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Week 16 Open Game Discussion

14 min read
New England Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore



Week 16 Open Game Discussion
Vincent Verhei
21 Dec 2019, 01:40am

New England Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore

We’ve got Saturday NFL games! With good teams! And high stakes! First, the Houston Texans (9-5) visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-7). That’s followed by the Buffalo Bills (10-4) at the New England Patriots (11-3), and finally the L.A. Rams (8-6) at the San Francisco 49ers (11-3). The Sunday slate is a little light — the New Orleans Saints (11-3) visit the Tennessee Titans (8-6) in the only contest where both teams have winning records, though the Dallas Cowboys (7-7) will travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles (7-7) in a contest that will virtually decide the NFC East, and the Kansas City Chiefs (10-4) face some stiff competition when they visit the Chicago Bears (7-7). And Monday night sees a critical NFC North matchup as the Green Bay Packers (11-3) visit the Minnesota Vikings (10-4). 

1
Picks

Vyccaneers 34, Rexans 27
Patriots 17, Biols 13
49ers 27, Ramz 22
Squirrels 27, Gisnts 20
Falcons 38, Jaguars 27
Colts 24, apanrgers 20
Jets 20, Steelers 13
Ravens 31, browns 20
Titans 24, Saints 23
Dolpjins 30, Bengals 20
Raiders 44, Chargerz 16
Lions 33, Broncos 14
Seahawks 25, Cardonals 22
Cowboys 24, Eaglez 17
Vears 20, Chiefs 17
Vikings 30, Pakers 23

2
A bunch of hopeful picks this week

In reply to by Raiderjoe

Tecans 31 buxxaneers 28

Bills 19 pates 18

Rams 20 39ers 31

Steeless 24 jeta 29

Sainrs 41 titans 30

Panrhers 17 coltes 27

Bensgrls 17 ddokpihns 27

Jaguanrs 13 falcins 28

Rabens 31 beowns 27

Gienats 22 Red Clouds 24

Loiens 13 bronxos 30

Raidaes 31 cheagers 24

Cardonald 27 seahawks 35

Ragles 21 xowboys 28

Cheigs 31 beats 18

Pakcera 21 vikinge 35

3
Just tuned in. I gather…

Just tuned in. I gather Winston’s performance in the first couple of minutes has been, ah, sub-optimal.

6
It’s just Jameis continuing…

It’s just Jameis continuing in his glorious quest to lead the league in passing yards, TDs, interceptions, and sacks. He has a huge lead in interceptions and is first in passing yards as well. He’s three off Kyler Murray for the sacks lead and three behind Lamar Jackson in TDs. With Lamar likely to be taking Week 17 off Jameis has a real shot at passing him.

5
The announcers for this game…

The announcers for this game are Rich Eisen, Nate Burleson, and Joe Thomas, and I have to say I’m really enjoying them so far. They have great chemistry and charisma and so far haven’t said anything too insipid. And Joe Thomas taught us the term “carcass tackle.”

10
Thomas has given some great…

Thomas has given some great insights about line play, including succinctly explaining the hand technique a LT in Tunsil’s position could use to avoid a holding call like that. I think they said this is his first game called? Make him a regular please!

8
These

turnovers are getting ridiculous.

9
Apparently that was just the…

Apparently that was just the 17th 3-and-out for the Houston offense? That seems almost impossible to me, that’s barely more than one per game, and it’s not like they’re some unstoppable juggernaut. I wonder what the record is?

5 turnovers already, 4 by the Buc’s, and that doesn’t count that near-fumble by a Houston RB that was called a forward-progress stop. There is still 9:37 left in the second quarter.

Winston has an injured thumb, which might explain why his throws are so off (although the fact that he is Jameis Winston certainly has something to do with it; that pick-six looked like just a bad read). If this gets much more out of hand, I wonder if they’d bench/rest him to avoid risking further injury. But his status for next year is complicated, and they might not want to risk upsetting someone they might want back next year, but who can opt to go somewhere else if he wants.

12
As Bill Barnwell pointed out…

As Bill Barnwell pointed out on Twitter, Jameis picked up the thumb injury two weeks ago. Since then he’s had consecutive 450 yard passing games, so it doesn’t seem like it’s been slowing him up before today.

11
Texans special teams looked…

Texans special teams looked impressive the past couple of weeks. Excellent kick coverage and a couple of blocked field goals.

13
6 turnovers in the 1st half,…

6 turnovers in the 1st half, that one a Winston-esque INT by Watson.

The announcers had a funny exchange earlier:

Eisen: ‘The audience at home could take a drink every time I mix up “Winston” and “Watson”‘

Burleson: ‘They wouldn’t make it to half-time.’

15
Four turnovers and you aren…

Four turnovers and you aren’t even leading at the half. This Texans team doesn’t deserve to make the playoffs, much less host a home game. They’ll be the weakest team to qualify.

17
The defense is certainly a…

The defense is certainly a worry. The offense is explosive, but you can’t shake the feeling it should be capable of more. 

Regardless, they’ve got some good quality wins on their schedule (Chiefs, Patriots, Titans), so it’s a bit of a stretch to say they don’t deserve to make the playoffs. 

18
They are 17th in DVOA and I…

They are 17th in DVOA and I see no reason to believe that ranking is underrating them. In theory DeShaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins should give you a top offense, but Houston is 11th in both overall offense and passing. Horrible games like their humiliating annihilation against the Broncos two weeks ago should be weighed as much as their wins against good teams.

16
Amazing and kind of…

Amazing and kind of hilarious that this is tied at the half. While they’ve already got 3 INTs, that dropped pick that Winston threw to about 4 Texans defenders right before the tying TD looms pretty large.

20
TB has the a strong defense…

TB has the a strong defense in general and the top rushing defense in the league so I can’t disagree with Houston’s decision to punt on that fourth down.

21
Wowwww, well, the game ends…

Wowwww, well, the game ends the way it begins. The cycle of Winston.

23
Watching the Bucs offense is…

Watching the Bucs offense is charge of the light brigade stuff: it is magnificent, but it is not football.

24
First mistake is by NE. …

First mistake is by NE. Buffalo’s offense des nothing with the great field position after Burkhead’s fumble, which is likely to be a theme this game, but team who makes fewer errors is likely going to be the winner considering D >> O for both teams.

25
Fumble aside, the Pats haven…

Fumble aside, the Pats haven’t had any particular trouble moving the ball against the Bills D so far. Not a great sign for Buffalo…

27
The Bills can’t possibly…

The Bills can’t possibly compete against the best teams in the league with a passing game this remedial.

32
Good thing we have an entire…

Good thing we have an entire season’s worth of games to judge them by and don’t have to rely solely on one half of football. Josh Allen is a bad QB but he’s not normally as bad as he’s been in this game. They have the 20th ranked passing offense by DVOA, which is of course not good but does not prohibit them from competing with top teams. We’ve already seen them beat Dallas (ranked 8th in DVOA), hang around with the best team in the league (Baltimore) and almost beat the Pats the first time they played.

34
Not to mention, they’re…

Not to mention, they’re literally playing the best defense (and specifically pass defense) in the league right now. They are certainly “competing.” And as not-good as Allen is, he hasn’t imploded today (unlike a certain someone earlier), and has only (“only”) two complete implosions this year. And one of those implosions was against the Pats in their last game, and they still kept it close.

29
Uh… speaking of games that…

Uh… speaking of games that are shockingly tied at the half despite one team clearly outplaying the other…

EDIT: Spoke too soon, looks like he’s down about 6 inches short.

EDIT2: Okay, they got it. On a pass to the extra tackle. Belichick is livid; announcers said they didn’t announce 73 was eligible. Not 100% sure what the rule is re: reporting as eligible and announcing it, but I have to think a whole crew of refs wouldn’t miss that an ineligible receiver caught a TD, right?

30
I was preparing to make a…

I was preparing to make a post about about how this game looked basically over even with just a 7 point margin because it didn’t look like the Bills were capable of scoring, and whatta ya know, we’re suddenly tied. The Patriots have been the much better team and will probably still win, but at least it’s more competitive.

33
That’s what makes the Bills…

That’s what makes the Bills scary to me. Their defense is good enough to keep the game close so a few big plays make the difference, and while Allen generally sucks, with the physical gifts he has he can pull out one or two of those big plays that most QBs can’t. They’re kind of like those 2007 Giants.

37
Bills face 4th and 1 on…

Bills face 4th and 1 on their own 37, up by 4 in the 3rd quarter. They punted; I bet going for it would have been slightly better.

40
What on earth was the…

What on earth was the blocking scheme on that last play for Buffalo? I don’t remember ever seeing both ends completely unblocked in a real game before.

The Pats vastly outplayed Buffalo overall, but if Allen had just been able to get another couple of yards of distance on that hail mary (or hadn’t overthrown the open receiver a couple plays earlier), this could’ve been going to overtime.

41
If the Bills get a third…

If the Bills get a third shot at NE in the playoffs, they need to build more of their offensive game plan around Allen running.

Two deep strikes and the Burkhead fumble kept them in this game, but they shouldn’t count on getting those again. The only way they seemed to be able to put some stress on NE’s D was with Allen as a third option to the RB run or pass.

NE offense looked better than it had the last couple of times I saw them, but Buffalo’s D was really good in the red zone. If they continue to avoid turnovers, I could see Buffalo going into Houston and winning.

42
Incredible play by Ramsey…

Incredible play by Ramsey there.

Announcers pointed out something I noticed during the Rams’ pseudo-renaissance, that Goff is infinitely better rolling out and now McVay has him do that way more.

I get the personal foul call on the slide there but that was a rough spot for the defender, he slid pretty late.

43
Pates Points

NE has to feel pretty good about 400+ yards offense against FO’s 4th ranked defense. The balance that’s been missing for most of the year was there and while Brady still missed some easy throws, he showed better touch than in recent weeks. Wonder how predictive it will be going forward. Jonathan Jones being out and then Jason McCourty leaving with groin injury played a role in both of the Allen’s big strikes (Allen had 19(!) yards passing before the last seconds of the 2nd quarter). Other than Allen scrambles, Bills couldn’t run the ball, not that their 22nd ranked offense offered the greatest test but the run game has been the better part of their offense (and a relative Pats weakness). Game really shouldn’t have been so close and the Bills will be kicking themselves over missed opportunities.
The bye week is essential for the Pats to advance. A Ravens/Pats rematch seems a lot more likely now.

44
The Rams are all over the…

The Rams are all over the place these last few weeks. They beat Seattle easily two weeks ago, then got annihilated by the Cowboys, and now are up 11 on the 49ers.

45
The first quarter was a…

The first quarter was a defensive slugfest, the second has been a shootout. Losing Ramsey doesn’t help for the Rams but the Niners had some things going before that. On the other side, the Niners haven’t figured out what to do about Goff rolling out; their pass D seems to rely on getting pressure with the front 4. Potential playoff opponents, take note – and pay close attention to what they do in the second half.

UPDATE: Well, that’s one thing you can do about Goff rolling out.

48
Looks like they’re having…

Looks like they’re having the DEs focus on containing Goff in the pocket, spiced up with a safety blitz. Working like gangbusters so far. If Gurley were still Gurley he could shred that, but he’s not.

46
That INT by Goff looked like…

That INT by Goff looked like one of the worst INTs I’ve ever seen a professional QB throw. Not sure if maybe somehow Warner was hidden from Goff’s line of sight by a lineman? but it seemed like Goff just locked in on his guy coming out of the backfield and never looked around, just stared at this man until he threw it, oblivious to the defender closing in.

49
The Rams d-line suddenly…

The Rams d-line suddenly came to life, back-to-back sacks and Garoppolo is limping. Didn’t notice any injuries or subs on the Niners line, maybe they’re getting tired.

The Rams haven’t really figured out what to do about the Niners’ anti-bootleg adjustment – they just had one where Goff was chased by two guys and threw to Higbee, who was triple-covered, so it’s pretty safe to say the Niners had that one figured out – other than just having Goff stand in the pocket and throw. He’s done okay at it so far, but that TD to Kupp was a bit behind, and that deep throw that Higbee missed because he turned the wrong way might’ve been on Goff’s inaccuracy as well, it’s hard to say. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rams are done scoring for the night.

51
Thanks, NFL, for sticking…

Thanks, NFL, for sticking all these interesting games on your pay channel and screwing actual football fans.

59
That was amazing. I’m…

That was amazing. I’m actually not sure the defender actually touched the guy who caught it either. We almost got an Antonio Freeman play.

The Rams have no one to blame but themselves for missing the playoffs this year. To let both of those happen in the absolute do-or-die game ought to be disqualifying in and of itself.

58
LOL Rams, seriously? …

LOL Rams, seriously? Blitzing on 3rd-and-16??

Well deserved loss, I’d say.

https://www.footballoutsiders.com/open-discussion/2019/week-16-open-game-discussion

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