2017 NFL: Week 2

Thursday

Texans-Bengals

Sunday

Bills-Panthers
Bears-Buccaneers
Vikings-Steelers
Cardinals-Colts
Patriots-Saints
Browns-Ravens
Eagles-Chiefs
Titans-Jaguars
Jets-Raiders
Dolphins-Chargers
Cowboys-Broncos
49ers-Seahawks
Redskins-Rams
Packers-Falcons

Monday

Lions-Giants

28 Responses to “2017 NFL: Week 2”


  1. Mitchell

    Wow, Raiders have a bye already. Other teams have what should be easy wins, but they have too many early-season question marks to say that about, such as the Ravens hosting the Browns (plus anything can happen within a division, as I always say) and the Cardinals at the Colts.

    Two super interesting games are the Texans-Bengals game today and the Vikings-Steelers game Sunday. I think the loser of Texans-Bengals is in huge trouble, while the Vikings-Steelers could give us an early sign of whether or not either team is any good.

    I also look forward to Packers-Falcons.

  2. Don

    I think if Luck doesn’t come back, and why rush him back, that team could go winless. I think in a game between Indy and the Jets without Luck, I would go Jets.

  3. Reid

    Mitchell,

    Jets play the Raiders–or is that wrong?

    I’m not that interested in the Texans-Bengals, but I agree about the Vikings-Steelers and Packers-Falcons. I’m also interested in the following: Eagles-Chiefs, Cowboys-Broncos, Bears-Buccaneers, Patriots-Saints, Titans-Jaguars. Dolphins-Chargers might be interesting as well.

    Don,

    If Luck is seriously hurt, I would think it would be tempting to just sit him in the entire season. Like the Jets, I feel like they really need a massive rebuild. (But I hate the fact that they would give up on the season and make it obvious.)

    I think you might be right about the Jets beating the Colts.

  4. Don

    Reid,

    Mitchell meant the Raiders had a bye by playing the Jets. Come on. I’ll say it for you, “Lovely”.

  5. Reid

    Man, you could have a conversation without me. 🙂

  6. Mitchell

    If only!

  7. Don

    Texans, Bengals:
    Taped the game and watched a little over a quarter and gave up. That was hard to watch, although Houston’s defense looked good, but hard to say how good the Bengals are after last week’s performance.

  8. Reid

    If only

    Don, you know what to say.

    Houston’s defense looked good, but hard to say how good the Bengals are after last week’s performance.

    Are you also suggesting that you don’t know how good the Texas defense is, because you don’t know how good the Bengals offense is? If so, I agree. One thing that stands out about the Texans defense: They seem a little vulnerable to the run–at least more vulnerable than what I would expect from a really good defense. It’s not like the Jaguars or Bengals gashed the Texans D, but they dominate, either.

    The Texans do look like they have a solid defense, though. Right now, I would put them below the Seahawks, Vikings, and Broncos, but not by too much; and that could change as well. None of these defenses strike me as so good that they could win games for their teams (i.e., generate turnovers and score)–not against the good teams, anyway. But they all seem like the type of defense that will make it hard for offenses to score and even move the ball, including good offenses.

    Deshaun Watson looked pretty good, smooth and fairly poised, although it seemed like he had a hard time processing defenses (which is too be expected). One thing that has to be kept in mind is that the Texans don’t seem to have many receiving weapons. Will fuller is out with a broken collar bone, and Braxton Miller doesn’t seem all that great. Ditto the TE. So Watson performed well, considering he has limited weapons. (I wouldn’t write off Tom Savage just yet, either. He shows promise based on the little I’ve seen so far.)

    Still, it’s hard to get a read on either the Bengals or Texans. They seem like middle of the pack teams. They’re not bad, but they’re not good enough to make a run in the playoffs, if they can make the playoffs at all.

  9. Reid

    Niners-Seahawks

    Disappointing performance by the Seahawks, not just the offense, but the defense, too. I’m curious to see if you guys agree with me about the defense’s performance. For me, the Niners offense isn’t very good, especially at the QB position. Additionally, the Seahawks offense at least did a good job of eating up time off the clock. Given these things, I expected more from the Seahawk pass rush and their run defense. I understand the defense puts up good run defense numbers–making them seem like a dominant run defense, but would you guys consider them a dominant run defense? I do not. They not only gave up some long runs, but they don’t consistently dominate at the LOS enough. (I also don’t think think Jarran Reed is a good a run-stuffer as some think or hope.)
    Right now, it doesn’t like Sheldon Richardson has really elevated both the run and pass defenses.

    On the offense side, the offense didn’t extend drives and eat up the clock–so that’s good. But the OL still looks shaky to me. Having said that, I must say that Wilson looked spooked, and didn’t have a really good game. He looked uncomfortable throwing the ball, as if his feet couldn’t get settled. His accuracy was way off, and I think he threw two or three passes that could have or should have been intercepted. This is a pretty rare thing for Wilson. The issue might have been the rainy weather. I think his accuracy (balls sailing high) can occur in wet weather.

    Cowboys-Broncos

    What stands out to me is the way the Cowboys defense played, particularly on the DL. I was surprised at how well the Broncos run-blocked. Also, the Cowboys uncharacteristically had a few plays of bad tackling, something that seems rare in Marinelli’s tenure as DC.

    Turnovers were also really crucial, but I think the way the Broncos could move the ball was key. This allowed them to have long drives, and I think it really helped their passing game.

    To be fair, I understand the Cowboys secondary was really depleted. I’m wondering if they had injuries in the front seven as well. (Did they have injuries at safety?)

    Jets-Raiders

    I don’t know if this is the most crucial takeaway, but I do think that Marshawn Lynch has been a great addition to the Raiders. Maybe the new OC has also made a difference, but the Raiders just seem to running the ball better. I still don’t care for their offense (wish they would utilize more play action), but it seems like the OL and the team is more invigorated and enthusiastic about blocking, and I think that’s due to Lynch and his style of running. I like Richard and Washington as RBs as well. I don’t really care for smaller backs, as they have durability issues, but these guys are shifty, explosive, and tough (for their size)–in the Darren Sproles mold.

    Titans-Jaguars

    I don’t remember much of this game, but one thing I do remember is that Derrick Henry’s lateral ability seems better than I would have guessed–specifically, his ability to bounce the ball outside. There were at least two plays where he headed straight for the pile and then bounced to the outside and turned the corner for a decent gain. Oh, I also think that Mariota’s two good runs on read-option helped open up the offense. I think they should try and find ways to make that happen a few times every game. (Same with Seattle.)

    As for the Jaguars, their OL seems pretty good, a lot better than I expected, both in run-blocking and pass blocking. Fournette looks good, but the run-blocking seems solid as well. If Bortles can protect the ball and gain confidence, and the team just keeps improving they could make some noise.

    Mariota’s INT was pretty bad, but I think he settled down a lot after that.

    Dolphins-Chargers

    Chargers lose another heartbreaker. Man, they seemed cursed. Dolphins looked good, solid on both sides of the ball. I generally don’t like the type of offense they run, but I like Adam Gase. I wonder if this is the year they can make some noise, finally.

    Chargers seem like a solid team. They seem like a few pieces from being really good. (Unfortunately, Rivers isn’t getting any younger.)

    The AFC West looks like the best division in football.

    Packers-Falcons

    Falcons looked good. The Packers turnovers (2?) was a big deal. Was Jordy hurt before the game? In any event, the Packer’s struggled on offense like two years ago. WRs just seem to have a hard time beating defenders one on one.

    Bears-Buccaneers

    I stopped watching this after a while. Bears just shot themselves in the foot with turnovers.

    Colts-Cardinals

    Colts weren’t great, but they looked way better than last week, and actually controlled this game. In the trenches, the Colts OL contained the Cardinal’s front seven and did a decent job of handling the blitzes. On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals OL seemed to struggle for a lot of the day.

    Brisett played fair well, until that INT in overtime.

    Vikings-Steelers

    Steelers looked way better. I didn’t realize Bradford wasn’t going to be playing. The Vikings pass-pro seemed shaky at times.

  10. Don

    Patriots, Saints:
    I watched about a quarter and a half. I thought the DBs for the New England was either playing really well or the Saints WRs weren’t. NE wasn’t pressuring Brees that much, but still no easy passes for the Saints. Brady was on point for the parts of the game I saw. The first TD was perfect and he threw the RB open, and a couple Gronk over-the-middle-ten-yard-type passes, the defender was on him, and the passes were perfect.

    Chiefs, Eagles:
    I didn’t watch any part of this game that the Chiefs were scoring TDs. I only saw up until Wentz threw his TD pass. I thought Wentz wasn’t great in the parts I saw, but then again the Chiefs defense was pretty good. Wentz needs a better running game though. The Eagles defense was playing well, but like I said I didn’t see any of the Chiefs’ TDs.

    Cowboys, Broncos:
    The worst Cowboy defensive performance that I’ve seen in three years. Even that year when Romo was injured I thought the defense played better than this. There were injuries in the secondary, but really I thought the worst play came from the two starting safeties. They were missing plays, taking bad angles, and overall just poor. I’m not sure why there wasn’t any push in the offensive line as well. I understand that the Broncos were daring the Cowboys to pass, so that could prevent holes from opening up. But there should be some kind of push, but they were being stonewalled by the Bronco defensive front. That was one of the scariest part of the entire Cowboy performance. The Cowboy press was saying Dak played poorly, but I thought he wasn’t that bad. He missed some passes and maybe he didn’t push the ball down the field enough, but that’s about what we saw from him last year. The first interception wasn’t his fault (well in real time anyway), and the second one he was just trying to make a play in a game that was already done. I will say I was impressed with how the Broncos shut down Beasley. First time I can really remember that happening.

    Packers, Falcons:
    Although the Seahawks is a very good defense and so made it hard to judge the Packer offense, what I saw yesterday was what would concern me if I was a Packer fan. Their offense looks a lot like last year’s, which wasn’t good enough. To be fair, Jordy got injured, but I’m not confident that this Packer team is the team to beat in the NFC. Atlanta’s offense doesn’t look as good as last year’s, which is to be expected, but they have weapons and this team could be the best team in the NFC after the first two weeks. I would be concern with their smallish LBs and front seven overall though.

  11. Don

    Having said that, I must say that Wilson looked spooked

    The game wasn’t on TV, but I heard Wilson wasn’t great.

    As for the Jaguars, their OL seems pretty good

    That is surprising. The Titans were blitzing?

    the Packer’s struggled on offense like two years ago.

    I didn’t think they were all that great last year, but yes definitely much worse two years ago.

    The Vikings pass-pro seemed shaky at times.

    The Steeler pass rush is supposed to be pretty good though right? Although Watt got hurt right? The Vikings looked much improved in pass-pro the first game with Bradford, maybe it was the QB?

  12. Mitchell

    Reid, your Seahawks response confuses me. Did the Seahawks extend drives and eat up the clock or didn’t they, and do you think whatever they did is good or don’t you? I’m trying to read what you mean (and not necessarily what you type) but this one is challenging. Since I didn’t see the game and since I’m interested in how the Seahawks do, I’d like to know your thoughts. Otherwise I’d just let it go, you know? Please clarify, if you don’t mind.

    I’m in the middle of a few things at once, so I’ll share my thoughts of this week’s games after lunch, perhaps, but I do want to say I’m still loving having football back, even at some of the ridiculously bad levels of play I think I’m seeing. Is anyone in the country, even people in San Francisco or Los Angeles, going to go out of their way to see this Thursday night’s game? Ugh.

    I guess I might if it were on a station I have access too. Because it’s so great to have football back!

  13. Mitchell

    Oh, I’ll also add this: When a team like the Raiders can get a guy like Cordarelle Patterson as a complementing role-player, he can be a nice asset and even make a few highlight reels. When a team like the Vikings needs a Cordarelle Patterson to be the star, he’s a disappointment. It’s nice to see a talented guy like that find a good spot. Is Patterson this year’s Javale McGee of the NFL? 🙂

  14. Reid

    Don,

    The game wasn’t on TV, but I heard Wilson wasn’t great.

    He threw a lot of balls high, and made two or three throws that looked like the type of rookie mistakes that lead to picks, but it’s almost important to say that he made crucial plays as well, running and passing. The TD throw was ridiculous, in an amazing way. (Also, there were potentially two TD passes that were dropped–not gimmes, but probably should have been caught.)

    That is surprising. The Titans were blitzing?

    No, they blitzed some, and they did get pressure. But I’m surprised at how often the pass and run-blocking is quite good. But remember I was expecting them to be really bad, especially when they faced the Texans front seven. Assuming the Texan and Titan front sevens provide a formidable challenge, I thought the Jaguar OL did quite well.

    I didn’t think they were all that great last year, but yes definitely much worse two years ago.

    Agreed. The offense got a little better last year, but they still weren’t as great in the past. Jordy didn’t seem 100%, or he was never the playmaker that I thought. It just seems like their offense is missing a playmaking pass-catcher.

    The Steeler pass rush is supposed to be pretty good though right? Although Watt got hurt right? The Vikings looked much improved in pass-pro the first game with Bradford, maybe it was the QB?

    Not having Bradford might have had an impact, but I tend to think the difference has to do with Saints versus the Steelers. Steelers pass rush is supposed to be good, although they didn’t look as good as I thought they would against the Browns.

  15. Reid

    Don,

    Just saw your first post.

    I watched about a quarter and a half. I thought the DBs for the New England was either playing really well or the Saints WRs weren’t.

    What do you think about my theory that, you can’t beat the Patriots if you’re a one-dimensional offense, which includes the willingness to do the thing you don’t like doing–and doing it a lot? In this case, this would the Saints would run the ball a lot, and run it from run-based formations. My guess is that Patriots know the Saints aren’t going to do that, so they gameplan to defend the spread passing attack. Once they do that, it’ll be hard to beat them.

    Brady did look sharp. What impressed me was that on two big plays, he stood in there and took some shots, and he knew he was going to take those hits. I tend to think that’s one of his major weaknesses now, but it didn’t show in this game.

    Re: Chiefs-Eagles

    The game is a blur to me now, but my perceptions are poisoned by Mike Lombardi’s harsh criticisms of Doug Pederson. I’m wondering how much of this has to do with problems with the Eagles offense. At this point, I tend not to blame Wentz. If anything I think Wentz is carrying the offense, more than hurting it. At this point, I’m pretty confident that he’s the best QB of the young guns (3 years or less). And I would say he has the best chance of being really great.

    I’m not sure why there wasn’t any push in the offensive line as well.

    My memory of the Cowboys offense is hazy right now, but what stands out to me is the time that the Cowboy offense was on the field versus the Bronco offense. I remember the game sort of like a Seahawk game, where the offense can’t stay on the field long enough to get in a rhythm, and the opposing offense is out there for a long time.

    My impression of the Cowboy defense, in the past three years, is that they’re solid when they’re kept off the field for long stretches. But they’re very vulnerable when they’re on the field a lot (even long drives with a lot of plays, they seemed to start breaking down fast–especially two or three years ago). Of course, the offense was a perfect complement for this. But yesterday the offense couldn’t get the job done.

    Re: Packers and Falcons

    I agree with those comments. I think one factor is how Ryan will play, particularly as the season wears on.

  16. Reid

    Mitchell,

    Here’s the sentence I messed up on: “On the offense side, the offense didn’t extend drives and eat up the clock–so that’s good.”

    It’s supposed to read “did,” not didn’t.

    but I do want to say I’m still loving having football back,…

    I’m content that the NFL is back, but I’m less excited this year. My enthusiasm is diminishing for a variety of reasons, injuries being a big reason. (I heard Marshall Yanda of the Ravens is out for the year. Garrett Bolles, of the Broncos, might be out for the year, too. Greg Olsen broke his foot, too, so he’ll be out for a while.)

    Is Patterson this year’s Javale McGee of the NFL?

    The name doesn’t ring any bells. Who is that?

    By the way, to be fair to the Vikings, while they needed a really good WR, I think the bigger issue was that they got fed up with Patterson. I believe the issue was that he wouldn’t learn the plays or try to develop his route-running. The Raiders are just giving him a second shot, but it’s an ideal situation for the Raiders because they don’t really need an WR, but they could use a Punt/kick returner (although Jalen Richard is solid).

  17. Don

    My impression of the Cowboy defense, in the past three years, is that they’re solid when they’re kept off the field for long stretches.

    I would say that this is accurate, but the last year the Cowboy defense were able to get off the field and give the ball to the offense. In this game, they couldn’t get off the field at all, and although the Cowboys offense could have started better, if the defense got off the field, the offense would have had more chances to stay on the field. I cannot recall the Broncos punting in their maybe 6 possessions. If that’s correct, there is nothing the Cowboy offense could have done to help that.

  18. Reid

    It’s true that if the defense got off the field quicker, they would give the ball back to the offense, giving them more opportunities to stay on the field for long stretches. But this is like putting the cart before the horse in my view, especially if you’re putting more of the blame on the defense.

    The team isn’t built on the defense getting the ball back quickly for the offense. Rather, the team depends more on the offense keeping the defense off the field. Marinelli’s defense seems like it’s the mold of the popular defenses now: namely, defenses that take away explosive plays and try to be tough in the red zone, but also allow offenses to methodically move the ball down the field. That is, offenses can end up holding the ball for a long periods of time. If that’s true, this puts a burden on the offense to also extend drives, otherwise the defense and the team can enter into a death spiral. For example, let’s say the first two Bronco possessions were long and the first two Cowboy possessions were relatively short. On the Broncos’ third possession, the Cowboy defense will have an even lower chance of getting the Bronco offense off the field, especially if we’re right about how vulnerable they are when they’re on the field too long. On the Cowboys’ third possession, more important than scoring, they’ve got to get a long drive. If not, on the Broncos’ fourth possession, the Cowboy defense will have even less of a chance to get the Broncos off the field. This is what I mean, partly, by getting into a death spiral.

  19. Don

    There has to be a limit in which the offense can help the defense and which the defense can help themselves. Although I agree that the Cowboys are built to win the time of possession, that doesn’t automatically mean if they don’t it’s on the offense. I’m pretty sure the Broncos scored on their first 6 (I think?) possessions minus the fumble by Siemian. That’s unacceptable in any sense. If the offense has to take the blame on that, then I would say there is just about no way the defense could take the blame on anything.

  20. Reid

    Although I agree that the Cowboys are built to win the time of possession, that doesn’t automatically mean if they don’t it’s on the offense.

    This is true, but it should be pointed out that not only are they built to win the TOP, but this is at the expense of the defense (at least I assume it is). Therefore, in fairness, more should be expected of the offense. The situation is similar with the Seahawks. So much is devoted to the defense, at the rather dramatic expense of the OL, that more should be expected from the defense–including getting turnovers and even scoring.

    But going back to your original point–we shouldn’t automatically blame the offense. To answer this question, we should look at the circumstances. Here’s the sequence of the possessions (rounding off TOP per drive):

    DAL gets the ball first: 3 and out, about 2:00 min (punt)
    DEN: 8 plays, 4:00 min (TD)
    DAL: 5 play, 3:00 min (punt)
    DEN: 9 plays, 4:00 min (FG)
    DAL: 6 plays, 2:00 min (punt)
    DEN: 3 plays, 1:00 min (fumble)
    DAL: 2 plays, 1:00 min (TD)

    10-7 at this point. You could argue the defense is doing OK–they did generate a TO, which put the Cowboys in good scoring position. TOP may not be dramatically different, but look the number of plays by each offense. The next possession might have been a back-breaker:

    DEN: 15 play drive, 5:30 min (TD)

    This is followed by a short drive by DAL: 4 plays, 1:00 min (punt)

    DEN: 8 play drive, 3:00 (TD)

    Is the Cowboy defense to blame for these two scores? I tend to think not, given what we know about this defense.

    I get annoyed when Seattle fans criticize the offense, saying they should score more. If you want them to score more, give them the resources to build an average OL, never mind a really good one. I’d say something similar about the Cowboy defense. And let’s keep in mind that they also sustained injuries before and during the game to starters.

  21. Reid

    Lions-Giants

    Impressive win by the Lions, or maybe the Giants are just not that good. Still, the Giants defense should be one of the better defenses in the league (somewhere in the top 5), but the Lions offense did well against, if they are. (Giants were missing Janoris Jenkins, probably their best CB, though.)

    Lions OL is solid, and they’re missing their starting LT.

    If the AFC West isn’t the best division in the NFL, I’d guess the NFC North is. Lions could win the division, too.

    By the way, I heard Gruden say several times that the Giants offense can’t function with the type of OL play. I don’t know what you guys think, but it doesn’t look that bad. It’s not great, but I have seen worse, ahem.

  22. Don

    I would say if Dallas’ defense plays like this all year, there should be no expectation on winning no matter how the offense does. Just like you have little expectation of Seattle’s chances with that offensive line. Basically Dallas’ defense was as bad or possibly worst than Seattle’s offensive line against Green Bay.

  23. Don

    Reid,

    You like Jim Bob Cooter’s offense? He seem to really make a difference in Matt Stafford’s play.

  24. Reid

    Don,

    I would say if Dallas’ defense plays like this all year, there should be no expectation on winning no matter how the offense does.

    I think you’re looking at this the wrong way. How the defense plays is contingent on how the offense plays. If the offense has more games like this, then expect a similar performance from the defense–it would be unreasonable to expect a lot more. It’s like if the Seahawk defense gave up a lot of points, and then you expect the Seahawk offense to score a lot of points to win. That’s not how the offense or team is built.

    Now, if the Cowboy offense plays how they were designed to play, and the Cowboy defense plays like they did–I would agree with you, they have no chance, and you would be right to criticize them.

    You like Jim Bob Cooter’s offense? He seem to really make a difference in Matt Stafford’s play.

    I don’t know if I love his offense per se, but I think he’s a solid OC/play caller. He should get some credit for Stafford’s improved play, but I gave a lot of credit to Jim Caldwell. When Caldwell came in the team and Stafford seemed to become a lot more disciplined. I feel like Caldwell changed something about the organization. They don’t commit seem to play in a reckless or boneheaded way any more.

    Stafford seems to have become a really good QB. I feel like he’s close to the top tier. His mobility is underrated, and his decision-making is way better now. Let’s see if he can protect the football and make the handful of big plays in the big games. If he can do that, he could be one of the best QBs.

  25. Mitchell

    JaVale Mcgee is the 7-footer the Wizards drafted with the 18th overall pick in the 2008 draft. His reputation is for making boneheaded plays on the court. In fact, I once showed up at your house and asked you who the bigger clown was: Nick Young or JaVale McGee. I always think of them at the same time because they’re both clowns on the court and they played for Washington at the same time. And now they play for the Warriors at the same time, and nobody except Shaquille O’Neal thinks McGee is still a clown.

    Anyway. You hadn’t heard of either of them at the time I asked (when McGee was a Nugget and Young was a Laker), but I assumed you had by now since McGee has a ring and has miraculously transformed his career playing for Steve Kerr.

  26. Mitchell

    I was riveted by the Patriots-Saints game because I just knew Brady was going to come back with a vengeance after that KC game. I’m a little surprised the Patriots seemed to ease up in the second half. That’s one of those games where Belichick and Brady seem to like stepping on their opponents’ necks and not letting go. But the Saints looked terrible on both sides of the ball, although Brees seemed to find a bit of a groove in the second half. Also, when did Manti become a Saint?

    Rob Gronkowski is amazing when he’s in. Although he doesn’t move quite the way he used to (those days are long gone, alas), when he has the ball he’s still a thing of beauty to watch. It’s not too early now to just declare him the greatest tight end in the history of the NFL, is it? Because he is.

  27. Don

    Actually I don’t think Dallas’ offense was all that different from the game against the Giants and the game against the Broncos. But the outcome was hugely different.

  28. Reid

    Mitchell,

    I was riveted by the Patriots-Saints game because I just knew Brady was going to come back with a vengeance after that KC game.

    I’m not sure if you’re implying this, but I thought Brady and the offense were OK. Or, I’ll say this: the Patriot defense was the main problem.

    Also, when did Manti become a Saint?

    Not sure exactly when, but at the end of last year would be my guess. The Saints have three Hawai’i boys now.

    …but I assumed you had by now since McGee has a ring and has miraculously transformed his career playing for Steve Kerr.

    Oh, OK. I might know even less about the NBA now, actually.

    Don,

    Actually I don’t think Dallas’ offense was all that different from the game against the Giants and the game against the Broncos. But the outcome was hugely different.

    That’s not my impression, but the offense had several short possessions with few plays in a row, but the Cowboy defense just got off the field quickly? Anyway, if the Cowboys have to rely on this, they have very little chance of going far into the playoffs, in my opinion.

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