Week 8 Open Game Disussion

New Orleans Saints WR Marquez Callaway
New Orleans Saints WR Marquez Callaway
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 8 - The biggest game of the week is on Thursday night at as the Green Bay Packers (6-1) visit the Arizona Cardinals (7-0) in one of two games this week where both teams have winning records. 

Notable Sunday afternoon games include Pittsburgh (3-3) at Cleveland (4-3), Carolina (3-4) at Atlanta (3-3), and Tampa Bay (6-1) at New Orleans (4-2). It's ... not a very good week. The Sunday night game sees Dallas (5-1) at Minnesota (3-3), while the Monday night game sees the New York Giants (2-5) at the Kansas City Chiefs. Use this thread to discuss them all, if you want to, I guess.

Comments

193 comments, Last at 02 Nov 2021, 10:04pm

2 THURSDAY thread

Amari fumbles. Then drops that pass. Then doesn't get that first.

Oof start. 

5 True but ...

I agree Stokes bit hard there. But Hopkins gave a great fake like it was an underthrown ball. Alexander would probably have bit on that fake. 

8 It was a great move by…

In reply to by justanothersteve

It was a great move by Hopkins, and Alexander would have likely bit but I doubt he would have gotten that turned around. Hopkins likely catches it, but Alexander would have still been close enough to push him out within a few steps. Stokes will get better air that stuff, he already has, but he looked like a rookie there. Still love him, rookie mistakes happen.

 

Edit: Just correcting all the typos that happen when using the tiny screen on my phone in poor lighting and without my reading glasses (getting older sucks).

4 Of two minds on that Hopkins…

Of two minds on that Hopkins facemask penalty. I generally think offensive facemasking (especially on stiff-arms) should probably be called more, but I don't remember ever seeing it called on a receiver downfield like that before.

11 Update #2

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

GB: 2

Result: Beyond terrible, lost yard

15 Update #3

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

GB: 3

Result: Horrible waste of my time, 0 yards

22 Update #4

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

GB: 4

Result: Well, it wasn't a TD

37 Update #5

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

GB: 5

Result: Could've gotten more, wasn't a TD

39 Update #6

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

GB: 6(!)

Results: I've seen better, not a TD

65 Final tally

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

3 out of 7 wasted timeouts were (only) somewhat redeemable but still bad process!

Packers gotta figure it out and the league as whole needs to do better.

71 Yeah they got lucky it didn…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Yeah they got lucky it didn't cost them the W. I get into it deeper in post 67. This offense is basically designed to snap the ball between 0 and 5 seconds on the play clock and it is complex presnap. It may be too complex there, but it's there for flexibility. But yeah 2 and a half seasons of most of the time outs going to waste because it can't get set for the play it needs is a problem. With so many more inexperienced players on the field tonight that bit them more than once.

It's by far the worst part of LaFleurs coaching skill set. The next worst is some of the high leverage situation play calling. Fortunately he seems to be really good at game planning and prep and has a HoF QB to cover up some of the other mistakes. He's an upgrade over McCarthy in nearly every aspect of coaching a head needs to be (because Mike was not good with time outs or high leverage play calls either, it was just in different ways). So I'm still hopeful he can fix it

But yeah I actually kind of look forward to your tracking of wasted time outs to really help highlight the issue each week.

81 It's such an underrated edge too.

We all know 4th downs are another area but the league is slowing turning to that. But I don't see nearly enough about time(out) usage. 

And it honestly seems like they end up 50/50 in terms of "success"...at best. Which I think to justify it, it'd have to be about 75% or so. Which I don't think the league is anywhere near. So it's just bad process resulting in...well, your opposition also getting time to rest/switch the play call as well. They get the same advantages. 

GB (and the league) has a chance to fix it. Wish I was smart enough to make a twitter bot on it like there is for 4th downs. A bit more subjective maybe but the league sure doesn't like to think even 15 minutes ahead. Lafleur just needs to hire me and I'll yell at anyone for calling a timeout outside of the last few minutes of a half. Scary to see AZ in such control in that final drive. Nothing we could do. Thankfully AJ Green messed up. 

I don't know if I can keep it up on Sundays. Maybe if I'm not watching redzone I'll make one for a specific game. I generally call them out when I see them. Again, wish I was smart enough to scrap databases and put more scientific numbers to it but alas. Whoever does, all I ask is for a shoutout. One day we won't see as many teams scramble around and somehow not be ready within 40 seconds and stop seeing them go to the line with no play call just to see them try to make them jump offsides and waste our time. 

12 Shades of NFCCG there. Big…

Shades of NFCCG there. Big mistake and turnover gives Rodgers 3 goal to go chances and he falls 3 times because the defense was great.

Also good no call on the pass to Cobb. 

13 Can’t believe GB didn’t run…

Can’t believe GB didn’t run once on that series from the 3. Been playing well in the run game and they have no good receivers.

16 Halftime, Packers lead 10-3…

Halftime, Packers lead 10-3. Cards offense has been shut down. Less than 100 yards plus a turnover. Hopefully they can turn it around in the 2nd half.

19 Why on earth would you try…

Why on earth would you try to run the ball out when you catch it 5 yards deep in the end zone (unless your team is absolutely desperate)? Cost them 15 yards of field position.

And now both players involved in the collision are being carted off. Good lord.

UPDATE: The Cardinal down could at least move his arms after. It looked for a bit there like that might not be the case. Horrifying.

26 Yeah Green Bay special teams…

Yeah Green Bay special teams are bad in part because even when players are in the right place they often make bad decisions. They are often out of position on coverage and blocking. It's been that way for years and I have to believe it's down to coaching.

31 It's certainly mostly…

It's certainly mostly coaching, although I feel like their special teams have been pretty bad since about whenever Ty Montgomery ran that one out and cost them a comeback attempt. If not before that. It's this huge organizational blindspot.

35 It was well before that…

It was well before that. Fans were calling for Special Teams coach Shawn Slocum to be fired long before the 2014 Seattle playoff special teams meltdown. 

36 Yeah, at least that long…

Yeah, at least that long. App the information this off season about self imposed coaching salary caps could go a long way towards explaining it. When you work in an industry where everyone, on a global scale, is really good at their jobs, not paying for the margins can have a big impact.

20 I hate that the kickoff…

I hate that the kickoff return has been virtually taken out of the game but after seeing that last play I understand it  

21 Define irony

Irony is airing a commercial about your great work on helmet safety during an injury timeout. 

23 Funny how subtle WR mistakes…

Funny how subtle WR mistakes can make a QB look bad. Case in point: rather than flattening out his route, Amari Rodgers drifted upfield a bit, causing AA Ron to throw what looked like a bad pass since he threw it where Amari should have been.

25 One can question the wisdom…

One can question the wisdom of the AJ Dillon pick, especially that high in the draft, but my god that guy is strong. Whenever you need a strong guy to do strong guy things, he's got you covered.

Storm and/or Kremer informed us that his quads are named Quadzilla and The Quadfather. Saquad, eat your heart out.

27 Cobb

Cobb is making GM Rodgers look really good tonight

40 Correction

In reply to by justanothersteve

*all season.

Such a great trade

29 Whatever happens from here

Lafleur and Rodgers knew exactly how to play this game. Got a couple of breaks. Still may not be enough. But kudos to both of them.

32 I'm a little baffled why…

I'm a little baffled why Arizona hasn't called more designed QB runs. The Packers have struggled to stop those for practically the entire 21st century (if not longer).

38 Mind boggling timeouts

Not only can the Packers be in deep trouble if no TD on this drive due to no timeouts, if the refs blow a call they will have no recourse.

41 Whatever happens happens

But MAN people, even here, were thinking we were going to get shellacked. I thought (still think) we'd cover but we might right out win. 

Cards missing Watt for sure.

45 Yeah, GB is using the game…

Yeah, GB is using the game plan I figured they would, it's just working way better than I expected it would. I did not expect a win. I did not expect a close game on the field even if the score was close. Both lines have played better than I expected they would.

42 Holy crap

The fact GB is winning this with horrible time management is beyond impressive.

Go for it here GB.

47 Not for nothing, but isn't…

Not for nothing, but isn't clapping to call the snap a false start? Murray's done that a few times, including twice in the end zone there.

50 AJ Green - what was he thinking??

The Cards should at a minimum have gotten a FG on that drive.  Green arguably should have caught the pass for TD.  At a minimum, he should have been aware of the situation.

Instead, he doesn't look back, easy pick for GB, game over.

Reminds me of how Pats lost to Dolphins, though a fumble is slightly more forgivable than what Green did there.

93 Sadly, that is the AJ Green…

Sadly, that is the AJ Green that Bengals fans became accustomed to last year.  Nearly every game featured at least one glaring example of him not being on the same page with the QB (to put it charitably) or just not caring/paying attention (to call it what it looked like).  I also saw something that looked very familiar on the earlier play on that drive in which he was intimately involved.  On the big 23 yard catch that got them out of the shadow of the endzone, he used his still strong moves and experience to get open and make the big catch.  That's great and I don't want to take anything away from him.  But..... he caught the ball and then immediately hunched over and flung himself to the ground before being touched.  The Classic A.J. Green, the 2011-2017 A.J. Green turns upfield and (as Mike Tanier memorably put it) runs through the secondary like Vin Diesel in a muscle car.  A.J. is one of the greats and is on the Bengals Rushmore of receivers with Cris Collinsworth, Isaac Curtis and Chad Johnson but I fear he is done.  I hope I am wrong, but the first half of 2021 looks like a dead cat bounce to the end of his career.   

59 I also feel like they (any…

I also feel like they (any team) should have a QB sneak audible cued up in any less-than-1 situation. Just in case they can't all get on the same page, rather than having to eat a delay-of-game...

67 I think we can. That game…

I think we can. That game was the Green Bay offense minus the deep passing options they didn't really do anything they don't have in the playbook they just did a lot more of the short game because it's all they could do. But they executed it nearly the whole game. Many of the bad plays were rookie mistakes, on both sides of the ball. I should have more faith because this is what the team has been since LaFleur took over, but the injuries they are dealing with I just didn't expect it.

I'm giving a ton of credit this season to Adam Stenavich, the offensive line coach. You've got a line with 1 starter where he should be (RT), 2 starters out of position (LG playing LT and RG playing C), a 2nd and 3rd string guard. I knew Watt was important to this D but they have a lot of other good players and got help at that spot returning from injury. I just didn't expect the interior of the line to hold up that well, especially since it needed so much help from the TE and running backs last week and they would need the TE and running backs to catch and run the ball this week without any WR. 

But they played like Green Bay, every play takes a lot of play clock, use motion and formations to get info on the D, take what you can get, take a deep shot after you've opened them up (only the one to Tonyan really worked). The lack of experienced players, as mentioned made time management and TO usage even worse than normal, it's a downside because the offense is flexible because of the complexity and if you aren't really familiar with it that can bite you.

I do think time management is an issue, and when you have an offensive design that can magnify those issues there is no excuse for not trying to fix that. It was so bad this game it could have cost them the game. There are also some high leverage situations where the play calling is questionable. But game planning and prep has been great under LaFleur. Most of the in game decisions have been good. The upgrade over McCarthy (even early career McCarthy when he was still innovating) is very real.

I'm also giving some credit to Jerry Montgomery and Jerry Gray (D line and D backs coach). The rotating cast of players on defense because of injuries and still being mostly where they need to be (there were a couple of hole in the zones) and mostly making tackles at the point of contact has been a step up. There isn't a ton of talent to work with on that defensive line either. Though it does need to be stated that De'Vondre Campbell at middle linebacker has been covering up some of the d line (and slot corner) mistakes all season. But they are actually getting production out of Lowry and Keke. It's not consistent but they seem to rotate them well and have them in when they are working and take them out when they aren't. I mean this is Lowry's 6th season and he's already close to setting career highs in a few categories and we are at the old half way mark. Hence some credit to the coaches they have pretty meh talent outside of Clark and they are making it work well enough to look like it usually at least belongs on the field.

Stokes has looked like a rookie a few times, but I generally don't see him making the same mistake twice. He might bite on a move like Hopkins hit him with again, but I don't expect he'll look as bad the next time. He is progressing like you expect a rookie corner to progress and he started at a fairly high level.

This defense is never going to be great, but I've been saying since last year that if you utilize the talent it has that it can hang around a -7.0% DVOA and in the range of 10th. They came in 24th in DVOA and just played a decent game against the #9 DVOA offense.

Anyway I should have known better. I've been watching this team play like this for two and a half seasons. Just constantly methodical. Part of that method is deep shots when they are there so it doesn't always look quite this 4 yards, 3 yards, 5 yards, 2 yards, 5 yards, 4 yards, etc. But it's always been a very planned, very take what is there. Sure it's also a we'll keep doing things to make what's there be more valuable but if it's not there, just keep going. It may have been built with Jordan Love in mind, but when you have Rodgers fitting the ball into those stupidly tight windows like he did with Cobb tonight it's all the prettier. I don't think it works without him when the team is this injured, but with the injury rates they had in 2019 and 2020 it certainly could work for many QB's and many RB's. That's even more reason why paying Jones annoyed me even if I like watching him. Ditto on a 2nd rounder on Dillon even if he is a strong man doing strong man things on the field and I enjoy watching him. The way this offensive works you can get that production for less resources and not have the cap hell they have now so that you can always do this sifting through FA and practice squad players to deal with injuries.

53 That...

was inexplicable. Don't know what else to say. Have no clue what AJ Green is doing there. Welp that's one way to confirm me not liking the signing but hey not my team (just against them).

Wins a win.

61 That might be the fastest I…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

That might be the fastest I have ever seen a game turnaround. Not just throwing the pick, it just seemed like there was no reason why the ball would get picked, and then it was. 

97 I can think of a few others

Seahawks-Pats - He should have handed it off to Lynch

Michigan State-Michigan - Punt blocked to score TD with no time left on clock

Packers-Eagles - 4th and 26 (do I need to say more)

Packers-Giants - Favre throws INT in opponent's FG range in OT 

Sorry for the Packers bias, but not even the 2014 Seattle meltdown was as singularly dramatic as these plays. I'm sure others (Will Allen? Raider Joe?) can mention a few other as dramatic endings. 

 

98 I mean, pretty much any game…

I mean, pretty much any game that ends in a winning hailmary TD meets that criteria (six years later, I can still scarcely believe the ending of the 2015 GB-DET Thursday Night game).

107 No I don’t agree with that…

No I don’t agree with that. With the game ending Hail Mary you know that there are two outcomes, success or failure. Same for 4th and 30 completions. The game ending interception in the Cards game felt like it came out of nowhere. Only the Seahawks-Pats Super Bowl compares, in my opinion. I just was not even thinking about that, and I wasn’t even thinking about it until the ball was already in the CB’s hands, it was so unexpected.

55 It's like Green thought he…

It's like Green thought he was blocking on a screen or something. Odd mistake for such a veteran, although it's his first year with the team so maybe he's not quite got the playcalls down cold. Or maybe Murray ad-libbed? Very weird.

Hoping that's more a bruised ego for Murray than anything serious.

56 Hilarious

I had absolutely no rooting interest in this game, and so was able to watch it for entertainment value alone.  And it delivered...fun to watch GB's "throwback" offense a week after their "throwback" uniforms.  And the ending was actually hilarious--I don't recall ever laughing out loud at the deciding play of a game in the last seconds before. 

57 The Timeout Squandering Was Stupid

and they got lucky at the end... But this was a LaFleur/Rodgers master class... Anyone who really thinks Shanahan is a better coach than LaFleur needs to retreat into the shadows... And I put the timeour wasting mostly on Rodgers-- because it predates LaFleur...

70 Yeah I Know

He's been so unlucky in those 39 losses.

Can be we real here? LaFleur's game plan and execution was brilliant. truth is I think Jones was in and the call shouldn't have been overturned. And then we have no debate about the rest. Depleted GB offense wins game by keeping Murray off the field. They ain't perfect because they should have scored despite the bad call and the timeout issue was and is a problem. But the guy is 33-7   Think about it    33-7   3rd best first 40 games in the history of the league.... 

73 Jones wasn't in. His back…

In reply to by oaktoon

Jones wasn't in. His back was to the line when his butt hit, that is very clear. Another angle shows the ball doesn't break the plane until he twists, which doesn't happen until after his butt hits. It was a good overturn.

I actually think the officials did a good job this game. They were consistent on what they didn't call for PI, the couple of calls they got wrong were correctly overturned and didn't need coaches challenges to do it either. You can't call a perfect game too much happens, but a consistently called game where all edge cases are handled the same is a well called game.

82 FWIW I agree with you here…

In reply to by oaktoon

FWIW I agree with you here. It was an outstanding offensive performance by Green Bay against a good defense, on a short week, starting a bunch of scrubs at receiver. If it hadn't been for the absurd delay of game penalty at the end I think that would have been the story of the game.

Whenever I watch the Packers recently I am impressed with the amount of 'cheap yards' they gain on risk-free pass plays (similar to the Chiefs in this regard). That reflects well on the coaching. Yes he's got Rodgers, but you don't achieve the levels of efficiency of the past two seasons without good play-design/play-calling as well. 

Saying that, I don't know what the point is of you persistently ranking him against Shanahan. I think most objective analysts would agree they are both very good offensive coaches, but arguing over who is better, especially with reference to W-L record is not achieving much.

92 I Plead Guilty to Cherry-Picking Shanahan

I'm having fun....The genesis was a preseason assessment from multiple supposedly smart analytics types where almost none had LaFleur in their Top 10 coach rankings. I thought, and still think, that is absurd. I'm not arguing against the "Made Men"-- Belichick, Reid, Tomlin, Harbaugh, even Payton-- but these rankings had McVay, Mcdermott, Stefanski and, yes, Shanahan all ahead of LaFleur. So given the fact Shanahan has had just one winning season-- as good as it was-- I jumped at that comparison.

Even today-- with the clear caveat that both Rodgers and LaFleur kind of screwed up that last series and thus failed to put the game away-- all the emphasis is AJ Green, Murray, etc....  When the real story of last night was an incredibly depleted Packer team going on the road and basically dictating the game... Keep the ball away from Murray? Check... 38 minutes... Run the ball? Check.... (I'm waiting for the other Aaron-- Schatz-- declaring that DVOA thinks the Cardinals were the better team-- because of yards per play and how do you judge a finger tip muff--- when anyone who watched that game knows GB played it exactly how they wanted to)  Rodgers with short passes?  Check.... Don't let Murray run wild?  Check...

LaFleur produced one of the best coaching performances of the year-- the Shanahan defenders talk injuries--- OK-- All-Pro left tackle? Missing. Starting Center? Missing. All-Pro WR? Missing. (the critiique against the Packers prior to last night was they were over-reliant on Adams. Now 7-0 under LaFleur when Adams doesn't play, Hmmm) Only deep threat? missing. Number 2 WR? missing. Best pass rusher? missing. Pro Bowl CB? Missing. Other starting CB? Missing...  Somehow he beat the only unbeaten team in league-- on the road-- missing all that. 

I am not saying he is the best--- win a SB or two before we can ever claim that. or that Rodgers doesn;t help substantially.. he does.   brady helped Belichick. Manning helped his coaches.  But there have been a lot of really good QBs through the years. Only one of them-- Joe Montana-- ever played for a coach who won 33 of his first 40 games.  Give the guy some credit...

99 Having no dog in this fight,…

Having no dog in this fight, I have been impressed with LaFluer.  Everyone wants to give all the credit to Rodgers (and hell, he deserves a lot of it), but I remember the 2015-2018 Packers underachieving relative to their talent level, and whispers of Rodgers "declining".  Both of those issues seem to have gone away since 2019.

62 Congrats to the Packers.

We had power outages here in Texas, so I missed the game.

I looks like exactly the scenario I laid out for the Packers to win.

Murray with 2 INT and the offense with 3 TO's overall and the Packers didn't have any TO.

Disappointing that Kingsbury and co. couldn't beat a short-handed team at home.

Losing to a division winner isn't the end of the world, but these kind of losses make you question whether the Cards have what it takes for a playoff run.

These are the type of games you are expected to win in the playoffs.

74 It was an entertaining…

It was an entertaining endgame, but you would have been screaming at the screen the whole time.  

Usually the first year a team makes it to the playoffs, they don't go on a long run.  The '99 Rams are an exception, and I'll be surprised if the Cards are that exception this year.  Still, I expect them to make a run the next couple years as long as Murray stays healthy.  Hopefully his limp at the end is minor and heals soon.

Also have to say the Packers time management was horrid at the end.  Draining the clock is one thing, but you can take it too far.  It seemed to me that Kingsbury didn't mess up his team's chances at all, and Joseph did alright on the defensive end.  Of course I only watched the last couple of drives, so I don't know if the Arizona coaches were messing up earlier.

Time management aside, I'd gladly trade the Jets' LaFleur for the Packers' one.

84  It seemed to me that…

 It seemed to me that Kingsbury didn't mess up his team's chances at all,

Um, you mean except for that last play, I'm assuming.

In those situations you have to limit the plays you're calling to ones that your team knows like the back of their hand, and that play they clearly didn't. Going for the win is cool and all, but there's a big difference between "don't just freaking kneel" and "calling some play you practiced once last week" or something.

Heck, even if they did practice that play a ton, calling a play like that and having Murray throw it just seems like a bad idea. Call plays that have a better chance of a receiver springing wide open, not tightly covered. 

87 Oh, I agree, but "safe" is a…

Oh, I agree, but "safe" is a relative term when you're sitting on a free 50% win chance. If it's a situation where turning the ball over is the same thing as "incomplete" twice (as in, you need the touchdown), sure, no big deal. Plus, again, the key there is OK, then you better be damn sure your receiver knows what he's doing. And if you don't have time to confirm it, call a different play.

Pulling numbers out of thin air, suppose one play has a 70% chance of success, 24% chance of failure and 6% chance of turnover and another one has a 65% chance of success, 35% chance of failure and 0% chance of turnover. First play is better in a "win or lose" situation, second play is better in a "win with chance to tie" situation.

88 Yeah.

I can't imagine it can get any easier in terms of play calling. Week 8, gotta know the playbook already as a vet. Didnt look like a complex play at all.

89 AJ Green

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

The working assumption seems to be that the onus lies on Green. He is a talented, veteran receiver with years of success, often in suboptimal situations. From the outside, it looks like he messed up, but it would be interesting to know more details of the play design, how it was called, whether it was even the play that was called, whether it was an improvisation after the snap by Murray, etc.  “Talented  veterans” do make mistakes, as Rodgers amply demonstrated on a number of occasions, but sometimes the evident explanation is not the accurate one. 

90 I imagine most blame is on Green

In reply to by young curmudgeon

15 seconds, no timeouts. I can't see why it'd be anything but shots at the endzone. 

It was almost surely a mistake. It's akin to Lazard run blocking in the NFCCG on the RPO incompletion. Gotta be aware that it's just not likely going to be a run play that late in the 4th while down. 

He'll live. Just a costly mistake in this game of entertainment.

94 I think the thing I don't…

In reply to by young curmudgeon

I think the thing I don't buy about the whole "it's Green's fault" thing is that any "shoulder fade" like that (over the shoulder, back-shoulder, whatever) requires the QB and the receiver to be dead-on the same page.

Otherwise it's risky as hell, because the quarterback is throwing to a spot where the receiver will be. That's what I mean by "safe is relative" here. Unless they've run this play so many times in practice they can't possibly not be on the same page (in which case Green's body language wouldn't've been "what the heck?" but "oh, crap").

It's easy to blame Green there but that's obviously not a play both of them were super-comfortable with, and there's no way you should be calling plays like that. The play itself isn't fundamentally bad, you just don't "try it out" in that situation.

63 If the bucs and rams win…

If the bucs and rams win this week, there will be 4 teams in the NFC at 7-1. Has that ever happened before? Cowboys can reach 6-1 as well. 

66 I honestly thought the Cards…

I honestly thought the Cards looked like the better team in that one. Some turnover luck, especially at the end, is why GB won. 

Having said that, GB minus Adams really showed how anemic their passing attack is without him. And unlike GB, the cards aren’t getting JJ Watt back. So if I had to predict which team will be better going forwards, I think I might still go with the Packers.

68 It wasn't just Adams out…

It wasn't just Adams out. MVS has been out all year and is the #2 WR. Lazard is the #3 WR. The OL is three starters, only one playing his position, and two backups. They still have a fair amount of skill position talent on offense with Rodgers, Jones, Dillon, and Tonyan. But you can only take so many injuries. 

76 Since there's a solid chance…

Since there's a solid chance the next time these two teams play it will be on the frozen tundra in January, I think I'd like the Packers' chances as well.  Of course there are other teams to be worried about in the NFC (Bucs, Rams, Cowboys), but there's a good chance we'll see this matchup in the playoffs.

79 The Cards looked better in…

The Cards looked better in the 4th quarter. Both teams looked about the same in the 3rd quarter. The Packers looked better in the 2nd quarter and I think they looked slightly better in the first quarter too.

The botched punt return was an unforced error by Arizona. The tipped int did have luck involved but it was good play GB that let them capitalize. The end of game int was inexplicable but it's not like Murray had all day to decide what to do there either. GB not scoring a TD on their final (non kneeldown) drive had a lot to do with them not having WR #1, 2, or 3. Or TE #1 as well, but injuries happen and Arizona did stop them which is part of why despite the end of game INT I agree they looked like the better team in the 4th quarter. But they lost the first 2 quarters and pulled a draw in the 3rd quarter.

Arizona basically had 1 play in the first half on offense. The 55 yard pass to Hopkins, which was great move a great WR against a rookie corner who looked bad but still had enough talent to recover enough to prevent the TD. Yes it was a penalty that kept him out of the endzone, but Hopkins did have his hand on the facemask for like 10 yards without that Stokes very likely gets him out of bounds. Even on that play Murray may have been officially pressured, I'm not clear on what gets counted as a pressure or not, but someone was in his face.

The 2nd half started with a 4 yard run, a 10 yard sack, and then the INT which was at best an incomplete pass. After that the only thing that stopped either offense was itself. GB got the 14 yard TD. Zona then went 12 plays and 81 yards for a TD. GB then went 12 plays and 91 yards for a TD. Zona responed with 11 plays and 75 yards for a TD. GB then went 13 plays, wasting their timeouts because of their own issues, and 74 yards got stopped at the 1 inch line then made a bad call and failed to score. So that drive was better than the one Arizona had the int on. Then Zona took 12 plays to go 94 yards and threw the inexplicable INT.  Both teams had 3 long drives in the 2nd half. Both teams scored 2 TD's and then turned the ball over on mostly unforced errors. Even with that I will still grant that Zona looked better in the 4th quarter.

69 Oh and hey guys, now that…

Oh and hey guys, now that the Cardinals lost, let’s try to figure out how much worse than the Lions they are. I thought the Cardinals were the best team in the league, but let’s use some logic here.

If the packers just beat the Cards, they must be better, but the Saints beat the Packers, but lost to the Giants. Therefore the Giants are the best team in the league.

The Ravens only beat the Lions by 1 point, whereas they beat the Chargers by 28 points, so the Lions are 27 points better than the Chargers, per game. The Chargers beat the Chiefs by 6, but the Titans beat the Chiefs by 24, so the Titans are 18 points better than the Chargers, and the Lions are therefore 51 points better than the Chargers, per game.

The Titans beat the Bills, which makes them better than the Bills, and the Bills beat the Dolphins, who beat the Patriots. The patriots beat the Texans. Texans beat the Jaguars. Jags beat the Dolphins. Crap, are we stuck?

Oh man, I actually failed to make the Lions the best team in the league through facts and logic. Must be there’s some other route.

80 You're looking for a…

You're looking for a mutation of beatgraphs (http://www.beatgraphs.com/graphs.php?league=NFL) it's not updated anymore but the methodology and loop breaking logic and what not are still there. If you want to prove the Lions are the best you will of course have to work scoring margin into things to get an 0-7 team to the top but you had a pretty good path going.

83 R. Conb

R. Cobb good fnatasy option for this week but just could not find a way to get onto rooster. 

91 +1

In reply to by Raiderjoe

Although people bid him up for around $6 in both my leagues. I was hoping to snag him for free post-waivers.

95 Playoff odds report, Special Super Bowl Matchup

With GB (LaFluer 33-7) and BALT (Jackson 35-9) these two teams have been omitted from the Playoff odds report Special Super Bowl Matchups despite both of these teams having a number of Special Matchups against other opponents.

How about the 2021 IR Bowl? GB vs BALT

100 "It's ... not a very good…

"It's ... not a very good week."

And yet, from one perspective this is the best Sunday slate of the entire year. Why? For the simple reason that Joe Buck won't be calling any games since he's busy with the World Series.

101 Colts have faced 3 4th downs…

Colts have faced 3 4th downs in the first quarter. Went for it on all three. One conversion, one TD (on fourth and goal) and one incomplete where Wentz went to the wrong guy. 

102 Bengals pass up a chance to go for it on 4th

Bengals faced fourth and goal at the 3, around two minutes left in the half, and kick the field goal. Now the Jets are driving.

I wonder what the analytics say about kicking vs trying for the TD. Kicking seems dumb.

110 When you are the far…

When you are the far superior team, it arguably makes sense to pursue a more cautious approach and kick. Then again, the Jets are actually dominating this game in all statistics outside of turnovers. They have a massive advantage in yards and the Bengals have been fortunate in fumble luck, recovering 2/2 fumbles.

103 Titans Colts looks like the…

Titans Colts looks like the most interesting game of this early slate. Bills struggling against Dolphins, Eagles and Rams cruising, and Browns Steelers a low scoring slugfest.

104 Rams @ Texans 24-0 at the…

Rams @ Texans 24-0 at the half. I’m not sure I’ll have any useful commentary on this game even after it’s over. Just like the Giants game, there are good teams in the NFL and bad teams, and the Texans are the latter.

109 My commentary is that Fox…

My commentary is that Fox should be switching over to a more competitive game already. But I bet they won't until there are four minutes left in the fourth or something like that, if at all.

105 New Threads

As I and others have requested, why do you not do multiple comment threads for game discussion?  Not even at half time in the early slate, and already over 100 comments.

I think the Cleveland curse versus Pittsburgh is truly over.  Tomlin calls a fake field goal (in a 3-3 game) and his kicker gets knocked out of the game.

111 At halftime the CBS crew is…

At halftime the CBS crew is telling us that divisional teams knowing each other well is the reason Dolphins-Bills is unexpectedly tight. Are they aware of what the Patriots have done to the Jets this season? Meanwhile those same Jets have beaten the Titans and are playing the Bengals tough, both non-divisional foes.

113 In non-Packers games... The…

In non-Packers games... The Rams are unsurprisingly annihilating the Texans. The only thing the Texans really had going for them were a couple of stout goal-line stands, getting a TOD and then a pass break-up on 4th down that was overturned for a questionable defensive holding penalty (I thought it was more apparent than Pereira did that he was restricting the WR with the obscured hand, but it wouldn't have been an egregious no-call).

On the Texans' half-ending drive, Donte Deayon made one of the best interceptions - one of the best catches, period - I've ever seen, on a ball Davis Mills was trying to throw away. He jumped about 10 feet into the air to snag it, then got both tippy-toes in by half an inch (shades of Julio Jones in the Super Bowl). BUT! It was overturned on a (correct) penalty away from the ball. The Texans took that momentum, marched down into FG range like a knife through butter, then missed the kick. One of those days.

116 Continuing to talk to myself…

Continuing to talk to myself, Wentz hasn’t looked good today for the Colts after having several solid weeks in a row. 

118 The Titans challenge an…

The Titans challenge an incomplete pass on 3rd down. They win the challenge changing it from 4th and 13 to 4th and 2 and then punt. 
 

Seems like a waste of a challenge. 

119 At the end of the 3rd…

At the end of the 3rd quarter:

Cooper Kupp: 115 total yards

Darrell Henderson: 93 total yards

Van Jefferson: 88 total yards

Houston Texans: 73 total yards

120 John Wolford now in for the…

John Wolford now in for the Rams, presumably for embarrassing-blowout-related reasons. Though the sideline reporter noted Stafford has been nursing his back all day - doesn't sound serious, but maybe worth keeping an eye on.

122 I would love to know what…

I would love to know what the DVOA for the first 3 quarters was before the Rams benched everybody. It was one of those games in which every single play seemed positive for the Rams and negative for the Texans. Like watching Alabama Vandy or something.

140 That’s basically two games…

That’s basically two games now for the Rams, @ the Giants and @ the Texans, where I’ve been really curious what the first three quarter DVOA is. McVay didn’t play Stafford or Donald for the entire fourth quarter, and by the last three Texans drives, I was seeing third string Rams players that I didn’t even know the names of on defense. 

We’ve talked about this before, but I think FO is a bit too conservative when it comes to marking garbage time.

121 Titans get a gift of a…

Titans get a gift of a roughing the passer call. Tannehill had stepped up to run, then throws a pass. The Colts D-Lineman makes a clean tackle from behind right after he throws, but hits him in the back of the knees so it’s a penalty. 

123 Miami scores to go down 8…

Miami scores to go down 8 against Buffalo, calls for the 2pt play and converts to make it 17-11. Analytics folks have been screaming for this strategy for years, let's see how it plays out. 

125 The announcers keep saying …

The announcers keep saying "The Texans finally got something going on offense!" I guess they have to sell the game to casual channel-flippers but that's basically a lie. They got some points against mentally checked-out 3rd-stringers in prevent defense - it's better than not doing that, I guess, but it means next to nothing about their play in this game or going forward.

126 Wentz

For those of you Wentz haters you may have the worst play ever by Wentz.  INT throwing lefty to avoid safety

132 If he was really going to…

In reply to by jheidelberg

If he was really going to give up a safety, then getting picked for a TD is the preferable outcome, I think. With the TD you at least get the ball back with time to drive for the tie.

127 1:30 left in the game, tied…

1:30 left in the game, tied at 24. Colts have the ball inside their own 10. Wentz is about to get sacked, just flings the ball forward straight to a Titan for a TD. 

129 Flaccos not playing?

And the Jets are winning with 2min left against the a #1 seed?

Pointless trade is pointless.

130 Mike White outduels Joe Burrow

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

As we all expected.

They might have something on their hands but they're going to go with Flacco next week.

Sorry, just want to hammer home how useless the trade was. 

134 What they gave up is…

What they gave up is virtually worthless. You want a semi-competent QB to help assess your other players. A completely worthless QB makes that hard. Mike White might be good enough to play that role, but no one thought that was true before today.

170 Did not get to watch the…

Did not get to watch the game today, but I have to say a fifth round pick is not a lot.  It's rare that a fifth round pick turns into someone like Mike White.

Drafting a quarterback with the second overall pick when Mike White is on your roster is the problem.

By the way, Matt Waldman loved Mike White as a prospect the year he got drafted.  I wanted the Jets to take him that year (not early though).  I assumed after he didn't do anything for years that we were wrong.  By the way, he's starting on Thursday.  The real issue is that Johnson looked good filling in.   They didn't need Flacco, and he's probably washed up anyway.

172 You think they still do that trade after today?

Because a 6th round pick for 0 snaps is not good. 

A 5th round pick means Flacco plays a lot and that means the team isn't good and should keep every shot they have to rebuild with. 

They shouldn't have drafted a QB though? Uh...in that stacked class? With this upcoming bad one? With Darnold staying Darnold? All because they had Mike White instead...Nick Mullens (who was cut by...the Eagles lol)? Not sure what you're suggesting unless it's trade back and still pick one.

White should start Thursday! Which makes Flacco pointless! Because then Wilson will be back by then (or soon). Support Wilson with guys that will actually be on the field instead of Drew Lock and Sam Darnolds "mentor" of which he has openly admitted isn't his job! You can always hire a (better) QB coach for that! And going that route doesn't impact the cap! 

173 Why so Serious?  My post…

Why so Serious?  My post wasn't.

To take this serious (which I don't, the entire situation makes me think we are actually stuck in the Matrix), no, I don't think they should have traded for Flacco.  I wasn't super upset about it, but the fact that Johnson came in and was competent tells me that Flacco shouldn't be on the roster.  Whether White is Brady 2.0 (with the Pats doing the Jets a favor this time) or Matt Barkley (he torched the Jets starting in relief of Josh Allen a couple of years ago, but only became a steady back-up), the situation for the Jets is a lot better than it was a week ago, lost mid-round draft pick not withstanding.  Although, one wonders if there is a disconnect between Douglas and LaFleur.

Of course I feel the Jets should have taken Wilson, I argued with you that he was the guy back in the offseason.  But I'm not sure he gets his job back right away.  If White has a good game against the Colts (yes, he's starting), they'll probably let him start against the Bills.  Honestly, the big difference was probably due to LaFleur being upstairs and not on the sideline; Saleh wanted LaFleur on the sideline because Wilson was a rookie and their QB coach died in the offseason.  It's quite possible Wilson starts playing better once LaFleur is where he belongs, upstairs.

180 You wrote 3 paragraphs

And ended with the true statement of Flacco being washed. Sorry but I'm pretty sure you also mentioned something before about not going QB at 2 too. 

191 Again

Hard to tell with the bold

"Did not get to watch the game today, but I have to say a fifth round pick is not a lot.  It's rare that a fifth round pick turns into someone like Mike White."

That's half the words. 

131 After a long PI call allows…

After a long PI call allows the Colts to score to send the game to OT, Wentz throws another killer interception putting the Titans in FG range to win. 

135 Heck of a back door cover by…

Heck of a back door cover by the Texans. Down 38-0 after the 3rd quarter, they score 22 in the fourth to cover the 16.5 point line by half a point. 

136 The Texans had an all-time…

The Texans had an all-time backdoor cover today. The line was 16.5 points. Down by 38 in the fourth and 22 irrelevant points results result in a cover by a half point... Lol.

138 The Jets had the 31st ranked…

The Jets had the 31st ranked offense in DVOA going into today. The passing offense was dead last. The Bengals had the 5th ranked defense. An astonishing result. The Jets didn't even benefit from the big breaks in the game. Cincinnati won the turnover battle 3-1, they just got wrecked in total yards and first downs. The Jets did run a lot more plays, so DVOA might not hate that Bengals result TOO much.