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I'll start us off.  I haven't really gone through the stats yet to pick trends and look for teams likely to improve or regress but I'll make some guesses based on eyeball knowledge from last season.  Remember, we don't know anything until week four.

Cam Newton sucked the last few times I saw him play and he probably had a better cast around him than he has now in New England.  He does still get to play the Jets, Fins and Bills 6 times and Brady was pretty average last year I'll try and watch him the first couple weeks, but I've got to think the Pats can win 10 games with a high school QB in that division.  

The Jets have the worst coach in the league.

I'm a Tau skeptic, there is literally no useful game film on a Bama QB.  In what situation in the NFL do you have receivers bigger, faster and better than every DB on the field and 5-7 seconds to throw every time?  I was impressed with how hard the Fins played last year.

I'm pretty sure when I do look at the stats the Ravens will show a big down trend.  The Steelers played without a NFL QB last year and won 8 games.  I expect they'll win 10+ this year.  The Brown are who we thought they were, or I thought they were anyway.  Maybe 8 wins this year.  Maybe 4.

The AFC West might be the new patsy division.  The Chargers I blew it on last year and I can't see how Taylor is an upgrade on anyone at QB, even as shaky as Rivers was last year.  A good side bet is how many weeks/loses before Hebert comes in?  Gruden still thinks he can do something with Peterman.  That might be the biggest ego in the history of sports.

I like the Titans, except it's disturbing that the coaching was so bad they never tried to fix Mariota.  The Jags, man that's a F'ed up franchise.  Colts didn't get any better at QB.

Cowboys of course have the best paper team in the history of the universe.  This is probably it for them.  Starting next season the salary cap really screws them, or rather signing Amari Cooper really screws them.  I like the Eagles in this division.  It's a pretty easy division with the Midgets and NoNames in it.

The Packers looked so over matched against the Niners, I had to wonder how they won 13 games, then I remember what an easy schedule they had.  Bet they show up on my top teams to regress.  I'll leave you Bear fans alone for now, but signing Jimmy Graham was a sign how poor this front office is at talent evaluation . 

Now the beef.

I don't have to dig into the stats to predict the Niners will show the highest likely hood to regress.  The turnover margin change is unsustainable and key talent already left.  There's no WR on the roster who would make the 53 man roster in New Orleans.  Still a great team, but 10 wins seems more likely than 13.  I'll want to see if the Rams are any better than the one man defense they had last year.

I'll just ignore the Falcons and Panthers for now.  Tampa Bay.  Last year about half a dozen times I said that was a real good football team with an idiot of a quarterback.  Thing is I don't really like any of the signings.  Gronk- it's really hard to miss a year and perform at close to the level you were at, and his level was slipping.  DO you think he'll play more than 10 games?  McCoy is 32.  Fournette is a 2 down back, which is fundamentally worthless in the NFL, and Brady.  Well, playing against good teams last year the most points he put up on the board for the Pats was....wait for it....take a guess....20.  Twenty.  Two Zero.  Almost anyone would have been an upgrade from Jamies Mashpotatohead, but is Brady really an upgrade at this point?  I think they can win more than the 7 games they won with Brickhead, and the schedule looks pretty easy, but I'll wait and see.  I don't think they can win a playoff game if they get there.

Maybe the best free agent signing this off season was Sanders.  The Saints were a one man show at receiver.  They're still light at TE, and their #3 receiver, but a healthy Kamara added with Sanders makes this a much better offensive team.  LB is a weakness, and RG, but this is a solid team every where else.  The injury bug hit last year on the D-Line and Kamara.  That will be key to a Super Bowl run this year.





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Browns going to Browns, 15 straight season opening losses 

I expected them to lose (not only bc of their streak) but figured the veteran players and coaches on the Ravens would give them a distinct edge over the new Browns coach and his schemes.  I didn't think it would be that ugly.  

Have the Bengals on Thursday, I hate to say 'must win' this early, but it really is. 

Busy Week, new heater installed for the hot tub, new kitchen hood installed, cord of wood split, missed posting something on Tuesday.

Watson looked pretty bad in the first game.  Accuracy was not existent, I wondered if that would be a theme for the weekend without preseason games but it really wasn't.

The Pats surprised everyone running Newton so much.  I think that was to get that on film and force teams to plan for it.  The Fins hadn't and it showed.  Really compared to the start of last year they looked much better.  

I'll lump in Sunday and Thursday for the Browns and CinCInConvicts.  So, if we pulled a face mask in practice, coach Lee (fresh from a stint with the Steelers) would grab you by the mask, drag you 15 yards, kick you in the ass and bump you down a rotation.  You don't give up 15 yard stupid penalties.  The Browns seem good for 4-5 a game.  They need coach Lee.

Commercial Boy was up to his old roll right tricks against the Raven's who loaded that side for him.  Against the Bengals they made an effort to roll him left,early in the game.  I think it's progress that they at least recognize the problem.  

And that strip sack helmet to the chest double whammy sack against Burrows, there's a summary of my dig on SEC quarterbacks.  You play at Purdue, you play at Cal, you learn that ball needs to be out in 2.5 seconds.  He showed it all.  Chased down from behind, spin move/slammed to the ground, hold too long in the pocket double smack down.  It's a steep learning curve.  

I've figured out the Lions, they're really the Red Wings.  3 periods and they're in the locker room drinking beer.

Niners, maybe 10 was optimistic.  Eight. 

Rams looked like they had a defense.  Hard to tell playing against the best team put together since Jesus and those 12 guys, but maybe when they play Seattle we'll be able to tell how good they might be.

Thomas out, that hurts.  That was a pretty average performance by the Saints, but there best opener in 10 years.  

Brady was literally no improvement from Winston - 2 horrible turnovers.  Gronk was missing, the free agent running backs no factor.  Still think Tampa is a good team, it was a tough team to open against.

Monday night I barely managed to stay awake.  I thought it was me, that was the day I split all the wood.  Turns out boring was the headline the next day.

One week down.  Three more to go before we know anything.

Weekend Summary

First of all, in this time of sports overload, I spent the entire afternoon watching the US Open. I am amazed at the talents of the pros and how they are playing brutal Winged Foot.

The season has now reached three weeks and we are seeing some cancellations, some games without fans and some games with limited fans. The big hope is that the season continues. The other sports have survived some early COVID cases, but college athletes on a campus is a different animal.

As far as the games played, some are entertaining both nothing noteworthy yet. The ACC has a good set of QBs. Clemson toyed with Citadel as Dabo knows how to score enough points to keep his ranking but not to run it up. Miami is better this season as transfer D'Eric King has helped the offense. For those who care, King is the reason Gators QB Kyle Trask never started a game in high school at Manville Texas. Notre Dame beat South Florida 52-0. NC State outlasted Wake 45-42 and UCF piled it on Ga Tech 49-21.

Louisiana edged Ga State 34-31 in OT as aspiring coaches Billy Napier and Shawn Elliot dueled. If you are looking for some coaching prospects, here they are. Coastal Carolina got their second consecutive ESPN game, great exposure, and the Chants handled Campbell. They face Louisiana soon.

Finally, the SEC begins play next weekend. For those of you who wanted more carnage within the league, you get it this year as it will be a 10 game slate all within the conference. Two losses may still be good enough to qualify for the playoff. The Big 10 is now planning to start in mid to late October. And in this crazy year, rankings are meaningless as of now.


Louis Riddick makes me miss Gruden or Theismann or really anyone else.

I watched the Niners, and the two night games, and a good chunk of the Chargers.

The turf in New York was almost as brutally incompetent as the Jet's coaching staff.  Worst D Coordinator in the league, worst head coach in the league.  Maybe they can bring in O'Brien or Coughlin as GM and round it out.

I did watch the Cowboys comeback.  The Falcons coaching is pretty bad also.

Poor Texans, what a brutal schedule to start off with.  We really won't know about them until week 5-6 I think.

Hebert was pretty damn impressive in the Charges game.   One silly rookie cross field off balance against the body Int, otherwise pretty solid.  Ball came out, movement was good and not predictable.  He gave the Chiefs a good run.

Man the Saints defense looks like the Browns.  Killed by dumb penalties.  Jenkins was obviously over matched and targeted.  As it was most teams avoid Lattimore completely, so things aren't going to get easier for him.  

The Packers v Saints should tell us a lot this week.  The Pack win against the Vikings looked pretty good until Minnesota went out and put an 0-2 turd on the field against the Colts.  Lions and turd laying Vikings doesn't look like a strong 2-0 team.  Will the Saints do their usual game 3 defensive turn around, or is it an average team trying to win in a weak division?  We will know more about everyone by Tuesday.

Fins and Jags tonight.  If you're watching that with me, you really love football or have run out of anything to watch on Netflix.

Well I've been absent.  Have been watching some but seems like there's been lots of distractions.  What a weird season.  It reminds me of the strike season in the 80's.  Usually there's that 'any given Sunday' thing, but this year the gap between the good teams and the average teams seems huge.  The bottom feeders look like those 87 Giants that Parcell rounded up from guys hanging around the parking lot at the practice facility.  Makes it really hard to tell how good the teams between 5 and 25 are.

Rams are a great example, they come in with 4 wins, except all four are against the NFC East.  They play a pretty average to below average Niners team and get there asses handed to them.   The Niners only other wins were against the Giants and Jets, so who knows maybe they are #8 in the power rankings, maybe #24.  No real way to tell.

What you can tell.

Mike Tomlin, I've always had mixed feeling about him, but he did get 130 games out of Brown and every other coach in the league combined got 1.  Steelers were any easy pick for biggest improvement and they're an easy top 5.

The Titans are the real deal and Tannehill is a real good QB.  You could say he's average on a good team with a good scheme, but Mariota failed in the same situation.  It says all you need to know about Adam the Waste Gase.  What did it take for Tannehill to be real good?  Get the hell away from Gase.

If you're the #1 pick in the 2021 draft do you demand the Jets trade the pick?  I think you make it clear you won't sign with them.  I've been saying Williams is the worst DC in the game, but somehow it slipped my attention Mike Nolan had been promoted in Dallas.  You know, Mike who stood up in the post game press conference and confirmed he could not add 8 and 3 and give you the right answer.

How about them super paper talented , best fantasy team in the Universe Boys?  They might actually go to the playoffs with 5 wins.  I though Dalton wouldn't be a drop off from Prescott, but who could really tell.

I'm surprised by the Vikings collapse.   The Falcons need to go Dolphins and get rid of that lazy team.  The Dolphins could win the AFC East.  They are well coached, well prepared, make good in game adjustments and play hard.  With average talent that's better than half the teams in the league.

About them Bears.  They really only need to win one of their next 3 games to make the playoffs.  They have a silly easy schedule after that.

I've watched the Browns a bit.  They've got 5 easy games in the schedule ahead of them.  9 wins is really possible, so is 10.  They are better coached this year.  They seem to be getting the penalty problem under control.  Still too many 15 yard penalties on defense, but it's better than it was.  They've done a lot with the playbook to minimize Mayfield's problems.  There are lots of designed roll left plays now to keep teams from stacking the right side and taking away half the field on every play.

The thing is Mayfield is 36 games in, every team in the league knows his issues (except the Boys and Jets), and he's not doing anything to get better.  Great QB's get better every game.  QB's who don't make any improvements in 36 wear their hats backwards and carry clipboards before going into alumni relations at their college.

Hebert is the real deal.

And that's it for this week I guess.

My Play of the Year so far is Jones' self tackle.

The Saints still are not generating pressure with 4 guys like they did last year.  Still not bad for having the top two WR's out.  It's going to be a tough haul the next few weeks.

That's what Cam Newton looked like the last few times I saw him play the Saints.  The Niners dominated on defense and ran all over the Pats offense with the #4 guy on their depth chart.  That's really been my point about spending high draft picks or high cap money on a running back.  There's just no need.  Invest in your line.

The Cards are much much better across the board than they've been in the past.  There's not really a dominate defense in the NFC.  You could say the Bears, but they spend so much time on the field and defending bad field position from their lame ass offense that they are never really in a position to really shut down the other team.

So how do you power rank this mess?  The Bears beat the Bucs.  The Niners blow out the Rams, the Rams dominate the Bears.  That would seem to imply the Niners are the best of those four teams, but they're the team in that group with the worst record and least likely to make the playoffs.  Logic would imply the Bucs are the worst of those teams, but I think they are easily the best.

And how about that quit in them Boys.  I'm just hoping that we can get some flex out of their remaining national games.  Who wants to watch that shit show?

So how do you power rank this mess?  The Bears beat the Bucs.  The Niners blow out the Rams, the Rams dominate the Bears.  That would seem to imply the Niners are the best of those four teams, but they're the team in that group with the worst record and least likely to make the playoffs.  Logic would imply the Bucs are the worst of those teams, but I think they are easily the best

And got their butts kicked by the stinky Dolphins (or very average) - I know they had injuries, wah, wah but still its the Dolphins.

@patespo1 posted:

Baker with 5 TDs and Offensive Player of the Week, left off the weekly summary.  It's the lowly Bengals, and it doesn't mean he's going to have an illustrious career now, but going to give him a little shine instead of the normal bashing he gets here.

I generally only comment on games I’ve watched at least 1/4 of. There was no channel flipping or split screens with the Saints in a close game and the battle of Ohio would not have made my top 10 to watch anyway.

The Browns are much improved. Much better coaching, better game planning and playing with more discipline. They have an easy schedule and should win 10 games and get a playoff spot.

Browns invested a lot in Baker. For sure they could have had him with that fourth pick and probably could have traded down as far as 15 and had a shot at him.   That’s a huge gamble and I’d really like to see him work harder and smarter. I’ve said before he has a lot of the same traits good and bad as a young Montana and Brees so there’s huge upside.

@winetarelli posted:

So far, it appears Brady is winning the "who was a bigger influence on the Patriots' success?" argument.

Read up or last years thread.  Tampa had a very good team with a horrible QB last year.  Any QB you'd rank in the top 30 and the Bucs were going to win 10-12 games this year.  Brady is currently 2-2, average, against teams with winning records.  Tampa has 3 games left against teams with winning records. 

Last year Winston was sacked 47 times (mostly from holding the ball forever), 30 Int, 12 fumbles, with 5 lost.  That's 89 drives killed.  Brady is on pace for 20/8/8/2 or 38 drives killed.  I picked out David Carr as an average QB on an average team and his numbers project out to 26/4/14/8.  I'd bet Tampa would be 6-2 with Carr at QB also.

Not taking anything from Brady's career but the record in Tampa this year has much more to do with the quality of the team than the quality of the QB.

Watched the night National games, skipped around on the Sunday morning games, but got the LV-CLE and PIT-Bal mostly.  Afternoon was Saints-Bears.

It occurred to me that the Falcons are exactly the same team as the Cowboys.  Better QB and WR in ATL, better RB in Dallas.  31st and 32nd defense.  How is it the media talks about blowing up the Falcons (which needs to be done) and that the Boys are just a hair away from a Super Bowl run next year?  Really weird.

Someone on the Falcons staff, Morris or Ulbrich spotted on tape that the Panthers have the worst center I can remember seeing.  I actually made an effort to single him out for viewing and man he's terrible.  He was lost and ineffective and that combined with a RB duo that never got their reads right was a disaster. Pretty simple scheme: hit the A or B gap, force the center to decide quick.  Bring wide pressure from the C gap to clear the RB out there.  The Falcons brought pressure up the middle all game.  Allen and the Saints didn't see that the previous week, but the Panthers might not win again until they get that fixed.

I tried to watch a little of the Fins but it didn't hold my attention.  The Steelers game held my attention.  Team to beat right now obviously.

I watched the Raiders Browns a fair bit in the second half.  For the hell of it this week I sent a note to someone I played HS football with and asked him if he remembered Coach Lee and the facemask butt kick.  I asked how many facemask penalties he ever had (4 years at USC - 4 with the Bears).  He replied - zero, none in HS, College or the NFL.  Then unsolicited he asked if I'd been watching the Browns.   He remembered the 5 facemasks they had against the Niners last year.  He did point out in our exchange that now it's really hard to fix at the pro level because there's almost no tackling in practice.  Still that was the game.  Instead of 3rd and 15 with a chance to get the ball back down 7 with 10 minutes left it ended up down 10 and only 4 :30 left in the game.  Killer.

Saints game was a lot of fun.  Game of the day.  Really would be nice to get a receiver or two back.

So who is the new Winston?  Is it Wentz or Jones?  They seem to be battling it out neck and neck for worst decision making.  The Eagles can cruise into the playoffs and a home game if Wentz just makes one bone head play a game instead of 3 or 4.

I did watch the Niners practice squad get their asses kicked last night.  Don't make a lot out of those late Dak Prescott style late touchdowns.  The Packers where already picking out their Netflix choices for the plane ride home when the Niners scored those touchdowns.

In most years this quarter of the season is the most predictable.   Only one real upset in my eyes and that was Hawks v Bills.  Everything else played out as I would have called it.  Yes I would have taken the Fins.  At very least that was a toss up.

I need to watch the Bills.  A couple years ago talking about the Cutler era Fins I said they were the hardest team to get a handle on.  They'd win 7-8 games, and when I'd watch them (v Saints, Niners or on a night game) I couldn't figure out how they won any games. 

The times I've watched the Bills they've been hugely unimpressive.  Allen in particular seems to just blow up in a big game.  Time for a relook at them.  Until I can fit that in, I'm still picking the Fins.

It was a big game for the Saints.  The team loves Drew Brees.  They knew it was a big game for him personally to match up against Tom Brady on national TV.  They rose to the occasion.  Tom Brady's teammates hate him.  So maybe that's the difference. 

With Thomas and Sanders in the line up it really changes the Saints defense.  I know that seems odd, but Allen plays complimentary defense.  With those guys out he took the risk out of the defense.  Bend don't break.  With them in, and the ability to break big field stretching plays returned, the Saints played pressure defense.  They tempted Brady to go long, getting in a shootout was ok.  He couldn't deliver.  That performance was why I predicted poor playoff performance for the Bucs.

The highlight of the week though was Gregg Williams on the sideline Monday night covering his mouth covered by a face mask with his play chart, over and over again.  Habit?  Maybe, but there's also that IQ hovering around 85 thing.

If you want to see something dismal look up the Jet's defensive team stats.

Usually the bit about special teams being a 1/3 of the game is total BS.   For the Titans it cost them the game.  I've not loved that Titans coaching staff, the team is better than they're being coached.

I mostly watched the Bucs in the morning, but none of the games was very interesting. 

I guess we get to see if Payton has had any impact on J. Bubblehead over the last few months.  Every game is 10+ million on the line for him.  Just don't fuck up and you've got a great contract somewhere next year.  So far in his life though he's not shown any ability to not fuck up.

Lost season for the Niners.  They're one team playing far worse than their record.  It's hard to watch.

Watching the night game I was wondering what was up with the Ravens.  Always go check the schedule is a good place to start.  They've had a pretty easy run of it and are just 2-2 against teams with winning records.  A tougher schedule and they would have likely come in 4-4 or 5-3 I think and the result would have been less surprising.  That division is going to be tough to tell how good any of those teams are.  They get 7 games against easy teams (NFC East, Jags, Texans and Bengals)  Really if you have less than 12 wins with that schedule you're an average team.

I said the Bears just needed to win one of those three non-division games to have a shot at the playoffs and they managed to lose four in a row.  I wonder what the betting line is on them scoring an offensive touchdown again the rest of the season?

Fins still my AFC East Pick.  Remember you heard it here first.

Mostly uneventful week.    The biggest surprise was the Fins laying an egg against the Broncos of all teams.  Full on display of the fault of holding the ball.  Practice this week should be 1-2-SACK.

Could it be possible the Rams are the best team in the NFC West?  The Thursday night game was pretty uninspiring to think otherwise.

Tom Brady is 2-4 against teams with winning records this year.  Same sort of performance as last year with the Pats although the Bucs do score more points against good teams than last years Pats did.  That's why I didn't see a playoff run for them.

The crowning is official.  Winston is dead, long live the new king - Carson Wentz.  The Eagles would be a playoff team if they'd just have a guy who didn't give the game away week after week.

So the Blog-Chat Board rumor mill was Payton lost any confidence in Winston when he threw an almost interception in relief.  He was forcing the ball and made a bad throw, and I guess that sealed the deal.  No big paydays for him, and it sounds like the Saints are 100% not interested in resigning him.

If you missed Hill's performance, maybe the most impressive thing was he was running the Saints offense without any major changes.  That and the ball came out fast.  It's always a concern that a QB who can run, will run.  More often than not those unplanned runs are drive killers, and he didn't do that. 

I've got to wonder if the Chiefs can play enough defense to defend their title.  The Raiders are not a bad team and Carr is a good QB, but they made him look like an All Pro.

Turkey and football tomorrow during the day.  By that I mean the games are turkeys.  I can't recall a more uninteresting slate of day games which is pretty amazing because the Lions always make up 1/4 of the line up.

@irwin posted:

And now postponed until Tuesday.   Rather ridiculous.  The ravens should just forfeit this week’s game against the Steelers and move on

If they forfeit both team lose game checks, so not likely to happen.

Shitsburgh players were very vocal about having the game moved twice, and then had multiple players test positive on their team.  Don't throw rocks if you live in a glass house....

Yes, the mighty dollar.

I think at last count, around 22 Ravens are out due to Covid.  Besides the quarterback, the two top running backs are out, (plus a third), the centers are out including the "long snapper", several key defensive players are out, including the pass rushers.  Best receiver is out. I can't see the Ravens scoring more than 10 points and will be lucky to do that.

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