NFL Week 1 Monday Not So morning Thoughts
Last season, I began doing a list of thoughts I had while watching each week of football as the season progressed. Here we go again. I will talk about some of the narratives, storylines and thoughts I had while watching. Each week I will start with how I lucked out against the spread with my weekly picks.
- Chiefs -9 – Win
- Bears +3 – Win
- Seahawks -1.5 – Win
- Cowboys -3 – Loss
- Steelers -5.5 – TBD
Off to a solid start thus far as I am 3-1 this week as I await my final match up of the week with Steelers on the road against the Giants.
NFL Protests and Impact on Ratings
One thing I always look at when it comes to sports is TV Ratings. They give the best pulse for how much people care. The Thursday Night game between the Chiefs and Texans finalized with about 20 million viewers, slightly down from the 22 million in 2019 on opening night. The Sunday Night ratings are still being finalized, but it’s looking like a slip in those as well down 21%. That will definitely rise some once the final numbers are calculated. A couple of factors to consider here is ratings usually fall in election years and sports are down across the board in 2020 right now.
One game that drew plenty of attention was the Bucs and Saints, which a 16.2/35 overnight rating. Fox’s highest such rating for a Week 1 game since 2016. Fox Sports PR projects that the game is on pace to become the most-watched event of any kind since the Super Bowl, eclipsing Thursday night’s Chiefs-Texans game and February’s Academy Awards.
Now that we have that cleared, protests happened across the league as expected. In addition to having phrases like “End Racism” painted in the endzones, players continued the protests, which varied across the league. Some stood in solidarity arm in arm. Some kneeled. Some remained in the locker room. Some stood with their hands over their hearts.
No matter what they do, there is still the echo chamber of people who remain adamant about boycotting. Much like I said years ago, there is no winning with them. Kneel, you’re fucked. Do anything else to stand up against social injustice, you’re fucked. Talk about it, you’re fucked.
They want “peaceful protests” until peaceful protests are done and then it’s “find another way.” But once you try the other, “i’M NoT WaTcHiNg.”
Can we just stop pretending the people in the comment sections announcing their departure from the “crybaby millionaires” of the NFL aren’t what we know they are? They’re likely racists, who won’t actually admit to it so let’s keep moving the goalposts. Let’s just paint them with the scarlet letter A for the assholes they are.
Lastly, politics have always been part of sports so shut up with that noise.
I Am Losing Steam on Being a Saints Fan
For the last year or two, I have been asked on multiple occasions if the Saints played the Tom Brady led Patriots in the Super Bowl, who would I cheer for? My answer was always that I wasn’t sure, but I would like to think the Saints. I got my answer yesterday with Saints and Bucs. I sat on my couch wearing my Michael Thomas jersey and was hoping Brady and the Bucs would win. If for nothing else, just a middle finger to the fans. It’s been a long time coming for me. The fans are shitty when they lose blaming refs and constructing conspiracies and they’re shitheads when they win. If it wasn’t for players like Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Cam Jordan to name a few, I just don’t know if I would actively root for the Saints because of my disdain for the base among other things.
It bothers me Sean Payton and Drew Brees put ego over meaningful postseason wins. I have written column after column on this. If you want more on this, feel free to message me. It bothers me that the fan base is just as arrogant. I said last year, Saints fans are reaching Cowboy fan level of annoyance and I am not exaggerating. They talk about the no call, but don’t talk about giving the Rams an extra timeout after Brees audibles and makes a piss poor throw just two plays before. Many fans tried to make the no call 2.0 a thing last year after Kyle Rudolph mossed PJ Williams. This was after Williams made contact with Rudolph without making a football move on the ball. If anything, it should be DPI.
Some of the fan base has the audacity to get pissed over the Falcons trolling the Saints on their Game of Thrones themed schedule release for 2019, which featured a Ram blasting through the Saints logo entering the Dome. Need I remind you of 28-3. For the record, that joke will never ever ever ever fade. But you can’t have it both ways.
Then being at the games surrounded by them every time there is a call against the Saints (good or bad), “tHeY’rE TrYiNg tO FuCk uS AgAiN. RoGeR GoOdELL HaTeS Us!” No they’re not and no he doesn’t, the secondary just sucks at turning their heads before making contact with receivers.
A combination of the frustration with Brees and Payton throwing themselves out of playoff games to stroke their own egos and the deplorable fan base, meh. Pretty much how I feel at this point.
Monday’s Overreaction: “BrAdY iS oLd”
Despite the 34-23 win for the Saints, the defenses made both QBs work for everything they had yesterday, which wasn’t much. For the Saints, they took advantage of two Tom Brady interceptions leading to 14 points. One was on a miscue between Brady and Mike Evans. The other, a pick six by Janoris Jenkins in which he jumped an terribly placed ball on an out route. The pass was high and on the back shoulder…never good news letting it go there. Jenkins capitalized housing it.
That being said, the game itself didn’t disappoint. For Tampa, the two mistakes led to a hole they couldn’t quite climb out of. Both defenses looked damn good and both offenses had flashes of explosion.
Today you will probably hear from the talking heads and Saints fans how old Brady looked while ignoring Brees and how how old he looked. One advantage Brees inherently has is playing with a roster he is familiar with and built chemistry with. Brady is working against the clock with a new roster and not many reps in between to build the chemistry. That showed yesterday.
Here’s the reality…
Brady’s average completion in air yards was 7.0 to Brees’ 3.2. The average intended air yards per throw was Brady 8.4 to Brees’ 4.7. Brady can still get the ball downfield. In fact, we saw him air it downfield multiple times.
Brady finished the game 7/12 for 1 TD and 1 INT on throws 10 yards or beyond. That doesn’t include the 45 yard and 28 yard PI’s the Bucs drew on deep balls (both of which were nicely thrown). Clearly, he can still read, react and throw it. In fact, only .02 separated Brady and Brees on average time to throw. That was with Brees throwing only 7 passes more than 10 yards downfield, completing 2 including the beauty to an open Jared Cook for 40+ yards.
Both have obviously aged. But if you are screaming about Brady being old as a Saints fan, look no further than the guy who can’t throw more than 10 yards anymore who has been near the bottom of the league in intended air yards the last three years. That doesn’t mean he isn’t good. He still operates sideline to sidelines better than just about anyone. When the Saints reach the redzone, there isn’t a QB better statistically over the last 2 years and it really isn’t close.
Let’s not pretend or live under the falsehood that Brees hasn’t aged more than Brady at this point though. That being said, I want this match up two more times this year, meaning these two to face off in the postseason. Hopefully in rubber match fashion.
7 Hours of Commercial Free Football Starts Now
Sunday was the first day that felt normal in what feels like 10 years. Since the pandemic has shaken the US, I miss normalcy. Maybe it is because I got to hear the heralded “7 hours of commercial free football starts now” before embarking in NFL Redzone or tracking my fantasy teams or just having NFL on the tube for an entire Sunday. Whatever it was, it was nice to feel normal again.
I am already looking forward to next Sunday to do it all over again. It was a much needed escape.
Skip Bayless Can Eat Shit
It’s been a good 5-7 years since I last gave much attention to the national sports media. I don’t fuck with ESPN. I don’t fuck with Fox. I don’t fuck with NFL Network. For my sports news, I read top stories (non opinion based), game logs, stats and play-by-plays. I ignore most of the opinions out there because of how catastrophically bad they are. Look no further than cover boy Skip Bayless. I hate that I am even talking about him and giving him the time of day.
Fuck him and fuck Fox Sports.
He made an insensitive comment about Dallas QB Dak Prescott (looked damn good yesterday might I add), who recently opened up about his battle with depression after losing his brother. Skip goes on to say he is basically weak and not a leader because of that.
Fox puts out a little bullshit statement saying they don’t agree with Skip. Well I would certainly fucking hope not. No suspension. No fine. No sort of repercussion.
Skip then tweets, promoting his own show, he will address the apology putting himself over in only a way Skip knows how.
Fox and Skip can both get fucked. Anyone who regularly watches that garbage, enjoy losing your brain cells.
NFC Looks Loaded
It is only week one and plenty can change by week 4 obviously. However, the NFC as a whole looks pretty stacked. That means the fight for those 7 playoff spots should be biblical.
It looks like the name wild west will certainly be the case. The Cardinals edged the 49ers this week behind DeAndre Hopkins’ coming out party. The Rams looked great against the Cowboys showing signs of a run game again with Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers. The Seahawks have never had losing seasons with Russell Wilson. They started strong curb stomping the Falcons. That division is going to be one hell of a battle. All four of them look like playoff teams based on week one. Again, it’s still early. Although unlikely, it would be wild to see all four make it.
The North should be the Packers’ division to lose. If Trubisky can limit the turnovers, the Bears can be a potential wild card if they play into their defense. As long as Danielle Hunter is out for the Vikings, that defense will continue to get absolutely torched. Matt Patricia just sucks so Lions are irrelevant. I am sure you will see more blown leads like that in 2020.
The East should be run by the Cowboys. Despite their loss, they looked good. Dak looked good and was an OPI call away from making that a game. Washington clipped the wings of the Eagles beating them by 10. Although, I think that is likely fools gold. Eagles need to get healthy up front which played right into Washington’s monstrous defensive front. We will see what the Giants look like tonight.
The good ole South. The Saints are still one of the 3 best teams in the league by far along with the Chiefs and Ravens. Brees may be old and limited, that run game packs a punch and the defense is real good top to bottom. I believe this is a two horse race between the Saints and Bucs. Saints obviously landed the first punch yesterday. Carolina will be competitive, meanwhile Falcons keep racking up the garbage time points and yards against the league’s better teams.
By season’s end, I can see 5 teams being legitimate contenders for the Super Bowl (no particular order) in the NFC. Four of which have perennial HOF QBs and one has a great defense and running game with a formidable QB.
- New Orleans Saints
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Seattle Seahawks
- San Francisco 49ers
- Green Bay Packers
Hoping for a Wilson or Rodgers MVP
Both Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson started 2020 off with monster performances.
- Rodgers – 32/44 344 yards 4 TDs
- Wilson – 31/35 322 yards 4 TDs
Obviously everything right now is premature, but week 1 front runners are those two by far. I hope that stays the course for 2020 for different reasons.
Russell Wilson has been the most undervalued QB I have ever seen. He has never had a losing record and after LOB broke up, that roster has been miserable. Without him or with some random middle of the road QB, the Seahawks have been a 3-4 win roster most years. Wilson does not get enough credit for that. What I love about Wilson is he doesn’t have to throw 600 passes in a season to be great. In fact, he has only surpassed 550 passes just once in 2017. Ironically, that was his worst record as a starter at 9-7. What makes him so damn special is you never feel like the Seahawks are playing behind the chains. Have a 3rd and 7? Who cares? You have Wilson. That’s why he can get away with throwing less. Because if the Seahawks play into the clock by running on first and second down, it doesn’t matter.
Wilson has never received a single MVP vote in his career which is a total fucking sham. Probably more so than anyone, I want him to get the MVP this year. When his career said and done, he will fall in the top 5-6 QBs of all time. If you are making a face reading that, I hope it gets stuck like that so you can look like the idiot you are.
For a totally different reason, I wouldn’t mind seeing Rodgers take home his third. Rodgers has caught flack for not being that good anymore the last few years. His last two seasons have been his worst by far. That in and of itself is ironic because Rodgers’ worst seasons are better than 27 other starting QBs’ best seasons. He is still good and someone you want playing QB for you in January.
The Packers decided to get another QB with their first round selection this year. Speculation ensued Rodgers wasn’t happy given the Packers have done nothing to help their QB early in the draft. Rodgers took over as the starting QB in 2008. Since then, the Packers have used 11 1st round choices on defense (which hasn’t been great most years) and the other two on offensive tackles. Luckily, one was Bryan Bulaga. Not a single position player to help their QB though.
Instead of getting Rodgers some help for the lackluster receiving corps minus Davante Adams, they drafted RB AJ Dillon in round 2 when they have Aaron Jones.
What does this all mean? Hopefully a pissed off and spiteful Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers comes into the season ranked 16th in the NFL Top 100. The last two times Rodgers wasn’t given the top 10 nod…MVP seasons the following year. I would love to see a track meet for MVP between two of my favorite QBs of all time.
Bring on Week 2 baby!