As per usual, let’s begin by keeping track of how I did in the Weekly Picks.
- Colts -3 – Win
- 49ers -7 – Win
- Chiefs -8 – Loss
- Ravens -7 – Win
- Seahawks -3.5 – Win
Season Record: 8-2
NFL Ratings and Viewers Update
It was once again a mixed bag for ratings in week 2.
The Thursday Night Football match up between the Browns and Bengals drew 7.2 million viewers, a 3% increase from Week 2 in 2019. It was also the most watched broadcast on Thursday night.
Fox once again bolstered solid ratings as the Cowboys and Falcons drew a 6% increase from the same timeslot last season. No shock though considering the Cowboys are the most watched team in the NFL.
Sunday Night Football between Seahawks and Patriots took a small slide bringing in 14.09 million viewers compared to to 18.94 million last week. One thing to note is the Emmy Awards aired at the same time. Ratings were also down for that.
Monday Night Football between the Saints and Raiders brought in an overnight audience of 6.9 million viewers (West Coast Not Added Yet) compared 11.8 million for Week 2 in 2019. The only bright spot is that MNF crushed everything else on cable TV both overall and in the 18-49 demographic.
Week 2 Injuries
What a wild week for the NFL in terms of injuries. Also RIP to many fantasy teams out there. Better get on the line and start making trades.
The 49ers got hit the hardest this week losing both Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas with ACL tears. That is in addition to an already depleted roster of key players.
Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey are both shelved. Barkley also suffered an ACL tear with reports indicating he is out of the year. Although, no official word from the Giants. Meanwhile, CMC suffered a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
The Broncos signed Blake Bortles with Drew Lock going down with a shoulder injury.
The question on many minds is what to make of all the injuries? Is it a sign of things to come this year?
In short, of course players will be lost to injuries throughout the season, but it should even out. Not having a preseason and not being able to fully practice in the capacity they are used to is 100% having an impact. These guys went from 0 to 100 in short order. As I said in my previous weekly recap, we should see things start normalizing by week 5-6.
Let’s Take this Opportunity to Once Again Shit on the Falcons
Of course no one will ever forget the infamous 28-3 lead that the Falcons blew in what looked like their first Super Bowl victory. That one will always sting harder than most for the Falcons. But Dan Quinn’s unraveling is inevitable barring some magical turnaround.
They blew a 20-0 lead against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, losing 40-39. Since 1933, no one has ever lost scoring 39 or more points with 0 turnovers. The Falcons became the first.
Congratulations to the Atlanta Falcons for becoming the one behind the one in 450-1.
Cam Newton v Russell Wilson…Yes Please
Patriots v Seahawks.
Bill Belichick v Pete Carroll.
Cam Newton v Russell Wilson.
Not a bad shake for a primetime slot. It was a back and forth battle where the Patriots nearly clawed their way back falling a few yards short.
I am loving seeing Cam Newton rise from the ashes. I honestly thought his career was over based on how little he had left toward the end in Carolina. It is such a weird paradox seeing the galivanting quarterback playing for a Bill Belichick team, but I love it. In week one, we saw Newton throw 19 passes and run 15 times including 2 rushing scores.
This week, we saw Belichick let him air it out 44 times and almost lead the comeback. He added 47 yards and 2 scores on the ground. He looked damn good doing it. Super Cameron Fucking Newton is back despite falling short this week.
Last week, I wrote about angry Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson as the early favorites for MVP. It is week 2 and Wilson emerged as the heavy favorite now. I hope we continue to see him ride this wave. Again, the fact he has never received an MVP vote is a fucking sham.
He was once again brilliant in Week 2. The game started rough as he threw a pick six on the first drive. He ended up finishing the game 21 of 28 for 288 yards and 5 TDs to 5 different receivers as the Seahawks start 2-0.
One of the things I have always heralded about Wilson is he doesn’t need the volume passing to be great. He’s tied with Newton at the moment for least pass attempts among starters and he has the most TDs with 9. Two games into the season and he has a few numbers jumping off the charts…
- 82.5 Completion %
- 14.3 TD %
- 11.8 Yards Per Attempt
- 140.0 QB Rating
- Passes Beyond 10 Yards of LOS – 12/17 5 TDs
- Passes Beyond 20 Yards of LOS – 5/6 4 TDs
Unpacking the Saints Loss to the Raiders
Let’s begin with Drew Brees who looks like a shell of himself in 2020. After the game he was asked about his inability to push the ball downfield, something I talked about in my week 1 column. Here is what he said after chuckling about the question…
“Well, my job is to execute the offense. My job’s not to have the most air yards or throw the ball down the field most or anything like that. I think I’ve always evaluated myself on being a great decision-maker. And so, at the end of the day, I’ll throw the ball to the open guy, move the ball down the field, score points, help us win football games. So that’s my job. My job’s to help us win. My job’s to help put everyone around me in the best position to succeed.”
In recent years, Brees has never been one to push the ball downfield heavily. Since 2016, here is how he has stacked up in terms of intended air yards…
- 2016 – 7.6 (4th lowest)
- 2017 – 6.3 (Lowest)
- 2018 – 7.1 (7th Lowest)
- 2019 – 6.7 (4th Lowest *Including Bridgewater who was lowest)
- 2020 – 5.0 (Lowest)
So he is right in a sense of him being a decision maker and finding the open man. He does that as well as anyone has over the last few years. He completes a high percentage of passes which is his bread and butter for success. What happens when he can’t even hit the short passes though? The end of the game box score will show he completed 68%. However, he completed 10 his last 11 passes after the Saints were down 31-17 with about 7 minutes to go. He was 16 of 27 before that. He didn’t start making plays until garbage time.
Even with the garbage time increase, he is completing 64% on the season. The last time he was sub 68% was 2012. Obviously, that was a much better Brees. I talked about this being a potential problem last week after they won. He is not the quarterback he once was, period. He can’t throw the ball downfield anymore and hasn’t been able to for a few seasons, especially toward the back end of the year. Fine, he was still able to complete all the shit underneath. He hasn’t even done that the last two weeks. Even if he is making the right decisions, he can’t complete the right decisions.
Issues in the Secondary
Darren Waller ate Malcolm Jenkins’ lunch yesterday. He continued to feast on the secondary no matter who was marking him. It was a rough day for the defense as they couldn’t get off the field allowing the Raiders multiple long drives. That being said, of course I saw people bitching about the DPI at the end on Janoris Jenkins. Bitching about PIs in New Orleans has become common. Maybe it’s getting called because the Saints are notorious for making contact without making a football move toward the ball. Can’t do that.
Total DPIs and Yards Since 2017
- 2017 – 13 for 306
- 2018 – 19 for 294
- 2019 – 13 for 183
- 2020 – 6 for 150
- Total – 51 for 933
- Avg PI Yardage – 18.3
They have the most DPIs of any team in that time frame. It’s probably not a ref issue and it’s a fucking Saints issue. Move on.
Panic Meter (1-10)
1.5 – The reality is the Saints haven’t started 2-0 in any of the last 4 seasons. By the end of the season, I felt like they were one of the best if not THE best team heading in to the playoffs. It is a long season ahead, but it is definitely not time to sound the alarm. Even with a struggling Brees, the defense and the supporting cast of the offense is strong enough to mask it for now.