NFL 2017: Week 5

Thursday

Patriots-Buccaneers

Sunday

49ers-Colts
Jets-Browns
Jaguars-Steelers
Chargers-Giants
Bills-Bengals
Panthers-Lions
Titans-Dolphins
Cardinals-Eagles
Ravens-Raiders
Seahawks-Rams
Packers-Cowboys
Chiefs-Texans

Monday

Vikings-Bears

23 Responses to “NFL 2017: Week 5”


  1. Reid

    Thoughts off the top of my head about the upcoming games:

    I’m interested in the Pats-Bucs, just to see how good the Bucs are, and if the Patriot defense has cleaned things up. I’ll be interested if the Bucs can run and also utilize play action.

    Panthers-Lions looks like a good one; ditto Packers-Cowboys.

    I’m worried about the Seahawks-Rams. Seahawks turned it on in the second half, but the Colts aren’t a good team in my opinion. I’m expecting the OL and the offense to look really dysfunctional. I also wouldn’t be too surprised if this is blow out. (This is probably a defense mechanism, but I also do believe these things on some level.)

  2. Don

    The Bucs will get Doug Martin back this week, but I’m not 100% sure how much he will play. How has Winston been this year thus far?

    I think I would take the Rams in this one, but I don’t think the Rams D is as good as they were under Fisher. Although, Donald may have a field day in this one.

  3. Reid

    Honestly, I’ve barely watched the Bucs much, and I can’t remember why (because I am interested in how good they are).

    With regards to the Rams defense, in my opinion, the most disappointing thing about Fisher, the thing that was unforgivable, was that his defense wasn’t as good as I thought it should have been, particularly in his last year. Either that, or the players on the team just weren’t as good as I thought. For example, maybe Robert Quinn isn’t as good as some think. (I never really thought he was in the top three, even in his best season.)

    The current Rams defense doesn’t look dominant, but I have a feeling the Seahawks offense can make good defenses look dominant and just OK defenses seem good. Seattle might not be playing with their starting LT, too (who is actually a second-stringer). I think Quinn is still playing on that side, too. It could get ugly.

  4. Reid

    Patriots-Buccaneers

    I don’t really like the Buccaneer offense. The pass the ball too much for my taste. The Patriot defense looked way better, although they gave up a few big plays at the end to make this a game.

    The Patriot offense looked like a machine, although the Buccaneer defense kept them out of the end zone. The Patriots turned the ball over twice, which gave the Bucs a chance. Patriots seemed to be in comfortable control, though, until the end.

    Winston didn’t look so good to me.

  5. Reid

    By the way, two other things that occurred to me about the Patriots:

    1. They run well in I-formation, on short yardage situations. Their ultimate strength may be the spread, but they may be one of the best, if not the best, short yardage running teams.

    2. The Patriots will use a hurry-up, quick snap for running plays in the run formations–and they seem to be one of the few teams that do this quite consistently–and it seems fairly effective. It seems like Belichick is noticing something–maybe with certain defensive personnel on the field, relative to the offensive personnel or certain situations–or maybe hurrying up puts the defense at a disadvantage in terms of run defense; or maybe Brady or other players recognize when defense is tired or would be at a disadvantage with a quick snap to run the ball? I don’t know what it is, but they seem to be onto something. Or maybe this is one of those things that the Patriots can do effectively, and no other team can. (I do a few other teams, in some rare occasions go to a hurry up/quick snap on running plays from run formations, but I think it’s very rare. Patriots seem to do a few of these every game.)

    By the way, what did you guys think of the Patriots pass protection? There were times that Brady got pressured and hit, but I thought there were long stretches where he was unscathed and had all day to throw. To me, the latter is important–more important than if he got sacked four or five times, let’s say. In my view, Russell Wilson would have put up big numbers with that type of pass pro.

  6. Reid

    Packers-Cowboys

    I thought this was one of the better games, if not the best game. The pick six was huge. One thing that stood out to me. Prescott doesn’t really throw passes that can be intercepted–i.e., his ball security is excellent. He also made two plays when the play broke down that was exceptional. He’s looking like the real deal.

    Despite the record, I still like the Cowboys chances quite a bit–if they can control the clock. The one thing I can have trouble getting a good sense of is how well a team is controlling the clock. I heard the Cowboys controlled the ball for 12 minutes in the 4th quarter–which is a a lot–but I’m not sure about the quality of their ball control before that. If they had short possessions with minimal plays, particularly if this occurred when the Packers had a long drive, the Cowboys offense controlling the ball better in the second half may not help their defense as much. What I’m suggesting is that the Cowboy offense has to help the defense in the first half, too. If the Cowboys offense can control the clock, in the first half, I’m not worried too worried about their record, as long as they can get into the playoffs.

    Aaron Jones looked really good. A part of me wonders if he’s really that good or if the Cowboys sold out to stop the pass, and the Packers exploited this. The ability for the Packers to run was a big deal in my opinion.

    Seahawks-Rams

    I anticipated the Seahawks losing this one, with the OL looking terrible. I don’t know if it’s my low expectations mostly influencing my perceptions, but the Seahawk OL looked solid in this game, maybe the best I’ve seen of them. (Or could it be that the Rams front seven really isn’t that good? I think there’s some decent evidence for this. It could be that the front seven either isn’t used to playing Phillips’s 3-4 or they are ill-suited for it.) I really wonder if the running game would have been a lot better with Chris Carson. (I have a feeling it could have been.)

    Another positive is the amount of turnovers the team generated. Tavon Austin played badly, if I recall. He muffed two fair catches, and he was ineffective on offense.

    On the downside, the Rams, despite turning the ball over, should have won this, if Kupp had held on to the ball. I must say, for a really good defense, the Seahawks have to be one of the worst defenses ever in two-minute situations. This is a pattern that goes back to 2012. My guess is that it has to do with a) Carroll’s bend-but-don’t-break system and b) they lack a play making pass rusher that can deliver in the big moments. (They’ve never had this type of pass rusher.)

    Ravens-Raiders

    EJ Manuel actually looked better than I thought, at least initially. Raiders run-blocking looked dominant in the beginning.
    Mike Wallace did damage with two big catches.

    Panthers-Lions

    I thought this was a pretty impressive win by the Panthers, not necessarily because the Lions are so good. They’re solid team, but the Panthers were in complete control, on both sides of the ball, for most of the game.

    49ers-Colts

    Two of the weakest teams in the league playing fairly well. If that sounds appealing to you, you would have liked this one.

    Chargers-Giants

    I sort of feel similar about this game as well.

    Jaguars-Steelers

    I think Roethlisberger threw 4 INTs.

    Jaguars OL is solid, particularly in their run-blocking. This is a team that can hammer an opponent on the ground, and they did that to the Steelers. If Bortles played like he did two years ago, this team could be really good.

    Bills-Bengals

    Two middle of the pack teams. At the start of this game, I had positive thoughts about what the Bills were doing on offense, especially in terms of the running game and what they’re doing with Tyrod Taylor. Maybe Taylor is becoming a QB that can take them to the Super Bowl, I thought. But by the end of the game, I’m back to the opinion that he can’t. He just seems to struggle in obvious passing situations, especially from the pocket.

    Overall, the Bills seem to be moving in the right direction, though. I like how they run the ball, too. I like the way the Bills and Jaguars run the ball.

    Chiefs-Texans

    Shoot, for some reason I thought this game was on tonight, so I didn’t watch this. I heard that the Texans lost Watt and Mercilus for the season, though, which sucks.

    Cardinals-Eagles

    Are the Cardinals just that bad, or the Eagles really good? I really don’t know. I’m still very high on Wentz, though.

  7. Mitchell

    Roethlisberger had four interception in the second half. He had one in the first. Amazing, but they weren’t all his fault.

  8. Reid

    I wasn’t really paying close attention, but I think the first one might not have been his fault, not entirely. There was a second one where the WR fell down, so I wouldn’t pin that on him either. But I think at least two were on him.

  9. Reid

    From yesterday’s game:

    This not only saved a TD and kept points off the board, but Seattle got the ball back. The amazing thing is that this is the second time Earl has done this to the Rams!

  10. Mitchell

    This is amazing. I wonder why I didn’t see it in the highlights. How did Seattle get it back? Was it 4th and goal? Also, was that a touchback? The carrier loses the ball at the 1, but it’s still in bounds when it hits the pylon. So out of bounds in the end zone, and therefore a touchback?

  11. Mitchell

    PS: I’d still take Von Miller over anyone else in the league, even Khalil Mack and healthy JJ Watt.

  12. Reid

    So out of bounds in the end zone, and therefore a touchback?

    That’s my understanding.

    PS: I’d still take Von Miller over anyone else in the league, even Khalil Mack and healthy JJ Watt.

    I agree about taking Miller over Mack, but I’m not sure about Watt, if you mean Watt before he was injured. The thing that sets Miller a part, to me, is that he can come up with the bad sack when you need it–e.g., on third down or the two-minute situation. I’ve seen him do this enough times to think this is more than coincidence or luck (although I haven’t really noticed it this year).

    To be fair, if Miller and Mack switched teams, my impression might be a lot different. The Broncos have a lot of good players, which limits what the defense can do to contain Miller. I’ve seen Mack get triple teamed.

  13. Mitchell

    Yeah, I’ve thought that too! Like, if Reggie McKenzie called up John Elway and said, “Hey, Mack for Miller, straight up. What do you think?” would both teams give it the green light? Forget about contracts, but take into consideration ages.

  14. Reid

    I’m too lazy to look at the age difference, but I think their abilities might be fairly close. I haven’t seen Mack come up with timely sacks, the way Miller can. But again, I don’t know if that’s because Miller plays with better talent. (For example, it was more prevalent when Ware was on the team–and Ware came up with timely sacks as well.)

  15. Reid

    Cool play from tonight’s game. A two-point conversation.

  16. Don

    Re Dak:
    Lots of pundits and fans seem to think either Dak is playing badly or not as good as last year. I completely disagree. I think his game has improved since last year despite already throwing as many interceptions this year as he did last. He’s even better outside the pocket this year, he’s making more plays in general, and he is making more throws. I still think there are times he is slow to react, and doesn’t have a great awareness of where defenders are around him. I would say he’s better than Mariota in Mariota’s first year in terms of pocket awareness, and probably about where Mariota is now. At times, they both seem slow to react. Dak’s accuracy is average at best. His long ball can be terrible at times. But of the young guns (first, second or third year QBs), right now I think I would choose him slightly over Mariota, and only because Mariota has problems staying healthy. I do think that Wentz has the greatest upside of the group, but I like Dak’s poise and decision making over him at this point. Wentz still has the “immature” QB trait, where he seems to make bad decisions (ie: throwing off his back foot or across his body).

    Chiefs, Texans:
    Damn this year by far is the best Alex Smith has ever looked. He’s making plays down the field and just looking like an elite QB. I’m not sure what to make of the Chiefs chances because of what I’ve seen from Smith this year thus far. He may just be a one hit wonder like Carson Palmer was with the Cardinals, but that may all it takes to take his team to the Super Bowl. Watson played terrible in the parts I saw, but I didn’t see him in the end when he was scoring all those TDs. The Texans are done with their injuries, Indy isn’t great, the Titans have multiple problems as well. This could be the Jags’ year, but they aren’t that great as well.

  17. Reid

    I basically agree with you about Prescott, and disagree with those who say he is performing poorly. He’s showing he can make crucial throws, when there is a pressure and a play breaks down. He’s also shown really excellent ball security.

    I don’t know if I’d say his accuracy is average, but there are times when his accuracy is off. It’s hard to know if this is just a matter of circumstances or flukey or something more pervasive. In terms of accuracy, the problem doesn’t seem as significant as it does with Newton, for example.

    I’d choose him over Mariota, pretty easily at this point. Overall, I just think that Prescott is a better QB and a better at protecting the football.

    However, I wouldn’t choose Prescott over Wentz–although I do feel like Prescott’s ball security is better, so I may have to temper my opinion here.

    It’s interesting because the Eagles OL is rated highly, but I don’t really think they’re as good as the rating. Or maybe the issue is the quality of weapons Wentz has or he’s taking too long to make decisions.

    What I like about Wentz is his mobility and ability to make plays. In terms of scrambling, he’s up there, maybe not too far from what Wilson can do.

  18. Don

    Actually part of what makes me think Dak has been better this year is how his receivers are losing one-on-one battles. Pundits are saying Dez and Witten isn’t creating too much separation. They are also saying that a lot of teams are doubling Beasley on third downs. You think Dak can throw better than Mariota?

    Wentz makes bad decisions and I’m not as adverse to an interception as you, but Wentz does it often enough that at this point I wouldn’t pick him. But I agree what he’s shown has a lot of potential. Do you notice Wentz throwing balls away often? I don’t get that impression.

  19. Reid

    You think Dak can throw better than Mariota?

    I think they have different strengths and weaknesses, in terms of throwing. On a balance, I prefer Dak. Mariota might have a better arm, better release, and at some point he may be able to throw the ball better–but not right now in my view.

    The middle of the field stuff, from shot gun, I think Mariota might be better, but outside the numbers and go-routes, I like Prescott better.

    Do you notice Wentz throwing balls away often? I don’t get that impression.

    I don’t get that impression as well. The reason why Wentz looks better than Prescott is that I think he’s working with less and does more for his team. I think the Eagles offense relies heavily on what he does, a lot more than the Cowboys relying on Prescott.

  20. Don

    FWIW, Prescott’s long ball is pretty terrible in general. If he puts air under it, there are times it’s okay, but most times he tries to throw it more on a line. Those passes almost never work.

    I would say last year your Wentz comment is completely accurate and that he was “working with less and does more for his team”. This year I’m not so sure. It still may be true, but not nearly as true as it was last year. Dallas’ offense to this point has been really dependent on Dak’s ability, which is why I don’t agree with the pundits that say he hasn’t been great this year. Especially if it’s true that the receivers are struggling to get open. If Dallas was like last year, I wouldn’t feel so strongly about Dak.

  21. Reid

    I don’t think Prescott’s deep ball is terrible, certainly not as bad as Mariota’s. This year, so far, the accuracy has been off, but I don’t think he’s thrown a ton of deep passes either, so it’s hard to say if it’s within a reasonable number of inaccurate throws. I do think his deep passes don’t always have higher arch, but I don’t think it’s as bad as you think.

    As for Wentz, I think the talent around him is a little better, but when I watch them play, I think it’s clear he’s the center of the offense. Additionally, I feel like the offense relies quite a bit on his ability to extend plays.

    With Dak, I feel like while he the offense relies on him more, I don’t think it has to rely on him as much as the Eagles offense has to rely on Wentz. Dak will make three or four plays where he improvises or makes a tough throw under duress. With Wentz, I think he makes more of those plays.

    Here’s the thing though: If Dak is reading defenses better, and finding the open man, and Wentz has to scramble because he’s not reading the defenses as well, then I would probably favor Prescott more.

  22. Reid

    Chiefs-Texans

    I like Don’s comment comparing Smith to Palmer (or Dalton in the same year). I also thought of the Newton. What’s similar is that everything is clicking and going right. The pass protection is solid, and Smith, like those other QBs, got on a roll, until you got the sense they were extremely confident and comfortable. When a QB (or any player) gets to this point, they can weather pressure or other adversity. That’s what is seems like with Smith now. I’m still not really a believer until I see him perform well in the playoffs, particularly when he has to throw the ball to carry the team.

    Right now, the key to the Chiefs is their misdirection offense. They’re almost like a college offense. Smith has been making throws when he needs, to though. He had a few key 3rd down passes that were excellent.

    (One of the things I still see him do is drop his head and eyes too quickly when the pocket collapses.)

    By the way, the Texans utilized Paul Johnson option plays, where the slot goes in motion and becomes an running option. The Texans had a terrific driving using that play several times. I thought they should have utilized it a lot more.

    This year, I’m noticing a lot of teams effectively utilizing misdirection plays quite a bit.

  23. Reid

    Better angles on Earl Thomas’s great play to prevent a TD and essentially cause a turnover:

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.