announcements

2011 NFL 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! 2,000-yard Ray Rice has Long Gains Right and Wrong LB, OT and ER, more breakaway runs and is legit receiver … RG Yanda (7,6) leads solid OL with help from FB Leach (7,6)
 
Oh No! QB Flacco is ordinary, with INT risk Right
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! OLB/DE Suggs – a 6 with (8*)12 sacks -- is the star of Excellent run D, Good pass D with no 0s
 
Oh No! INTs are low and Ravens can be burned deep
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! Webb’s PR TD … 20 touchbacks … strong punting (still 41 yds on #10)
 
Oh No! Scary bad KO coverage (+40, +39, LG); long gain on punt coverage, too



BUFFALO
Offense
:
Oh Yeah! Two HBs (Jackson, Spiller) with 16 chances of SG or better ER Wrong … C, LG, LT all are 7 pass blockers … QB Fitzpatrick can kill with his FP
 
Oh No! Fitz’ INTs Right will kill Bills
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! FS Byrd (6) and rookie NT/DE Dareus (5 with 6 pass rush)
 
Oh No! Poor run D puts it mildly – this unit can’t do anything right (e.g. even with 1 LB, Short Gain at #8 on LB) … Acceptable pass D cards wounded by 0, two 4s in secondary
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! #2 PR McKelvin’s TD on roll #3 … strong KO coverage, excellent punt yardage
 
Oh No! blocked punt, poor #1 KO returner
 
 
CINCINNATI
Offense:
Oh Yeah! Both OT’s are 7 pass blockers … No RB fumbles … rookie QB Dalton very solid Wrong … Rookie WR Green, TE Gresham are deep threats
 
Oh No! Though HB Benson can power for yards Right, foes can risk being Wrong vs. run
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! Excellent run D forces foes to run wide … DRT Atkins (6 with 10 pass rush)
 
Oh No! No 0s, but seven 4s will disappoint often
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! Tate’s PR TD … Nugent’s FG of 2-7, 12 up to 54 yds
 
Oh No! Nugent is shaky at shorter ranges
 

CLEVELAND
Offense:
Oh Yeah! LT Joe Thomas (7,6) … RB Hillis can catch deep balls
 
Oh No! Good luck with that: Browns can’t score quickly or control ball reliably … 0-run blockers at RT, LG don’t help weak RBs … QB McCoy, WRs will make it very tough to throw deep or to get other big plays
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! LCB Haden (6)
 
Oh No! Poor run D, including 0s at both DE … Browns won’t face theft charges vs. run or pass
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! Cribbs’ PR TD … strong KO, punt coverage except LG on punt
 
Oh No! Weak-leg K Dawson: only seven touchback; FG good only on roll #2 at 50+ yards … long gain on punt coverage
 

DENVER
Offense:
Oh Yeah! Three high-gain HBs and QB Tebow will force Ds to guess Run a lot and Tebow can burn a D deep when Wrong … Tebow’s Must Runs give him the equivalent of 5 more completion chances of 11-32 yard                                     
Oh No! With no touch, especially on FP, Tebow desperately needs those Must Runs … shaky OL hurts more than helps
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! The strong side: LT, LOLB, LCB all 6s
 
Oh No! Broncos’ 2-4 INTs with extra man both SP, LP won’t discourage passing league
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! #2 PR Decker’s TD on roll #4 … Mile High air: 25 touchbacks! K Prater good 2-6, 11, 12 up to 59 yards
 
Oh No! Long Gains on both KO and punt coverage
 

HOUSTON
Offense:
Oh Yeah! Balanced, versatile offense can exploit any defensive weakness with deep roster of complementary skill players and OL help in LT Brown (7,6) and C Myers (5,6) … Secret weapons: Pass-catching FB Casey and explosive backup HB Tate
 
Oh No! LG Wade Smith (3,0)
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! Good to Excellent vs. run with DE Watt (6) and Good vs. pass with RCB Joseph (6) … ROLB Barwin’s (5*)12 leads strong LB pass rush
 
Oh No! 0s at RE and LCB
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! Jacoby Jones’ PR TD … K Rackers is 2-6 on FGs up to 54 yds
 
Oh No! Rackers is only 2-6, 11, 12 from 40-49
 

INDIANAPOLIS
Offense:
Oh Yeah! HB Donald Brown’s +80 OT Wrong and Long Gain ER Wrong, rarities in Indy… WR Reggie Wayne still can catch, but missed Manning, too.
 
Oh No! Without Peyton Manning, the thrills are gone … 0 run blockers at RT, RG and LG
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! RE Freeney (6, with 11 pass rush) and sacking LE Mathis (1*)12
 
Oh No! The Poor run D and poor pass D believe it is better to give than to take with lowest chance of turnovers in set … four 0s and five 4s
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! 24 touchbacks – good thing, because ... (see below)
  
Oh No! A blocked punt is least of problems … Fair catch-happy PRs both have “returns” of -9 yards! … KO coverage worst ever: LG, +44, LG with another long gain on punt coverage
 

JACKSONVILLE
Offense:
Oh Yeah! Steady gainer Maurice Jones Drew has Short Gain Right and Wrong across the board at roll #4
 
Oh No! QB Gabbert’s completion chances: 10 FP, 14 SP, 7 LP – Wrong … Receivers rate yawns … LG Rackley (2,0) deserved boos
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! Good run D and Average-to-Good pass D
 
Oh No! No 6s and no double-figure sackers
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! +4 penalty advantage … K Scobee: 21 touchbacks, 2-12 XP, among best at all FG ranges … solid punting with excellent coverage
 
Oh No! Terrible kick returners
 

KANSAS CITY
Offense:
Oh Yeah! WR Bowe still a big-play threat despite lack of quality QB, run game … LT Albert and C Wiegmann are 7 pass blockers
 
Oh No! Injuries to QB Cassel, uncarded HB Charles and uncarded TE Moeaki leave KC offense with little life
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! Good pass D relies on 5s at CB and ROLB Hali, a 6 with max (12*)12 pass rush, who leads pair of OLBs with * sacks … RILB Johnson adds a 6 with 8 pass rush to the LB unit
 
Oh No! Both left-side LBs are 0 and so is the SS
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! K Succup: 19 touchbacks, 2-12 XP, solid FGs at every range … Colquitt’s punting (still 40 yds at #10), but …
 
Oh No! Colquitt outkicked his coverage (+11, +10, long gain)
 
 
MIAMI
Offense:
Oh Yeah! Reggie Bush’s best run card ever gets breakaways and tough yards … QB Henne has 26 Short Gain chances on ER Wrong; his Must Runs are the equivalent of 5 more completions of 11-20 yards on SP and LP Right … Only Brandon Marshall has LGs receiving, but he is elite going deep
 
Oh No! RT Colombo (0,0) is worthless
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! Excellent run D forces fumbles, has 6-rated NT Solai and ROLB Wake, a 6, with (1*)12 pass rush)
 
Oh No! Two 0s and two 4s in the secondary
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! That boom was the sound of Brandon Fields’ punts (still 50 yds at #8, 44 yds at #10) … K Dan Carpenter: 17 touchbacks, 2-12 XP, solid FG rates at all ranges
 
Oh No! Special indeed – the only quibble is no return TDs
 
 
NEW ENGLAND
Offense:
Oh Yeah! Superb pass attack: QB Brady’s completions are 17-23 SP, 9-14 LP … TE Gronkowski has max catches FP (20 chances of +10 or better Right), SP and goes deep well … WR Welker adds LGs (and +99 and +73) to his league-leading catches … Both guards are 7,6
 
Oh No! Fuget-about-‘em RBs: No fumbles, but no breakaways; and only backup HB Ridley has Short Gains
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! Good run D, RE Carter (6 with 10 pass rush) and RT Wilfork (6)
 
Oh No! Poor pass D, four 0s, sub-par pass rush and low takeaways
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! Edelman’s PR TD … Mesko’s punting (still 41 yds at #10) … excellent KO and punt coverage
 
Oh No! Pathetic KO return men
 
 
NEW YORK JETS
Offense:
Oh Yeah! C Mangold and RG Moore are 7,6 and LT Ferguson is 5,6 … Keller among the best deep threats for TE’s.
 
Oh No! QB Sanchez’ accuracy improving, but still below-average with high INTs Right … No receiver with a LG … High RB fumbles
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! Good run D features 5-6-5 front and Good-to-Excellent pass D has a 6 and two 5s at cover positions in secondary
 
Oh No! Pass rush depends on blitzing LBs with no asterisks … 0 FS stands out on D with nine 6s and 5s
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! McKnight’s KR TD
 
Oh No! K Folk’s weak leg: Only 9 touchbacks, only 2-4 FG beyond 49 yds
 
 
OAKLAND
Offense:
Oh Yeah! Explosive HB McFadden runs fearlessly inside and out, with no fumbles … He’s a serious receiver, too … LT Veldheer (7,6) stars on OL with two 7 and two 5 pass blockers, three 5s (counting TE) in run block … QB Palmer’s impressive FP yards, solid completions throughout … WRs Moore, Heywood-Bey can fly
 
Oh No! Palmer has the wing, but needs a prayer: His 4.9% INTs show up big time in Right columns
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! LT Seymour (6)
 
Oh No! Very Poor pass D has Long Gain on #4 SP 3 Men
           
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! One KR man has a TD, the other a 91-yd return … Janikowski’s FGs: 2-10 through 49 yds, 2-7, 12 through 63 yds … P Lechler: 80 yds at #2, 51 yds at #8, 41 yds at 11, 36 at 12
 
Oh No! One of worst penalty teams ever, with -6 disadvantage, 20 Oakland penalty chances in all (counting pre-snap whistles) … Long Gains on KO, punt coverage
 
 
PITTSBURGH
Offense:
Oh Yeah! QB Roethlisberger is strong, WR Wallace is scary (+95, +81 and 10 LG chances LP Wrong) and WR Brown can burn double-coverage on Wallace … C Pouncey (7,6), TE Miller (6) salvage shaky OL
 
Oh No! Pass block will break down, RBs will fail to get steady yards
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! Good run D … Average to Good pass D is fine on completions, yards and has a 6 and two 5s in the secondary
 
Oh No! Uncharacteristically, this Steelers D is weak on takeaways … 0s at LE, LCB
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! Brown’s PR TD
 
Oh No! blocked punt
 
 
SAN DIEGO
Offense:
Oh Yeah! QB Rivers can sling it … WRs Jackson and Floyd terrorize with big yards and TE Gates gets deep well, too … RBs Mathews, Tolbert strong inside … A pair of 7 pass blockers at C, RG, with 5s at OT
 
Oh No! Rivers’ INTs will haunt him … RBs            don’t run wide well and the OL makes that worse (no 6s, the only 5 is at C)
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! FS Weddle (6) and sacking sub OLB Barnes: (9*)12
 
Oh No! Very Poor pass D must keep Weddle home and must blitz Barnes … Average to Poor run D rarely causes fumbles
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! Goodman’s KR TD … P Scifres (still 42 yds on #10)
 
Oh No! Poor KO, punt coverage includes long gain on KO
 

TENNESSEE
Offense:
Oh Yeah! LT Roos (7,6), RT Stewart and RG Scott (7,5) support QB Hasselbeck’s lethal FP/SP attack and rookie backup QB Locker’s surprisingly strong LP           
 
Oh No! Even with HB Chris Johnson’s Long Gain OT Wrong and other big plays, the running game will sputter without big blocks … Eugene Amano, at C after a switch from guard, is 3,0
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah! A 6 (RCB Finnegan) and two 5s in the secondary
Oh No! Poor pass D: heavy on completions, very light on sacks … Overall D is light on takeaways … 0s at both DE (with only 5 and 4 pass rush ratings)
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah! Mariani’s TDs on KR, PR … Reliable punting and superb coverage … K Bironas: 21 touchbacks, 2-12 XP, 2-10 FG through 49 yds, 2-7 through 54
 
Oh No! -3 penalty disadvantage