2020 Football (American, that is)

Original Poster
What We Learned from Week 5 of the NFL Season Pt 1 of 2
Dak Prescott’s season is over, Alex Smith came back after nearly two years away, the Ravens demolished Joe Burrow and the Bengals, and the Raiders shocked the Chiefs.
NYTimes by Benjamin Hoffman Oct. 11, 2020 (edited for length by lethe200)

Sunday got off to a rocky start when the NFL announced it would delay this week’s game between the Denver Broncos and the NE Patriots because of continuing issues with COVID. The decision led to a cascade of changes in the coming schedule, and is sure to be a frequent topic of conversation as teams adjust on the fly.

As for the day’s action, there were surprising results, multiple close games and a feel-good comeback by Alex Smith that almost no one predicted. It was not all good news, however. The 0-5 Atlanta Falcons fired both coach and GM. Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys sustained a gruesome injury that has ended his season.

Here’s what we learned:

Dak Prescott’s record-setting season is over. Prescott scrambled for a 9-yard gain in Q3 of Sunday’s game against the Giants when the Cowboys QB had his legs tangle underneath him as he was tackled. His right foot hung at an awkward angle as medical staff ran to help him. He was in tears as he was taken off the field on the back of a cart and was replaced by Andy Dalton, who led the team to a narrow 37-34 victory.

Prescott, who threw for at least 450 yds in each of his three previous games - an NFL first - set a record for the most passing yds with 1,690 through the first four games. The outburst of productivity followed an off-season in which he failed to come to terms with Dallas on a long-term contract extension.

No official timetable was given for his recovery, but the team confirmed that Prescott sustained a compound fracture and dislocation of the ankle. Team owner Jerry Jones said he has “no doubt” Prescott will be able to return as the team’s leader eventually and Prescott’s brother shared a photo of Dak in the hospital smiling after surgery. But the ramifications of the injury and recovery will likely affect Prescott’s contract negotiations with Dallas this off-season.

There is no quit in Alex Smith. A devastating knee injury in November 2018 had doctors contemplating amputating the veteran QB’s right leg. His career was declared over by numerous pundits, his team used its first-round pick that off-season on a new QB, and the world moved on – except for Smith, 36. He endured 17 surgeries, received medical clearance shortly before the season began, and entered the Washington Football Team’s game on Sunday after an injury to Kyle Allen, throwing an official pass for the first time in 693 days.

Smith was well short of the longest gap between passes, which according to the Elias Sports Bureau belongs to Tony Adams, a career backup who went 3,276 days between attempts (Oct. 15, 1978, to Oct. 4, 1987). But when you factor in just how unlikely Smith’s return was, his so-so passing day in a 30-10 loss to the LA Rams was nothing short of phenomenal.

KC needs to work on its concentration. The Chiefs opened their Super Bowl defense with four consecutive wins, including a dominant effort that ended Baltimore’s 14-game regular-season winning streak. But on either side of that win over the Ravens, the Chiefs had to survive an overtime scare against the Chargers in Week 2 and then struggled for much of the game against the Cam Newton-less Patriots in Week 4. On Sunday, that tendency to play down to their competition caught up with the Chiefs in a big way, as the Las Vegas Raiders, who came in as 13-point underdogs, threw everything they had at the Chiefs, running up a lead and then staving off a Patrick Mahomes comeback for a shocking 40-32 win at KC. It was just the 11th time the Chiefs have allowed 40 or more points at Arrowhead Stadium, and the first time in over seven years the Raiders had defeated their divisional rival the Chiefs in KC’s stadium.

You can’t give Russell Wilson any time. The Vikings pulled ahead of the Seahawks midway through Q4 by 26-21, with the ball and a chance to extend their lead. Instead, Minnesota turned the ball over on downs, giving Wilson 1 minute 57 seconds to take his team 94 yds. Wilson only needed 1:42, connecting with DK Metcalf for yet another game-winning TD. Wilson spent much of the game with his team trailing an opponent with a losing record, but he left it with his front-runner status for the NFL’s MVP Award intact.

The Jaguars are good for your self-esteem. Houston was in disarray, starting the season 0-4, which resulted in the firing of Coach Bill O’Brien. A switch to Romeo Crennel, 73, as HC is not yet permanent, but Crennel started off his reign as the oldest head coach in NFL history with a convincing win, as Deshaun Watson threw for 359 yds and three TDs while leading Houston past Jacksonville, 30-14. The big question is if Houston can do anything like this against a team that fields something resembling an NFL defense.

It is not always the guys you expect. You’d be forgiven if you’d never heard of Travis Fulgham or Chase Claypool before Sunday. They came into the day with a combined eight career receptions, but more than doubled that as they squared off in one of the more unlikely and entertaining battles you’ll come across. Fulgham caught 10 passes for 152 yds and a TD, but that was nothing compared to Claypool, who had seven catches for 110 yds and three receiving TDs, while running in a fourth score. Claypool’s final TD of the day came on a 35-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger, and it put the game away for Pittsburgh in a 38-29 victory.

Original Poster
What We Learned from Week 5 of the NFL Season Pt 2 of 2

Sunday’s Top Performers
Top Passer: Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has had more than his fair share of ups and downs in a 16-season career, and this was one of his bigger ups. Whether it is enough to give him job security with Tua Tagovailoa waiting in the wings is only truly known by Coach Brian Flores, but Fitzpatrick’s current ratio of three good games to two bad ones this season certainly makes an argument for keeping him on the field.

Top Runner: Ezekiel Elliott. Todd Gurley II of the Falcons had more rushing yds (and an absurd 8.6 yds a carry), but in addition to his 105 yds from scrimmage and two TDs, Elliott deserves credit for keeping his team together after the loss of QB Dak Prescott. Elliott scored his second TD just three plays after Prescott’s injury, and those points proved vital in a game that came down to the final seconds.

Top Receiver: Chase Claypool. Claypool had just six receptions over the first three games of his career, taking the field for less than 40 percent of his team’s snaps in two of the three games. In his fourth game he was absolutely dominant, becoming the third rookie WR in NFL history to have four TDs in a single game, joining Jerry Butler (Sept. 23, 1979) and Harlon Hill (Oct. 31, 1954).

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

Browns 32, Colts 23. The Browns are now 4-1. The last time they managed this was Oct. 1994 when somebody named Bill Belichick was their HC. Since then, the Browns moved to Baltimore after the 1995 season, were resurrected in Cleveland in 1999 and have had 56 players throw at least one pass. Unfortunately, the Steelers are next, and will be looking to go 4-0 over the Browns after Week 6 is over.

Raiders 40, Chiefs 32. Not only did the Chiefs lose for the first time since Nov. 10, 2019, they did so at home while watching a team look a lot like them: the rookie WR Henry Ruggs III used his game-changing speed to burn KC’s defense for 113 yds on just two receptions, one of which was a 72-yard TD. Josh Jacobs, the Raider RB who was in contention for 2019 Rookie of the Year before he got hurt, added 77 yds and 2 TDs. Raider QB Derek Carr silenced a lot of his critics, and Gruden gets kudos for an aggressive and successful game plan.

Cowboys 37, Giants 34. Dallas has to be happy that they invested in a veteran backup. Andy Dalton may not be perfect, but he’s a lot better than what many teams would have if they lost their franchise QB for the season. Salvaging a win in this game was a start, but the execution will obviously need improvement.

Ravens 27, Bengals 3. Lamar Jackson had a day well below his typical standards, but Baltimore didn’t need much from its offense thanks to a terrific effort from its defense, which reminded Joe Burrow that he is a rookie. Seven players recorded a sack for the Ravens, including Patrick Queen, who had nine tackles, a sack and two fumble recoveries, the second of which he returned 53 yds for a TD.

Seahawks 27, Vikings 26. Seattle isn’t the only undefeated team, but they are the first team to 5-0 thanks to GBay’s bye week and various delays for other teams caused by COVID. For Minnesota, the biggest concern (besides dropping to 1-4) was a groin injury sustained by RB Dalvin Cook that could affect him going forward.

Steelers 38, Eagles 29. A win is a win, but Pittsburgh should be concerned both by its secondary struggling against Philadelphia and one of the team’s top off-season acquisitions, TE Eric Ebron, having a rough Q4 in which he fumbled the ball away in a key situation on one drive and got pushed out of the way for a near interception - the ball hit the ground before it was caught - on the next one.

Dolphins 43, 49ers 17. Miami outgained SF by nearly 200 yds, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three TD passes. Jimmy Garoppolo was benched for his own safety at halftime in a game that went off the rails immediately for the defending NFC champs. The Niners injury-depleted secondary got chewed up and spit out by Fitz, while the Miami D totaled 5 sacks, constant pressure, and 4 interceptions (2 of Jimmy G and 2 on replacement CJ Beathard). It was the first time this season the entire first-string SF backfield was on the field, but it didn’t take long to realize both Jimmy G and WR Deebo Samuels were a long way from being 100% recovered. Fans and media are not happy with the Niners’ offensive or defensive playcalling, and rightly so.

Rams 30, Footballers 10. LA got an easy win on the road as Jared Goff threw for 309 yds, the rookie RB Cam Akers returned from an injury to average 6.8 yds a carry, Robert Woods hauled in a 56-yard TD pass and Aaron Donald tied his career high with four sacks. Donald is having a monster year – again.

Cardinals 30, Jets 10. DeAndre Hopkins’s injured ankle appeared to be healed, as he torched the Jets for six catches, 131 yds and a TD, ruining Joe Flacco’s first start since Week 8 of last season.

Panthers 23, Falcons 16. Todd Gurley turned the clock way back with 121 yds (on just 14 carries) and a TD, Calvin Ridley had eight receptions for 136 yds. But Atlanta still lost by a TD at home, to a team missing its best player. It makes you wonder how this team could ever win a game. So it makes sense that afterwards, the team fired Coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff.

Texans 30, Jaguars 14. You’d have to work hard to find a play executed more poorly than a fourth-and-1 at the opponent’s 8-yard line in which a team trailing by 13-7 (Jacksonville) did a direct snap to a RB (James Robinson), had him roll out as if he was going to pass – only to have him simply drop the ball with no contact for a turnover that cemented the game in Houston’s favor.

jerry old

redneck, but brainy
If Russell Wulson continues his field generalship he should be a shoo-in for his second NFL-MVP.
Settle and SF may be in a dogfight- wonder if LA can return to their Super Bowl Form.

Super Bowl: Far to early to pick but it appears the NFL West will field a team, while AFC is a tad muddled.
KC should return to Super Bowl, But-Buffalo, and a team from AFC Central could possible win division playoffs :unsure:
So, it should be NFC-West and KC {Can't count out Ravens, Buffalo (it is not going to happen, but I would like to see
Browns or Bengals make a run 🙏)}

Anyone rooting for Titans, somehow they just slide by me into oblivion.

jerry old

redneck, but brainy
Lethe200 keeps us on target:
Who are the Panthers, Jaguars? I'm sure there is a fan base, but not here. Their so vague to me...

Cowboy fans need to turn off TV and 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 Their fans had mental brakedowns last year.
Rascals they are...

Browns: In 1995 Mr. Bill finally had all his players and coaches in place in Cleveland, when the all-knowing owne, Art Modell, fired him after he lost three games in 96.
There is a good doc. on Mr. Bill and Cleveland on E 60
Modell, in a tiff because Cleveland would not build him a new stadium, absconded to Baltimore:mad:
Original Poster
Finally watched the Saints-Chargers game Week 5 (love my DVR, I can have a football game almost every night of the week, LOL). It was a good game to watch, tied and went into OT. This is the second game I've watched LAC's Herbert and this kid is impressive! Good presence in the pocket, keeps his cool under pressure, and boy does he have an arm!

The ChargersWire article summed it all up nicely:

The Good:
QB Justin Herbert:
What more could you ask for from Herbert? The rookie went toe to toe with future Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees, finishing 20-of-34 passing for 264 yards and four touchdowns, which marks the most in MNF history for a rookie QB. Herbert did this all while being in the face of pressure all night, and missing some of his top skill players (Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler). The future is bright for the Chargers.

WR Mike Williams: After Allen went down last week, Williams became Herbert’s go-to target. He turned eight targets into five catches for 109 yards and two scores, including an outstanding grab in the fourth quarter that put the Chargers in position for the go-ahead field goal (which was missed).

Run defense: Before the game, I (columnist) said that the Chargers must find a way to minimize Saints running back Alvin Kamara’s effect on the game. While Kamara made some splash days through the air, him and RB Latavius Murray struggled to get anything going on the ground, failing to go over 100 yards.

The Bad and The Ugly:
Offensive Line.
They sucked. Herbert was sacked three times and was pressured 14 times (37.8% pressure rate, the defense’s highest in a game this season), per Next Gen Stats. That he shattered the MNF record for passing TDs by a rookie tells you how good Herbert is looking, despite rotten protection.

Conservative play-calling in the second half: Roll with what’s working. The Chargers failed to do so out of the locker room when they had the lead. They took the conservative route rather than being aggressive on early downs by choosing to run the ball on nine of their 14 first-down plays in the second half and overtime. The result? They averaged only 1.11 yards per carry on their first-down rush attempts.

Punt coverage: The Chargers have the worst special teams rating in the NFL, per Football Outsiders. Kicker Michael Badgley lost the LAC the game by missing an extra point, which would have won the game in regulation time, and then a field goal in OT.

Second-half defense: Except for a few positives, the unit fell apart when they had a commanding lead. Soft/busted coverages and lack of pressure led to QB Drew Brees’ comeback after being down 17 points. The LAC unit is banged up, and the bye week couldn’t come at a better time to get healthy.
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Original Poster
NFL Week 6 Predictions Pt 1 of 2
The red-hot Browns and Steelers will resume a fierce rivalry. The Chiefs and Bills try to get back on track. The Falcons are working remotely and the Andy Dalton Era begins for Dallas.
NYTimes by Benjamin Hoffman Oct. 15, 2020 (edited for length by lethe200)

The Week’s Best Games All times EDT

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m., CBS
Pick: Browns
The rivalry between the Browns (4-1) and the Steelers (4-0) is so fierce and can be so ugly, that it continued last year even though Cleveland was irrelevant and Pittsburgh was without its franchise QB.

The Steelers’ latest win came courtesy of the shocking emergence of Chase Claypool, a rookie WR who exploded for four TDs last week. It’s too soon but in a small sample, Claypool looked a lot like Martavis Bryant, with fewer off-field concerns.

For the Browns, it has been a team effort on offense. Baker Mayfield has been solid if not spectacular, WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry have played well (and shown off their throwing arms) and Kareem Hunt did a good job filling in for the starting RB Nick Chubb last game.

Pittsburgh seems overdue for a smothering effort on defense. But if these two offenses keep it up, this could turn into a last-team-with-the-ball-wins shootout.

KC Chiefs at Buffalo Bills, 5 p.m. Monday, Fox and NFL Network
Pick: Chiefs
Moved from Thursday, this is a rare Monday game that won’t be in prime time. But with both teams coming off their first loss of the season, it will be worth tuning to see what happens.

Last week against LVegas, the Chiefs (4-1) fell prey to playing down to the competition. The Bills (4-1) were demolished by Tennessee. Those results should motivate both teams, which could lead to a lot of yardage and points.

Buffalo may want to feature the running game more than usual to exploit KC’s weakness defending it. Patrick Mahomes can exploit a Bills secondary that has been reeling. The Chiefs, when motivated, can beat absolutely anyone, so Buffalo might be in trouble.

Monday’s Other Matchup
Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

Pick: Cowboys
These teams are coming off wins, but the Cardinals (3-2) can’t be too excited about trouncing the awful Jets, and the Cowboys (2-3) had their win against the lowly Giants (and potentially their entire season) spoiled by the gruesome injury to QB Dak Prescott. Playing the remainder of the season without Prescott and left tackle Tyron Smith makes Dallas a less explosive offensive team, but being an underdog at home to an inconsistent team like Arizona doesn’t feel right, either.

The Cowboys still have an accomplished backup in Andy Dalton, who has a ridiculous collection of WRs to choose from plus RB Ezekiel Elliott, so there’s every reason to believe Dallas can be a middling team or better. In the NFC East that could put them in the playoffs.

LA Rams at SF 49ers, 8:20 p.m., NBC
Pick: Rams
The winds shift rapidly in the hypercompetitive NFC West, where the Rams (4-1) were a Super Bowl team in 2018 but fell off the map in 2019, while the 49ers (2-3) brought up the rear in 2018 and then went to the Super Bowl in 2019. They’ve shifted again, with LA getting off to a nice start, particularly on offense, while SF has been overwhelmed by injury and disappointment.

It makes sense for the Rams to be favored, even on the road, but it might be getting ahead of things to assume SF’s embarrassing loss to Miami last week was anything more complicated than Jimmy Garoppolo being unsteady on his injured ankle and the team’s defense being sand-bagged by a team that has more offense than you’d guess.

QB Garoppolo and WR Deebo Samuel have had another week to get healthier. The explosive Raheem Mostert is back and the 49ers can pick up huge chunks of yardage after the catch thanks to the hard running of Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle.

Niners DC Saleh is running out of Patch-It for a D that is missing first-stringers Richard Sherman, Nick Bosa, Kwon Alexander, plus first- and second-string CBs Moseley and Johnson. When the Rams QB Goff is pressured, he makes even worse decisions than Jimmy G., but expecting this Niners corp of walking wounded to overcome the divisional leader may be too much to expect even from the talented Saleh.

GBay Packers at TBay Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m., Fox
Pick: Packers
Brady will have to be at his peak to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (4-0). Tom Brady losing track of downs in the waning moments of last week’s shocking loss to Chicago was probably a one-off fluke, but the Bucs can’t afford any mistakes when facing the Pack.

GBay is returning after an early bye week, which could be seen as a burden: The team had offensive momentum from Weeks 1 to 4 and will now have to play 12 weeks in a row. But the bye also appears to have allowed Packers WR Davante Adams to return to full health, which opens up their offense considerably.
Original Poster
NFL Week 6 Predictions Pt 2 of 2
NYT by Benjamin Hoffman, edited for length by lethe200

Sunday’s Other Games

Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m., CBS

Pick: Ravens
A defining characteristic of the Ravens (4-1) is that they do not take games off. Facing a bad team? That’s just an opportunity to run for 200 yds and put up 30-plus points. And the team’s defense gets in on the same act. That’s all terrible news for the Eagles (1-3-1), who have a crowded injury report and aren’t a particularly good team even when healthy. It’s worth noting for future weeks that Lamar Jackson’s passing, while still effective, has taken a dip from last season’s MVP-level efficiency. That probably won’t matter on Sunday, but it might when the team comes out of its bye to face Pittsburgh in Week 8.

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m. CBS
Pick: Titans
It was nice to see the Texans (1-4) again. The team had been missing in action for the first four weeks. Under interim coach Romeo Crennel, it looked rejuvenated - with a large caveat that the win came over the Jaguars. Houston might get whiplash from going from the AFC South’s worst team (Jacksonville) to its best one (Tennessee). The Titans (4-0) ended a 16-day layoff by demolishing the highly regarded Bills, and will look to stay perfect by picking up another win at home. Their D might allow Texans QB Deshaun Watson another huge day, but the Titans offense can make up for that.

Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Bengals
Baltimore rudely reminded Joe Burrow that he was still a rookie as the Bengals (1-3-1) managed just 3 points in last week’s blowout. The bad news for Burrow is that the Colts (3-2) are not much more fun to play against. But with linebacker Darius Leonard out, the point spread seems a touch too high.

Jets at Miami Dolphins, 4:05 p.m., CBS
Pick: Jets
It’s not yet clear if Sam Darnold will return from a shoulder injury, which could lead to the Jets (0-5) starting Joe Flacco at QB and ageless Frank Gore at RB. That’s a fitting tribute to the 2012 season’s Super Bowl, but not an ideal situation for a game in 2020. Regardless of who is at QB, Le’Veon Bell’s release appears to have left Gore, 37, locked in at starting RB, which defies all reason. Gore is third on the all-time NFL rushing yardage list, now with his fifth team. He’s currently the oldest active running back in the NFL.

The Dolphins (2-3) will probably win this game no matter which version of Ryan Fitzpatrick shows up – the good QB or the bad QB. But the bad version is probably itching to come out after last week’s stunner against SF.

Denver Broncos at NE Patriots, 1 p.m., CBS
Pick: Patriots
Having this game pushed off by a week led to a cascade of schedule changes, complicated the rest of the season for these two teams and contributed to the belief that the NFL was losing its grip on its bubble-less existence during a pandemic. But if you limit your view to the action on the field, the delay should make for a better game. Drew Lock has been practicing for the Broncos (1-3), but is still listed as questionable as of today (Sat 17th). The Patriots (2-2) get Cam Newton back from the Reserve/Covid-19 list, which is an immeasurable improvement over Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer. If NE gets CB Stephon Gilmore back from the list as well, the Patriots will essentially be back to full strength.

Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Panthers
Expecting the Bears (4-1) to make sense is foolish. The team has had extended periods of total incompetence, but has managed to ride a combination of good timing, a weak schedule, erratic production and luck to one of the best records in the NFL Last week, they escalated things by using their sorcery to beat a fairly decent team (TBay) in Chicago, but now they’ll be on the road against the Panthers (3-2), who aren’t perfect but shouldn’t be underestimated, even with RB Christian McCaffrey expected to miss at least one more game.

Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Vikings
Despite one confirmed positive test for Covid-19, Atlanta is proceeding as if the game will happen, though the team was working remotely just to be safe. As for the actual football, the Falcons (0-5) are probably longing for the weeks when they ran up big leads but then collapsed. Since then, they’ve simply been bad for entire games. The team’s incompetence led to Coach Dan Quinn’s firing, and while a new coach can sometimes give a team a bounce, going into Minnesota to face the Vikings (1-4) will not be any fun for Atlanta’s struggling defense. The Vikes will miss RB Dalvin Cook, who suffered a groin injury in Week 5, but this figures to be a pass-heavy game.

Detroit Lions at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Jaguars
There could be a lot of points in this game. Both teams have explosive passing games, credible running attacks and horrible Ds, which might make for some nifty highlights even if the calories are entirely empty. The Lions (1-3) are coming off a bye and have a clean injury report, while the Jaguars (1-4) are coming off four straight losses, only two of which were close. But things will probably come down to which team makes a mistake at the wrong time. Detroit has allowed an average 170.3 rushing yds a game.

Washington Football Team at Giants, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Giants
Alex Smith provided a feel-good story by returning to the field, but the veteran QB was clearly limited, which is why the Footballers (1-4) are expected to start Kyle Allen this weekend. Allen doesn’t offer much more upside, but he’s a bit more solid than Smith at this point. The team has apparently given up on Dwayne Haskins. Washington has the superior record, but the Giants (0-5) are the favorite in this game for a reason. They’ve played fairly close games against the Cowboys and the Rams in the last two weeks, and might be able to put up a fair amount of points against Washington. The state of New Jersey could finally get its first win of the season.

jerry old

redneck, but brainy
Lethe200 gives us the info to select teams to watch
Brown and Steelers-Steelers have been a good team, but, but, but, the Browns are back-Browns by 7

LA vs 49's-don't know, dogfight

Bucs playing some team, does not matte who, gott'a check Old Man Tom out

jerry old

redneck, but brainy
Maybe my mind is slipping but it seems like it's been awhile since the browns were a team to be reckoned with.

It's been forever to Brown's fans, that is changing. They have the horses, are 4-1 now.
There in the same conference with Ravens and Steelers, how would you like to play them twice a year (EEEK)

Their in a heck of a conference, kind's like NFC West with Settle, SF, LA


Senior Member
Down South
Write off the Cowboys for 2020. Dak Prescott just suffered a HORRENDOUS broken ankle. He was in tears on the cart. If it's similar to the one I had - and it looked as bad or worse - it's a compound fracture with considerable nerve damage. Gruesome photo/video.
Defense had already been doing a good job writing off the Cowboys.. As for Dak, I cried. I have been watching this young man give heart and soul since he was 18 or 19 at Mississippi State. I don't normally cry much--especially about celebrities, but have for him several times. The game on Saturday in 2013 following his mother's funeral that Wednesday. After learning of his brother's suicide earlier this year and the interview he did last month with Graham Bensinger about his brother's death.

Dak may be injured but he will give 100% to get back. He has a great big heart and a work ethic to match.
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jerry old

redneck, but brainy
Boy's are straight out of 'Heartbreak Hotel'
I swear I will not be sucked in☹ every year I come crawling back

Money is not always compensation, but he will receive 33 million dollars to sooth his injury.
His personal losses are a different matter
Original Poster
That Rookie QB Herbert, Lethe mentioned above, is definitely impressive.
Yes, his third TD, a 48-yd pass that was picture-perfect even though he was under pressure, was AMAZING!

We Niner fans have given up for the season and are just hoping to end in third place in the NFC West, sigh. It's a super-tough division but it does make for games that are fun to watch. Can't believe we got smacked by the injury bug not only in 2018 and part of 2019, but also devastated again in 2020. Sheesh......


Senior Member
Down South
I was glad to see that Dak still has another brother, who is very supportive for him. Thought you'd like to know that, too.
He does and close, supportive relatives on both sides of his family including his dad. I'll never forget the three boys in a group hug crying on the sidelines at the end of the Mississippi State game the Saturday after they buried their mom Wednesday of that week.

jerry old

redneck, but brainy
Dave A was not sure Browns were contenders...
The Bully Boys from Pittsburgh showed them, 'Your not ready yet.'
They squashed and mashed the Browns, left them crying with one touchdown.

Thought LA might give SF problems-'Nope, you'll go back to LA and lick your wounds.

Boy's and Cardinals tonight, the worst team in the NFC-West will show us just how inept the entire NFC
East has become.
All four teams in NFC-East should cancel their remaining schedule-due to embarrassment.

jerry old

redneck, but brainy
NFC East
Giants have won one game
Washington has won one game (poor guys don't have a name)
Eagles have won one game
Cowboys have won two

Dallas lost on Monday night football, changes states
NFC East, all 4 teams have won a total of 25% of their games: played 20, won 5. (n)
Don't you know other conferences are licking their lips,
'Oh boy, we get to play a NFC-East team this week.'
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Original Poster
What We Learned From Week 6 of the NFL Season Pt 1 of 2
NY Times by Benjamin Hoffman, Oct. 18, 2020 (edited for length by lethe200)
Sunday’s Top Performers

Top Passer: Matt Ryan

In Tennessee, Deshaun Watson and Ryan Tannehill each threw for more than 330 yds and four TDs. But Ryan was as good or better than either while picking up his first win of the season. In Atlanta’s first game under interim coach Raheem Morris, Ryan completed 30 of 40 passes for 371 yds and four scores, looking as good as he has at any point in the last several seasons.

Top Runner: Derrick Henry
There have only been 16 rushing TDs of 94 or more yds in NFL history. Henry now has two of them. He added a 94-yarder on Sunday to go along with his 2018 99-yarder. The supersize RB has as many 200-yard rushing games in the last three seasons as the rest of the NFL combined.

Top Receiver: Justin Jefferson
Adam Thielen was seen berating Kirk Cousins on the sideline during a disastrous first half on Sunday. But even in a loss there was a silver lining for Minnesota. Jefferson continued a terrific rookie season by catching nine of 11 passes thrown his way for 166 yds and two TDs. Jefferson has topped 100 yds receiving in three of his last four games and is part of a special draft class of WRs that is living up to its hype so far.

The Games:

Buccaneers 38, Packers 10.
Just about everything went TBay’s way, but the most stark thing about this game was the lack of pass protection for GBay. Aaron Rodgers, who had been sacked just three times over his team’s first four games, was put down four times by the Buccaneers. Rodgers finished the day with a passer rating of 35.4, the third-worst mark of his career.

It’s been 679 days since Rob Gronkowski’s last TD, but the TE found the end zone in TBay’s shocking blowout of the GBay Packers, hauling in a 12-yard diving score before doing one of his signature over-the-top spikes. He finished the day with five catches for 78 yds, both of which are his best marks for TBay, and helped his team improve to 4-2.

Titans 42, Texans 36 (OT). Has Titans RB Derrick Henry made life easy for Tannehill, who was a disappointment in Miami? Whatever it is, it’s working. The numbers in Sunday’s overtime win over Houston were eye-popping even for Tennessee. Tannehill passed for 364 yds and four TDs. Henry’s 264 total yds from scrimmage included a 94-yard TD run, a 53-yard reception in overtime and a 5-yard game-winning TD. Tennessee had 601 yds of offense - just the 38th 600-yard game since 1940, according to Pro Football Reference - and is now 5-0 this season and 12-3 since Tannehill became the team’s starting QB last season.

It’s hard to quibble with a game in which a team’s offense managed 601 total yds, but Tennessee really should be concerned about its defense, which allowed 412 yds and 36 points to a team that fired its head coach and general manager two weeks ago.

Steelers 38, Browns 7. Cleveland averaged 37.5 points over its previous four games but could do absolutely nothing against Pittsburgh, with QB Baker Mayfield looking beat up and ineffective while throwing for 119 yds, one TD and two interceptions. The teams have a chippy past, but that has not made for competitive football games. The Steelers got a pick-six from safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and big offensive from RB James Conner and rookie receiver Chase Claypool. The Steelers improved their record against the Browns to 36-7-1 since that team’s resurrection in Cleveland in 1999.

How bad were the Browns? The team came in with its best five-game start since 1994. By halftime fans had backup QB Case Keenum trending on Twitter. Cleveland did switch to Keenum in the second half, but it didn’t matter.

Colts 31, Bengals 27. Phil Rivers showed why the Colts wanted him. He stayed cool to outscore Cincinnati by 31-6 the rest of the way, throwing for 371 yds and three TDs. The Colts set the franchise’s record for largest comeback in a regular season game. Joe Burrow was the first overall pick in this year’s draft, and he’s had an impressive start to his career, regardless of his win-loss record. On Sunday, he got his team off to a 21-0 lead against the Colts. Burrow has thrown for 300 or more yds in four of his six games. He’ll be a star once his team adds some talent around him. But till then the Bengals will struggle.

Ravens 30, Eagles 28. Last week Lamar Jackson rushed for just 3 yds, dropping his season average down to 47.6 yds rushing per game after he’d averaged 80.4 a game during his 2019 MVP campaign. This Sunday he had another quiet passing day but ran the ball nine times for 108 yds and a TD. But his best was a 21-yarder with less than two minutes to play, as it gave Baltimore a first down that allowed the team to run out the clock in a game that very nearly went sideways.

Baltimore was overwhelming Philadelphia with its running game during its 17-0 start. But strangely, they almost let the Eagles pull off an upset. Philly bailed them out when Carson Wentz couldn’t run the ball in for a 2-point conversion with just under two minutes remaining.

Bears 23, Panthers 16. It has not always been pretty. In fact, it has been mostly ugly. But Chicago held off a Carolina comeback and are now 3-0 on the road and 5-1 overall. The Bears’ defense had a throwback day, forcing three turnovers including a game-saving interception in the final two minutes. In the last 10 seasons, only five of 29 teams that started 5-1 failed to make the playoffs (although one of them was the 2012 Bears).
Original Poster
What We Learned From Week 6 of the NFL Season Pt 2 of 2
NY Times by Benjamin Hoffman, Oct. 18, 2020 (edited for length by lethe200)

Falcons 40, Vikings 23. The firing of Coach Dan Quinn and the return of Julio Jones were certainly factors in Atlanta’s first win of the season. But when Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins melted down to the tune of three interceptions in the first half, that helped stake Atlanta to such a wide lead the team was in cruise control for most of the day.

Broncos 18, Patriots 12. It seemed like NE would have an easy win at home once it was announced that Cam Newton was active, but Denver got six field goals from Brandon McManus and just barely held off a comeback. Newton took his team to Denver’s 24-yard line in the final minute of the game, down by just six points, but the Patriots turned the ball over on downs when Newton’s pass to N’Keal Harry fell incomplete. The lack of speed in the Patriots receiving corps is showing the loss of Gronk, with no replacement in sight. At one point Newton was sacked only after holding onto the ball for almost seven seconds, trying to find any receiver who was open.

49ers 24, Rams 16. Clearly challenged by poor playcalling in last week’s stunning loss, Niner HC Shanahan and DC Robert Saleh did a bang-up job with their banged-up team. SF did nearly all of its damage in the first half, but it was enough. Rams pass rusher Aaron Donald was neutralized by having Jimmy Garoppolo get rid of the ball quickly. The secondary got a boost from Emmanuel Moseley’s return from IR to shut down the Rams receivers. The win didn’t stop SF’s lousy luck. Afterwards it was announced that Mostert, their best and most explosive offensive player, was out for at least a month with a high ankle sprain. Yes, the Niners lead the NFL in those too – four players with high ankle sprains already. They also lost Ben Garland, center, indefinitely. Garland is the back-up to the back-up to the first-string center, who happens to be out for the season.

DC Saleh might have to start shanghaiing big guys off the streets to fill all the holes that keep appearing. In case anyone thinks the Niners fans are just whining about bad luck with injuries, the Sunday Night Football analysts highlighted the pain with a graphic...well, graphic. And after Game 6, it got.....worse (updated by lethe200):
  • The Niners have 24 players on IR: most in the NFL. Of those 24, 15 are either first- or second-string/relief players. Just for contrast, NE has 12 players on injury report and Cincinnati has 7.
  • In 6 games the Niners have used 67 players: again most in the NFL. And now they need to sign another center.
  • In their first five games they’ve had five different secondary combinations. They have also used all three QBs.
It’s probably a miracle SF has even won 3 games, at the rate the cart keeps carrying them off the field.

Dolphins 24, Jets 0. The Jets were absolutely crushed by Miami. They fell to 0-6 for just the second time in franchise history. They lack a game on their schedule that looks winnable. Coach Adam Gase doubtless has the worst job security in the NFL. It was the full Ryan Fitzpatrick experience, as Miami’s veteran QB threw for three TDs, was intercepted twice, then did a Patrick Mahomes impersonation by completing a short left-handed pass. Tua Tagovailoa made his NFL debut, to mop up a laugher. And Fitzpatrick was leading the cheers for the rookie who will eventually replace him.

Lions 34, Jaguars 16. Matthew Stafford threw a TD pass - he now has one against all 31 teams besides Detroit - D’Andre Swift ran for 116 yds and the Lions won so convincingly that Jacksonville Coach Doug Marrone acknowledged afterwards his job may be in jeopardy.

Giants 20, Footballers 19. The state of New Jersey will not go winless in 2020. It was not an impressive win, and there’s little reason to expect it to happen again this season. But the Giants hung on 20-19 over the Washington Football Team. Coming into the game the Giants and Jets were both 0-5 for the first time in their shared history, so this 1-point win over one of the NFL’s worst teams qualifies as a high point for the co-tenants of MetLife Stadium.

Monday Night Football

Cardinals 38, Cowboys 10.
AZ went to 4-2 while Dallas slipped the wrong way to 2-4. QB Kyle Murray used his speed and his arm despite lukewarm stats of 9 passes for 188 yds total. Cards RB Kenyan Drake enjoyed a breakout game, rushing 20 times for 164 yards and two scores. The biggest story was AZ’s defense: four forced turnovers (two fumbles, two interceptions) and a missed FG try. They kept QB Andy Dalton uncomfortable, and two turnovers from RB Ezekiel Elliott only exacerbated the issue. AZ Safety Budda Baker had a spectacular individual performance: He flew around the field all night, tallying seven tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and an interception.

For the losing cause, Dalton finished 34 of 54 through the air for 266 yards, one touchdown to Amari Cooper (seven receptions, 79 yards) and two interceptions. Elliott finished with 12 carries for 49 yards.

Chiefs 26, Bills 17. Even Buffalo’s rain couldn’t slow down the Chiefs. KC rolled up 245 rushing yards, 161 of them by rookie tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Coach Andy Reid never has been known for his commitment to the running game and the Chiefs have had to patch together their offensive line, especially after RT Mitchell Schwartz exited the game with a back injury. But there was still aerials to see. Mahomes contributed a pair of first-half touchdown passes to TE Travis Kelce. Overall, he connected on 21 of 26 throws for 225 yards. Kicker Harrison Butker missed an extra point but provided a pair of fourth-quarter FGs. The Chiefs bounced back from their defeat eight days earlier to the Las Vegas Raiders and upped their record to 5-1.


Top Passer: Matt Ryan
^^^ I would not have guessed that!

Top Runner: Derrick Henry
^^^ I would have guessed that! He's something to watch.

Top Receiver: Justin Jefferson
^^^ I wouldn't have guessed that! :ROFLMAO:
Good but not on my top list.

Titans 42, Texans 36 (OT).
^^^Did either teams' Defenses play in that game? :sneaky:

(Poor Houston fans! 36 points and close, but lost, again :rolleyes: )

Dolphins 24, Jets 0.
Did the Jets play in that game? :LOL:
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Original Poster
NFL Week 7 Predictions Pt 1 of 2
A matchup of 5-0 teams in Tennessee is the week’s main event. And maybe a potential upset in Arizona as Kyler Murray leads his upstart Cardinals against the 5-0 Seahawks.
NYTimes by Benjamin Hoffman Oct. 22, 2020 (edited by lethe200)

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals, Sunday Night Football on NBC
UPDATE due to revised time for Raiders/TBay game
Pick: Seahawks
As dominant as the Seahawks’ (5-0) offense has been this season, Seattle is not exactly running away with games. The team’s average margin of victory is 6.8 pts, while every opponent has scored at least 23 pts. Currently the 3-3 Dolphins (+47) are one of eight teams that have a better point differential than the 5-0 Seahawks (+34).

Close games are not a good idea with Kyler Murray and the Cardinals (4-2), who are never far from a quick score. Murray is starting to live up to his hype, rushing for six TDs and leading the NFL with 7.3 yds per carry while improving his passing statistics across the board from last season. Both teams can clearly score. Arizona has shown surprisingly more ability to defend. So playing at home, it seems odd AZ is an underdog.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m., CBS
Pick: Steelers
Pittsburgh (5-0) and their throwbacks: uniforms, QB, defense and roster construction – will take their retro approach to Tennessee. The Titans (5-0) are powered by a power running game centered on RB Derrick Henry, who will face the NFL’s most efficient run defense. The Steelers have not allowed an opposing RB to top 100 yds rushing this season, and only allowed it just three times total over the last three years.

Never rule out a big performance from Henry, who is known for pushing his way through hard contact with ease. But Pittsburgh is a far more complete team than Tennessee and is a worthy favorite on the road.

GBay Packers at Houston Texans, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Packers
Coming off what was arguably the second-worst start of his career, Aaron Rodgers is likely very angry. He was under constant pressure from TBay’s defense, was sacked more times in that game (four) than he had been in the previous four games combined (three). He threw multiple interceptions for just the 16th time in his career.

For an idea of how unusual that was for Rodgers, the two interceptions equaled his total from the entire 2018 season and raised his interception rate this year to 1.15 percent, which is still the fourth lowest rate among players who have attempted 100 or more passes.

The Texans (1-5) have allowed 13 passing TDs this season (tied for 28th in the NFL) and have just one interception (tied for 32nd). If the Packers (4-1) can cobble together a way to keep J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus away from Rodgers, he should be able to pick apart Houston’s defense with ease. But that is suddenly a large if.

TBay Buccaneers at LVegas Raiders
Pick: Buccaneers
***UPDATE*** The Bucs Sunday night game is moved from primetime due to Raiders COVID-19 uncertainty. The entire offensive line of the Raiders is in isolation with contact tracing. If the game is played, depending upon repeat negative tests, it will be played Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET on FOX.

The Buccaneers (4-2) signed Tom Brady because he rarely makes mistakes (1.4 percent interception rate since 2009), has shown steady leadership, and he can still stretch a field, when he needs to. He just doesn’t do it very often. TBay knows its youthful defense is its future, and the team showed its potential in last week’s dismantling of GBay. TBay was uneven enough in its first five games that it shouldn’t be anointed a contender just yet, but a prime time win on the road against the scrappy Raiders (3-2) might get them there.

Thursday’s Matchup
Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
, 8:20 p.m., Fox, NFL Network and Prime Video
Pick: Eagles
After watching how poorly Dallas played on Monday night, Philly (1-4-1) has to believe the NFC East is 100 percent winnable despite having just one win through six weeks. They have a QB capable of making great plays, a defense capable of forcing errors, and even with RB Miles Sanders out with a knee injury, Philadelphia can likely beat the Giants (1-5) by pounding the ball with Boston Scott and waiting for Daniel Jones to make a few mistakes.

With a win, the Eagles could potentially take control of their division in a Week 8 matchup with the Cowboys. They just have to stay focused in this game and not let a lesser team beat them at home.

Sunday’s Other Games
KC Chiefs at Denver Broncos
, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Pick: Chiefs
In Week 6, Drew Lock of the Broncos (2-3) beat the Pats last week in Foxborough. But Lock’s passer rating was 34.9 and all of Denver’s points came on FGs. That will not work against Mahomes and the Chiefs (5-1). But KC often plays down to its opponents level, so Denver may make a game of it for at least a couple of quarters.

Coach Andy Reid said newly signed RB Le’Veon Bell may not play on Sunday, but he was activated and will share the field with Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Could his career be reborn in KC? Anything is possible with Mahomes and Reid. But it is not a given.

SF 49ers at NE Patriots, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Pick: Patriots
The 49ers (3-3) desperately want last week to be an indication of their quality, and the Patriots (2-3) are hoping the opposite is true for them. SF opened a big early lead and cruised to a win over the Rams. NE lost at home to Denver despite Cam Newton being given several easy chances to push his team ahead. The truth for both teams is probably somewhere in the middle. The 49ers’ offense needs more from QB Jimmy Garoppolo, and its defense is missing too many important players. The Patriots may not be a top contender, but they’re not “scoring just 12 points against Denver” level bad.

If RB Raheem Mostert were available, this game would have upset potential. But with SF starting a third-string RB, and Newton having shaken off some rust, NE should take care of business at home.
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Original Poster
NFL Week 7 Predictions Pt 2 of 2
NYTimes by Benjamin Hoffman Oct. 22, 2020 (edited by lethe200)

Buffalo Bills at Jets, 1 p.m., CBS
Pick: Bills
People have stopped talking about Josh Allen as a candidate for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award. His outrageous four-game start to the season has given way to consecutive disappointing games, and a pair of losses for the Bills (4-2). To be fair, losing to the superior offenses of KC and Tennessee is not an indictment of Allen or his teammates. The Bills’ fireworks should return in earnest vs the Jets (0-6). Gang Green has no one capable of slowing down WRs Stefon Diggs, John Brown and Cole Beasley. Buffalo may want to work out some of its recent frustration on the worst team in the NFL.

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Saints
Alvin Kamara may want to stretch his legs before this game. The Panthers (3-3) “only” allow 121.3 yds rushing a game - 18th-best in the NFL - but in terms of efficiency they are far worse. They allow an average of 4.9 yds a carry (27th) and have conceded nine rushing TDs (tied for 29th), leaving them rated as the 26th most efficient run defense by Football Outsiders. If the Saints (3-2) want to rest their passing game for a week, Kamara could exploit those weaknesses and carry the team to a slightly narrower win than oddsmakers predicted.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Pick: Chargers
This is a matchup of very different one-win teams. The Jaguars (1-5) have lost five straight, have cooled off on offense after a strongish start and have the worst defense in the NFL There is some reason for optimism in the distant future considering the potential of RB James Robinson and the WRs D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault Jr. But that optimism turning into anything meaningful would involve replacing Gardner Minshew at QB and just about every player on the team’s defense.

The Chargers (1-4) have lost four in a row, but have an extremely bright future with QB Justin Herbert. All four losses were within a TD, twice going to OT. Coming out of a bye week, Los Angeles has several winnable games ahead. The team could theoretically go from a basement-dweller to a fringe playoff contender should Herbert and his solid group of targets (Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Hunter Henry) stay healthy. Look for a narrow victory.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m., CBS
Pick: Browns
No one throws cold water on enthusiasm quite like the Browns (4-2). Cleveland got off to its best five-game start since 1994 but then proceeded to get demolished so brutally by Pittsburgh last week that Case Keenum, the backup QB, was trending on Twitter by halftime. That might be an overreaction, as Cleveland’s offense should feast on the Bengals (1-4-1), whom they beat by 35-30 in Week 2. But with four games of 32 or more points, and two games of 7 or fewer, it would be fair to label Cleveland as an exciting team that isn’t ready for true contender status.

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Cowboys
The NFC East is so bad that even after last week’s humiliation at the hands of the Cardinals, the Cowboys (2-4) stayed in first place. And they can cement themselves there by beating the lowly Footballers (1-5) on the road.

There was a lot to not like about Dallas’s performance on Monday night. The pass protection was awful, forcing Andy Dalton into numerous throws he’d like back. And even the throws Dalton had time for didn’t look very good. Ezekiel Elliott made costly mistakes and the Cowboys’ defense made Arizona’s offense look like that of the Baltimore Ravens. There are even rumblings the team is desperately unhappy with Coach Mike McCarthy, who is six games into a five-year contract.

Dalton is not what he once was, but he is probably not as bad as he looked on Monday. Elliott has declined over the last few seasons, but he is not typically a liability. And Dallas, should the team be able to sort out some of those issues, still has an absurd collection of pass-catchers. If that isn’t enough to beat the Footballers, who according to Football Outsiders have the third-worst offense in the NFL, then this division will be even more chaotic - and pointless - the rest of the season.

Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Falcons
Teams often get a boost from firing a struggling coach. But to say Raheem Morris taking over for Dan Quinn was the key to the Falcons (1-5) getting their first win of the season would be to ignore the return of receiver Julio Jones to the team’s lineup, and the fact that Vikings QB Kirk Cousins appeared to confuse Atlanta’s defensive backs with his own WRs. But regardless of whom should receive credit, the Falcons have a chance for a second win when they host the Lions (2-3).

Detroit has a more interesting offense than it has had in recent seasons because of the emergence of RB D’Andre Swift and the veteran presence of Adrian Peterson. And the team has won two of its last three games, so it’s not surprising that the point spread is fairly close. But with Jones and Calvin Ridley wreaking havoc on the Lions’ secondary, Atlanta should be able to win even if Detroit’s defense repeats last week’s success in slowing down the run.

Monday’s Matchup
Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams
, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Pick: Rams
Are the Bears (5-1) better than anyone thought? Nothing about the team’s offense indicates that future opponents have anything to fear, but the Bears’ defense is legitimate enough that you can’t completely write off their success. Going on the road to face the Rams (4-2) should be a good test for Chicago. Los Angeles has several ways to beat a team offensively. With Rams pass rusher Aaron Donald likely smarting from his disappointing performance in last week’s loss to SF, it could be a very long day for Chicago’s Nick Foles.