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2012 NFL Thrills and Chills, Part I (NFC)
 
By Glenn Guzzo
 
            Here’s a brief summary of the highlights and lowlights of Strat-O-Matic’s new football ratings:
 
ARIZONA
Offense:            
Oh Yeah!   WR Fitzgerald still has the catches, if not the yards
 
Oh No!     Offense? Not gonna happen with anyone but oft-injured Kolb at QB … The worst OL in NFL has three 0s, two 4s w/3 and 2 pass blockers at OT
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   Good to Excellent pass D w/a 6 for LCB Peterson … LILB Washington has stud value: 6 with (3*)12 sacks
 
Oh No!     Average to Poor run D with Short Gains at 7 and 8
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Punting, placekicking and kickoffs (18 touchbacks) all excellent
 
Oh No!     Spoiled by Peterson’s PR TDs last year, his longest is 26 now
 
 
ATLANTA
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   QB Ryan keeps getting better: 14 complete chances LP Wrong … Receiving trio of WRs Jones (10 chances of LG or better LP Wrong), White, TE Gonzalez … 7 pass block at RT, LG
           
Oh No!      0 run block at LT, RG
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   A 6 for FS DeCoud and three 5s in secondary
 
Oh No!     Average to Poor run D w/Short Gains at 7, low fumbles; no 5s or 6s in front seven
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   NO penalties on ATL except for the automatic calls … Bryant’s FG kicking (2-6, 12 up to 55 yards)
 
Oh No!     Blocked punt
 
 
CAROLINA
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   QB Newton’s pistol run card has +72, +32, +20 and SG Wrong to go with 12 complete chances LP Wrong – pick your poison, defense … Explosive WR Steve Smith … Greg Olsen is rare three-zone receiving threat for a modern TE … LTGross (7,6)
 
Oh No!     RG Williams (2, 0) … Can this team get the tough yards when it needs them?
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   6 for rookie MLB Kuechly
 
Oh No!     0s at both DT and two more in the secondary
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Superb KR coverage
 
Oh No!     Field-position issues: KR (longest: 35), PR (mostly fair catches); blocked punt, LG on punt return coverage
 
 
CHICAGO
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   WR Marshall has max catches everywhere w/good yardage
 
Oh No!      Oh-Oh-Oh – that’s the ratings of the interior OL run blocking
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   Excellent run D with high fumbles … Four 6s, four 5s w/6s at both CB
 
Oh No!     Pass D with 0 Men: Only 6 is incomplete Short; 3-5 are LG Long (8-9 “defender” readings also X or LG)
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   19 touchbacks and excellent kick coverage
 
Oh No!     -4 penalty differential
 
 
DALLAS
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   Three 7 pass blockers for strong Romo LP card (7 chances Right, 12 Wrong) … WR Bryant’s frequent-flyer card (catches + big plays) … TE Witten still a star
 
Oh No!     RBs, OL run blocking don’t inspire
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   6s with (7*) 12 sacks for both OLBs, Spencer and Ware
 
Oh No!     It’s the Poor house for SP 3 Men: only incomplete = 11; INT = 2-3
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Harris PR TD on 3 … Bailey FGs: 2-10 or better thru 49 yds
 
Oh No!     -5 penalty differential (good luck with that) … LG on both KR, PR coverage
 
 
DETROIT
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   QB Stafford’s 24 SP Wrong completes … Megatron’s dream catch + gain card … 7 pass blockers at both OTs, Center … HB Bell’s +50 and 20 other chances for +10 or better FP Wrong
 
Oh No!     Why would the opposing D guess Run? Yards aren’t there, fumbles are (2-7, 11, 12 Wrong)
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   DRT Suh: 6 with 8 sacks
 
Oh No!     Very Poor pass D includes two 0s in secondary … Two more 0s on DL
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Solid punting, placekicking
 
Oh No!     Long Gain on both KR, PR coverage
 
 
GREEN BAY
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   QB Rodgers’ 18 completes SP Right, 13 completes LP Wrong … No RB fumbles
 
Oh No!      No RB yards, either … Buy burgers for LT Newhouse (2, 0) and the Wimpy OL
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   ROLB Mathews: 6 w/(6*)12 sacks … Three 5s at CB … Two 6s on 3-man DL
 
Oh No!     The pass D totally depends on the player ratings w/Long Gains galore on the team cards … NO fumbles on the run D
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Cobb’s PR TD … strong punt coverage
 
Oh No!     Blocked punt
 
 
MINNESOTA
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   As good as it ever gets: RB Peterson’s Long Gains Right, and +20 or better chances Wrong (10 LB, 11 OT, 14 ER) … Rookie LT Kalil (7, 5) … WR/HB Harvin: SGs on 6-7-8 ER Wrong
 
Oh No!     Can QB Ponder and receivers keep the D off Peterson’s back? Not often enough
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   Good to Excellent run D … LCB Winfield returns as a 6
 
Oh No!     Very Poor pass D: Low INTs and NO incompletes SP 3Men
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Harvin KR TD (on #3), Sherels PR TD … Rookie All-Pro PK Walsh: best-ever 2-8, 12 FG from 56 yds; 22 touchbacks
 
Oh No!     It’s all good – nothing to complain about
 
 
NEW ORLEANS
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   NFL pass yardage and TD leader Brees completes 11 Right, 13 Wrong on LP … The LG-rich cards of three WRs … RG Evans (7,6) and two other 7 pass blockers … A rare two-threat running backfield w/HB Sproles, FB/HB Thomas – both lethal on FP Wrong, too
 
Oh No!     Brees’ automatic INT at #10 on LP Right
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   LE Jordan (5, with 8 pass rush) is as good as it gets here
 
Oh No!     Run and Pass team cards so obscene that you should need ID to view them … After setting NFL record for most yards allowed, it won’t be the Saints that go marching in.
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Morstead’s booming punts (still 51 yds at #8, 40 yds at #11) … 19 touchback                                     chances and excellent KR coverage
 
Oh No!     Long Gain on punt coverage
 
 
NEW YORK GIANTS
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   HB Bradshaw’s Short Gains at #7 Right across the card … LG Snee, FB Hynoski both 7,6 blockers; two other 7 pass blockers … Four WR deep threats
 
Oh No!     QB Manning can make the big plays for both teams
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   RE Pierre-Paul is the only 6 and tops with 8 pass rush
 
Oh No!     Two 0s, six 4s and little pass rush on a D that struggles to be average
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Wilson’s KR TD … +5 penalty differential … P Weatherford
 
Oh No!     Only 9 touchbacks … PR Randle can gain only on #2 (+18)
 
 
PHILADELPHIA
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   LG Mathis (7,6)
           
Oh No!     Eagles don’t just put the ball on the ground, they dribble: RB automatic fumbles Right / QB fumbles on MR at #8 … Two 0s, two 4s for OL run block           
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   HB Brown ER Wrong: +65 and Long Gain
           
Oh No!     Very Poor pass D has Long Gain at #4 for SP 3 Men, only incomplete at #12 … Poor run D causes no fumbles … Two 0s at LB and two more in secondary           
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!     Johnson’s PR TD … Henery good 2-10 or better to 49 yds on FGs
 
Oh No!       Blocked punt and Long Gain on PR coverage; missed XP
 
 
ST. LOUIS
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   No RB fumbles … QB Bradford’s improved FP, SP … LT Saffold’s 7 pass block
 
Oh No!     C, LG 0 run block
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   Good pass D includes twin De pass rush threats – 11 and (1*)12
 
Oh No!     Run D causes no fumbles
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Hekker’s strong punting … PK Zuerlein: 20 touchback chances, FG 2-6, 11, 12 from 60 yds
 
Oh No!     -7 penalty differential (yikes!) … Long Gain on PR coverage
 
 
SAN FRANCISCO
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   All 6 run blocks from LT to RT and another at FB … No RB fumbles
 
Oh No!     Shaky pass blocking at C, RG, RT and backs
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!  Excellent run D … Seven 6s (all four LBs), four 5s
 
Oh No!    Don’t dare complain – how serious could a problem be with eleven 6s and 5s?
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   P Lee (still 50 yds at #7) … superb PR coverage (+2, +4, +3)
 
Oh No!    +35, +32, +27 KR coverage
 
 
SEATTLE
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   HB Lynch SG or better Wrong: 17 chances LB/OT, 19 ER … LT Okung and Center Unger both 7,6 blockers … Very low fumbles
 
Oh No!     Boring receivers … LG Moffitt (2,0), RT Giacomini (0,4)
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   Good to Excellent run D … Two 6s, five 5s in back seven
 
Oh No!     Third-degree burn factor on LP … with sub Irvin in for desperately needed pass rush, both DE are 0 base D
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Washington’s KR TD … P Ryan … Hauschka 2-10 or better FGs to 49 yds
 
Oh No!     Many penalties both ways may cancel too many good plays
 
 
TAMPA BAY
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   Rookie HB Martin’s Long Gains Right across the card and 10 more chances of +40 or better … WRs Jackson, Williams both w/max LP catches … Jackson’s scary yardage (e.g. 14 chances LG or better LP Wrong) … LT Penn (7,6) … No RB fumbles
 
Oh No!     Erratic QB Freeman … 0 run block at C, RG, RT
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   Excellent run D w/stingy yardage at #s 6,7,8
 
Oh No!     Very Poor pass D … 0s at RE, LLB, LCB … LE Bennett only pass rush threat (9)
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   PK Barth: 2-7, 11, 12 FGs to 57 yds; 25 touchback chances
 
Oh No!     Blocked punt
 
 
WASHINGTON
Offense:
Oh Yeah!   QB Griffin’s passing a +76 on Must Run … HB Morris’ Short Gains Right at #7 across the card w/strong Wrong columns, too … No fumbles: RB, Must Run or Rec/QB … TE Davis’ formidable FP … LT Williams (7,6)
 
Oh No!     RT Polumbus (2,0)
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!   Good to Excellent run D … LOLB Kerrigan: 5 w/10 pass rush … Ancient LILB Fletcher a 6 again
 
Oh No!     Poor pass D has Long Gain at #4 SP 3 Men and three 0s in secondary
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!   Even without TD, PR Banks excites
 
Oh No!     Blocked punt, missed XP, -3 penalty differential
  
*Part II of NFL Thrills and Chills (AFC) will be released this Friday, July 12th.