2012 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:
Oh Yeah!   Balanced unit w/versatile HB Rice, backup HB Pierce (Short Gain Right across the card), serious LG threat Torrey Smith at WR, possession WR Boldin, pass-catching TE Pitta, low turnovers … RG Yanda (7,6)
Oh No!     Not much to complain about, but Smith offers the only Wow factor
Oh Yeah!   6s for RE Ngata, FS Reed and (1*) 12 pass rush for sub Kruger
Oh No!     Few takeaways and Short Gains at #7 w/0 Men in all run zones w/0-rated NTs
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Jacoby Jones’ KR TD on #3 and a PR TD, too … Koch’s punting (43 yds at #10) and excellent punt coverage … PK Tucker: FG 2-6, 12 from 56 yds and 20 touchback chances
Oh No!     Heavy penalties for BAL and foes will cancel many good plays
Oh Yeah!   Beep, Beep – Good-bye: HB Spiller explosive in all running and receiving columns (LG Right on all runs, 17-19 SG or better Wrong, including LG at #12 and #3 OT Wrong) … A 7 and four 5s to pass block on OL
Oh No!     Automatic RB fumbles Right + ordinary pass game requires play-calling genius … RT Hairston 0 run block
Oh Yeah!   6s for RT Kyle Williams, FS Byrd … Mario Williams a 5 w/(1*) 12 pass rush
Oh No!     Poor run D believes it’s better to give (yards) than receive (takeaways) … four 0s overall and a 0-4-4 at the secondary’s coverage positions.
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   McKelvin’s PR TD on #4, Smith’s KR TD
Oh No!     Long Gains on coverage of both PR, KR (with only 11 touchback chances) … -4 penalty differential
Oh Yeah!   WR A.J. Green’s max catches and big plays in all categories
Oh No!     QB Dalton’s high INT, disappointing completions on SP, LP
Oh Yeah!   Two 6s, six 5s w/powerful right side pass rush: RT Atkins, RE Johnson both (1*) 12 … Good pass D gets its rating on coverage; Good run D for causing fumbles
Oh No!     0 at MLB and not much blitz value at any LB
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Jones’ PR TD … P Huber (42 yds at #10) and excellent punt coverage
Oh No!     Jones’ PR fumble at #10 … -3 penalty differential … Long Gain on KR coverage
Oh Yeah!   Rookie WR Gordon can fly (LG or better chances: FP-3, SP-6, LP-10) … perennial All-Pro LT Thomas (7,6) again
Oh No!     Rookie QB Weeden, HB Richardson need to get much better than this
Oh Yeah!   6 for LCB Haden
Oh No!     No 0s, but eight 4s … pass rush will struggle
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Even without TDs, PR Cribbs is one of the most dangerous … Dawson’s FGs (2-10 to 49 yds, 2-7, 12 to 54) … Sensational KR coverage (+11, +13, +12)
Oh No!   Long Gain on PR coverage
Oh Yeah!   LT Clady (7,6) and pass blocking (three 7s, three 5s) for QB Manning who can shred any D at any distance (how does 0 incompletes FP Wrong, 19 completes SP Right and 14 completes LP Wrong sound?) … deep receiving corps led by WR Thomas’ max catches SP, LP
Oh No!     C-RG-RT run block all 4s … Manning will throw some picks Right and RBs will fumble (2-6 Wrong)
Oh Yeah!   The Ultimate Von Miller: a 6 at LLB w/(12*) 12 pass rush … stingy yards for Good to Excellent run D … Bailey still the Champ as LCB-6
Oh No!     0 MLB
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Holliday’s KR and PR TDs … +4 penalty differential … Mile High punting (41 yds at #10), FGs (2-6 at 54 yds) … Excellent KR coverage, better PR coverage
Oh No!     #1 KR Bolden’s got nothing
Oh Yeah!   WR Johnson has the max catches and yards at all 3 distances … LT Brown, C Myers both 7,6 blockers … No Rec/QB fumbles
Oh No!     Very little at #6, 7, 8 Wrong for HB Foster
Oh Yeah!   Excellent run D and LE Watt – a 6 w/(8*) 12 pass rush … 6 for RCB Joseph and three 5s in secondary
Oh No!   Burn, Baby, Burn – Poor pass D has to have the worst Long Gain frequency ever. Guess Pass, bring the house and NEVER leave 0 Men in LP zone
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   P Jones (42 yds at #10) … 2-6, 11, 12 FG from 54 yds
Oh No!     Only 11 touchback chances and +30, +26, Long Gain KR coverage … LG on PR coverage, too
Oh Yeah!   QB Luck doesn’t look like a rookie, with solid FP/LP combo … WR Hilton’s max catches at LP … Pass block: 7 at center, FB; 5 at both OT
Oh No!     Both guards are 0 run blockers for RBs who need the help … Drop-prone on FP and SP, only Hilton offers LGs among receivers
Oh Yeah!   Mathis – LOLB-5 w/11 pass rush
Oh No!     Poor run D and poor pass D are fumble-free w/few INTs … 0 NT and seven 4s … 3-0-0 pass rush on DL
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Karim’s KR TD and Hilton’s PR TD … +7 penalty differential!
Oh No!     Blocked punt and Long Gain on PR coverage
Oh Yeah!   WR Shorts’ chances Wrong for LG or better (FP-4, SP-7, LP-11)
Oh No!     Generally lackluster unit suffers must endure 0 run block at LG, RT
Oh Yeah!   Sort of … The team pass D cards have better-than-average incompletes
Oh No!     Poor run D cards look like Jags are playing a man short … Poor pass D comes from three 0s, three 4s in back seven and weak pass rush
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   P Anger’s multiple boomers (+73, +62, +58)
Oh No!     Blocked punt and Long Gain on PR coverage … XP miss on #11 … longest KR = 38, longest PR = 15
Oh Yeah!   The Usain Bolt of the NFL is this card for HB Charles: Long Gains Right across the card, Long Gains Wrong and +80 or better Wrong in each category. End Run Wrong: LG at #2 and #3, +91 at #12 and eight more chances of SG or better
Oh No!     Get the cough medicine! High INTs, high fumbles … LG Allen (2,0)
Oh Yeah!   Four 6s (two LBs, two DBs) on a Poor-Poor defense … Powerful outside pass rush in LOLB Houston (11*) 12 and ROLB Hali (8*) 12
Oh No!     Poor run D is a fumble-free 3-4 with worst yards allowed in set (e.g. OT 0 Men = +35 at #2, +15 2-10 at #4 and SGs at #7 and #8) … Poor pass D has only 1 incomplete chance for SP 3 Men and two 0s in secondary … 0, 0 players start at NT, LILB
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   P Colquitt (42 yds at #10)
Oh No!     Long Gain on PR coverage … FGs drop to 2-8, 11, 12 at 10-19 yds
Oh Yeah!   C Pouncey (7,6) … HB Bush has Long Gain OT Wrong, +65 and +53 ER Wrong
Oh No!     RG Jerry (3,0), LT Long’s decline to 5,5 … Rookie QB Tannehill shows promise, not polish on an offense that needs more shine everywhere
Oh Yeah!   RE Wake has stud value: 6 with (3*) 12 sacks … Good run D is stingy on yards
Oh No!     Theft charges dropped: Fumble-free run D and very low INTs … 0 at RCB
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Thigpen TDs on KR, PR … +4 penalty differential … superb P Fields (still 5 yds at #8 and 40 at #11)
Oh No!      Long Gains on both KR, PR coverage
Oh Yeah!   Intimidating QB Brady’s SP completes: 19 Right, 23 Wrong … LG Mankins (7,6) and 7 pass blockers at both OTs … TE Gronkowski has 20 chances of +10 or better FP Right, 15 catches LP Wrong … RB Woodhead’s FP, WR Welker also weapons
Oh No!     Greedy to complain, but there are cracks in the pass protection at C, RG
Oh Yeah!   Excellent run D w/high fumbles allows D to guess Pass often … Wilfork: 6 at RT and DE; Mayo: 6 at RLB and MLB
Oh No!     Very Poor pass D has as many LG chances as incompletes SP 3 Men, three 4s in secondary and no double-digit pass rusher
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Edelman PR TD on #3, McCourty KR TD … Superb KR, PR coverage
Oh No!     Blocked punt
Oh Yeah!   Road pavers: another 6 for center Mangold and three 5s on OL … WR Kerley makes big plays
Oh No!     Shaky pass blocking, 1-4 Rec/QB fumbles make bad QB Sanchez worse … Fumbling RBs can’t make up the difference
Oh Yeah!   Average pass D knocks down more passes than most, has Cromartie’s RCB-6
Oh No!     Average to Poor run D is ole when DL’s 6-5-5 ratings not in play
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   McKnight KR TD, Kerley PR TD … +4 penalty differential
Oh No!     Worst-in-set 6 touchback chances and LG on KR coverage … Blocked punt and LG on PR coverage
Oh Yeah!   7 pass blockers at C, LG, LT to help QB Palmer with deep completes (7 Right, 12 Wrong) … versatile FB/HB Reece can catch and run … No RB fumbles Wrong
Oh No!    HB McFadden’s LG on ER Wrong, +64 on OT Wrong leave few other yards from 3.3 average … all-or-nothing WRs, too
Oh Yeah!   Consolation prize to LLB Wheeler, team best as both a 5 w/6 pass rush
Oh No!   Very Poor pass D w/0 FS, three secondary 4s and a LB 6 as top-rated pass rusher … Poor run D … No 6s , three 0s (two at LB)
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   PK Janikowski: 2-10 FG or better thru 49 yds, 2-7, 11, 12 to 57 yds, 21 touchbacks, perfect XP
Oh No!     PR Adams has 4 chances to gain, 10 to lose … +39, +38, LG KR coverage …                                     blocked punt
Oh Yeah!   Center Pouncey (7,6) … Low-INT QB Roethlisberger a force at FP, SP
Oh No!     High RB fumbles (2-7 Wrong) and 0 run blocks at RG, RT, 4s at LG, LT … OT pass blocking: 2 and 3
Oh Yeah!   Good to Excellent run D w/two 6s, three 5s in front seven
Oh No!     Slim pickings in low-INT pass D (but three 5s in secondary)
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Suisham FGs: 2-10 or better to 49 yds
Oh No!     Blocked punt and Long Gain on PR coverage
Oh Yeah!   QB Rivers’ dominant FP card … No RB fumbles Wrong … WR Alexander’s LGs
Oh No!     Rivers lost WR Jackson and his LP sizzle … LT Harris (0,0) on OL with 4 run blockers everywhere else … 1-5 Rec/QB fumbles
Oh Yeah!   Good to Excellent run D … FS-6 for Weddle … LOLB Phillips’ (1*) 12 pass rush
Oh No!      Poor pass D w/two 0s and a 4 in secondary
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   #2 KR, PR Spurlock has TDs on both
Oh No!      Blocked punt
Oh Yeah!   QB Locker’s running … QB Hasselbeck’s FP … LT Roos (7,6)  … HB Johnson’s home runs Wrong (LB +80, OT +83, ER +94 and LG on #3) ... WR Washington’s LGs … TE Cook goes deep very well (15 catches Wrong)
Oh No!     QB Locker’s passing and a roster of drop-prone receivers
Oh Yeah!   5s at both CB … 9 pass rush at both OLB
Oh No!     Poor run D is fumble-free … SP 3 Men: LG on #4 … Four 0s, no 6s
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Reynaud’s PR TD on #3 and his KR TD
Oh No!     -5 penalty differential … blocked punt … Long Gain on KR coverage