2020 Football (American, that is)

Lethe200

Senior Member
Please DO NOT post about other sports. U.S. College and NFL football only, to keep things neat. Any other sport, please begin your own discussion.

Also, any discussions on the PROTESTS - whether for OR against, should be kept in the Hot Topics forum.

Many thanks, and let the season begin (sort of, and finally, LOL)!
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
It’s Patrick Mahomes’s N.F.L., but Let’s Preview All 32 Teams Anyway
Mahomes and Lamar Jackson headline an exciting new era of the N.F.L., which is on track for an on-time return to the field, just as planned.
NY Times Sept. 7, 2020

While just about every other American sports league had to radically change its season because of the coronavirus, the N.F.L. waited patiently, insisting it would stick with its normal timeline. That confidence appears to have paid off, with the league set to kick off on Thursday, just as it said it would all along.

The league should look and feel quite different, as most Week 1 games are expected to be played minus fans in the stands — the Dallas Cowboys insist they will have a crowd — and plenty of important players have opted out.

But, focusing solely on the game, the N.F.L. is in great shape. A new generation of quarterbacks, led by Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, has made the league even more exciting, and unexpected turnarounds by certain teams in recent seasons have made it seem that any franchise is a move or two away from relevance.

To get everyone caught up, we broke the league down, team by team, looking at what’s changed and what you might expect during what should be an exciting, unusual season.

Breaking Down the Divisions (direct links to each division, but the article is just one long column so I suggest using the Full Article link at the bottom)
A.F.C. East: Tom Brady Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
A.F.C. North: The Division That Runs
A.F.C. South: Three Good Teams and Jacksonville
A.F.C. West: Property of Patrick Lavon Mahomes II
N.F.C. East: Where 9-7 Is Enough
N.F.C. North: The Packers and Friends
N.F.C. South: Assisted Living for Aging Quarterbacks
N.F.C. West: The Best Division in Football

Full article: (free access to NY Times restricted to 5 articles/month)
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/07/...l&pgtype=Homepage&section=Sports#link-cd6fbd8
 
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old eyes II

New Member
Well, were all waiting to see Tom Terrific, remembering that he has Gronk and another good tight end, Brates who is no slouchl He may well surprise us with no sacks and a good passing attack. Tampa has a good running back, Tom is not going to beat the Saints, but he will
beat a lot of other teams.

(I'm having an identify crisis, I am Jerryold, and ruff ruff, everytime there is an electrical storm the pc goes nuts. I remain confused)
 

Don M.

Well-known Member
Location
central Missouri
I'm looking forward to watching the KC Chiefs play...Mahomes and his receivers..especially Travis Kelce, are fun to watch. I think their first game is this Thursday, against Houston, but I don't know if there will be fans allowed. Our rural TV service broadcasts all their games, so I will be watching.
 

jerry old

redneck, but brainy
Are you'll disgusted with the NFL, and several other aspects of our nation? Jerry Jones is going to get his share even if
he has to suit up and play (giggle).
It appears every team that wins a few games will be in the playoffs-come on owners, get that TV money.
I'll watch the Cowboys flub and dub, 2nd half-the games do take up a lot of time.

I wish they would all play on Sundays at 12 P.M. (circa 1960) there are just too many games.

The biggest reason for the popularity of football is NFL Films.
 
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Becky1951

🌹
Location
Tennessee
I'm looking forward to watching the KC Chiefs play...Mahomes and his receivers..especially Travis Kelce, are fun to watch. I think their first game is this Thursday, against Houston, but I don't know if there will be fans allowed. Our rural TV service broadcasts all their games, so I will be watching.
inbound1543582522942754735.jpg
 

Don M.

Well-known Member
Location
central Missouri
We went to KC Thursday/Friday, and watched the game on the dozens of TV's in the casino. The people in the casino were all cheering loudly every time the Chiefs made a good play. We felt almost "out of place" because we weren't wearing any Chiefs shirts/hats, etc.....the casino looked like a "Chiefs store" with so many people wearing Chiefs clothing. The Chiefs got a good start to this years season with their win over Houston, and we're all hoping they can repeat last years performance.
 

ClassicRockr

Well-known Member
Watched the Chiefs play the Texans on Thursday night. It was really "all Chiefs".

Am looking very forward to seeing what Tom is going to bring to Tampa.

Wife and I are both really, really glad to see NFL back on tv.
 

jimbowho

New Member
Used to be too busy to watch TV, now that I'm getting dated watching football was great. But now it's so political I can't watch. Can't abide by the hypocrisy. No thank you, Mountain biking, fishing, dual sport off roading, reloading-shooting, and "I want to learn golf". Goodbye Sports.

Ps. I also don't like being told what to discuss on a topic. Not cool!
 
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Becky1951

🌹
Location
Tennessee
"Ps. I also don't like being told what to discuss on a topic. Not cool!"

The subject for this thread is NFL Football, in order to keep it regarding NFL FOOTBALL other topics should not be brought into it. That strays away from the original topic of the post and not fair to the original poster or those reading the posts who are interested in the original topic.
 

jerry old

redneck, but brainy
Want to see the rock'um, sock'um Ravens play Mahomes..
The Steelers have faded, will miss their dog fights with the Ravenns. mauling each .
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
Pt 1 of 2: What We Learned From Week 1 of the NFL Season
Cam Newton looked terrific, Tom Brady looked fairly terrible, and there were upsets all over the place in a wild slate of games. Here’s what we learned.
NY Times by Benjamin Hoffman, Sept. 13, 2020

These are not Tom Brady’s Patriots. In his first game for NE, QB Cam Newton led the team to an easy win over the Miami Dolphins. He managed just 155 yards through the air, but that was plenty to go with his 75 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The 75 rushing yards are more than Brady had in 14 of his 19 seasons as NE’s starter, with the future Hall of Famer never having rushed for more than 31 yards in a game. Newton is now up to 60 career rushing touchdowns, which is 17 more than any other NFL QB (Steve Young had 43). Not to be outdone entirely by Newton, Brady showed he is still nearly unstoppable in short-yardage situations by running for a 1-yard touchdown early in Tampa Bay’s loss to the New Orleans Saints.

When they say “on any given Sunday,” that includes Week 1. The Jacksonville Jaguars, the Chicago Bears and the Washington Football Team looked like basement dwellers coming into the season, but all three are 1-0 after Jacksonville and Washington delivered shocking upsets of well-regarded teams (the Indianapolis Colts and the Philadelphia Eagles, respectively) and the Bears engineered a thrilling fourth quarter comeback over the Detroit Lions. You might want to wait a week or two before hopping on the bandwagon, but wins are wins.

The 49ers will be hearing the phrase ‘Super Bowl hangover’ quite a bit. SF was hoping a stable off-season would help the team avoid the fate of Super Bowl losers of years past, but the team’s defense continued to struggle with mobile QBs, new Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had a great day — even by his lofty standards — and the 49ers’ defense of the team’s N.F.C. title began with a division loss at home.

The spirit of Jameis Winston lives on for Tampa Bay. Tom Brady, a 43-year-old six-time Super Bowl-winning QB, was brought over from the Patriots to stabilize a wildly volatile position for the Buccaneers. In his first start, Brady looked a lot like Winston, his predecessor as Tampa Bay’s starter. Brady had his moments where you could see the magic, but he also threw two interceptions, including a pick-six, letting Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints get an easy win at home. Winston, who had a front-row seat from the New Orleans sideline, set some lofty goals for Brady in terms of volatility, with 33 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions last season.

The Packers should have drafted Aaron Rodgers’s heir apparent years ago. Much was made of Rodgers being miffed that GB used its first-round pick on Jordan Love, a QB out of Utah State. Rodgers said the right things in interviews, but he seemed to do so through clenched teeth. Known for playing well with a chip on his shoulder, Rodgers responded to the perceived slight by throwing for 364 yards and four touchdowns in Sunday’s road win over the rival Minnesota Vikings. If Rodgers can play like that every week, the Packers might want to draft a QB next year too.

Plans change quickly with RBs. Only one RB — KC’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire — was taken on the first day of this year’s draft, but this year’s crop of rookies is already looking particularly strong. Edwards-Helaire found himself starting for the Chiefs after Damien Williams opted out of the season, and he ran for 138 yards in KC’s win over Houston on Thursday. Jonathan Taylor, a second-round pick out of Wisconsin, had 89 yards from scrimmage in the Colts’ loss to Jacksonville on Sunday, and J.K. Dobbins, a second-rounder out of Ohio State, had two touchdown runs in Baltimore’s romp over Cleveland.

Sometimes the obvious call is the right call. In a classic case of overthinking things, Carolina faced a fourth-and-inches play in the closing minutes of the team’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders. With everyone expecting a run, or pass, to Christian McCaffrey, Teddy Bridgewater instead handed off to fullback Alex Armah, who was crushed to the ground at the line of scrimmage for no gain, ending Carolina’s comeback attempt. McCaffrey finished the day with 134 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Armah carried the ball twice for 1 yard.

Josh Allen keeps things exciting — sometimes too exciting. The Bills’ third-year QB threw for a career-high 312 yards in a 27-17 dismantling of the Jets, making him the first Buffalo QB to top 300 yards since Tyrod Taylor did it in 2016, and just the second to do it since 2014, according to Pro Football Reference. Allen threw two touchdown passes, and ran one in as well, while leading the Bills with 57 rushing yards. Lest Buffalo fans get too excited, Allen also had two fairly brutal fumbles in Jets territory that could have cost his team dearly if the Bills’ defense wasn’t so proficient that the damage resulted in just 3 points.

Jamal Adams is not bored. The All-Pro safety had a rough breakup with the Jets, and Gregg Williams, his former defensive coordinator, insisted he would be bored in Seattle’s pedestrian defensive scheme. On Sunday, Adams had 12 tackles, two QB hits and a sack in the Seahawks’ 38-25 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Williams, meanwhile, had his interesting and complicated defense dismantled by Josh Allen.
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
Pt 2/2: NYTimes on NFL’s Week 1:

Aldon Smith’s Shocking Comeback.
No one ever doubted Aldon Smith’s on-field talent, but the defensive end had so many off-field issues that it seemed the promising start to his career in SF had been entirely squandered. Somehow still just 30 years old, Smith, who had not appeared in a game in nearly five years, was on the field for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, and while his team lost to the Los Angeles Rams, Smith’s performance was nothing short of remarkable. Smith, who last played on Nov. 15, 2015, looked like his old self, with 11 tackles, two QB hits and a sack.

Explaining all of Smith’s off-field problems would take quite a bit of space, but for reference, the “Legal Issues” section of his Wikipedia page has nine separate entries, and includes drug and alcohol incidents, a domestic violence accusation and a bomb threat at an airport.

Sunday’s Top Performers
Top Passer: Lamar Jackson.
It appears as if last season’s winner of the Most Valuable Player Award would like to make it two in a row. Jackson was a model of efficiency, completing 20 of 25 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns, while also topping the Ravens with 45 yards on the ground. Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers were just a tick behind in efficiency, and Gardner Minshew got to rub elbows with some elite company.

Top Runner: Josh Jacobs. Clyde Edwards-Helaire of the KC Chiefs rushed for 134 yards on Thursday night, but not a single other runner managed even 100 on Sunday. Of the five players who had 90 or more, Jacobs of the Raiders set himself apart by rushing for three touchdowns, including a 6-yarder with 4:08 remaining in the game that put Las Vegas up for good.

Top Receiver: Davante Adams. Julio Jones became the second-fastest receiver in NFL history to reach 800 receptions — needing just one game more than Antonio Brown, who did it in 126 — and DeAndre Hopkins set a personal-best with 14 catches, but Adams hauled in two of Aaron Rodgers’s four touchdown passes while catching 14 of the 17 passes thrown his way.

One* Sentence About Sunday’s Games *Except when it takes more.

Ravens 38, Browns 6.
Cleveland beat Baltimore on Sept 29 of last season, and the Ravens have not lost a regular season game since — a streak that will reach at least 357 days thanks to Lamar Jackson throwing for 275 yards and three touchdowns, with a sparking passer rating of 152.1, in a game that was not nearly as close as the final result suggests.

Saints 34, Buccaneers 23. For much of the games, the — shall we say, experienced? — QBs of these teams looked their age, but Drew Brees had an undeniable highlight with a 46-yard completion to tight end Jared Cook, and New Orleans took care of business at home.

Rams 20, Cowboys 17. Playing for the first time in the team’s new stadium in Inglewood, Calif., the Rams were not exactly back to their world-beating ways of two seasons ago, but thanks to a solid effort from veteran RB Malcolm Brown, and a somewhat questionable illegal contact call against Dallas wide receiver Michael Gallup late in the game, Los Angeles was able to hand the Cowboys an opening-week loss. Asked afterward about the illegal contact call, referee Tony Corrente said the decision was “obvious.”

Packers 43, Vikings 34. There were plenty of positives Minnesota could take from this game — Adam Thielen succeeding without Stefon Diggs, Dalvin Cook running for two touchdowns, etc. — but all of them came on offense, as the team’s short-handed defense was brutalized by GB, giving up an unseemly 522 yards.

Jaguars 27, Colts 20. Indianapolis added QB Philip Rivers to complement the team’s power running game. Rivers threw for 363 yards (and two extremely costly interceptions), but the Colts struggled to run the ball and lost starter Marlon Mack to what could be a season-ending injury. That and the team’s defense falling apart resulted in the day’s biggest upset.

Washington 27, Eagles 17. It was an incredibly messy off-season for Washington, but the season got off to a shockingly happy start with the Footballers fighting their way back from a 17-point deficit thanks to some tough play from the team’s defense, two rushing touchdowns from Peyton Barber, and steady play from second-year QB Dwayne Haskins.

Cardinals 24, 49ers 20. It seems like DeAndre Hopkins is going to work out just fine for Arizona, as the wide receiver, acquired in a trade with Houston this off-season, had 14 catches for 151 yards against one of the best secondaries in football.

Bears 27, Lions 23. For three quarters, Chicago’s decision to stick with Mitchell Trubisky at QB looked brutal, but the Bears, who trailed at that point by 23-6, had a comeback for the ages. The much-maligned Trubisky threw three touchdown passes in the final quarter, including a 27-yard go-ahead pass to Anthony Miller with 1 minute 54 seconds left in the game.

Raiders 34, Panthers 30. Just coming back to the point already made above: If you need a few inches, and your team has Christian McCaffrey, you give the ball to Christian McCaffrey. Not to the fullback Alex Armah.

Seahawks 38, Falcons 25. It appears as if Coach Pete Carroll finally heard about the “Let Russ Cook” campaign, as Seattle was the Russell Wilson show in a road victory, with the QB throwing for 322 yards and four touchdowns.

Chargers 16, Bengals 13. Rookie QB Joe Burrow looked awfully great on a 23-yard touchdown run, but the Bengals were the Bengals. Wide receiver A.J. Green got flagged for offensive pass interference in the closing seconds, ruining Cincinnati’s chance at a come-from-behind win.

Bills 27, Jets 17. Given a stiff test to start the season, the Jets failed, with QB Sam Darnold looking pedestrian against Buffalo’s (admittedly terrific) defense, and RB Le’Veon Bell missing the second half with a hamstring injury. That left the team’s defense — minus safety Jamal Adams, who was traded to Seattle — to deal with an onslaught led by Josh Allen of the Bills.

Patriots 21, Dolphins 11. It’s not particularly fair to judge a journeyman QB for a developing team when he’s up against one of the best secondaries in the NFL, but Ryan Fitzpatrick’s zero-touchdown, three-interception effort certainly didn’t quiet calls for Tua Tagovailoa to get a shot under center for Miami.
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
Week 2! I edited the NYT article to update on the known injuries, of which there were too many. Long, so this is Pt 1 of 2 posts:

What We Learned From Week 2 of the NFL Season
NYTimes by Benjamin Hoffman 20Sept2020, edited by lethe200
After Week 1 was defined by huge upsets, some order has been restored to the NFL this week with 14 of 15 favorites prevailing leading into Monday night’s game in LVegas. The road to those victories was rocky, however, as several star players have been lost to injuries, some of them season-ending.

The Atlanta Falcons have a flair for the dramatic, in a bad way. A franchise that was already nearly synonymous with a dubious set of numbers - 28-3 - added a new score for their team’s fans to loathe: 29-10. That was where things stood at halftime on Sunday before a truly epic second-half collapse against the Dallas Cowboys, who won, 40-39. Dallas scored on five of the team’s six second-half possessions, but still needed a bit of a miracle in the form of an onside kick in the game’s final two minutes that was recovered by the Cowboys despite the ball rolling right past multiple Falcons players on its way to Dallas’ C.J. Goodwin.

Cam Newton is not quite automatic at the goal line. The Patriots’ new QB was lined up on the 1-yard line, trailing by 5 with just seconds to play. Everyone knew he was going to run. He already had 397 passing yds, 47 rushing yds and two rushing TDs in the game, and he had his team on the verge of a shocking comeback on the road in Seattle. But defensive end L.J. Collier shot into the backfield, upended Newton, and the Seahawks on 35-30.

Stephen Gostkowski likes high stakes. The former Patriots kicker has had an uneven first season for the Titans. The 36-year-old has already missed three field goals and two extra-points through just two games, but when his team has truly needed him he’s been electric. He closed Week 1 with a 25-yard game-winner against Denver, and on Sunday he put the Titans ahead to stay with a 49-yarder in the final minutes against Jacksonville. Tennessee, apparently, has to keep things close.

Justin Herbert was farther along than thought. It seemed like an ideal situation in Los Angeles, as the Chargers had a QB for the present in Tyrod Taylor, and one for the future in Herbert. But Taylor was a last-minute scratch on Sunday after he reported difficulty breathing, and Herbert, in his first NFL game, very nearly beat Patrick Mahomes and the KC Chiefs. Herbert was nothing short of fantastic, throwing for 311 yds and a TD, becoming just the third QB (Otto Graham and Cam Newton are the others) to have 300 passing yds and a rushing TD in their first NFL appearance.

Preseason games might be important. Theories abound for this week’s huge rash of injuries to star players, and many will focus on the lack of preseason games. The hardest hit team has been the 49ers, who added QB Jimmy Garoppolo, RB Raheem Mostert and defensive end Nick Bosa to an injury report that already included George Kittle and Richard Sherman. The Giants lost RB Saquon Barkley and Denver lost QB Drew Lock with a shoulder injury.

We should keep our Packers record books handy. GB’s offense has been phenomenal in 2020, scoring a combined 85 points in wins over two NFC. North rivals. It’s just the fourth time in franchise history that the Packers have scored 40-plus in consecutive games, according to Pro Football Reference. This week they relied on RB Aaron Jones as the team’s leading rusher and leading receiver, with 236 yds from scrimmage and three TDs.

The Ravens never lose (in the regular season). Baltimore won its 14th straight regular season game, blowing out the Houston Texans, 33-16, despite Lamar Jackson throwing for a relatively modest 204 yds and one TD, and none of the team’s celebrated runners having more than 73 yds on the ground. It was a full-team effort, with Gus Edwards, Mark Ingram, Jackson and the rookie J.K. Dobbins combining to run for 230 yds on 37 carries, while the team’s defense successfully held Deshaun Watson in check, putting some of their own points on the board thanks to L.J. Fort’s fumble recovery for a TD.

Sunday’s Top Performers

Top Passer: Josh Allen.
Last week, Allen became the first Bills QB to top 300 passing yds in a game since 2016. This week, he became the first one to top 400 in a game since 2002 and, according to the NFL, became just the fourth QB to have 700 or more passing yds, six or more TDs and no interceptions in his team’s first two games of the season. Will he continue this trajectory and throw for 500 next week? You might not want to rule it out entirely, with the third-year QB clearly gaining confidence.

Dak Prescott, though, gets an honorable mention here. He wasn’t nearly as efficient as Allen, but he was the first player in NFL history to throw for more than 400 yds while running for at least three TDs.

Top Runner: Aaron Jones. Jones was absolutely everywhere in GB’s dominant win over Detroit. He ran for 168 yds, added 68 more yds with four receptions, and scored 3 TDs, giving him four for the season after he led the NFL with 19 last year.

Leonard Fournette made up for last week’s disappearing act by averaging 8.6 yds a carry while contributing two TD runs in Tampa Bay’s easy win over Carolina.

Top Receiver: Stefon Diggs. The former Vikings star is giving Buffalo a bona fide No. 1 receiver, opening up the field for John Brown and Cole Beasley. The Bills are 2-0. Diggs led the team in receptions and yds for a second consecutive game. But with the team needing some insurance points in the fourth quarter, Allen was able to air the ball out to a wide-open Brown. That is going to be a problem for Bills opponents.
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
Week 2, Pt 2 of NYT's "What we learned from the games":

One* Sentence About Sunday’s Games – *Except when it takes more.

Buccaneers 31, Panthers 17.
Tom Brady is still not up to his typical New England standards - he threw for 217 yards, one TD and one interception - but the Buccaneers don’t need him to air the ball out if Leonard Fournette is going to run for 103 yards on just 12 carries and the team’s defense is going to pile up five sacks while forcing four turnovers.

Cowboys 40, Falcons 39. The story of the day will be Atlanta’s brutal collapse, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Dak Prescott threw for 450 yards while running in three TDs. The previous record for passing yards in a game with three rushing TDs was the 317 put up by Jack Kemp of the Buffalo Bills in 1963.

Titans 33, Jaguars 30. Second-guessing Jacksonville’s personnel decisions is nearly a sport unto itself, but ditching Nick Foles in favor of Gardner Minshew as the team’s starting QB appears to have been the right move: Foles couldn’t beat out Mitchell Trubisky for the starting job in Chicago, and Minshew, showing all kinds of pluck and quite a bit of talent, has six TD passes through two games.

Chiefs 23, Chargers 20 (overtime). It says something truly remarkable about Harrison Butker that his trotting onto the field to potentially win the game from 58 yards out seemed like a forgone conclusion - and that the extreme confidence in the team’s kicker didn’t waver for a second, even when he was forced to kick a second time because of a last-second timeout.

Ravens 33, Texans 16. Losing to Baltimore is forgivable, but Houston’s offense looks absolutely pedestrian without WR DeAndre Hopkins, making the shocking off-season trade sting even more than it did at the time.

Packers 42, Lions 21. Detroit is off to a start that’s far uglier than its 0-2 record can possibly suggest, as the team pulled ahead of GB, 14-3, late in the first quarter, only to lose by 21 points - a week after blowing a 17-point fourth quarter lead against Chicago.

Colts 28, Vikings 11. It looked like Philip Rivers was getting ready for a second straight Very Long Sunday when he opened the game by throwing an interception in the red zone. But from that point forward, Rivers settled down, rookie RB Jonathan Taylor took over (101 yards and a TD) and the Indianapolis defense made up for last week’s embarrassment against Jacksonville by snagging three interceptions and forcing a safety.

Cardinals 30, Washington 15. Arizona is delivering on its preseason hype so far, with QB Kyler Murray taking a leap in his second season, with plenty of help from RB Kenyan Drake and WR DeAndre Hopkins. With the Cardinals’ next three games coming against Detroit, Carolina and the Jets, a 5-0 start is extremely realistic.

Seahawks 35, Patriots 30. It was the Cam Newton Show in the fourth quarter - right up until it wasn’t - but this game belonged to Russell Wilson, who looked like a candidate for the Most Valuable Player Award for a second consecutive week.

Bills 31, Dolphins 28. Give Ryan Fitzpatrick some credit: The journeyman QB is not going to give up his job easily. He followed up a disastrous Week 1 by having a terrific effort (317 yards, 2 TDs) against Buffalo’s stellar defense, very nearly pulling off what would have been a stunning upset.

Rams 37, Eagles 19. A matchup of Jared Goff and Carson Wentz is always going to raise the stakes, as the QBs went with the first two picks in the 2016 draft, but this one was all Goff, who demolished his friendly rival by throwing for 267 yards and three TDs.

49ers 31, Jets 13. A win that felt like a loss. The 49ers won this game in a rout, but lost defensive end Nick Bosa with a torn ACL for the remainder of the season and may be without QB Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) and RB Raheem Mostert (knee) in the coming weeks.

Steelers 26, Broncos 21/ That this game was so close is a testament to Denver’s perseverance, as the team came in without RB Phillip Lindsay or linebacker Von Miller, and lost starting QB Drew Lock in the first quarter, only to find itself on the verge of a potential upset that fizzled with a fourth-down sack with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Bears 17, Giants 13. Giants fans can wince at being 0-2, but at least Saquon Barkley’s injury went down from being a possible ACL tear to a week-by-week high ankle sprain (same injury at Garoppolo/Niners suffered).
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
I only watched some of the games in Week 2.
Chiefs over Chargers – There is always one opponent that gives the powerhouse team fits. For the Chiefs that team seems to be the Chargers. The games are usually won by the Chiefs, but the Chargers give them a scare, every time. And they did it again this time. Justin Herbert looked impressive for a rookie (6th round pick) after Tyrod Taylor suffered a collapsed lung when the team doctor was trying to give him a painkiller injection but punctured the lung instead! The NYT was off, btw – kicker Butker didn’t kick twice for the winning FG. He had to kick three times, after a 5-yd penalty on one kick, but got all three through with plus-50 yarders. He made it look easy.

Seahawks over Patriots. A close game! At first it looked all Seattle but then NE settled down and put together some good drives. Russell Wilson is woefully underappreciated – and I say that as a Niners fan! He threw for FIVE TDs and they were absolute beauties. I disagreed with the TV analysts. I've always enjoyed watching Cam Newton but he looked rusty. He throws a very different ball than Brady and the NE receivers seemed to have trouble judging it. The only exception was Edelman, but he had to leap forward and really stretch to catch a long pass from Newton.

Cam needs to soften up his touch a bit. As the season progresses he should be more in sync with his backfield. Right now, his receivers aren't getting the chance to run for good yardage after the catch, as they're fumbling for the ball with the defenders closing in on them.

Raiders win over Saints – Well, this surprised everybody! Even me, and I like the Raiders. Starting off 2-0 is a shocker. Much of the success is due to RB Josh Jacobs and TE Darren Waller*. Waller caught 12-of-16 targets for 103 yards and one TD. Jacobs was the Raiders' Round 1 pick in 2019, and was good for 88 yards on 27 carries.
* Trivia fact: Darren is the great-grandson of jazz legend Fats Waller.

QB Derek Carr came into 2020 saying he felt disrespected as a QB and intended to change that. One problem is that for the three years 2016-2018, Carr was under three different OCs with three different offensive schemes. There was no consistency and not surprisingly he struggled. He is not a Hall of Famer QB, but is a classic pocket passer with average mobility on the roll-out. His greatest strength is his arm – he's rated a 9.5 on a scale of 10.

I don't really think Jon Gruden is worth the high-priced 10 yr contract owner Mark Davis threw at him. But he's a good coach, if not a great one, and consistency in the playcalling is going to work to Carr's advantage. Carr has been criticized for his pocket presence in previous years, but it looks like he has finally gotten in sync with Gruden's playbook. He was sacked three times but kept his cool, with no interceptions. The offense played at a good speed, with energy and focus. The Raiders scored on six of their last seven possessions, including a 4th and goal TD. Carr threw to eleven different players in this game, an inordinately high number, and had 3 TD passes. A critical stat: Raiders were 10/17 on third downs.

The Saints looked great through the first quarter, leading 10-0. Then the Raiders D stepped up and the Saints never again put together a drive that lasted more than nine plays. Penalties have killed them in their first two games: the Saints lead the league in penalties yards at 248. On Monday night, New Orleans gave up 129 penalty yards on 10 accepted penalties. This is ironic, as it's usually the Raiders who lead the NFL in penalties.

High-priced free agent WR Emmanuel Sanders has disappointed the Saints. In two games he has 4 catches for 33 yds and 1 TD. It helped the Raiders that Brees was missing his favorite target WR Michael Thomas, who has ankle issues still being diagnosed.

Niners over Jets. Man, this was painful for Niners fans. The injury bug killed us in 2018 and it's doing the same in 2020. Of the eight players now out for multiple games, seven are starters, and the eighth was the back-up for one of the injured starters! In 2019, Niners had the #2 defense and the #8 offense. We have lost the following first stringers:

Offense:
QB Jimmy Garoppolo – high ankle sprain, multiple weeks
WR Deebo Samuels – foot, IR, injured Game 1, return scheduled Game 4
WR Richie James – hamstring IR, return scheduled for Game 5
RB Rasteen Mostert – MCL knee, hoping for return Game 4
RB Tevin Coleman – knee, hoping for return Game 4. He spells Mostert
TE George Kittle – MCL knee and bone bruise, questionable for Game 3

If the offense is the "right hand" of the team, then losing Samuels, Mostert, and Kittle equals losing the thumb, index, and middle finger of that hand. Kittle is called the best TE today, and one of the best blocking tight ends ever. Even if JG returns, it's Kittle's hands in catching those crossing passes over the middle, and Kittle's blocking which springs the RBs, that enables HC Shanahan's complex offense. Mostert is currently the fastest RB in the NFL, with TD runs clocked at 22 mph and 23 mph in the first two games of 2020. Samuels has worked through last year's rookie spate of dropped passes to become a dependable receiver for those roll-out plays that keep his QB from getting sacked by a suddenly porous OL which has done a terrible job in 2020.

Defense:
CB Richard Sherman – calf injury IR, back by Game 5
DT/CB Solomon Thomas – ACL, IR out for season. Was Sherman's back-up.
DE Dee Ford – back (still undergoing tests), out indefinitely
DE Nick Bosa – ACL tear, out for season
OLB Dre Greenlaw – quadriceps, hoping for return Game 4

DC Robert Saleh is brilliant, but losing Nick Bosa creates a black hole hard to fill. Lack of cap space forced the trade of defensive great DeForest Buckner to Indianapolis, and it was Dee Ford who filled that hole – so now what? The Niners secondary is iffy anyway – it remains an area GM Lynch and HC Shanahan want to upgrade, but cap space is very limited for the Niners with 18 free agents coming up in 2021. The current style of college D's is not producing the kind of 'instant impact' players in the secondaries the NFL needs. Sherman's getting old and slow, but his knowledge and experience is invaluable with the young secondary.

The Niners complained bitterly about the turf at MetLife Stadium, but they'll have to deal with it again for Game 3 vs the Giants.
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
NFL Wk 3 Predictions: Our Picks Against the Spread (Pt 1 of 2 posts, as usual, due to length)
With a matchup between the Ravens and the Chiefs looming on Monday, the rest of the week feels like an appetizer.
Benjamin Hoffman/NYTimes Sept. 24, 2020

Sunday’s games are an appetizer at best. Even a terrific matchup like the LA Rams facing the Bills in New York seems like a snoozer when the matchup between KC and Baltimore awaits on Monday night. But the league still plans on playing the other games, and there should be some good ones along the way to get you ready for Monday.

Wk 3/Thursday’s Matchup: Dolphins 31, Jaguars 13
It seems like Ryan Fitzpatrick has at least one game like this every season. He makes every throw, he moves around in the pocket, and he rallies his team behind him on the way to victory. That version of Fitzpatrick showed up in Jacksonville on Thursday, and the large-bearded 37-year-old completed 18 of 20 passes for 160 yards and two TDs, adding some insult to the Jaguars’ injury by running in a score as well. He improved his career record against the Jaguars to 6-3, and became the first QB to ever beat an opponent with six different teams (Cincinnati, Buffalo, Tennessee, Houston, the Jets and Miami).

Our prediction of Jaguars -3 was based on the pluck Jacksonville had shown in its first two games, but on Thursday, the Jaguars looked a lot like the bottom-feeder that most had predicted coming into the season.

Sunday’s Best Games

LA Rams at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m., Fox | Pick: Bills

After a 2019 in which everything went wrong, the Rams (2-0) seem to have found some of their 2018 magic, grinding out a win over Dallas in Wk 1 before blowing out Philadelphia in Wk 2. They’ll face the Bills (2-0), who have dominated even though the team’s prime asset - its defense - has played below its standards. It seems like a waste for such a game to be relegated to a 1 p.m. time slot.

For Buffalo, an explosion of the team’s passing game can be attributed to weak competition, but also to wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Acquired in a trade with Minnesota, Diggs has given the Bills the No. 1 receiver it lacked, which has opened up the entire field for QB Josh Allen. The big-armed Allen has responded with a league-leading 729 yards passing and six TDs, with no interceptions. And with the team’s running game off to a sluggish start, and its defense still rounding into form, Buffalo actually has quite a bit of room for improvement.

The Bills may need to show that improvement quickly, as the Rams have a lot of options on offense, even with the rookie RB Cam Akers injured. And LA, while not exactly the Steelers, is not a pushover in pass defense.

Las Vegas Raiders at NE Patriots, 1 p.m., CBS | Pick: Patriots
The Raiders (2-0) are off to a nice start to their season and just opened their new home in Las Vegas in style with a huge win over New Orleans. For their trouble, they now get Cam Newton and the Patriots (1-1) in Foxborough. That hardly seems fair.

Newton opened up the full arsenal of the NE offense against Seattle last week, and if he had been able to run in a goal-line TD - something he typically does with ease - the Patriots would have shocked a Super Bowl contender on their turf.

NE’s defense has shown some effects from an off-season spent shedding players, or having them opt out of the season, which could leave open some room for QB Derek Carr to put points on the board. But there’s little reason to believe that a red-hot Newton can’t will his team to victory.

GB Packers at New Orleans Saints, 8:20 p.m., NBC | Pick: Packers
Between how pedestrian the Saints (1-1) looked on Monday night, and how terrifically the Packers (2-0) have played in both of their games, the Saints being favored, even at home, is one of the more surprising decisions by LVegas oddsmakers. It could be a matter of the Saints defense being the stiffest test that QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones and the Packers have faced this year. It might be a belief that Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara are capable of more than they’ve shown. Or it might just be a holdover belief that you have to respect the Saints at home. But based on everything we’ve actually seen, GB should be expected to win.

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 p.m., Fox | Pick: Seahawks
It would be easier to feel good about the Cowboys (1-1) and their huge comeback victory against Atlanta last week had they had not fallen behind, 29-10, in the first place. There is clearly something amiss for the Dallas defense, and facing Russell Wilson and the Seahawks (2-0) in Seattle is not a good time to work through your issues.

Monday’s Matchup
KC Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens, 8:15 p.m., ESPN | Pick: Ravens

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs (2-0). Lamar Jackson and the Ravens (2-0). There are no better QBs in the NFL, no better teams and there is no better matchup that the league could have for a prime time game. The Super Bowl champion Chiefs face a Ravens team that hasn’t lost a regular-season game in nearly a year.

This game comes one day short of the one-year anniversary of Baltimore’s last regular-season loss. The Ravens have stayed consistent thanks to the most productive running game in NFL history, and a passing attack that is ruthlessly efficient with its modest yardage. Couple that with a defense that is solid at every level and it’s no wonder that they win so many games in blowouts.

KC’s formula is even simpler: Mahomes. At no point in any game that he’s playing, no matter the score, can the Chiefs be counted out, and that helps hide any deficiencies the team might have in overall defensive depth. That they’ve surrounded Mahomes with a group of ultrafast receivers, along with premier kicker Harrison Butker, pays dividends regularly, including last week's come-from-behind OT victory against the Chargers in a game KC absolutely should have lost.

Between home-field advantage and the team’s superior defense, Baltimore is a rightful favorite. But even if it’s 35-3 at halftime, you’ll want to keep watching, just in case.
 

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