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2010 Pro Football Thrills and Chills, Part II (AFC)
 
By Glenn Guzzo
 
            Here’s a brief summary of the highlights and lowlights of Strat-O-Matic’s new football ratings:
 
 

BALTIMORE

Offense:
Oh Yeah!         QB Flacco’s passes well at all distances, HB McGahee gets the tough yards and                              HB Rice is a force in the flat
 
Oh No!            The OL offers no help running right and big plays likely will be scarce offense-                              wide
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!         The Good to Excellent run D is very stingy on yards, even without the helping LB                            in the 3-4 … Four 6s and five 5s, including a 6 and three 5s in the secondary to                               help a bad pass D card
 
Oh No!            Pick your poison: The only blanks on the pass D cards for SP 3 Men (roll #5) and                          LP 0 Men (#12) and the INTs are low, too
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!          Billy Cundiff’s 17 touchback chances … #2 KOR David Reed’s TD … Dominant                                +6 penalty-chance advantage … Strong punting and coverage
 
Oh No!             +34, +31, +40 kickoff coverage
 
 

BUFFALO

Offense:
Oh Yeah!          FL Stevie Johnson’s possession-receiving card is a nice complement to SE Lee                               Evans’ LGs Wrong (3 chances Flat, 5 Short, 9 Long)
 
Oh No!             Automatic fumble running guessed Right … Both OTs are 0 run blockers and all                             others are 4s
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!          Solid NT play from Kyle Williams (5 base D, 6 pass rush)
 
Oh No!             Poor run D (only roll #5 is blank on SP 3 Men) and Poor pass D (Short Gains on                             both #7 and #8 on Linebuck and Off Tackle with 0 LB)
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           C.J. Spiller’s KOR TD and his six PR chances of +27 or better
 
Oh No!              Rian Lindell’s missed XP, only 2-7, 11, 12 FGs from 23-32 yd line, and only two                              touchback chances
 
 
 

CINCINNATI

Offense:
Oh Yeah!           LT Andrew Whitworth is a 7/6 and C Kyle Cook is a 7 pass blocker … … Five                                  WRs who can play will test nickel and dime backs
 
Oh No!              HB Cedric Benson’s weak running will magnify QB Carson Palmer’s high INTs                                guessed Right
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!          6-rated LCB Leon Hall … sub DE Carlos Dunlap’s 10 pass rush
 
Oh No!             Blitz and pray: No starter has a pass rush rating higher than 3
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!          Superb punt coverage (+1, +2, +3)
 
Oh No!             Missed XP on 11, blocked punt and a return game that almost never will help …                             Mike Nugent is an embarrassing 2-6 on FGs from 13-32 yd lines
 
 

CLEVELAND

Offense:
Oh Yeah!          6-rated run blockers at C, LG, LT aid HB Hillis’ solid run card … With little                                    help from their receivers, three QBs have surprisingly high completion cards
 
Oh No!             When your most reliable receiver is TE Ben Watson, you know there’s trouble …                             QBs McCoy and Delhomme are INT-prone
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!          In pass situations, the 3-4 D fields LBs with 7, 9, 9 and 12(*2) pass rushers
 
Oh No!             Very low fumbles and Short Gains across the board at roll #7 with 0 LBs invite                             foes to run
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!          Excellent coverage on both kickoffs, punts
 
Oh No!             Phil Dawson is unreliable on FGs beyond the 22 yd line … Josh Cribbs no                                       longer is a threatening return man
 
 

DENVER

Offense:
Oh Yeah!          WR Brandon Lloyd explodes on every catch … QB Orton is very solid
 
Oh No!             The run game is so sorry that QB Tebow might be a better choice for his Must                               Runs guessed Right
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!          LCB Champ Bailey is still a 6 and LILB D.J. Williams is a 6 with an 11 pass rush
 
Oh No!             Seriously? This D (Poor vs. Run, Very Poor vs. Pass) has a better chance of                                   giving up TDs than forcing turnovers or punts
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!          #2 KOR Cassius Vaughn’s TD … 11 touchback chances
 
Oh No!             LG on kickoff coverage and a missed XP
 
 

HOUSTON

Offense:
Oh Yeah!          HB Foster’s 16 chances of SG or better on ER Wrong includes a LG on #3 …                                   Running OT, Foster has +74 at #2 and LG at #3 … WR Andre Johnson is still a                                dream on Long Passes
 
Oh No!             Nothing to dread except a defense that will force this team to score 30
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!          RDE Mario Williams is a 6 with 10 pass rush
 
Oh No!             Your D game plan must include no takeaways … A secondary with three 0s, a 4                             and still only one blank on SP 0 Men (roll #5) while yielding a LG on roll #4
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!          Neil Rackers is 2-6 on FGs from the 40 yd line
 
Oh No!             The kickoff returners are pitiful
 
 

INDIANAPOLIS

Offense:
Oh Yeah!          QB Manning is great again … Four 7 pass blockers on OL (Center Jeff Saturday                               is 7/6)
 
Oh No!             Both guards are 0 run blockers and both tackles are 4s. Colt RBs need a lot more                           help than that
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!          DE’s Mathis (6, with 11 pass rush) and Freeney (6 with 10 pass rush)
 
Oh No!             Very low takeaways and a Poor pass D where the only blank is at #11 for SP 0                             Men
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!          #2 KOR Tyjuan Hagler’s TD … Vinatieri is tied for best FG kicker in set up to 32                         yd line (but good only on roll 2 after that)
 
Oh No!              21 fair-catch chances and 6 net yards on punt returns … Long Gains on both                                  kickoff and punt coverage
 
 
 

JACKSONVILLE

Offense:
Oh Yeah!          HB Jones-Drew won’t break the long one, but he and backup Rashad Jennings are                           impressive ground-gainers anyway
 
Oh No!             QB Garrard’s INTs and Must Runs are too high for the passing to work against                               solid defenses
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!          Sorry, LLB Daryl Smith (5, with 7 pass rush) is as good as it gets
 
Oh No!             Poor run D (no fumbles) and Very Poor pass D (three secondary 0s, weak pass                             rush)
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!          Mike Thomas’ PR TD … Superb punt coverage
 
Oh No!             Long Gain on kickoff coverage
 
 
 

KANSAS CITY

Offense:
Oh Yeah!          D foes better guess Right: HB Charles has no fumbles and 18 chances of SG or                             better Wrong in LB, OT and ER, with Long Gain on ER #10 and +80 on #12,                                   while QB Cassel / WR Bowe are good enough to hurt foes Wrong
 
Oh No!            Bowe is the only deep threat and the OL is inconsistent
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!         6-rated LCB Brandon Flowers and 12(8*) pass rusher Tamba Hali
 
Oh No!            Hali is the only pass rusher higher than 3 … the Long Gains are plentiful and the                            blanks scarce in this pass D
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!         McCluster’s PR TD on roll #3
 
Oh No!            Blocked punt, long gain on kickoff coverage, weak kickoff returns
 
 
 

MIAMI

Offense:
Oh Yeah!         No RB fumbles guessed Wrong … 7/6 LT Jake Long
 
Oh No!            QB Henne’s SP and LP columns will make play-calling very tough … Almost                                    impossible to score quickly with this offense
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!         ROLB Cameron Wake is a 6 with 12 (11*) pass rush … “Good” run D
 
Oh No!            Takeaways will be rare on these D cards
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!          Dan Carpenter is good 2-6, 12 on FGs from 43-yd line (that’s nearly 50-50 on a                            60-yarder), perhaps the best ever
 
Oh No!             Blocked punt and Long Gains on both kickoff, punt coverage
 
 
 

NEW ENGLAND

Offense:
Oh Yeah!          After record-setting year, QB Brady’s INTs are minimum chances on roll #12 (a                             first) … Brady’s only blank on SP Wrong is at #11 … He has 14 completion                                     chances on LP Wrong … No RB fumbles … 7/6 LG Logan Mankins and four 5-                                    rated run blockers on OL … 2 rookie TE’s who can go deep
 
Oh No!            With Brady and the OL so strong, RB Green-Ellis looks like the ordinary back he                            was till his good stats in 2010
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!         “Good” run D despite pair of 0-rated DE’s in a 3-4 (NT Wilfork is a 6)
 
Oh No!            Passing foes will be fearless against a Poor pass D (high completions, low sacks)
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!         KOR and PR TDs … Excellent punt coverage
 
Oh No!            Missed XP, Long Gain on kickoff coverage
 
 
 

NEW YORK JETS

Offense:
Oh Yeah!         Three 7/6 blockers in C Nick Mangold, LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson and FB Tony                                Richardson (RG Brandon Moore is 5/6) … No RB fumbles … Wildcatter Brad                                    Smith is seriously dangerous ER Wrong (18 chances SG or better) … WRs                                     Edwards, Holmes get serious yards
 
Oh No!           QB Sanchez still looking for some touch
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!        Excellent run D forces fumbles … Two 6s, six 5s, no 0s
 
Oh No!           Umbrella, please! LP 0 Men: The only blank is at #12, the INT is 2-3, 12 and                                  every other roll is a potential Long Gain (looks like the CBs and SS are on their                              own) … Jets must blitz OLBs to sack
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!        Brad Smith’s KOR TD … Excellent kickoff coverage
 
Oh No!           Shaky punt coverage … PK Nick Folk only 2-6, 11, 12 from 23-32 yd lines
 
 
 

OAKLAND

Offense:
Oh Yeah!        HB McFadden has Long Gains guessed Right and Wrong for each run type and                                 big plays galore … WR Jacoby Ford is a scoring threat from anywhere … TE                                    Zach Miller is a legit deep threat
 
Oh No!           Shabby pass blocking won’t help erratic QB Campbell pass downfield
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!        6s at DLT (Seymour), LCB (Asomugha) … LLB Wimbley is a 5 with 12(6*) pass                               rush … the DL has 6, 7, 9 and 9 pass rushers
 
Oh No!           Short Gains across the board at roll #7 in Average/Poor run D
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!         Jacoby Ford’s KOR TD at roll #3 … Janikowski: 10 touchbacks, 2-6, 12 FGs                                    from 42 yd line … Punter Lechler: still 50 yds at roll #6, 42 yds at roll #10
 
Oh No!            Long Gain on kickoff coverage … only 5 blank chances on the penalty card (-3                                disadvantage) means many good plays coming back
 
 
 

PITTSBURGH

Offense:
Oh Yeah!         QB Roethlisberger’s lowest INTs ever couples with exceptional SP columns,                                    strong LP … WR Wallace gets +50 or better on FP (6 chances), SP (9) and LP                                (15)
 
Oh No!            A 0/0 RG and a 0 run blocker at LT … Schizo HB Mendenhall gets SG or better,                              or else he gets very little
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!         The run D is Supreme and the SP 3 Men D is good enough to leave the FS in the                            LP zone … Six 6s (three of four starting LBs), three 5s
 
Oh No!            A 0 at RCB and a 4 at FS are only blemishes on this great D
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!         #2 KOR Antonio Brown’s TD
 
Oh No!            Only one touchback and a Long Gain on kickoff coverage
 
 
 

SAN DIEGO

Offense:
Oh Yeah!         QB Rivers is a force at all ranges … Serious LG receivers Floyd, Jackson, Naanee                            and Gates will overmatch most secondaries
 
Oh No!            RB fumbles are 2-10 Right, among the highest in the set
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!           Good run D and Good to Excellent pass D … LOLB Shawn Phillips is a 6 with                                 12(6*) pass rush … D has two 6s, and six 5s
 
Oh No!             0 at SS
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!         Nate Kaeding is 2-10 FGs from 23-32 yd lines … #2 PR Antoine Cason has 12                                chances of +19 or better
 
Oh No!            Mayday! Blocked FG on roll #10! (SD had four blocked) and a Long Gain on                                  punt coverage … Only 2 touchbacks and a Long Gain on kickoff coverage
 
 

TENNESSEE

Offense:
Oh Yeah!         HB Chris Johnson has Long Gains Right and Wrong for each run type … 7/6 LT                                Michael Roos … WR Britt is among the most dangerous in the set and has other                               deep-threat WRs Washington, Moss, Gage to take the pressure off
 
Oh No!            High fumbles (RB Right: 2-7 and Receiver/QB 1-4)
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!         Good run D despite low fumbles … 6-rated RCB Cortland Finnegan, 12(1*) pass                              rusher Jason Babin
 
Oh No!            Two 0s at DE, five 4s elsewhere
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!         Marc Mariani’s KOR and PR TDs … Great combo: Brett Kern’s punt yardage                                    and superb punt coverage (+1, +2, +3) … Best FG kicker in set: Rob Bironas is 2-                          10 from 23-32 yd lines, 2-5 from 38
 
Oh No!            -6 penalty disadvantage may be too much to overcome most games … Long Gain                          on kickoff coverage