2021-2 NFL Pro Football (pls, no other sports!)

Lethe200

Senior Member
True, few masks at the stadiums, but most have good ventilation and that's one of the keys. Now, inside a crowded bar (at the stadium or elsewhere), that may be another matter. But that's a topic for the Coronavirus COVID thread, please. Fans of all sports are trying hard to pretend this is 'just another season', LOL!

Here's the NYTimes Week 1 predictions:
NFL Week 1 Predictions: Our Picks Against the Spread - Pt 1 of 2 posts
Dueling Alabama QBs and a rematch of January’s Browns-Chiefs playoff game make for a compelling start to the regular season.
NY Times, Updated Sept. 10, 2021

Here’s a look at Week 1, with all picks made against the spread by Emmanuel Morgan, the new columnist who takes over the duty for the 2021 season.

Thursday’s Game: Buccaneers 31, Cowboys 29
We picked the Bucs, expecting a shootout but thought the Cowboys D wouldn’t be ready vs a seasoned TBay crew with all 22 starters from their SB win. Prescott found himself dodging the Buccaneers pass rush often Thursday, but he threw for 403 yds and three TDs in a loss.

It took a classic Brady drive in the final 1:22 for TBay to seal the win. If Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein had not missed two FGs, the game could have gone the other way.

Sunday’s Best Games

Cleveland Browns at KC, 4:25 p.m., CBS


Winner: Chiefs

A rematch of last yr’s AFC divisional playoff gives new players on Cleveland and KC the opportunity to show their value. DE Jadeveon Clowney, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who is playing for his fourth team in four years, will try to pressure Patrick Mahomes. KC’s upgraded OL - it has five new projected starters, including tackle Orlando Brown and guard Joe Thuney - looks to prevent jarring hits like the one in last yr’s playoff game that sent Mahomes into the concussion protocol.

Odell Beckham Jr.’s return from a knee injury will give KC’s defense another threat to account for. But if Mahomes is well protected, it will be risky to bet against him.

GBay Packers at New Orleans Saints (kinda), 4:25 p.m., Fox
Winner: Packers
Hurricane Ida caused this game to be relocated to Jacksonville FL. The Packers and a disgruntled Aaron Rodgers finally settled their differences for perhaps one final try at a Super Bowl. The Saints, who have operated in Texas since late August, begin the post-Drew Brees era with Jameis Winston at QB. His test will be finding targets to carry the load of Michael Thomas, the team’s top receiver who is out for six weeks after having foot surgery in the off-season. The Packers have had roster continuity, giving Rodgers even more of an edge.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m., CBS
Winner: Bills
The Steelers deteriorated toward the end of last yr, while the Bills improved. Pittsburgh drafted Najee Harris to boost an abysmal rushing attack that netted only 3.6 yds an attempt, ranking last in the league. But QB Josh Allen’s ascent into being one of the league’s best players should continue with Buffalo’s addition of WR Emmanuel Sanders to complement Stefon Diggs, who led the NFL in receiving yds and catches last yr. Bills fans should get their tables ready.

AZ Cardinals at Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m., CBS
Winner: Titans
Julio Jones. Derrick Henry. AJ Brown. The Cardinals’ defense will be the first unit to try to contain this high-powered offense. Will it focus on stopping Henry and creep defenders close to the line of scrimmage? Will it double-team Jones and leave Brown in man coverage? Vice versa? Regardless of the strategy, AZ will do so with a young LB corps and questions at CB after Patrick Peterson departed in free agency and his replacement, Malcolm Butler, retired during training camp. Even with JJ Watt on the edge, countering the Titans’ attack will be more than the Cardinals can handle so early in the season.

Chicago Bears at LA Rams, 8:20 p.m., NBC
Winner: Rams
The Rams and the Bears added veteran QBs in the off-season. LA fans embraced Matthew Stafford as their hope to reach the Super Bowl, while the Bears faithful called unsuccessfully for Andy Dalton to be benched for the rookie Justin Fields. Perhaps Coach Matt Nagy is showing Fields mercy as he starts Dalton against a Rams defense anchored by Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. That unit led the NFL in nearly every statistical category last yr and, despite losing some free agents, there is enough talent to frustrate Dalton in prime time.

Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m., Fox
Winner: Seahawks
The Colts hoped new scenery would resurrect the 2017 version of Carson Wentz, who helped lead the Eagles in the regular season on a run to a title. But a foot injury and a stint on the Covid list robbed him of valuable training camp reps with his new teammates. He’ll face a Seahawks defense that surrendered the second-most passing yds in the league to opposing teams last yr but hopes LB Bobby Wagner and safety Jamal Adams can turn the unit into a more consistent threat. Adams’s 9.5 sacks last yr were the most ever by a DB.

Seattle will lure opponents into trying to keep up with the scoring pace of Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, as it did last year. Wentz will be the first to find out how much tougher that has become.
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
Sunday’s Other Games – Pt 2 of 2 posts

LA Chargers at Washington Footballers, 1 p.m., CBS
Winner: Chargers
Oddsmakers predict this will be a tossup because the Chargers enter this season as an unknown under their new coach, Brandon Staley. On paper, the team should improve with QB Justin Herbert, the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Award winner; a remodeled OL; and the return of safety Derwin James. But it may take time for the team to fully grasp Staley’s system and for the OL to jell. Blocking Washington’s pass rush, led by Chase Young, last yr’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award winner, is a tough first task.

Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m., Fox
Winner: Falcons
The Eagles placed their faith in Jalen Hurts when they traded Carson Wentz to the Colts, and selected his former Alabama teammate DeVonta Smith in the first round of the draft to boost an unproductive receiving corps. They’ll relish going up against a Falcons defense that allowed the most passing yds in the league last yr.

Atlanta focused on improving its offense in the draft, selecting #4 pick TE Kyle Pitts, and it’s possible that could carry the Falcons in this game. But it is also possible that Philadelphia can upset a team that is somewhere between rebuilding and contending.

Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m., Fox
Winner: Vikings
The Bengals elected to reunite QB Joe Burrow with his Louisiana State teammate receiver Ja’Marr Chase in the draft rather than pick up an OL man to protect him as he returns from major knee surgery. Chase caught only one of five targets in the preseason; the rookie attributed the drops to a lack of concentration. That excuse makes sense with Chase adjusting to playing again after opting out of the 2020 college football season. But his acclimation to the NFL intensifies against a secondary which now includes CB Patrick Peterson, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection.

SF 49ers at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m., Fox
Winner: 49ers
It’s full rebuild mode in Detroit where the team’s new coach, Dan Campbell, helms a D that ranked last in yds allowed last yr. He needs to restore the confidence of Jared Goff, 26, a franchise QB the Rams sent packing in the off-season.

That fledgling experiment will be fodder for the 49ers’ elite motion-based rush and a SF defense sharpening its teeth after being wiped out by injuries last yr. Coach Kyle Shanahan has elected to start Jimmy Garoppolo over rookie Trey Lance, but either QB could win this one.

Jets at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., CBS
Winner: Panthers
Sam Darnold gets an early opportunity to show his former team what he could have been with quality coaching and a consistent receiver. Rusher Christian McCaffrey is back after missing much of the 2020 season with various injuries, and Darnold has one of the league’s most underrated receiving duos in DJ Moore and Robby Anderson, both 1K yarders last yr. Zach Wilson, drafted as the Jets #2 pick to replace Darnold, has his work cut out for him.

Miami Dolphins at NE Patriots, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Winner: Patriots
The Dolphins added receiving threats in Will Fuller V and Jaylen Waddle to help second-year QB Tua Tagovailoa’s development as a downfield passer. But that may not be evident in his first game this season against the Patriots, as Coach Bill Belichick will surely try to confuse the young passer.

Tagovailoa faces his Alabama successor Mac Jones, who so impressed NE coaching staff with his ability to process information before and after the snap, tht they released Cam Newton at the end of camp. Jones will need that savvy against Miami’s aggressive defense.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans, 1 p.m., CBS
Winner: Jaguars
The Texans officially named vet journeyman Tyrod Taylor as starting QB, relegating Deshaun Watson to the bench. Their cloudy QB situation contrasts with Jacksonville’s. The Jaguars’ optimism over Trevor Lawrence, the #1 draft pick, is high. The buzz surrounding him and rookie NFL coach Urban Meyer should pick up even more after they face a Houston defense that ranked 30th in yds allowed last yr and got worse after releasing JJ Watt.

Denver Broncos at Giants, 4:25 p.m., Fox
Winner: Broncos
The Giants’ assessment of Daniel Jones as the franchise’s future gets real insight as he faces a Broncos defense rife with talent. LB Von Miller returns from an ankle injury that sidelined him last yr, and his presence could disrupt Jones from finding new teammates like receiver Kenny Golladay and TE Kyle Rudolph. Those additions, along with Pro Bowl RB Saquon Barkley’s returning to the lineup, should help the third-year starting QB as the season progresses. But against the Broncos’ defense, which should be on the field less because of the risk-averse play of Teddy Bridgewater, it may not be enough.

Monday’s Matchup

Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders, 8:15 p.m., ESPN & ABC

Winner: Ravens
The Ravens lost depth at RB when starter J.K. Dobbins and reserve Justice Hill both sustained season-ending injuries in training camp. But QB Lamar Jackson still commands respect as a runner and passer. Monday provides him and the team an opportunity to showcase the evolution of their scheme with the addition of veteran receiver Sammy Watkins. Las Vegas gave up 389 yds a game last yr, ranking 30th in the league. The unit hopes to have improved under new DC Gus Bradley and DL Yannick Ngakoue, but the Ravens’ experience should give them an edge.
 

Don M.

Well-known Member
Location
central Missouri
I was just happy to see the Chiefs start the season with a win. They looked kind of disorganized for the first 3 quarters, but managed to get their game together in the 4th quarter, and eke out a win. Now, if they can do the same for the rest of the season...
 

Gemma

Well-known Member
Location
PA
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m., CBS
Winner: Bills
The Steelers deteriorated toward the end of last yr, while the Bills improved. Pittsburgh drafted Najee Harris to boost an abysmal rushing attack that netted only 3.6 yds an attempt, ranking last in the league. But QB Josh Allen’s ascent into being one of the league’s best players should continue with Buffalo’s addition of WR Emmanuel Sanders to complement Stefon Diggs, who led the NFL in receiving yds and catches last yr. Bills fans should get their tables ready.
Their prediction was off. Winner: Steelers, 23 -16.
Bills coach stated Tomlin just out coached him. Was happy to see the Steelers off to a good start.
 
I was just happy to see the Chiefs start the season with a win. They looked kind of disorganized for the first 3 quarters, but managed to get their game together in the 4th quarter, and eke out a win. Now, if they can do the same for the rest of the season...
The Chiefs get opportunities and have Mahomes to eek out a win. The offensive line looks better than what was at the Super Bowl but the defense is leaky.
 

jerry old

Texas Crude
I was just happy to see the Chiefs start the season with a win. They looked kind of disorganized for the first 3 quarters, but managed to get their game together in the 4th quarter, and eke out a win. Now, if they can do the same for the rest of the season...
Cleveland is far too used to losing, they had the game in hand but choked ;
KC and Cleveland are playoff teams; I still do not trust Mayfield.
Never write Steelers or Ravens off.
Really like to see them bump heads
 
I am no fan of Tom Brady either, but I have to admit the man is blessed. I absolutely hated him when he was playing for the Patriots.
I didn't care for Brady when he played for the Pats. However, the guy is now 44, yet still tantalizing defenses and outshines opposing quarterbacks. Some half his age. His healthy habits (and good genes) certainly continue to payoff.
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
Yes, many interesting games for Week 1!

What We Learned From Week 1 of the NFL Season (Pt 1 of 2)
NY Times Sept. 13, 2021

Steelers 23, Bills 16
The Bills were primed for the next step with Josh Allen as the future. They went for a fourth-and-1 with a 10-6 lead – and the Steelers D killed the play dead. Then Steelers got a pair of TDs, shutting down the Bills to two FGs. A Steelers FG iced the win. In opening his 18th and perhaps final season, Roethlisberger posted his 36th career fourth-quarter comeback to tie Drew Brees for third on the NFL list. He finished 18 of 32 for 188 yards and a TD. Last year Pittsburgh’s D gave them an 11-0 start. Time will tell if we see a replay. TJ Watt was worth the big contract; he accounted for five of the eight QB hits on Allen.

Saints 38, Packers 3
The Saints’ shellacking of the Packers isn’t the shock you think. The Saints’ QB Jameis Winston is eager for this second chance. With Coach Sean Payton, a strong defense and a competitive spirit to rival anyone in the league, former #1 pick Winston outplayed a disinterested Rodgers. Winston didn’t throw much but he was unbelievably efficient: 148 yds, five TDs and no interceptions on 14-of-20 passing. The Saints also blasted GBay for 173 rushing yds.

Seattle 28, Indianapolis 16
Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks nearly divorced last year. Instead, Wilson and the Seahawks realized they were at their best together and everyone’s hope was that a new OC, Shane Waldron, would pull things together. Russell Wilson started with an MVP’s touch to shred one of last year’s Top 10 defenses: 18 of 23 completions for 254 yds, four TDs, no interceptions and a 152.3 rating. Wilson’s 69-yard moon ball TD pass to Tyler Lockett was a thing of beauty, too, traveling 60 yds in the air. This may be his final season in Seattle, but what a season it could be.

Sunday’s games:

Rams 34, Bears 14 Rams
Coach Sean McVay put his job on the line when he traded Jared Goff and a boatload of draft capital for Matthew Stafford, who amassed a 74-90-1 record over 12 seasons in Detroit. Yet for one week, at least, McVay looks like an offensive guru again. Stafford was flawless in a 321-yard, three-TD performance Sunday night while Chicago kept rookie QB Justin Fields on ice behind Andy Dalton.

Texans 37, Jaguars 21
All Hail Jack Easterby! Or … something like that (he’s the EVP of the Texans). The Houston Texans are a train wreck but they’ll take this one. The Jaguars #1 pick Trevor Lawrence became the first rookie quarterback to start an opener in their franchise history. It was a bumpy debut during which he threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns but also tossed three interceptions, often overthrew open receivers and was the victim of several drops.

Cardinals 38, Titans 13
Cards QB Kyler Murray scored five TDs and linebacker Chandler Jones had a career-high five sacks as the Cardinals dominated the Titans for a big road win. Jones, who wants a new contract, had three sacks in an outstanding first quarter. He also forced two fumbles the Cardinals turned into 14 points. AZ HC Kliff Kingsbury is one of the smartest offensive minds in football. His clinic of a win over Tennessee may be a sign of things to come, not an aberration. It needs to be, as he’s currently the third-favorite bet to be the first HC fired this year, with only Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy and Broncos HC Vic Fangio ahead of him on the betting lists. The pink slips await.

Eagles 32, Falcons 6
Just when you want to stick another fork into Eagles GM Howie Roseman, his new-look offense shreds Atlanta. The Eagles made a winner of HC Nick Sirianni in his debut with a rout of the hapless Falcons. Jalen Hurts (264 passing yds, 62 rushing yds, three TDs) was unstoppable and Matt Ryan was, well, an aging Matt Ryan. Atlanta could have hit reset last April, but instead passed on Ohio State’s QB Justin Fields in a missed opportunity.

49ers 41, Lions 33
49ers Coach Kyle Shanahan proved again he can plug anyone in at RB. Put that waiver claim in for Elijah Mitchell, fantasy players. This offensive machine could churn out 100-plus rushing yds with you and me lining up in the “I” formation. But a sloppy second half almost proved the Niners’ undoing, and Kyle has some work to do to offset the loss of the brilliant DC Robert Saleh, who jumped to HC the Jets for 2021.

Bengals 27, Vikings 24 (OT)
Cincinnati’s Ja’Marr Chase caught five passes for 101 yds and a TD in the win over Minnesota. Joe Burrow was sharp in his return from a torn ACL, completing 20 of 27 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Joe Mixon rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. Rookie first-rounder Ja’Marr Chase had five catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. This Bengals offense is going to be a lot of fun. As for the Vikings, OT heartbreak is nothing new, is it? Sadly, no.

Chargers 20, Washington 16
Justin Herbert is the only QB in NFL history with 400 completions over his first 16 starts. Herbert threw for 337 yards and a score (albeit with one interception), Keenan Allen caught nine passes for 100 yards, and the Chargers managed to hang on in a back-and-forth bout. Kenneth Murray led LAC’s defense with 10 total tackles and Derwin James was second with seven. Joey Bosa recorded the team’s only sack of the day. It was an ugly game full of turnovers and big penalties, but a win for LAC nonetheless.
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
Finishing up:

What We Learned From Week 1 of the NFL Season (Pt 2 of 2)
NY Times Sept. 13, 2021

Panthers 19, Jets 14
Hopefully Zach Wilson was able to chat with Sam Darnold privately after the Jets’ loss to Carolina. The rookie QB was dealt all the same issues Darnold had in NY: shoddy pass protection, bad luck, defeat. And Wilson, sacked six times on Sunday, may be without his best lineman: LT Mekhi Becton was carted off. Feasting on his old team, Darnold threw for 279 yards and a TD, and also ran for another score as the Panthers defeated the Jets to win their first season opener since 2018.

Broncos 27, Giants 13
Good to see Teddy Bridgewater dropping dimes. Bridgewater was discarded by Carolina and is starting for his fourth NFL team, looking like nobody’s castaway as he picked apart what we all thought would be a stingy Giants defense for 264 yds and two scores. In his first game since Week 2 of last season, Giants RB Saquon Barkley rushed for only 26 yds on 10 carries.

Dolphins 17, Patriots 16
Every team should practice strip drills every day. With the Patriots driving to win, ex-Pat cornerback Eric Rowe ripped the ball out of Damien Harris’s grasp at the Miami 9-yard line. Patriots rookie QB Mac Jones looked sharp: 29 of 39 for 281 yards and a TD. Damien Harris rushed 23 times for 100 yards, but had the costly fumble to end NE’s comeback hopes. Pats’ rebuilt defense was an improvement over last year, but that one play decided the game. Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa finished 16 of 27 for 202 yards, a TD and one interception, and also had a 3-yard TD run

Chiefs 33, Browns 29
Did anyone really doubt the Chiefs would detonate for 23 points in the second half to beat Cleveland? One moment, you’re feeling good. Your game plan’s working. The next, Patrick Mahomes is under pressure but chucks a bomb to Tyreek Hill across his body for a TD. Mahomes, with one shoulder pad sticking out, jacks up the crowd. And your soul exits your body. Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield threw for 321 yards, but he was picked off by Chiefs cornerback Mike Hughes with 1:09 left to end any hope of a comeback.

(Okay, the following is long. I’m a Raiders fan [among other teams] and this was one of those ending-with-a-BIG-bang games where the action was hot and heavy from Q4 through OT)

Monday Night Football: Raiders 33, Ravens 27 in OT
QB Derek Carr gave the Raiders a dramatic win over Ravens in the first game before fans at Allegiant Stadium in LVegas. Carr completed 34 of 56 passes for 435 yards and two touchdowns and an interception for LVegas. Lamar Jackson completed 19 of 30 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 86 yards on 12 carries. However, he lost two fumbles for the Ravens, both of which were turned into Raider TDs. It was a wild back-and-forth Q4 with the Raiders rallying to tie the game three separate times.

The OT was the same, with the Raiders apparently scoring a TD only to be disallowed, then losing the ball on an interception. But when Jackson dropped back to pass he was hit by Raider Carl Nassib, the first openly gay player in the NFL, and fumbled. The Raiders were back in business. HC Gruden decided to kick a FG – but nobody could find the Raiders kicker (he was warming up in the net, as it turned out)! So Gruden sent the offense back onto the field. Carr, with one of the strongest arms in the NFL, immediately lofted a ball to a wide-open Zay Jones, who slipped in for the winning TD.

The loss capped a rough stretch for the Ravens, who have had a run of injuries that sidelined top three running backs J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, as well as cornerback Marcus Peters, for the season.
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
The Broncos looked pretty good on Sunday! They completely dominated the Giants! If Bridgewater can stay healthy and consistent, the Broncos should have a good season.
Agreed. They are also favored this coming Sunday, facing the Jaguars.

I have always liked Bridgewater, ever since I first saw him with the Vikings. He came back from a horrific injury (see Bridgewater Knee Reconstructive Surgery) and I think has been consistently underrated ever since. Not the greatest QB ever, certainly no HoF'er, but reliable and experienced, with proven leadership.

I like Drew Lock - great arm - but a QB also needs "smarts" (what they now call a 'high football IQ') and the ability to read defenses. Bridgewater won the 2021 starting position fair and square, and I wish him all the best; he deserves it.

This was a fun read comparing Lock vs Bridgewater prior to Game 1: Denver Broncos Quarterback Competition
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
And we're off to looking at Week #2!

NFL Week 2 Predictions Pt 1 of 2
NY Times Sept. 16, 2021
The first week of the NFL season gave fans enough drama to make up for seven months of off-season inactivity. Nine underdogs upset their opponents and several games had Q4 drama. Week 2 has playoff-caliber teams on Sunday, divisional rivals on Thursday and other matchups with postseason implications down the line. Note: All times are Eastern.

KC at Baltimore Ravens, 8:20p, NBC
Pick: KC
The Ravens will be watching game 1 tapes of Raiders DE Maxx Crosby making mayhem in their backfield. He sacked Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson twice and hit him five other times, easily beating OT Alejandro Villanueva.

The same porous Baltimore OL will now collide with KC’s elite pass rusher, Chris Jones, who sacked Baker Mayfield twice in Week 1 after shifting to DE from his natural spot on the interior line. If that line cannot protect Jackson against KC’s D, then good luck trying to keep scoring pace with Patrick Mahomes, who has beaten Baltimore their last three meetings.

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins, 1p, Fox
Pick: Bills
After watching Josh Allen absorb three sacks and eight other hits from the Steelers defense last week, Coach Sean McDermott must adjust the protection to keep his franchise QB upright. Lurking in the Dolphins secondary will be CB Xavien Howard. Howard’s forced fumble and recovery in Q4 against the Patriots broke that game open for the Dolphins’ Week 1 win. Allen and the Bills (0-1) should keep their SB hopes alive, but it will be close.

Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks, 4:25p, CBS
Pick: Seahawks
The Titans’ experiment of adding receiver Julio Jones to Derrick Henry’s offense failed in Week 1, as the two combined for 106 total yds. After giving up five sacks to Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones, Next Gen Stats gave big ammunition to those who thought the Titans’ OL holes need to be fixed fast. Tannehill often shows real talent but his stats drop like a rock under pressure, and last week the Cards hounded Tannehill like bears after honey. There are also questions about new OC Todd Downing, who was loathed by Raider fans for unimaginative offensive schemes. Those problems may be correctable, especially if Downing remembers Tannehill is one of the better play-action passers. More concerning was how Tennessee’s defense watched Kyler Murray throw for 289 yds and five TDs (four passing, one rushing). It’s fair to assume that same defense will struggle vs Seattle’s MVP-candidate Russell Wilson, who threw four TD passes against a tough Colts defense last week.

LA Rams at Indianapolis Colts, 1p, Fox
Pick: Rams
Russell Wilson made one of the league’s better defenses look bad in Week 1. Indianapolis must now prepare for the offensive calculus of Rams HC Sean McVay, who finally has a QB who can execute his schemes. As Matthew Stafford dissected the Bears’ secondary for 321 yds and three TDs in a 34-14 victory last week, he looked more comfortable than ever throwing downfield strikes. The Colts (0-1) signed the veteran safety Andrew Sendejo this week to help patch the secondary, but having to defend against two aggressive QBs in back-to-back weeks seems too tough a task.

Dallas Cowboys at LA Chargers, 4:25p, CBS
Pick: Chargers
Putting up 403 passing yds and three TDs in the Cowboys' Week 1 loss, Dak Prescott showed he was back from 2020’s gruesome ankle injury, even while nursing a strained shoulder muscle. Ezekiel Elliott served mostly as a blocker against TBay’s defense, and might reprise that role against the Chargers (1-0). The Dallas OL will get a boost with guard Zack Martin available, who missed the season opener on the Covid list. But it lost tackle La’el Collins to a five-game suspension for violation of the substance-abuse policy. Couple Dallas’s OL reshuffling with the still-developing defense against high-powered LAC QB Justin Herbert and WR Keenan Allen, and the Cowboys (0-1) may have to wait another week for their first win.

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers, 1p, Fox
Pick: Saints
New Orleans’ full-time starting QB Jameis Winston started with a win, helped by a smothering Saints’ defense vs a Packers team who forgot the preseason already ended. Continuity could be an issue for Winston this week as eight Saints - mostly OCs - tested positive. The team is still practicing in North Texas and lost its top CB, Marshon Lattimore, who had surgery on his right thumb and is out for a couple of weeks. That leaves the Saints’ secondary vulnerable to the Panthers’ excellent receivers, led by the spectacular Christian McCaffrey. But if Winston can continue his good behavior and link up regularly with TE Juwan Johnson, the Saints could be headed towards a good 2021 season.

Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1p, CBS
Pick: Steelers
This will be a match between Raiders TE Darren Waller, with 105 receiving yds in Monday’s win, and the Steelers defense, which will rely heavily on the versatility of safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. If the Steelers can disrupt Waller’s routes, they will force QB Derek Carr - who targeted Waller 19 times Monday - to hold the ball longer while looking for the Raiders’ other receiving threats, Henry Ruggs and Hunter Renfrow. Carr is a pocket passer, so with the newly reshuffled OL in doubt, Gruden may play around with the more mobile back-up, Marcus Mariota, to keep the opposing D honest. The Raiders’ rookie RT, Alex Leatherwood, struggled with pass protection in the opener and now must face T.J. Watt, a Defensive Player of the Year Award candidate. The Raiders’ sensational RB Josh Jacobs is out with a toe injury, so Pittsburgh could end up 2-0 to start the season.
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
NFL Week 2 Predictions Pt 2 of 2
NY Times Sept. 16, 2021
Sunday’s Other Games

Atlanta Falcons at TBay Buccaneers, 1p, Fox

Pick: Buccaneers
Don’t expect Tom Brady to need a comeback this time. Four seasons have passed since his Super Bowl LI win, but if the Falcons (0-1) couldn’t stop the Eagles’ second-year QB Jalen Hurts from throwing for three TD passes last week, then they will surely struggle with Brady, whose cast of receivers is arguably the best of his 22-year career. Oddsmakers expect this to be the largest mismatch of the weekend, and rightly so.

Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns, 1p, CBS
Pick: Browns
The Browns (0-1) spent all off-season preparing for last week’s rematch against the Chiefs - and a run at an AFC championship - only to fail to keep pace because of self-inflicted mistakes. Whatever frustrations Cleveland has from letting that game slip away should find an outlet on the Texans (1-0). Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will again be out as he recovers from off-season knee surgery. But the Browns don’t need him to beat a Houston team with a roster considered one of the least talented in the league.

Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears, 1p, Fox
Pick: Bears
In Week 1, Bengals rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase caught five passes for 101 yds and a TD from rookie QB Joe Burrow against the Vikings. The Bears’ secondary is arguably their weakest unit, allowing Rams QB Matthew Stafford to throw for 321 yds last week. The Bears OL is almost as bad, allowing QB Andy Dalton to be chewed up by the Rams D last week. RB David Montgomery was almost the entire Bears’ offense in Game 1. Can he keep the Bengals DLs off Dalton’s back? The Bengals have their own star runner in RB Joe Mixon. This game may come down to which team’s DL performs best.

NE Patriots at Jets, 1p, CBS
Pick: Patriots
Pats RB Damien Harris’s Q4 fumble in the red zone ended a final drive by rookie QB Mac Jones, and NE (0-1) fell to Miami, 17-16, last week. The score should not be so close against the Jets (0-1), who allowed six sacks of their rookie QB Zach Wilson last week. Blocking for Wilson became harder without LT Mekhi Becton, who suffered a dislocated kneecap. One first-year passer will start his career 0-2, and the chances are it will probably be the Jets’ Wilson.

SF 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles, 1p, Fox
Pick: 49ers
Last week, Eagles QB Jalen Hurts diced up the Falcons’ meager defense, throwing for three TDs and 265 yds, while escaping with only one sack. But vs hapless Detroit, the 49ers (1-0) defense looked like old times, sacking Jared Goff three times and pressuring him into a pick-6. SF’s starting RB, Raheem Mostert, had season-ending knee surgery, but his replacement, Elijah Mitchell, played well. If the Niners have a serious weakness – besides the injury bug – it’s their secondary. They lost injury-prone CB Jason Verrett to a torn ACL in Game 1. He was not only their best player in the secondary, but his experience and leadership were counted on to balance his more erratic younger teammates. Without him, the FA signing of journeyman CB Josh Norman assumes major importance for 2021.

Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1p, CBS
Pick: Broncos
Urban Meyer started poorly as an NFL coach, with a Jaguars loss against the depleted Texans. His second outing will be tougher, as he sends the #1 overall draft pick, rookie QB Trevor Lawrence, against a strong Broncos D led by LB Von Miller, who posted two sacks in his return from the ankle injury that sidelined him in 2020. Denver (1-0) lacks receiver Jerry Jeudy, who is expected to miss four weeks with an ankle sprain. But the Broncos’ defense, utilizing Josey Jewell and Dre’Mont Jones to free up Miller, should be able to wreak havoc on a young passer with a porous OL. Denver HC Vic Fangio is a defensive whiz, and his schemes aren’t easy to read even for an experienced QB. QB Teddy Bridgewater is a good fit for Denver OC’s Pat Shurmur offense, having won the starting job over strong-armed Drew Locke.

Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05p, Fox
Pick: Cardinals
Kyler Murray’s video-game-like numbers last Sunday (289 yds passing, five total TDs, including his own 2-yard rush) came against a developing Titans defense. It’s doubtful the Vikings (0-1) will allow a similar performance, but even a curtailed Cardinals offense should outgun the Vikings’ unbalanced attack. In Week 1, Viking RB Dalvin Cook rushed for only 61 yds while Kirk Cousins threw 49 times and took three sacks. Against the Cardinals (1-0), who sacked Ryan Tannehill six times last week, the Vikings can’t match Murray’s fireworks.

Monday Night’s Matchup
Detroit Lions at GBay Packers, 8:15p, ESPN

Pick: Packers
Rodgers was unconcerned after Sunday’s 38-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints when he told reporters, “It’s just one game.” No reason to hyperventilate unless something goes awry vs the Lions (0-1). Rodgers is still one of the league’s best QBs, and is 17-5 against Detroit.

Thursday’s Game: Washington 30, Giants 29
NYT picked the Washington Footballers to beat the Giants thinking a limited Saquon Barkley and QB Daniel Jones’s struggles with ball security would be evident against Washington’s pass rush. The Giants lost, 30-29, in a back-and-forth game with three Q4 lead changes. Surprisingly they can’t blame this on Jones. In the closing seconds, Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins sailed a 48-yard FG attempt wide right, but Giants lineman Dexter Lawrence jumped offsides. Gifted another chance and five extra yds, Hopkins nailed the 43-yarder.

Jones played well, 249 yds passing, a TD, plus running for 95 yds and a score. He could have gained two more TDs but the team keeps making self-inflicted mistakes with penalties and drops. It’s hard to pick a winner in the messy NFC East.
 

jerry old

Texas Crude
Cowboys vs Chargers
Herbert looked all pro, don't know if that was talent or playing a Dallas Secondary that does not exist.
Dallas won, only because they had the ball last.

Titians vs Seahawks
Tied at end of 4 quarters, Titians looking tough...
Fox Network, in Dallas-Ft Worth Area left game before overtime so they could show an episode of The Simpsons

Wonder if Ravens' Rockum Sockum football will disrupt Mahomes?
 
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Irwin

Senior Member
The Broncos looked damn good today. I'm beginning the believe that Teddy Bridgewater isn't just a fluke! He's extremely accurate for short passes, but he also completed a few long bombs! Whoo-hoo!!! I can wear Broncos apparel with pride again!
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
QB Power Rankings: Raiders’ Derek Carr keeps movin’ on up into elite territory
Raiders’ Carr behind Mahomes, Brady as #3 after wins over Ravens, Steelers to open the season
(SF) BA Newsgrp 21Sept2021

This week’s QB power rankings (QB, team, opponent, last week’s ranking) - Pt 1 of 2

1. Patrick Mahomes, KC (vs. L.A. Chargers) Last week: 1
Mahomes (24 of 31 for 343 yds, 2 TDs, one interception) was going to do what he always does — he had the Chiefs at the Baltimore 32 with 1:23 to go — but Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumbled the ball. That’s not on Mahomes.

2. Tom Brady, TBay (at L.A. Rams) Last week: 2
Ho-hum. Brady was 24 of 36 for 276 yds and five TDs with no interceptions against the overmatched Atlanta Falcons. Duel with Matt Stafford this week is must-see TV.

3. Derek Carr, LV (vs. Miami) Last week: 8
If you’re keeping score, Carr outplayed Patrick Mahomes (and also played him fairly even) and Drew Brees a year ago. In last two weeks has taken down Lamar Jackson and Ben Roethlisberger.

4. Kyler Murray, Arizona (at Jacksonville) Last week: 4
Rallied Cardinals from 20-7 deficit and completed 29 of 36 passes for 400 yds and three TDs with a long of 77. One of your way-too-early leaders in the race for 2021 MVP.

5. Matt Stafford, LA Rams (vs. TBay) Last week: 6
Another strong performance (19 of 30, 278 yds, 2 TDs, 1 int) in win over Indianapolis. Could use help from running game as well as receivers other than Cooper Kupp.

6. Russell Wilson, Seattle (at Minnesota) Last week: 3
Completed 22 of 31 passes for 347 yds and two TDs but lost in Seattle to Tennessee. Was sacked three times; protection was an issue late.

7. Aaron Rodgers, GBay (at 49ers) Last week: 5
Rodgers was probably right when he said it was too early to freak out after the season-opening face-plant against New Orleans based on the way he played Monday night against Detroit. But need to see him come up big against the 49ers Sunday night to be convinced.

8. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (at Detroit) Last week: 9
Jackson had his signature win Sunday night against the Chiefs, rushing for 107 yds and two TDs on 17 carries and completing 18 of 26 passes for 239 yds, one TD and two interceptions. Recovered from early pick six to Tyran Mathieu.

9. Dak Prescott, Dallas (vs. Philadelphia) Last week: 10
The best development for Prescott in a 20-17 win over the Chargers was a running game that generated 198 yds. Prescott was a reasonable 23 of 27 for 237 yds.

10. Josh Allen, Buffalo (vs. Washington) Last week: 7
It’s too early to be concerned and the Bills beat Miami 35-0, but through two games Allen (17 of 33, 179 yds, two TDs, one int.) isn’t the same guy who made a run at the MVP a year ago.

11. Sam Darnold, Carolina (at Houston) Last week: 18
Through two games with the Panthers Darnold looks every bit the #3 overall pick in 2018. Was 26 of 38 for 305 yds, two TDs and an interception against New Orleans. Life with Christian McCaffrey as a sidekick is good.

12. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland (vs. Chicago) Last week: 13
Only one ball hit the ground (19 of 21, 213 yds, 1 TD, 1 interception) in a 31-21 win over Houston. Had a 33-yard scoring pass to Demetric Felton and also a 5-yard TD run.

13. Justin Herbert, LA Chargers (at KC) Last week: 12
Had a pair of interceptions and the Chargers put up only 17 points in loss to Dallas. Was 31 of 41 for 338 yds but hasn’t yet taken a step up from excellent rookie campaign.

14. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (vs. GBay) Last week: 15
Had a shaky opening with three consecutive three-and-outs against the Eagles, then steadied in the second half for two 90+ yard scoring drives to win a slugfest in Philly.

15. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee (vs. Indianapolis) Last week: 16
Rebounded nicely (27 of 40 for 347 yds) after a poor opening week against Arizona. But can he carry the load if Derrick Henry (35 carries, 182 yds, 3 TDs) is throttled?

16. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota (vs. Seattle) Last week: 19
Drove the Vikings from their own 23 with 2:09 to the Arizona 19, only to have Greg Joseph miss a 37-yard FG in a 34-33 loss. One of his better clutch drives wasted.
 

Lethe200

Senior Member
QB Power Rankings: Raiders’ Derek Carr keeps movin’ on up into elite territory
(SF) BA Newsgrp 21Sept2021
This week’s QB power rankings (QB, team, opponent, last week’s ranking) Pt 2 of 2

17. Teddy Bridgewater, Denver (vs. NY Jets) Last week: 20
Another solid week for 2-0 Broncos, but the opening schedule has been soft. Opened with N.Y. Giants, beat Jacksonville and gets the Jets next. So he should be having good games.

18. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (vs. Cincinnati) Last week: 14
To make Roethlisberger an effective QB in his twilight years, the plan was to have RB Najee Harris reduce the load on Big Ben. Hasn’t happened yet.

19. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati (at Pittsburgh) Last week: 11
In 20-17 loss to Chicago, Burrow couldn’t deliver in a game for the taking. Was 19 of 30 for 207 yds, two TDs and three interceptions; was sacked four times.

20. Jameis Winston, New Orleans (at New England) Last week: 17
Will the real JW stand up? The guy who threw five TD passes against GBay in Week 1 was nowhere to be found in a 26-7 loss to Carolina. Passer rating (11 of 22, 2 picks) cratered at 26.9. Ugh.

21. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia (at Dallas) Last week: 21
Made a couple of nice runs and hit one big plass play for 91 yds out of his own end zone to Quez Watson. But Hurts and the Eagles were able to produce only 11 points against a stingy 49ers defense and better coaching.

22. Mac Jones, New England (vs. New Orleans) Last week: 27
While Zach Wilson was lost, Belichick had his QB Jones operating a conservative attack: 22 of 30 for 186 yds, no TDs or interceptions, in a 25-6 win over the Jets.

23. Tyrod Taylor, Houston (vs. Carolina) Last week: 22
Gave way to Davis Mills at halftime after tweaking a hamstring against Cleveland. Was 10 of 11 for 125 yds and had a 15-yard scoring run up to that point. He’ll miss this week as Mills takes over.

24. Matt Ryan, Atlanta (at NY Giants) Last week: 23
Al Davis used to espouse “The Vertical Game.” Ryan and the Falcons went mostly horizontal in a loss to TBay (35 of 46 for 300 yds, 2 TDs). Threw two pick sixes as the Bucs put it out of reach.

25. Jared Goff, Detroit (vs. Baltimore) Last week: 25
Goff remains a quality anticipatory thrower — the skill that made him the No. 1 overall draft pick out of Cal. He showed some of it Monday night in a loss to GBay. But the supporting cast isn’t good enough to put wins in the bank.

26. Taylor Heineke, Washington (at Buffalo) Last week: 32
After the way Heineke played against the NY Giants on Thursday night, Washington coach Ron Rivera can leave Cam Newton on hold for the time being. And Ryan Fitzpatrick can take his time getting healthy.

27. Daniel Jones, NY Giants (vs. Atlanta) Last week: 31
Was impressive both running and passing against Washington, but again was NY’s leading rusher over Saquon Barkley (95 yds to 57). That can’t continue if the Giants are going to be a viable offense.

28. Andy Dalton, Chicago (at Cleveland) Last week: 30
Hurt his knee but not seriously in win over Cincinnati. Justin Fields came off the bench and was unimpressive, so Dalton goes back in if healthy enough this week against Browns.

29. Tua Tagovaiola, Miami (at LV) Last week: 24
When a team lets it leak that your rib injury is simply a matter of “pain management” then someone is questioning your toughness. That’s what’s happening to Tua this week. Jacoby Brissett starts if Tagavaiola can’t play.

30. Carson Wentz, Indianapolis (at Tennessee) Last week: 26
Injured both ankles and didn’t finish a close loss to the Rams. Was 20 of 31 for 247 yds, one TD and one astonishingly bad interception. It’s Jacob Eason if Wentz can’t play.

31. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville (vs. Arizona) Last week: 28
Directed an offense that gained only 189 yds against Denver. Was 14 of 33 for 118 yds, one TD, two interceptions. Moral of the story: Coaching matters. Supporting cast matters.

32. Zach Wilson, NY Jets (at Denver) Last week: 29
Bill Belichick may not Tom Brady anymore, but he can still devise a scheme to destroy a rookie QB. Wilson was 19 of 33 for 210 yds, no TDs and four interceptions — including his first two throws.
 

DaveA

Senior Member
Coming from New England I've followed the Pats since the old American League was formed back in 1960. Previously a NY Giants fan. This was in the early days of pro football TV coverage.

They've had some very successful seasons over the span from then until now. With Brady gone, I think they've slipped into mediocrity. Young Jones may (or may not) be a top notch QB in the future but for now, IMHO, they're a mid range club. Tough to get used to if you're a lifelong Patriots fan,:confused:
 


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