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Three statements for each week one NFL game
Football is back, baby! After an awesome first week of NFL action, which I watched every full game of, I wanted to kind of recap all 16 matchups and come up with three statements for each one. Some of them may be more hyperbolic or could be labelled as hot takes, while others state for obvious facts. You can also listen to my Youtube breakdown of week one, where I just give more of my general thoughts on all these games, while also bringing up some of the points I make in this article.
So here’s what I took away from week one:
Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs1. Clyde Edwards-Helaire makes this KC offense unfair
This physicality and ability to break tackles is scary, when you think about how dynamic the Chiefs are with Patrick Mahomes and all those guys streaking downfield. I like what I saw from the offensive line, with Kelechi Osemele adding some power on the inside, but 106 of 138 rushing yards for CEH came after contact. No other player in the league even cracked 100 rushing in general. And he didn’t even get any work in the passing game yet, where I believe he could be even more dangerous, as defenses have to back off and then try to bring this bowling ball to the ground. Thank god I have him in all my fantasy leagues and as my favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
2. Will Fuller is the clear number one option in the passing game for Houston
With DeAndre Hopkins out of the picture, 150 targets were all of a sudden on the table and “The Flying V” (thanks Fantasy Footballers) should take on the lion’s share of that amount. In the season-opener, the fourth-year receiver caught eight of ten targets on the night for 112 yards. He was on the field for 86 percent of the offensive snaps, while newly acquired running back David Johnson was the only Texans player to catch more than two passes and Fuller was responsible for 44.3 percent of their total through the air. Fuller and Deshaun Watson have a clear connection and with me expecting Houston to be down in games quite a bit, this could lead to a lot of production.
3. The Chiefs are in a different league than the Texans
I went into this game thinking the Chiefs were the best team in the NFL and I had the Texans projected to go 7-9, so it wasn’t overly surprising to me that the games was never actually that close, but this was never even a contest beyond the first quarter. Don’t let the final score (34-20) fool you. The Chiefs scored 31 unanswered, while the Texans picked up eight first downs over that stretch. Even with their two starting corners missing half the game, the defense looked strong, with Frank Clark beating Tytus around the corner like a drum routinely, and if Demarcus Robinson just held on to a couple of passes in the end-zone, KC would have scored 11 more points.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Football Team
1. This game was almost a mirror image of what happened in week one between these two in week one of last season
In that game to kick of 2019, Washington got out to a 17-0 lead in the first half before Carson Wentz came roaring back, hitting a couple of deep balls to DeSean Jackson to win the game. This time around, Philly dominated the first half, with Washington’s first points coming with less than a minute until halftime. Then two things happened over the final 30 minutes – the Eagles started going down like “birds” and that Washington D-line completely took over the game. I will get to those two points a little more in detail, but it is still crazy to me how everything flipped in half two and how reminiscent it was to what happened exactly a year ago.
2. Philadelphia’s two biggest issues seem to be back
First of all, the injuries are already a major concern for the Eagles. They had to bring in three different offensive linemen off the bench, after they had already lost Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard for the year, plus Boston Scott went to the locker room after they already made the trip without second-year back Miles Sanders. And then, I really didn’t like what Doug Pederson did with the Philly offense in the second half. They almost exclusively went to shotgun, spread sets and ran standard West Coast passing concepts, which Washington was all over, while their pass-rush came crashing down. I know they lost their top run-blocker before the season, but this is still a team that should stick with the ground game and play-action off it.
3. Washington’s defensive line is nasty
The “Football Team” racked up eight sacks, as they were beating up everybody on Philly’s O-line and banging Carson Wentz around like a human piñata. Chase Young immediately showed what kind of freakish talent he is and you had multiple guys from that front become free quickly, to put the heat on Wentz. So much so that Washington’s linebacker started getting through untouched. And their DBs started jumping routes, because they knew the opposing QB had to listen to his internal clock, breaking once he first pointed his shoulders at the target. I never thought I’d say this, but “The Football Team” is alone in first place.
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots1. The Cam Newton-led Patriots offense could be scary
This New England offense is so unique now that they went from statuesque Tom Brady to dual-threat Cam Newton and while Cam loves to spread the field and attack matchups, what they do in the run game is what really creates problems for defenses. The Patriots ran the ball 42 times compared to only 19 passes, with 15 of those carries coming from the quarterback. With jet sweep fakes, inverted veer runs and different option plays, their opponents will have to be very disciplined and assignment-proof. Plus, then with Cam’s big arm, he can push the ball downfield off play-action, which wasn’t even a real factor in game one. If not for N’Keal Harry fumbling the ball into the end-zone, New England’s offense would have scored 28 touchdowns – something they only did once from week eight on last season.
2. No New England skill-position players will be on my fantasy team
This is something I haven’t really done in the past either, outside of maybe Gronk, but now – maybe more so than ever – I don’t want the headache of figuring out who will be fantasy-relevant every week. With his rushing upside, Cam might be an interesting option in your leagues, if he is still available on the waiver wire, but none of those skill guys are dependable options for me. Here are the players, who touched the ball at least five times against Miami – Sony Michel (10), James White(8), Rex Burkhead (7), Julian Edelman (6), J.J. Taylor (5) and N’Keal Harry (5). No thank you.
3. We won’t have to wait much longer for Tua
Everybody – including current starter Ryan Fitzpatrick – knows that it’s only a question of time until fifth overall pick Tua Tagovailoa is ready and takes over at quarterback for the Dolphins. Fitzy actually played really well in 2019, but was picked off three times in this year’s season-opener and if you just follow the CBS cameras, you’d think Tua was about to go onto the field. Miami will host the division-rival Bills on Sunday, then it’s the Jaguars on Thursday Night Football, before the Seahawks come to town. After that there are two tough road-trips are on the horizon with San Francisco and Denver. So if the Dolphins don’t want to throw him out there on a short week, they might want to wait for that stretch to be over, since the two L.A. teams will come to South Beach after that. But I think we’ll see the rookie by mid-season if he’s fully healthy.
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings1. Aaron Rodgers is baaad man
I’m sorry for using a Stephen A. phrase here, but I just loved seeing Rodgers shut everybody up with a four-touchdown performance, after people started questioning how good he still is, with the Packers drafting his apparent successor Jordan Love in the first round. The way he threw the ball on the move, the zip that he put on his passes and the way he was straight up dealing reminded me of what I saw from Rodgers over the six plus years he was the best football player in the world. At one point he threw two TDs in the matter of half a minute. The first one to Davante Adams was absolutely filthy, when Rodgers escaped to the right and perfectly placed the ball to a spot where the corner had no chance to make a play on it. And then following a Jaire Alexander interception at the Minnesota 45, he connected with Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a long TD on a go route. Green Bay as a team only punted once all day and did not turn it over. Rodgers is getting himself ready to cash all those offseason receipts.
2. That young secondary will break Minnesota’s back
As spectacular as Rodgers was, I’m also highly concerned with this Vikings back-end. I talked about this heading into the year, with that entire group of cornerbacks combining for less than 1500 career snaps on defense, and there is hope that they can still improve as the season goes along, but yesterday they had no answers for number 12 and those Green Bay receivers. Rodgers averaged 10.1 yards per attempt and if not for a couple of drops and guys tripping, that number could have been even higher. You saw the Packers QB pick on Holton Hill quite a bit, their rookies got taught a lesson and nobody could even try to slow down Davante Adams, who hauled in 14 of 17 targets for 156 yards and two TDs.
3. Davante Adams is a top five receiver
When I released my personal top 100 list a couple of months ago, I only had Julio Jones and Michael ahead of Adams. DeAndre Hopkins had a spectacular debut in Arizona and while they didn’t show much in week one, Tyreek Hill and Mike Evans are part of that conversation, but nobody was more impressive than that dude from Green Bay. Matt LaFleur did manufacture a few touches for his top target, with bubble screens and deep crossers, but Adams always made the most of those plays, he made some big catches downfield and for good measure, he also recovered the game-sealing onside kick. The way he schooled those young DBs for Minnesota off the line and how that connection between him and Rodgers was almost automatic was fun to watch. As much as there was made about the Packers not drafting a single receiver in a historically great class as a number two to Adams, I also thought MVS and Lazard stepped up in the season-opener. And I also want to say his counterpart on the opposite team in Adam Thielen had a great day himself.
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars1. Gardner Minshew is a real quarterback
Unlike what new Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette may think, Jacksonville does have a guy people want to go to battle with. You can’t be too mad at Fournette, since he did have to deal with Blake Bortles for most of his career, but after week one, you can definitely say that statement did not age well. Against the Colts, who were favored by eight points coming in, Minshew completed all but one of his 20 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns, showing that gamer mentality and ability to make plays off script on several occasions. I talked about those Jacksonville receivers early on in the offseason, saying that they are a pretty underrated group, and they also found their new lead back in my big draft crush from Illinois State – James Robinson, who took 100 percent of the carries for Jacksonville. Indianapolis should not have lost that game, since they didn’t punt once and almost doubled Jacksonville in total yards, getting stopped inside the Jags’ five and missing a 30-yard field goal, but let’s give these guys some credit.
2. Time for the Jonathan Taylor show
First and foremost, it just sucks that Marlon Mack seems to have torn his Achilles. He was off to a strong start in this game and I feel really sick for him, especially being in a contract year. However, as bad as I feel for the veteran, I’m also so excited to see what this rookie running behind that Colts O-line. Taylor did not run the ball very well (nine carries for 22 yards), but surprisingly was a big factor in the pass game – which wasn’t his strong suite at Wisconsin – bringing in all of his six targets for 67 yards, where he showed that sprinter speed and the power he can build up on a couple of plays. While Nyheim Hines should clearly be a factor in that offense, with his ability to produce as a pass-catcher and gadget player, without Mack, Taylor now has all the chances to rival Clyde Edwards-Helaire for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
3. C.J. Henderson will be a stud at corner
I could have easily gone with something like “Same old Philip Rivers”, after throwing that bad pick down four in the fourth quarter on a deep crosser to Parris Campbell, when he telegraphed the throw way too much and allowed the safety in quarters coverage to break in front of his receiver. Instead I want to give their ninth overall pick in the draft some love. Henderson was outstanding in his first showing, breaking up three passes and won on kind a jump-ball for an interception, when Jacksonville was down 7-0 at that point in the second quarter, which set up his offense inside the Indy and led to that first touchdown to D.J. Chark. Henderson was all over T.Y. Hilton on a few snaps, including a throw into the end-zone on a third down in the second half (which I thought might be called for P.I. actually) and he knocked the ball out of the hands of Hilton on that fourth down that sealed the win.
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions1. Same old Lions
I’m starting to really feel bad for people from Detroit. It’s been about 30 years since that franchise last won a playoff game and they have been irrelevant for large stretches of that window. On Sunday it was yet another example of how this team can mess up games. Up 23-6 with the Bears having a fourth-and-one from the opposing 10-yard line heading into the fourth quarter, the Lions had no business losing that game. Mitch Trubisky all of a sudden turned into Joe Montana and scored three touchdowns in just 15 plays. Matt Stafford on the other hand took a bad sack, which led to a missed a 55-yard field goal and tried to force a ball over the middle that got knocked up in the air and intercepted, when Detroit was still up by three. Even with that, the Lions had a chance to still win the game, as Stafford drove them all the way down the Chicago 16 and after spiking the ball with eleven seconds left, the Lions QB hit running back D’Andre Swift for a perfect pass on a wheel route, but usually sure-handed rookie had it slip out his hands and the prayer Stafford threw up with zeros on the clock was knocked. Another heart-breaker for Motown.
2. The Bears offensive line is a lot better in the run game
After the main part of free agency and the draft were wrapped up, I thought Chicago had two major holes on the roster – Right guard and a safety to pair up with Eddie Jackson. As bad as their Trubisky was in 2019, my biggest issue with Matt Nagy’s offense was the rushing attack. They finished bottom-six in yards per carry and total yards on the ground. So when they basically replaced Kyle Long with a former first-round bust in Germaine Ifedi I was worried of course, even though I said right away that he would fit better inside. In their first showing of the 2020 season, the Bears started getting people moving and you actually saw linemen five to ten yards down the field, as they put hands on the Detroit linebackers. David Montgomery ran hard, Tarik Cohen sprung loose on a couple of power and draw plays and Cordarrelle Patterson had a couple of crucial carries as well. Overall, they the ball 28 times for 149 yards and I give a lot of credit to new O-line coach Juan Castillo, who replaced the legendary Harry Hiestand.
3. Mitch magic in the fourth quarter
Through the first three quarters of the game, Trubisky was 12 of 26 for 153 yards. He did not look like a capable quarterback and had recently missed a wide open Cole Kmet on a third-and-nine from the Detroit ten by several yards. However, over the final 15 minutes he looked like a former second overall pick all of a sudden. Helped by some Lions miscues, he threw three touchdowns on the final four drives (15 total plays) and delivered in the clutch. That final scoring play on a fade route from Anthony Miller out of the slot was a thing of beauty. Miller also made some other huge grabs in that fourth quarter. I still say this was more bad Lions than good Bears, but give the guy some credit. Oh, one more thing – Adrian Peterson still has it. I don’t know how he does it, but he was the best running back on that field on Sunday
Las Vegas Raiders @ Carolina Panthers1. All those vertical weapons on the Raiders could finally make Derek Carr cut it loose
While it was still more of your usual efficient showing by Carr, as he completed 73.3 percent of his passes for 239 passing yards and one touchdown, I thought he displayed the willingness to test defenses deep. That Jon Gruden offense leans on frustrating defenses with short passes, getting the run game going and then hitting them with a few shots over the top, That last element I thought was missing last season, which capped the Raiders’ potential, While DC is a conservative passer by nature – often times to a frustrating extent – that lack of deep balls had something to do with not having the appropriate weapons at the receiver position. With the additions Las Vegas made this offseason, that has changed. On just the second play of the game, Carr put the ball 50 yards in the air for rookie speedster Henry Ruggs III. Later on the first quarter he hit Ruggs on a deep crosser to set a one-yard touchdown by Josh Jacobs. Carr threw a 23-yard dime Nelson Agholor shortly before halftime to put his team back up by five and at least had his eyes downfield much more throughout the afternoon.
2. That Joe Brady offense and Teddy B will put up some numbers
While he did already coach under Sean Payton in a much smaller role, this is still a rookie offensive coordinator and to begin your career with 30 points against a pretty good Raiders team has to be nice. Teddy Bridgewater certainly deserves some credit here, but I was very impressed with Brady’s offense, that spread the defense out with five guys out on the route and how he forced the Las Vegas defense to defends every level of the field, leading to a lot of easy completions indicated by simple reads of second-level defenders and zone/man indicators. I don’t know who actually made that call fourth-and-inches just across midfield that would have given the Panthers a chance to still win that game, but obviously you’d rather have the ball in the hands of your best player in Christian McCaffrey or create some separation on some kind of mesh concept.
3. Josh Jacobs is about to become a superstar in this league
I came into this season with very high expectations for this second-year back and after watching him put on a show against Carolina, I probably should have put some money on him leading the league in rushing. We already knew how high Jon Gruden was on this kid coming out of Alabama last year and he had a great rookie season, with a team-record 1150 yards on the ground for a first-year player and that was despite missing three games. I already said in the offseason that I believe the Raiders have a top five O-line and the way he puts his head down and runs through people, led to an NFL-best 69 missed tackles forced. The difference this year should be his involvement in the passing game, which he was pretty good at in college, but he only caught 20 balls for 166 yards as a rookie. Against the Panthers he already caught four passes for 46 yards and showed what he can do after catching a simple dump-off, to go with 93 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills1. The Bills now have all the weapons to force opponents to defend the entire field
If there was one area the Bills needed to improve upon this offseason, it was the wide receiver position. John Brown probably had his best season as a pro in 2019 and Cole Beasley was a dependable target in the slot for them. However, neither one of those guys should be a true number one option. Now that they brought in Stefon Diggs via a trade from Minnesota, it puts everybody in their appropriate position. With Dawson Knox taking another step and even having a screen drawn up for him, as well as those backs getting involved, I like what offensive coordinator Brian Daboll can do in terms of making opponents defend the entire field. I know it was “only” the Jets, but Buffalo just seemed to play so much more freely in the pass game.
2. Josh Allen could be an MVP contender in 2020
I actually had Allen as an honorable mention among my MVP candidates and was made fun of a little, when I posted my list on Reddit, but with what I just wrote about the Bills pass-catchers, I just think this could be a big year for their team and the quarterback in particular. The O-line gave him plenty of time to scan the field, he stayed patient and found his checkdowns late and still fired some absolute lasers. Allen also made a lot of plays with his legs on designed runs and scrambles. Will you still get the occasional “What the hell?” moment from him, like fumbling the ball while flipping over a defender? Yes. But if they hone himself in a little and be a more consistent threat from within the pocket, to go with those off-script plays, he could put up some big numbers.
3. The Jets might be the prime contenders for the number one overall pick in the 2021 draft
When I released my pre-season power rankings, I had the Jets all the way at the bottom of the list and that’s exactly what they looked like when we first saw them this season. The final score might have been 27-17, but the Bills could have easily blown them out by 30. It took Gang Green 40 minutes to get into the end-zone and it took Jamison Crowder breaking three tackles and going 69 yards and a quick screen play to get there. Buffalo’s rookie kicker Tyler Bass missed two field goals from less than 40 yards – even though I still believe the first one was actually good – Josh Allen fumbled the ball twice and that last touchdown was meaningless, with under a minute remaining. As much as I liked Sam Darnold coming out of USC, as I had him as my top quarterback in the 2018 draft, and I still believe in the right situation he would already be an above-average starter, I don’t know how you could pass on Trevor Lawrence if you are in position to draft him.
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens1. The reigning MVP might be even better
Lamar Jackson was so sharp and in control of the offense, keeping his eyes downfield even as he was stepping into crowded spaces or backing out and rolling either way. We saw him hit a deep ball to Marquise Brown, which was where I wanted to see him improve, and he impressed with tremendous ball-placement all afternoon, taking advantage of the leverage of defenders and drilling the ball into some tight windows. The day after the game I saw a statistic that he was 9-of-10 for 180 yards on passes of 10+ yards against Cleveland, after he completed only 49.2 percent of those his MVP season. I would just like to see him avoid some of those hits, where he goes head-first to pick up a few extra yards. But in terms of his pure pocket passing, it is scary to think where he could go.
2. The Ravens secondary plastered those Browns pass-catchers
It’s not a secret that Baltimore has one the premiere group of cornerbacks in the entire league, but I would argue they are the very best there is. Jarvis Landry got open on some crossers and deeper developing routes, when Baker did have a clean pocket, but altogether outside of Cleveland’s one touchdown at the goal-line, where the Ravens D lost one of the tight-ends out of a jumbo package, it was tough sledding for OBJ & company. Marlon Humphrey is already top five at his position, Marcus Peters is unreal at anticipating and reading routes, Jimmy Smith would be a high quality #2 on any other team and Tavon Young coming back in the slot only helps. Oh, and for Austin Hooper to be the highest-paid tight-end early in the offseason and to only come up with two catches for 15 yards is pretty disappointing.
3. J.K. Dobbins is about to take over this Ravens backfield
I’m not saying the rookie will play 80 percent of the snaps or handle more than half the rushing load going forward, but there is a reason I grabbed Dobbins in all my fantasy leagues, He was my number two back in the draft and I said right away that he was a perfect fit for this Baltimore offense. In his debut, the rook had a couple of nice gains and converted twice near the goal-line, while veteran Mark Ingram was stuffed for minimal yardage on several occasions. Gus Edwards will get some work to close out games, when they Ravens are ahead by multiple scores, and Justice Hill is an explosive player, who I really like in the passing game in particular, but Dobbins should be the lead guy for this squad.
Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons1. The Falcons secondary is still a mess
Over the first half of the 2019 season, the Falcons were the worst defense in the NFL, allowing 31.6 points per game, as they went 1-7 over that stretch. They started turning things around after that, but on Sunday afternoon they reverted back to that early 2019 form. We saw them play a lot more man-coverage, where they constantly allowed separation on crossing routes or just lost guys out of their breaks. When they were in zone, those corners gave way too much cushion in cover-three and when they did force some long-yardage situations, they just backed up and allowed easy 10-15 yard plays to set up easy third downs or basically surrender field goals. What really killed them was that 4th & 5 play Seattle had from the opposing 38-yard line when it was still 14-12, as Isaiah Oliver missed his punch in press-alignment, giving up the inside release to D.K. Metcalf, who could still make a perfect over-the-shoulder catch on a fade route. And by the way, Seattle didn’t look much better on the back-end.
2. Russell Wilson is finally allowed to cook
As bad as Atlanta was on the back-end defensively – What a performance for Russ. He went 31-of-35 for 322 yards and four touchdowns, while picking up two more first downs with his legs. Seahawks – and all football fans for that matter – have been screaming at the top of their lungs for the coaching staff to let Wilson to throw the ball earlier in games and on early downs. It wasn’t like the Falcons were all over Seattle’s receivers, but the touch Wilson throws with to perfectly put the ball in the hands of his guys in full stride is just a beautiful thing to watch. D.K. Metcalf looks to have taken a step forward with his route-running and Tyler Lockett is back fully healthy. So that means it’s bombs away for the Seahawks, which means trouble for the rest of the league, since they can still win with the power run game and then take play-action shots off that.
3. Calvin Ridley is an absolute stud receiver
I always believed in this kid. He was my number one receiver in the draft three years ago coming out of Alabama and he immediately started producing in the pros. While he was on track for a 1000-yard campaign last season, he is off to an even better start in 2020. Against the Seahawks, he hauled in nine passes for 130 yards and two TDs. Ridley constantly created separation by attacking leverage and excellent route-running. While he isn’t a straight-burner necessarily, he knows how to find space and is very shifty after the catch. The only thing that sucked was that one bad drop late in the game on fourth down, when he was too focused on getting his feet in bounds and had the ball go right through his hands because of it. But he and Julio Jones are right there in the race for top receiver duos, in a loaded division for pass-catchers.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals1. Welcome to Cincinnati, Joe Burrow
It’s always tough for a top draft pick to come to a bad team, try to turn things around and learn early on that even if he does everything right, it might not lead to victories. Burrow did not play a perfect game by any means – He got picked off by Melvin Ingram in the fourth quarter, who made such an instinctive play, when he read the screen pass and spun around to have the ball land right in his hands as Burrow shoveled it ahead late, he missed a potential touchdown to A.J. Green on a deep ball earlier and 13 points just don’t get you any wins in the NFL. That being said, he had his team in position to beat the Chargers, as he drove them all the way down to the L.A. three, only to have A.J. Green get called for an offensive pass interference on what would have otherwise been a game-winning TD and then his kicker to miss a chip-shot 31-yard field goal attempt. He better be hurt and not just have faked something there, once he saw the kick was wide right.
2. Mike Williams is one of the great big-play receivers in the game
Coming out of Clemson four years ago, Williams was known for being a super-physical downfield receiver, that had connected for a multitude of big plays with his former quarterback Deshaun Watson. That’s exactly what he has been in the NFL so far. Williams is incredible on 50-50 balls, he routinely comes through with big catches downfield along the sidelines and comes through when his team needs him most. Of the three receivers that went in the top ten back in 2017 (him, Corey Davis and John Ross), it is safe to say the Chargers has by far been the most best one – even though Davis had a pretty good showing himself on Monday. Last season Williams cracked the 1000-yard mark on a league-leading 20.4 yards per grab. This past Sunday against the Bengals he might have only caught four passes, but all of them were key in the victory – a great toe-tap grab at the sideline, coming back to the ball on a deep curl route and two go-balls on the sideline, where the safety almost knocked his head off on both of them.
3. Bobby Hart should not ever trash-talk
I have said many times that Hart is one of the worst starting offensive tackles in all of football and I have no idea why the Bengals continue to pay him, even with their bad track record of drafting linemen. I’m sure he tries “hart” and it’s not like he doesn’t belong in the league, but he should not talk trash – especially not to Joey Bosa, who came back to beat him for a sack with his well-known double-hand swipe, before getting into the face of Hart. This Chargers D-line was beating the crap out of Cincy’s front-five and the only reason they were in the game was their rookie quarterback speeding up his internal clock and still finding ways to make plays.
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers1. DeAndre Hopkins is worth so much more than a second-round pick
While I do understand that the Texans would not have been able to pay D-Hop the kind of money he demanded, Bill O’Brien doesn’t deserve any sympathy for being the laughing stock for NFL fans. Hopkins is an elite receiver and Houston certainly didn’t get back the return he was worth, as they basically got back a second-round pick and took a bad David Johnson contract off the hands of Arizona, even if he actually looked better in week one than he did all of 2019. Nuk had more catches (14) than all the Texans receivers combined on Thursday (13). He went for 151 yards, including a couple of big grabs, including setting up a one-yard Kenyan Drake touchdown after being called down just short.
2. The Cardinals defense is starting to come together
I know the day didn’t start off great for this Arizona D, when they allowed Raheem Mostert to slice through for a 76-yard catch-and-run touchdown on an angle route, but outside of that one play, they held the offense of the game’s most creative offensive play-caller in Kyle Shanahan to just 290 yards. Mostert averaged under four yards per carry on 15 attempts and they held the reigning NFC champs to just a field goal over 50 minutes of game time. I’d advise you to check out Brett Kollman’s breakdown of all the different elements to Vance Joseph’s defense, where it seems like they now have the pieces to actually be successful with it. Budda Baker is a flying missile, their run defense should take a huge step forward with what they added to the front and some of their other young guys made plays when they really needed to, including Byron Murphy breaking up that final fourth down attempt for San Francisco, even though the ball was certainly thrown behind the receiver.
3. Jimmy G has to be more accurate
I understand why 49ers fans are frustrated, because their team was in control of the game early on and even after the Cardinals took the lead, their quarterback had all the chances to still get them the W. San Francisco rushed for 123 yards on 4.9 yards per attempt and Garoppolo also relied heavily on his backs in the pass game. If you take away that 76-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Raheem Mostert, where the QB just had to lob it over the middle and watch #31 take off, Jimmy G threw for only 183 yards on the other 32 attempts he had (5.7 yards per attempts). His stat line did look pretty good, but it does not represent the performance he had. Because not only did he almost kill George Kittle on a simple bubble screen, by putting the ball way too high, but when his team needed him most, with the ball at the Arizona 21, he underthrew an easy touchdown to Kendrick Bourne on first down and then thew the ball behind Trent Taylor on fourth-and-five.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints1. The Saints D-line has a clear advantage over the Bucs O-line
The formula for beating Tom Brady has been out there for a while – get home with four. He has been notorious for slicing up defenses when they have to send extra blitzers, which only a few teams have been able to do effectively. On Sunday, Cam Jordan & company made life very uncomfortable for the 43-year old quarterback, as they sacked him three times and made him move around constantly. You saw some frustration on the first pick he threw, expecting Mike Evans to continue going down the seams and he was off with ball-placement on a few occasions. This is the reason I had the Saints beating the Bucs in the NFC title game, when I put out my season predictions two weeks ago.
2. Scottie Miller will be a key piece to the Tampa Bay offense
The Bucs obviously have one of the premiere receiver duos in the league with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, their group of tight-end honestly goes three deep and they now have an interesting mixture of backs. However, the one guy who routinely came up with big plays for Tom Brady was little Scottie Miller. Last year’s sixth-round pick out of Bowling Green caught five passes for 73 yards and added another six-yard run against the Saints. Ronald Jones was the only one with more scrimmage yards for Tampa Bay on Sunday and that was by only three. The guy they call “Scooter” lined up inside and out, caught a couple of passes over the middle, came up with a big grab on a slot fade route and forced a P.I. call on an out-and-up. Miller could be Brady’s new version of Julian Edelman in his new home.
3. Alvin Kamara is a different breed
While I don’t advocate paying too many running backs beyond their rookie contract and I have to believe the Saints have turned off the salary cap on their Madden team, with how much they will be in the minus heading into next year’s offseason, we saw that elite running back they did pay for on Sunday. The Bucs are a tough for New Orleans, because with Drew Brees’ declining arm talent, they really want to rely more on their backs and that run game to control games, but Tampa Bay was the number one rush defense just last season and they should be near the top once again in 2020. Still, with Kamara not even being the team’s leading rusher (12 attempts for only 16 yards), he caught five passes for 51 yards and converted twice in the red-zone, once on a screen pass that seemed to be dead in the backfield and then on a six-yard run, where he bounced off a tackler, who in cinematic fashion lost his mouthpiece in the process. That explosiveness, the contact balance and the speed are all back, after he was banged up for most of last season.
Sunday Night and Monday games in the comments!!
If you enjoyed this content, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece - https://halilsrealfootballtalk.com/2020/09/16/three-statements-for-each-week-one-nfl-game/
You can also listen to my other breakdowns on my Youtube channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxjwwcjGcWpjlDyDj-pY5wQ?view_as=subscriber
Godzilla baby’s birth story: induction, 37 weeks, epidural and vaginal birth.
Sorry ya'll, this is long AF. Feel free to skip to relevant parts, or just my recommendations at the end!
Background: I’d been worried about my Godzilla-sized baby ever since the 19 week scan, when I started tracking a week and a half ahead, then more so when I learned my (6'2) husband had been 10 pounds at birth, then again even more when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which tends to lead to big babies anyhow. Also: I own a mirror! and I could tell I was carrying large. At the 32 week scan, some of those fears came true: He measured 98th percentile, with a 35-36 week sized almost everything else, especially his head and torso.
They were all making ominous sounds about potentially having a 10 lb baby at term, and how I might need to have a csection. The follow up scan at 36 weeks showed he was measuring 41 weeks in size, and my due date was estimated by the machine for the following day, a full 4 weeks early. I was getting scared about delivering my man vaginally, which is what we hoped for. Not only because of allegedly having a less difficult recovery, but because if we have any hope of giving him a sibling, the extra 6 month wait time before doing a transfer with IVF felt like a long additional time given I'm already 40.
Well jokes on those fear mongers!: Because I ended up being induced at exactly 37 weeks. I was diagnosed with cholestasis two days following the 36 week scan, after waking up for a few days with itchy hands at nighttime, which became itchy everything just before my 36 week appointment. Because of Reddit I knew this could be a thing, and asked my doctor to do the blood test for it, which she was initially resistant to. They called two days later saying yes, my liver bile was getting high, which can actually lead to stillbirth in babies which is why they like to induce early. But because my levels weren’t crazy high, and their two nearby hospitals were crammed, they granted us a day and a half (after a good NST) before coming in to get an induction started.
My original birth plan: I’d been actively practicing hypnobabies for weeks; hired doulas to labor with us at home (they’re still not allowed at our hospital but we had big plans for home use of birthing ball, candles and meditation at home) and we even picked a birthing center farther away from us under our plan so that we could use the midwife-focused hospital rather than the standard OB-led delivery. But inductions don’t care about your low-key plans. I’d known going in, thanks to IVF, that I am very sensitive to hormonal medications, and typically over-respond to meds so was worried about an induction. This will matter!
Induction Day: We headed to our induction two weeks ago, Tuesday at 11 a.m. We stopped for the sandwich I'd been craving for months, and were so glad to have a final good sandwich with us at the hospital as there was a long wait to get us sorted. My initial exam showed 60% effaced and a ‘soft’ cervix, with about 1/2 cm dilated. My midwife was encouraged by this for my gestational age, since 37 weeks can often come in with 0’s all around. (me: Yay midwives brew that I'd downed for days!) They gave me a half dose of misoprostol at 2 p.m. When not much happened, they gave me a full dose at 6 p.m., and the intention was to give it up to 6 times since people being induced need lots of help typically. The midwife overseeing our care thought 2-3 doses might get me to 1 centimeter, when she’d prefer to insert a foley balloon and leave us alone overnight.
But on the 2nd dose of miso, I started having regular contractions, between 1-2 minutes apart. That’s way too close for what they typically see— that’d be an intense active pushing phase, not usually seen early. They weren’t painful but the machine was picking them up (and I could feel them), so they waited to see if they would taper off—as the medication's life is supposed to last for only 4 hours. But my very close together contractions continued well into 2 a.m., when it should have been out of my system. The midwife instead advised we get some rest overnight and reevaluate in the morning.
During all this, we were settled in for the long haul, as they told us inductions can take 3-5 days. We had been entertaining ourselves with listening to my hypnobabies tracks about ‘enjoying your beautiful birthing time,’ (I later grew to loathe that sentence!) bouncing on a ball, doing squats and taking slow walks around the hallways— and trying to shut out the hospital environment with flickering fake candles from Amazon, random meditation music on our little speaker and watching Mr. Rogers with Tom Hanks on the TV. As my contractions picked up mildly in strength later in the night, we’d pause for a contraction during the movie and get back to it right after. It was the PERFECT ‘we’re going to welcome a new human’ movie and I super recommend it! Such a good mental frame to take into meeting our kid. We were in good spirits, eating all the food and trying to hide from my nurse, who kept having to chase me down when we got out of range of the remote fetal monitor during our walks.
We went to bed, and I woke up at 6 a.m. the next morning to a trickle, then strong gush of water. I knew immediately it was my water breaking and I was stoked. I was like YES we will meet our baby! They tested it, I was right, and they left us to continue doing our slow walks, bounces and more. This is also when we told our families that we were at the hospital and that my water had broken, because I hadn't wanted to deal with constant updates if our induction had taken a long time. The big irritation at this point was that the staff wouldn’t ‘let’ me go without monitoring the baby, which was part of the plan going in- for sporadic monitoring— and the ‘remote’ monitor kept cutting out, so someone would be in to fiddle with it the whole time. I got the feeling that the active labor I wanted to have was totally against their norm, and even the midwives would find it easier if I stayed in place, on the bed, for the birth. But inductions are different and I wanted to help the kid along; it’s not like I’d arrived at 7 cm’s dilated or something, almost ready to push.
My contractions had not stopped overnight, which is what they'd predicted, though they were now 4-5 minutes apart and growing stronger. But by noon a midwife we did not care for started pushing pitocin to get my contractions closer together. Me: But they are regular, and getting stronger. Her: No, they're sporadic. We were like uh we have the same data here and they seem regular? At this point we asked to talk it over, called our doula and she was like: No, this is great progress, ask for some time and to be reevaluated in two hours. THANK GOD we listened, because things picked up big time.
By 3 p.m. shit was getting real and I was so grateful we didn't have pitocin to contend with as well. I was changing positions and had found my labor routine-- whenever I felt a contraction I would go to the bathroom if possible because the counter was the perfect height, lean over and swivel my hips for the duration of the contraction. That movement felt right. Otherwise I'd brace myself on the bed or a chair and rock or sway. I was still moving a lot but laid in bed periodically, using the peanut ball and rolling it between my legs for contractions. Movement felt key to surviving my contractions and I would use deep breaths and the word "releaseeeee" on exhales to try to soften my pelvic floor and let the baby descend. It was actually wild to see my previously high stomach change shape over the course of just hours that day. At some point the midwife checked back in on us but my pain level had increased so much I was like: GTFO with your pitocin, the miso + my body is working.
By 3 p.m. or so I was like: This is too intense for real life-- let's get back into the shower (we'd been there the day before). Here was my epic mistake. I straddled the shower chair so the spray would hit my back just right, but suddenly realized I could no longer rock or sway during a contraction. But I was too committed + incapable of speech to share my dilemma. My husband hilariously couldn't find his swim trunks and in a panic of me being alone for a contraction, got in the shower standing just in front of me so I could lean my head on him, in his boxers. In the back of my mind I was like: This would look so wrong-- as I was basically grinding my head into just above his penis during contractions. So the movement I was missing became me grinding my head into his stomach and this is when the pain became unbearable. My husband later told me he was crying while we were in the shower, because it was so hard to see me in so much pain. I started moaning "oh noooo" before one would start and otherwise I could no longer really talk between them. I think we were in there until about 5:30 and I finally called it. I asked him to call the midwife and check my dilation- I knew I needed some kind of pain medication regardless but wondered what it would be. I waited until she was in the room before I got out of the shower, because I knew how much worse the pain would be once I was out. My husband was awesome all through labor and I really couldn't have done it without him.
The one who'd been pushing pitocin earlier checked me about 6 p.m. and said I was all the way effaced in my cervix, but a zero in dilation. Somehow I'd gone from 1/2 cm dilated the day before to nothing, but also I could tell how clenched tight I was. That was it for me. I was all COOL experiment over, I'd like an epidural! She was like well we could also do a shot of fentanyl which lasts an hour and you can reevaluate-- and since that sounded reasonable and I wanted drugs asap (they could put it right in my already placed IV), I said sure.
Ya'll. Fentanyl does JACK SHIT for pain. At this point, I was in the bed, writhing, your basic wounded animal that would be put out of its misery in the wild, and within 20 mins of getting the shot was like: This doesn't do anything. The midwife came back and was like: Oh yeah it doesn't do much for pain.
...I'd like to go back in time and bitch slap her in this moment, but here we are.
So I was like: "epidural me!!"-- and then had to wait for that, which was excruciating. I think they gave me more fentanyl but I'm not sure. It was probably only another 15-20 minutes but it was absolute torture. All I could do was clutch my husband's hand and cry. And then the best person in the world delivered it and had to place it twice but whatever, I was a human again within a few minutes. She was so fast, getting both done in the 2 minute window between contractions and for that, I love her. After it was in, I opened my eyes, could actually greet my new nurse since shift change had happened, and chat with my husband, who was in absolute shock from the previous few terrible hours. He kept wanting to process what had happened with me, and I had to keep telling him I didn't want to talk about it until I was no longer in labor.
With the epidural, they were like- okay, you two relax. Suddenly I needed a bunch of extra drugs-- some for headache, benadryl for insane itching (a common side effect of an epidural, apparently) and other things which I've now forgotten. But by 9 p.m. they brought me a unisom to get some rest. Except the baby started having decels because of the water breaking earlier, so they needed to put saline in to keep him cushioned. This all happened about 9:30 or 10 p.m. My: Oh shit, this could be a csection after all-- radar started going off-- but happy surprise, while they were there, they found that I was already 9.5 cms dilated. That was within four hours of getting the epidural.
Note from the doulas: Apparently this is a thing! So if, in inductions, the labor progresses faster than it would normally, your natural pain killers from a gradual 'natural' labor can cope with changes in your body. But because mine happened so quickly, the pain overtakes what your body normally produces to hang with pain. Getting an epidural and dilating immediately can be a sign that this is what happened. Basically they said my body was trying to efface and dilate all at once, which is not how a typical labor progresses at all. Good to know if we get to have a second kid-- if I need to be induced again, I'm hitting that sweet epidural juice asap! They also said I'm likely to have a second baby really quickly if I go into labor on my own, so to get to the hospital asap.
They let us rest for a few hours while that last .5 cm did its thing, and the baby stabilized from the saline. By 12:30 they came back in and happily there was a new, wonderful midwife on shift. We started doing practice pushes and they were so kind to make suggestions to accomodate my fear of flaring my nerve injury in my neck and arms. I could feel the contractions coming, which helped me time when to start pushing. They'd also put me on the lowest dose of pitocin to make my contractions every 2 minutes just before starting to push.
FYI because I always wondered this: The best way I found to push for me was to be on my side with the top leg in the stirrup, then when I started pushing to do a pilates style sit-up roll with an exhale, started high under my boobs with the sit-up and then pushing with all I had in a straight line towards my vagina. I also had the mirror there, which helped me visualize where to send the push. Pushing was so hard but also so satisfying-- with the epidural it felt really manageable. You know how some people have mantras for this moment? Really beautiful things about greeting their child? Mine became a chant in my head: "Get the fuck out, get the fuck out!" which really helped me push, lol. I was worried about him getting out without needing a csection, which helped me feel motivated. I really just wanted him out and safe, and I honestly think my get the f out energy helped me push.
My husband had been holding a warm compress to my vag for about a half hour before he was born- and the midwife applied hot oil and told me when to stop pushing so that I could stretch without tearing and he could turn. Unfortunately when she told me to pause in pushing, I literally could not. He was coming no matter what! I got a small second degree tear straight down but two weeks in, I'm feeling pretty good there, though weak. Your basic kegels are all the effort I can make.
He was born at 2:46 a.m., so about two hours of pushing but it felt like it flew by, I was so focused. The midwife had my husband help catch him, and then they plopped him on my stomach. This moment was the best sensation I've ever felt in my life, and I still don't have the words to describe it. It isn't even that I felt emotional about it (though I did), it felt like every cell in my body was celebrating that he was here, and safe. Just feeling him breathe on my skin was insane; it was the very best tactile sensation of my life. I immediately, completely loved him and more than that, it just felt right that he was here. It's like every part of me could relax, and love, and all was right.
They waited about 3-5 minutes until the cord stopped pulsing to cut it so he would get all the blood from the placenta.
Speaking of the placenta! Remember how I had a velamentous cord insertion? He had some funky bits of his placenta where blood vessels were hanging off and exposed. The midwife was like: Okay this part was dangerous. It was chilling to see.
He was one ounce shy of 8 pounds, and 21.5 inches long. He wasn't a fatty like I thought he'd be: He's just every bit as long as his daddy is tall! It's so sweet to see. However, he has my exact baby nose and chin, which feels like karmic justice after the labor I'd just endured. He's a doll and I'm going to share a picture of here just because I can't not-- I'll come back in a day or so and remove the link. Then we got to have the golden hour with him, just cuddled up. He was cooing with his dad during their skin to skin (trying to sleep, but wanting to talk back) and then they moved us to our recovery room at 6 a.m.
Aftermath: The next few days in the hospital were hard as he developed jaundice and we had to supplement to keep him healthy, and we had him under a bilirubin light blanket in our room for two days. They sent us home with one (it was either that or the NICU) but within 2 days at home his numbers had come down enough to take him off. However that started our next adventure with him-- having to break the supplement battle and get back to the good breastfeeder he'd been in the hospital, before jaundice made him so sleepy and he got used to bottles. That was another moment of ignoring medical advice-- they had us attempting to breastfeed, supplementing, then me pumping all hours, every 2-3 hours of the day, which made me absolutely crazy. I'd had it by day 5 and took him to bed with me and did constant skin to skin and breastfeeding for the next 2-3 days. He was totally back on the boob within the end of the first day, and we stopped supplementing cold turkey. I also stopped pumping just in time as my boobs had started to crack. My supply can now keep up with him and he's gaining weight, so luckily we made the right call. I see what a battle breastfeeding can be though, and whatever you all do to feed your babes, please feel good about it. It's hard enough as it is!
Also: I highly recommend the take to the bed-- babymoon. We'd skipped some of the sweet newborn cuddles because of his jaundice and him needing to be under the light, and I feel like I really got to know him by going at his pace and watching his every expression. My sweetest memories so far are from when all three of us were cuddled in the bed, sharing the baby for skin to skin. It was so worth it.
Recommendations: the Frida Peri Bottle!- the hospital one is shit and felt like I was splashing water in the general direction of my undercarriage: Not as effective as one would hope! I ordered mine the day I gave birth and it was happily waiting for me at home.
Real-you clothes, even nursing bras and tank tops. I thought I wouldn't mind wearing the hospital gown, turns out, it's so annoying and floppy. I delivered in my own maternity tshirt which we removed for skin to skin before he arrived. I wore that tshirt or a tank top, and my hot hospital diapers for days, no robe needed.
I also brought a short, thin, very packable robe which was nice for Facetime calls with family and slippers, for taking walks around the hospital hallways.
I brought my own Unisom and took half a pill as needed during recovery, suck on that, long wait for meds!
A soft earphone headband-- I would cue up guided meditations to sleep at night since the nurses will wake you up at all hours if you let them. My nurses knew I couldn't hear them when they entered my room and that worked to my advantage.
Fake flickering candles from Amazon-- these set the mood perfectly and would cue nurses to calm down when entering our room. We loved them so much as a nightlight we've since bought more and have them in the babies room and our room two weeks later.
Same with a tiny portable speaker. When we learned they would respect meditation music or guided meditations, we left it on specifically because sometimes, they'd leave if they heard it. Win!
More Frida products than you think, in a basket, in the bathroom, ready to go at home. Also adult diapers. Just embrace it. My pelvic floobladder still goes out on me if I'm not careful two weeks later. Get a ton of icy padsicles too, you deserve (after you take all the ones from the hospital you can).
Also necessary: The balls to have your nurse put up the sign saying: leave this room alone-- when you need a nap. On our second recovery day, 7 different doctors/PTs/hearing test people, just everyone!-- had stopped by, all by 2 p.m. While I tried to take care of a baby and myself. At one point, three were jockeying for attention and coming back into the room one after another. I was holding my pee to such a point during all this that I went to the bathroom (literally running away from the next doctor) and lost it all on the bathroom floor, which was my first hospital crying break-down.
TL;DR, The hospital sucks, get out as soon as you can.
Once at home: I want so much compression stuff, it's the only thing that feels good on my stomach. I've gone on ordering benders but so far my favs are: belly bandit tank tops--can be used for nursing, and these Bao Bei compression shorts (I'd get the leggings too, but they're sold out), and a friend's hand-me-down Seraphine nursing nighties so you don't have to bear everything and get cold at night. They're so wonderfully soft. I have two but I want at least one more.
In sum, if I'd known how much I'd fall in love with him, I would have fought 100x harder to have him. Thank God for IVF and even the bullshit we had to endure to get here. He's the baby I feel like I was meant to mother.
Thinking of all of you, and so grateful to this community for the help you gave for me (and so many others) to get here.
ETA: I had links for all my recs, but now they’re gone and I am out of time for posting. Lmk if you’re interested in something specific and I will share!