.

Myles had a strip-sack to basically seal the game for CLE, and they have been trying to run out the clock, with a series of runs, punctuated by an OBJ-esque one-handed catch by Kareem Hunt.  Browns lead 31-20 at the 2-minute warning.

75 It took a third and 22…

It took a third and 22 conversion but the Bills are drawing close to FG range, down by 3. EDIT: Actually down by 4, oops.

76 Please....

more fake crowd noise booing the refs.  That made me so happy.

91 As a Rams fan I was…

As a Rams fan I was scratching my head wondering how that was an interception earlier, so I'm not going to say the refs are out to get the rams. BUT HOLY SHIT THAT WAS ONE OF THE WORST DPI CALLS I HAVE EVER SEEN JESUS FUCKING CHRIST.

That interception was on second and long, meaning the rams would probably have gotten the ball back with roughly equal field position. The DPI call was the refs straight up giving the game to the Bills.

108 I mean it's worse than that…

I mean it's worse than that. The Bills receiver doesn't just initiate the contact, he's straight up run blocking, looking right at Williams the entire time. Williams is actually looking for the ball, and the receiver never even sees the ball until it's way past him. 

82 Chris Berman used to say…

Chris Berman used to say Steve DeBerg keeps both teams in the game, and Josh Allen had a game like that.  

(I’m not giving him enough credit...he made some nice throws)

114 Yeah, hard to get your head…

Yeah, hard to get your head around that performance. Flawless for almost three quarters, but then something of a meltdown, with a dreadful interception (even if it wasn't actually an interception), followed by a series of back-breaking mega-sacks. Then the final drive, which featured great plays, near disasters, and dubious penalties. Quite a day.

153 Look, let's face facts

Anyone who watched Cowboys-Seahawks was treated to a whale of a game. Both quarterbacks made plenty of incredible throws. Both quarterbacks also made some really stupid decisions and threw some terrible passes--and if you need an illustration, Dak Prescott's final pass of the day will demonstrate both. Yet Prescott will get showered with praise because he brought them back, threw for over 450 in a loss, blah blah blah. He should have been picked off plenty earlier on the previous drive, when he threw a pass directly to a defender who proceeded to not only drop a sure thing, but also kick it up in the air into the arms of a Dallas receiver. He and Wilson missed a lot of open receivers on throws that should have been gimmes.

Again: Both quarterbacks were outstanding! Yet they made as many bad decisions and throws as Josh Allen does in a typical game, and more than he made today against the Rams. But only Allen will get criticized for those decisions and throws. I understand why Wilson gets a pass, but someone needs to explain why Prescott isn't held to the same standard.

160 It's not that hard to find…

It's not that hard to find criticism of Prescott's play online, but if you're speaking specifically about this site, Prescott ranked 1st in DYAR in 2019 and 6th in DVOA.  

Allen's elite QB play has now stretched 3 games, the first 2 of which were against MIA and NYJ defenses that are seen as being below average.  Many people are no doubt expecting him to return to the narrative of the past couple of years.  If he doesn't, if his play remains sustainably better and his stats back that up, he'll start to get more benefit of the doubt from more people.


103 Detroit-Atlanta had a game a…

Detroit-Atlanta had a game a few years ago where Detroit scored the game winning touchdown with under 10 seconds left, but it went to review, and the runner was ruled down by contact at the 1 inch line, so 10-second runoff, no timeouts, game over, Falcons win.  Game-winning touchdown turns into game-losing play.  That's a appropriate Lions-Falcons result, lol.

104 Don’t forget that London…

Don’t forget that London game in 2014, where the Falcons blew a 21-0 lead, and the Lions iced their own kicker with a false start penalty, erasing a missed FG, which then of course was made on the re-kick to win the game.

95 The Eagles are going to pass…

The Eagles are going to pass up on a 59-yard field goal with 19 seconds left. Does that make sense? 59 yards is a long way but there are 19 seconds left and Cincinnati has no timeouts left. If you miss I think a tie is still likely. Punting, of course, guarantees a tie.

EDIT: I think it was actually 59 yards before the false start penalty which precipitated the punt. I still might've tried to kick it.

96 Tie game

Mike Tanier's prediction: Eagles 22, Bengals 22

Actual: Eagles 23, Bengals 23

Hilarious and awesome.

100 What is it about Eagles…

In reply to by Grendel13G

What is it about Eagles-Bengals games that fill each team with a heart full of neutrality?

149 In Tanier's defense, he…

In Tanier's defense, he likely just assumed both teams would miss a PAT to set up the 22-22 score.  That both kickers would be perfect, defying the general trajectory of their teams, was apparently even harder to foresee than the tie.

102 stink bowl

At one point with about 2 1/2 minutes left, the Eagles got into "field goal range".  I jokingly said they should kick a FG on first down.  Instead they committed a false start.  

That OT had some of the worst situational football I've ever seen.  Never have I seen two bad teams so jointly unwilling to win.  A tie is an appropriate outcome. 

105 I see world-beater managed…

I see world-beater managed two first half interceptions again Detroit.

That would be impressive even for Winston. 

106 FOMBC strikes again?   In…

FOMBC strikes again?  

In all seriousness, Lions defense can’t stop a middle school offense.  The Cards are still moving the ball easily and will likely still win the game easily. 

115 Kyler throwing 3 INTS…

Kyler throwing 3 INTS against this defense is frankly embarrassing.  Fun fact, first multi INT game by the Lions defense since the Caldwell era.  That was a pretty nice play by Jeff Okudah, though, who’s looked shaky in coverage so far as a rookie.

107 Apparently the Panthers saw…

Apparently the Panthers saw something on film about JustinHerbert, because he definitely looks like a rookie today.

110 Interesting strategy by the…

Interesting strategy by the Cowboys to not bother covering Tyler Lockett, who just caught his 3rd TD and could not have been more wide open.  23-15 Seahawks.

150 Players were having a hard…

Players were having a hard time finding their footing on the field too. The muffed kickoff might've been slightly salvaged had the returner not slipped going for the ball, then Elliott followed it up by slipping in the end zone. Several Seattle running backs also slipped on their cuts upfield.

Also you had Flowers missing an interception and kicking it in the air for Gallup to catch, and Seattle later went offsides on a 3rd and 4.

113 Jeff Driskel is coming after…

Jeff Driskel is coming after Kirk Cousins’ record for safeties given up in a season.  I propose it be named the Dan Orlovsky Award.

118 Dallas desperately need to…

Dallas desperately need to stop giving Elliot the ball. Live or die by Dak, that's the only way they are going to compete with  good teams whilst their secondary is such a mess. 

120 Detroit’s defense (playing…

Detroit’s defense (playing surprisingly well) and special teams have set up the Lions offense in prime position multiple times, but they’ve settled for 3 red zone FG’s to keep this game tied, instead of having a comfortable lead (not that comfortable leads matter for this team).

124 This game is reminding of…

This game is reminding of last week's Seattle game. Seems like the Seahawks have been the better team all day but here we are in the 4th quarter with the opposition having a serious chance to pull off the comeback win.

125 Stafford throws a 50 yard go…

Stafford throws a 50 yard go ahead TD pass, but of of course its called back by holding.  This team is very creative at blowing games. 

195 I watch the games in real time. I comment in the aftermath.

There's not a whole lot you can say when your QB throws three INT.  Frankly, the Cards were lucky to have a chance to win the game.

It's part of the growing process.  Hopkins still had a monster game.  They'll be fine if their defense can hold teams to the low twenties.  

I was watching the Cowboys/Hawks game to see which defense would actually hold up.  The NFC West is up for grabs.  I didn't see anything good from either the Hawks or Rams on defense.  Expecting to win shootouts is not a good strategy.


129 Marvin Hall pulled off some…

Marvin Hall pulled off some of his deep ball magic, but called back by a &$!?#% holding penalty. Looking like a blessing in disguise, with Lions getting ball back into scoring position with only seconds left. Waiting for Prater magic.... and it's good!

The defense looked more alive this week, although they still give up too many chunk plays. Three INTs are nothing to sneeze at, though.

All hail the FOMBC!

165 Trubisky made a really solid…

Trubisky made a really solid play this week tracking down the ballcarrier to prevent the TD. Took a smart angle, showed good speed, made a strong tackle. Very nice defense against a guy in the open field.

196 A loss to the Lions..

... is not good, but not as bad as a division loss.

Cards are still in good shape.

On to Carolina.

Obviously, young Kyler needs more experience with learning coverages.  He'll learn.  Games like this are why I don't bet on the NFL.  Too many confounding variables.

146 Having that TD pass wiped…

Having that TD pass wiped out by penalty turned out to be a better outcome, because it forced the Lions to chew up the clock on their way to the game winning FG, thus leaving Arizona no time to answer.

154 I said oh sh&t when they …

I said oh sh&t when they "scored" since it left so much time on the clock and I knew they would blow the lead. Too many FGs and too many AP rushing plays but a good win. The interceptions were huge.