Week 15 Open Discussion

Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 15 - It's Saturday football! Assuming none of this weekend's games no more games are delayed or cancelled due to COVID outbreaks! But first, Justin Herbert and the L.A. Chargers (8-5) host the Kansas City Chiefs (9-4) on Thursday night. 

Then! We have two games on Saturday featuring four playoff contenders as Las Vegas (6-7) visits Cleveland (7-6) and New England (9-4) visits Indianapolis (7-6).

Notable Sunday games include Tennessee (9-4) at Pittsburgh (6-6-1), Cincinnati (7-6) at Denver (7-6), and Green Bay (10-3) at Baltimore (8-5). The Sunday night game sees New Orleans (6-7) at Tampa Bay (10-3), while Minnesota (6-7) visits Chicago (4-9) on Monday night. Use this thread to discuss them all. 

Comments

224 comments, Last at 22 Dec 2021, 9:08am

1 Most Entertaining SuperBowl MatchUp??

Tampa Bay vs New England

Tampa Bay vs Kansas City

LA Rams vs New England

LA Rams vs Kansas City

Green Bay vs New England

Green Bay vs Kansas City

Dallas vs New England

Dallas vs Kansas City

2 No shot to win superbowl

AFC

Tennessee

Baltimore

LA Chargers

Indianapolis

Buffalo

Cincinnati

Cleveland

 

NFC

San Francisco

Washington

Minnesota

18 Really?

SF has a chance...

And one or two key injuries open the door for at least 3 or 4 of those AFC teams

58 We're living in a world…

We're living in a world where any given team can lose multiple starters with no warning. No game is safe, and so every team has a real shot in the playoffs. Week 18/Wild Card round this year lands right around the time players who caught COVID from Christmas would start to test positive.

3 Top 5 Teams (No Order)

New England (9-4)

Kansas City (9-4)

Tampa Bay (10-3)

Green Bay (10-3)

Dallas (9-4)

5 Week 15 UnderDog Picks

LA Chargers over Kansas City

Las Vegas over Cleveland

New England over Indianapolis

Washington over Philadelphia

Pittsburgh over Tennessee

Cincinnati over Denver

131 You're 0-2 so far

And I think the Titans defensive front will destroy the Steelers. Given the WFT COVID issues, I'm not sure how you can pick them. 

6 ick is in

Chargers 31, Chuiefs 21

 

This s the game the Raiders need to turn things around.

After tonight-

Chargers 9-5

Chiefs 9-5

Broncos 7-6

Raiders 6-7

 

Broncos lose to Bengals and Raiders t o be 7-8.

Raiders beat Browns, Nropncos, Clots and Charegrs to finish 10-7.

Chiefs lose to Pitt and Bengals to fall to 9-7.

CXharegrs lose to Houston to become 9-6

 

Raiders 10-7

Chiefs 9-7

Chargers 9-6

Broncos 7-8.

 

Broncos at chargers week 17 KEY matchup. Raiders win this one by Chargers losing.

So now we have Broncos at 8-8. Chargerss at 9-7

 

Broncos then beat Chiefs week 18

so AFC Wets final records-

Raiders 10-7

Chiefs 9-8

Chargers 9-8

Broncos 9-8

 

Next thing

 you know Raiders hottest tema entering playoffs. Good chance would meet Buccaneers or Rams in Super Bowl and win

7 Chargers waste no time Chargering

Return opening kickoff 75 yards as returner trips over himself preventing a TD, and then drop a TD on 4th and goal.  Chiefs take over at the 5.

9 Drop on 4th down was due to…

Drop on 4th down was due to the tight end getting injured.  He needed to be carted off the field on a stretcher.  It was pretty close to being a TD before the ball slipped away from him, and would certainly have been a TD had he not been seriously hurt.

There was also a drop on 3rd down when Mike Williams got hurt while trying to corral the pass (might not have scored but would have been on the 1 or 2).

And there was a drop on 2nd down by Mike Williams who did not get injured on that play but did let the ball go through his hands in the end zone.

The drop on 1st down was more on Herbert who overthrew Williams in the end zone, possibly on purpose as Williams was well covered and the ball likely should have gone elsewhere.

 

10 #3

And a third receiver gets hurt on a red zone target. They are probably hoping Herbert will start throwing to running backs.

11 Interesting fumble

That being Mahomes I could see him intentionally squeezing his fingers and trying to "flick" the ball like huge coin there and that it wasn't just the ball slipping his grip. But I also get why it wasn't overturned even if that was Mahomes intentionally trying to throw the ball with just his fingers.

13 It did look like Mahomes'…

It did look like Mahomes' fingers were gripping the ball when his hand started forward. But it looked like the basic action there was "oh god, the ball's coming loose, gotta try to hang onto it at all & get my arm going forward so it counts a pass". I think that makes it technically an incomplete, even though it's a fumble in spirit. And they didn't overturn the original fumble ruling because the evidence wasn't unambiguous enough.

15 Right I personally think…

Right I personally think that was an incomplete. I also understand why the call on the field was a fumble and why the video evidence didn't overturn it.

Definitely one of the rare marginal or wrong calls that doesn't bother me either way.

12 Genuinely shocked they…

Genuinely shocked they called that a fumble for Mahomes. His arm was coming forward and the ball wasn't moving - granted, he didn't have a traditional passing grip, but it wasn't moving - until he let it go.

I thought KC was going to bury them early, but after the Chargers held them to the FG they've been in near-total command.

17 Last play of the half seems…

Last play of the half seems like an obvious FG situation to me - there's no pin-them-deep effect, so it's just, do you want the points or not? On some lizard brain meathead level I guess I appreciate the confidence shown to the offense, I guess, but seriously, just take the free points, man.

19 Math is pretty simple

98% chance of making the FG-- so that's 2.94 EP

So assuming the extra point drops down to about 95%-- then you must convert the 4th and 2 43% of the time to equal the 2.94-- anything more and it's clearly the better option.

I think Staley assumed his odds were better than 43% of making it.  And here we go again...  missed-- so now 1 for 4... we have the narrative clearly established for this game

16 Jared Cook with the Jared…

Jared Cook with the Jared Cook special. Although that throw was kind of crap.

Didn't like the keeper play - you can't call a play that relies on them being totally caught off-guard when there is that little time left. Am surprised they went for it on 4th down, and again didn't like the playcall, which also seemed to count on the defense not defending it the most obvious way - although that did at least require a heck of a play by the defender to break it up.

20 Herbert deserves blame

A slight lob and it is an easy six to an open receiver...He failed to account for the one defender who could make the play

21 Yes, that was a bad throw by…

Yes, that was a bad throw by Herbert.  Maybe he was thinking about the prior pass where he lofted it too high to Cook, but the 4th down throw the guy was wide open - just lob it up to him, don't put it on a string where the rusher can bat it down on you.

22 This one game alone is going…

This one game alone is going to move the needle on the historical success rate of 4th down attempts.  Now KC is getting into the act of missing open guys on 4th down.

23 Down with punting!

Bad plays (calls and execution) on 4th downs aside I'm enjoying this no punting football a lot.

24 And now a bad pass my Mahomes

I guess neither team has confidence that their o-line can get a small push for a rushing 1st down.  Makes no sense.

25 Maybe Tom Brady will become…

Maybe Tom Brady will become a QB sneak coach when he retires, here are two teams that can utilize this play and Brady’s skill executing the play.

26 Ben Muth would have loved…

Ben Muth would have loved that block by the pulling LAC left guard on KC's Sorensen - knocked him onto his keister a good two yards back from where he hit him.

Unfortunately for LAC, the successful 4th down conversion that follows the block is negated by a subsequent fumble and somehow KC is still only down by 1 with 10 minutes to go in a game where they've thoroughly outplayed.

28 What happened to the…

What happened to the Chargers horrific run defense?  Chiefs have 15 carries 49 yards.  

What happened to Chiefs awful defense?  Many 4th down stops and Chargers need an INT at the 2 to score now.  This is many games in a row with good Chiefs D

 

32 Just when I thought the…

Just when I thought the Chargers had the Chiefs' offense all bottled up...

Although Herbert and company aren't going down without a fight.

Barring catastrophic injury, these two QBs ought to be going toe-to-toe twice a year for the next decade or so. I wouldn't be surprised if they're considered the top two QBs in all the NFL before too long. And the teams' uniforms even make for an aesthetically pleasing combination when they share the field! This is going to be a hell of a lot of fun.

This has got me thinking about times best-in-NFL, HoF-caliber QBs shared a division in their primes. Marino and Kelly in the '80s and '90s (and Bledsoe wasn't a slouch either). NOT Wilson and Manning that Super Bowl year (I am very dumb). I feel like I'm forgetting some obvious ones...

42 Cunningham and Aikman was a…

Cunningham and Aikman was a pretty good early 90's rivalry in the NFC East. Though Cunningham injuries did lessen it. I kept trying to think of NFC North since you had Favre and Rodgers there for so long but Tampa (until realignment), Det, Chi, and MIN never really had much in the way of consistently good QBs.

44 Yeah that was probably the…

Yeah that was probably the best but like you said Detroit has been such a mess for so long that while there were some great QB games by both of them in the same game the results were very one sided. Also the "1000 yards passing" game was Flynn vs Stafford. So that just screws up the rivalry as well.

62 Nfc South

Brees-Ryan-Newton was definitely the most enduring rivalry between three top-notch QBs.

Peyton v Phil Rivers didn't last long, but to my mind those were the rare instance of two worthy HoFers in the same division.

Romo and Eli faced off a couple dozen times, and being Cowboys-Giants games they would have been mostly in prime time, but left us with few memories.

127 He's top-20 all time in…

He's top-20 all time in weighted approximate value (among QBs). How high would he have to be to be "top-notch"? Of course, if you just mean his passing ability, then sure, but his running ability is a huge part of what made him elite.

152 Whatever that statistic is,…

Whatever that statistic is, the fact it puts Cam Newton in the top 20 all time is nothing more that proof it's a terrible metric. I don't think Cam Newton is top 20 among QBs in the last 20 years.

 

In 2014, he was 32nd in DVOA. 28th in 2016. 21st in 2017. These are seasons in the prime of his career. His rushing value cannot make up for being such a poor passer. Even in his MVP season he was all of 12th in DVOA. He really didn't deserve that award, even if that was the one strong season of his entire career.

37 I sure thought that was DPI…

I sure thought that was DPI on that missed Chargers' bomb. The DB made all the contact, and if there had been no contact it would've landed right in his arms.

And then the Chiefs cowardly-ly kneel rather than try the hook-and-lateral. Justice demands a Chargers' victory.

45 I thought Herbert played…

I thought Herbert played much better than Mahomes but the stat line will not show that.

One dropped TD (3 times) and another that would have been a TD with slightly better effort from Cook or better throw from Herbert would have changed the game.

I thought the 4th down try at the end of the half was quite stupid. As mentioned earlier, it is the end of the half. Not much of pin them down and get back the ball play there. Take the points and move on. 

What this proves though is Chargers gonna be Chargers. They will always snatch the defeat from the jaws of the victory.

46 Down 3 starters on D and…

Down 3 starters on D and with another starter who was ill today, on a short week on the road against one of the best QBs in the conference, I'll take a win, call it ugly or lucky.

Have there ever been consecutive 4th down stops on the 1-yardline? The Chiefs went 98 yards after stopping the Chargers only to get stopped themselves.  Pretty sure I've never seen it and I can remember the Browns last NFL championship victory.

47 Belichick happiest tonight

Yes, the Pats may have to go to Arrowhead-- but this Chiefs team is a far cry from the one that was dominant last three years.

55 If Pats go to Arrowhead

Arrowhead is legendary for being a place where rookie QBs struggle. Mac Jones looks like a poised guy, but it would be playoff football on another team's field with a very loud crowd. 

PS The Chiefs D is legit good, last night they were down 3 key players due to Covid and someone out for a death in the family. I like KC's chances come January. 

48 That was amazing - the…

That was amazing - the Chiefs offense basically disappeared from the start of the second quarter until the 2 minute warning, then reeled off two long TD strikes in about 2 total minutes. I want to say they'll need to show up for the whole game to do anything in the playoffs, but they only showed up for the last 5 minutes of Super Bowl LIV and won the dang thing anyway, so nope, they're just back to being who they are, I guess.

I'd say they're more likely than not going to win out (not that they couldn't possibly lose, but this was clearly the hardest of their remaining games), which will likely give them the number one seed after all.

New England could win out as well, but their road looks a bit more difficult, and subjectively I don't think they're quite as good as KC. But if they did, they would win the AFC with a better intra-conference record. The Titans would also have the tiebreaker over KC (by dint of blowing them out, lol remember when that happened), but I have a hard time seeing them winning out without Henry.

That hypothetical KC-NE playoff meeting would be mighty interesting. I could see it playing out a lot like tonight, with NE running a series of long, methodical drives, and then KC just hitting a couple of lightning strikes and winning anyway. But Belichick's fabled "take away their best guy" strategy might be more impactful than usual against KC, who only really have two receiving targets at this point.

56 I can't see NE winning out. …

I can't see NE winning out.  They have presumably tough games against IND and BUF and then have to play MIA again who already beat them once (I'll spot them their other game against CAR as the Newton-revenge game is unlikely to be a thing).  I could see NE going 3-1, and that would have likely given them the conference #1 seed if KC had lost last night, but now I like KC's chances.  PIT, CIN and DEN are all lose-able, but not as lose-able as last night's game.  TEN's still in the hunt, too, and has the tie-breaker advantage against KC, but they'll need to beat PIT, which I think will be tougher for them to do than KC, and they'll need to get by SF and MIA (I'll give them the rematch W against HOU as I doubt that lightning strikes twice).  I see TEN as likely going 2-2 from here out, 3-1 at best, which won't be good enough unless KC stumbles.

52 New Record?

I have watched quite a few Chiefs' games this year and it feels like every team goes for multiple 4th downs against them every year.  I know this trend is up league wide, but it feels like the Chiefs have faced a ridiculous amount of 4th down attempts against them.

My guess is they are at or near a record for most 4th down attempts against at this point.  Anyone know if there is a way to actually check this theory? 

53 Close, but...

In reply to by cstoos

NFL Football Stats - NFL Team Opponent Fourth Downs per Game | TeamRankings.com

Chiefs are actually 31st (tied) in rate, though may be in the absolute lead having played a game more.  Rams have faced slightly more 4th down attempts, Cardinals are tied with the Chiefs.

Not sure about the methodology that the site is using - in particular how fakes are being counted, but yes, Chiefs are right at the top of the league in the opposition attempting to convert fourth down against them

54 Amusingly, that's pretty…

Amusingly, that's pretty much a power ranking, with a couple of oddballs - Chicago at 23rd (just piling on) and Seattle, Denver, Philly all tied at 26th

I'm curious about why opponents are so keen to go for it on fourth down against those teams - it's not a fear of keeping up with their offenses, that's for sure

57 Looks like all the NFC West…

Looks like all the NFC West teams are ranked high and the NFC North plays the west this year. So if NFCW teams just go for it more on 4th than most other teams then that explains why they all show highly and why the NFCN teams are higher too. Memory says it seems like they do with the exception of punting Pete, but that would still mean Seattle faces a lot of them even if they aren't adding as much to the LAR, SF, ARI totals. Also GB goes for 4th a fair bit as well, I think 5 times in the 2 CHI games, at least once against the Rams and I think 2 or 3 against Arizona. I don't remember the SF or SEA games.

So yeah seems to say more about opponents than it does about the team facing the attempts.

61 4th downs against

Obviously, teams that are ahead should face more 4th down attempts against b/c of desperation. However, teams who are consistently stopping the other team on 3rd down may face some "extra" attempts b/c the opponent is in 4th and short in "no-man's land." 

I also agree that if your opponent has either 1) a good offense; 2) a good short yardage QB (Taysom Hill, Cam Newton, Josh Allen); or a good OL and/or good power back (Derrick Henry) that your opponents may go for it more often than another random opponent.

To me, a more useful table would be "4th down attempts faced in the first 3 quarters, except the last 7 seconds of the 2nd Q." This would filter out Hail Mary's to end the half and any "we have to go for it b/c we are losing" scenarios.

63 Competitive football

After last week's program of blowouts I'm looking for a competitive game to watch and lo! There's a match up between two teams with not only the same record but the exact same DVOA to one decimal point as well. My cup runneth over.

Still not going to watch it though.

Lo siento, Rivers.

64 Compared to the roster they…

Compared to the roster they would've fielded today, Browns are a net total of 1 player up (gained DE Takk McKinley & LB Anthony Walker, lost RT James Hudson.)

Still don't understand why they haven't offered Austin Reiter a short comeback contract with the OL in its current shape.

66 I rarely make predictions…

I rarely make predictions but here goes, run offense is usually stopped by good run defense, so Taylor is irrelevant tonight snd Wentz must pass a lot to win

EDIT:  Taylor may be relevant in pass game but not run game.

209 Because you will…

In reply to by OmahaChiefs13

Because you will occasionally put up some duds like the one that I posted!

68 The Patriots lines are…

The Patriots lines are playing horribly today. DL is getting pushed back two or three yards. Complete OL breakdowns of protection on multiple plays. Runs blown up in the backfield. And now a special teams protection whiff, allowing a blocked punt touchdown.

This is going to be ugly. 

Lots of people are going to enjoy this one.

69 Mac Jones has been terrible

No surprise that BB has tried to hide him all year. Fortunately for the Pats, the Colts have choked away a lot of games this year. 

80 4th and two all over again? …

4th and two all over again?  Probably too early in the game for me to dance, but my late game collapse anxiety (LGCE) is lower now.  

94 Also

Because their quarterback is Carson Wentz, who may have just thrown into quadruple coverage on an RPO. 

86 Presumably Pittman did Something

What was showed on TV was only against the Patriot-- I'm assuming Pittman did something right at the end-- else that was a horrible miscarriage of justice

87 Good double ejection there…

Good double ejection there. Pittman goes after a Patriots player, who retaliates. It’s nice that they didn’t just penalize the reaction. It’s nice that they didn’t ignore the reaction.

I’d like to see trying to start fights removed as a tactic. This is a first step.

 

89 REALLY

Gotta split up threads with 8 of the next 10 days having football. Just give the people what they want. 

98 Or

Or FO can explain why they don't want to do this. Genuinely curious for an explanation.  Do they think they'll get more engagement with this approach? 

104 Takes money and resources…

In reply to by asleep06

Takes money and resources. If you expect it to be done with no contribution from you, then don't expect it to be delivered on demand.

118 That's almost certainly not the reason.

Uh... The marginal money and resources needed to put additional posts up is rather miniscule since the site is already up. It's much more likely it has to do either with engagement analytics or even aesthetic style/consistency than money/resources.

I applaud your attempt, however weak, to get more money for FO.   

122 You should stop commenting

Anyway. Acting like it takes a lot to make a couple more threads a week. They made one for Thanksgiving but apparently weren't going to make one for tonight's (that were going to be multiple)? Silly. I'm not asking one for every single game

93 Colts needed to get more…

Colts needed to get more than 3 points out of that quarter if they wanted to seal the game. 
 

Still far from over 

99 Not a great idea

But as long as they get two stops, or at least give up no more than a field goal, they can win the game on the next two drives. Also, Jones had already thrown to the end zone twice and was nowhere close. 

128 I was at the game and…

I was at the game and multiple times asked someone "was there even anyone over there?" on Mac passes. Seemed surprisingly bad to a level that surprised me. Maybe some of it was caution, but some of it was...definitely not.

136 Believe in your Colts Bobman!

In reply to by Bobman

As I stated to you weeks ago when the Colts record was poor, believe in your AFC South DVOA champion Colts!  Also imagine if this team had a better than mediocre Wentz.  The Colts offensive and defensive line are great.

141 Yeah I know his stats look…

Yeah I know his stats look solid, but from watching him play...he really hasn't been terrible but he also hasn't done anything to really disprove my offseason "If we can't get Stafford I'd rather have someone like Bridgewater" statement incorrect.

146 Yeah, I would have loved…

Yeah, I would have loved Stafford, but not at the price he went for. 
 

Wentz has been… cromulent. A couple of big plays, but with more boneheaded plays than big ones. Otherwise, he’ll make most of the plays you would expect of a competent NFL QB. I certainly have no confidence in putting a game on his shoulders if it comes to that, though. 

185 Yeah if he could cut out the…

Yeah if he could cut out the boneheaded plays I think he'd be close to top 10 in DYAR and I'd feel plenty confident enough in him. You gotta expect a boneheaded play or two in the playoffs will send them home, but at the same time I expected a couple from Wentz last night and he really only had one big mistake and it wasn't quite cover-your-eyes bad so who knows?

137 Yes and every team should…

In reply to by oaktoon

Yes and every team should practice the call.  When a first down is game over then give yourself up.  Continuing to run adds the risk of something worse than a TD, which is the strip fumble from a defender trailing the play.

112 Ballgame!

Turns out Bill Belichick can’t just “take away what the other team does best” at will. Good night, Irene. 

133 One thing I noticed being at…

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

One thing I noticed being at the game that's hard to see on TV is just how hard the Colts were selling out against the run. They almost always had a safety well into the box and the single high safety often wasn't even that deep. They really only got burned once or twice for just how hard they were selling out with their safeties on everything but the most obvious passing downs. Some definite "take away what they do best" going the other way in this one. 

116 Yep

Hard to blame him, but definitely should have given himself up or stepped out at the 2. 

121 True

True.  But what an awesome run making those two defenders miss. Even with the mistake, he saved the game.  Wentz would have choked again. 

126 I don't agree, because he…

I don't agree, because he scored at 2:02; they couldn't kneel it out no matter when he went down (unless he went all Tecmo Bo running back and forth without scoring til it was under 1:57, I guess). They could kneel a couple times and kick the FG to make NE get the TD, or try to score (which he did anyway) and accept that if they get stuffed they still make NE drive 95+ yards, but they couldn't end the game.

I wouldn't be shocked if Win Expectancy were still marginally higher if he went down, but we're talking probably less than 1% either way, and at that point I'd rather take the bird/TD in hand. Few teams are scoring 10 points in less than 2 minutes with no timeouts no matter what, and one with an erratic Mac Jones at QB almost certainly isn't on that list.

117 Haven't been able to watch…

Haven't been able to watch the game, but I'll check out as much of the highlights as I can.  I'm wondering if the Colts guard play broke open a bunch of the runs.  Someone else posted a link to a PFF article about what the Pats have done to improve, and part of the article claimed that the Pats would have their linebacker take on the guards one on one, instead of having the big uglies up front free them up.  I'm wondering if Quentin Nelson just destroyed everyone in this game.

123 First Down Running was the Key

And a couple of trickish plays with people other than Taylor running the ball... By the 4th quarter they were stopped-- Wentz doing nothing--- they won game with defense, to be honest.  On the final TD Pats jammed the line knowing they had to stop a first down or game was over...

132 They actually ran in the…

They actually ran in the hole between center and right guard the most often although all those sneaks were following Nelson. It's just basically free to follow Nelson on the sneak at this point it seems. I'm not sure what kind of blocking schemes they were running, it's so hard to see it live you really need to slomo the all 22.

124 Decent comments on the run game

By the announcer in the 4th. "can you run it when you everyone knows you're going to" and earlier about (finally) it not being about attempts but closing out games.

Jonathan Taylor best RB in the league, regardless of injury status.

Annnnnnnd just like that, KC is back in first. Time is flat circle.

125 The Wild Wacky AFC

If the Bills win in NE, all of a sudden they could win the division and Home Field probably comes down to KC or TENN. 

just for the fun of it-- what if the seedings are:

KC 1  TENN 2  NE  3   (whomever-- let's say CIN)  4

And the three wild cards are IND, BUFF and the Chargers, in that order.... (understanding a myriad of other combinations are possible)

so first weekend is IND at CIN; BUFF at NE (again) and LA at TENN

Could easily have two road teams win-- the next weekend could be LA at KC; IND at NE  or BUFF at IND/TENN

130 If the Bills win today and win in NE …

… then they control the division race, and the Patriots would need help. In fact, the Bills control their own destiny right now, just like the Patriots do, because winning out will result in a division title. (The Bills would win the division tiebreaker because they would have gone 5-1 to New England’s 4-2.)

143 Lions and Jets

Showing up when they're already eliminated. Lol 

144 Lions have finally found a…

Lions have finally found a pass rush. Dan Campbell showing why it pays to be aggressive. Can they keep it up in the second half?