announcements

2015 NFL Thrills and Chills, Part II
 
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!             Osemele, 7/6 at either LT and LG, leads block party: four 7s, three 5s pass block; two 6s, three 5s run block … FB Jusczyk as receiver: LP catches, YAC-B …WRs Smith (max catches) and Aiken (12/18) are LP threats
Oh No!             Sub-par HBs create a burden this passing attack will have trouble carrying
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!            NT Williams (6)
Oh No!             Very Poor Pass D: Hopeless SP card, no asterisk pass rushers; no 5s or 6s in coverage. Ravens weak at takeaways
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!             PR TD … Best overall kicking game: Best-in-set 31 very deep KO chances; perfect XP; best FG: 2-10 good through 49 yds, 2-6,12 good up to 54 yds; strong punting (45 yds at #9) and PR coverage: +1/2/3
Oh No!             Worst-in-set -8 penalty differential
 
BUFFALO
Offense:
Oh Yeah!           QB Taylor’s low INTs, 15 Must Run chances (yield +31, +26, +23, +15, +11 …) make him a passing threat Right or Wrong …  3 useful, complementary HBs … TE Clay in vanishing breed: He can catch and block (6) … Big-play WR Watkins… LG Incognito’s  comeback (5,6)
Oh No!             Top rushing team still has (2,0) blockers at RG, RT
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!             LT Dareus (6) on DL with two 5s
Oh No!             Now You See Me 3: Rex Ryan makes a pass rush disappear: 5-2-0-5 on DL, 3-0-3 at LB … SS Rambo (00) … Poor Pass D has 20 possible LG in LP 0Men
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!             Strong punting, excellent KR coverage (+10/11/12)
Oh No!             -6 penalty differential (ouch!) … Missed XP on 10-11 … very week KR, PR returns
 
 
 
CINCINNATI
Offense:
Oh Yeah!            QB Dalton’s best card w/low INTs, full SP-Wrong, strong SP … Deadly WR Green and TE Eifert have 2-Tmd catches … HB Hill gets tough yards / 3rd-down back Bernard: 17 changes of SG or better ER-Wrong, YAC-A … LT Whitworth (7,6), RG Zeitler (5,6)
Oh No!              C Bodine (4,0)
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!            8 guys with 6 or 5 … Welcome back, Geno Atkins! (6 w/11 pass rush) … LE Dunlap (5) and 12(1*) pass rush … Good to Excellent Run D … Strong SP card allows FS Nelson (65) to stay home, protect vulnerable LP card
Oh No!              LLB Hawk (00 w/2 pass rush)
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           Strong KR, PR coverage
Oh No!             Punt block
 
CLEVELAND
Offense:
Oh Yeah!             LT Thomas (7,6), C Mack (4,6), and two 5s run blocking … TE Barnidge’s career year has max FP/SP catches … HB Johnson: LP catches, YAC-A
Oh No!             This is how a heart breaks: 2-9, 12 RB fumbles Right; 1-4 QB/Rec fumbles
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!           LILB Dansby (64 with 0 pass rush) best of ordinary D ratings
Oh No!             Very Poor Pass D has hopeless SP card … All-4 secondary won’t get help from pass rush with three 0s in front seven … Average to Poor Run D w/SG-heavy card
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!             PR TD … Strong punting (45 yds on #9), KR coverage (+16/19/12)
Oh No!              LG on PR coverage … Weak-leg PK Coons: Only 13 very deep KO chances, XP Miss on 11-12, only 2-3 good on long FG
 
DENVER
Offense:
Oh Yeah!             WRs: Thomas’ FP/SP max catches, Sanders’ LP max catches … HB Anderson’s LG on ER-Wrong … LG Mathis (7,6) and four pass-block 5s
Oh No!             Not enough completions to offset QB Manning’s very high INTs – he’s a liability … Run for Your Left: 0 run-blockers at RT, RG
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!             Excellent Run D / Good to Excellent Pass D … 9 guys with 6s or 5s, including both CB and stud LOLB Miller (56) and 12(4*) … One of the 4s is ROLB Ware, who is a an 11 pass rusher … even sub CB Roby is a 5 on team with rated depth at every position
Oh No!              It takes a fine whine to complain only about NT Williams (4 w/3 pass rush) backed up by 6 and 5 run defenders at ILB
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!             #2 PR TD on roll 11 … Very strong KO, solid punting, w/great coverage on KR (+13/15/14) and PR (+3/5/9) … 57-yd FG good 2-6,11,12
Oh No!             Cowardly #1 PR w/14 long … 40-yd FG good 2-7, 12
 
HOUSTON
Offense:
Oh Yeah!             WR Hopkins: Max catches, LGs and 2-Tmd catches at all ranges … RG Brooks and LT Brown are 7 pass blockers
Oh No!             Can’t throw to Hopkins on every play – though it will be tempting to try … LG Su’a-Filo (2,0)
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!             That’s Watt we’re talkin’ about: LE J.J. is a (6) and 12(4*); LOLB Mercilus is (45) and 12(5*) … RCB Joseph (6) … Good Run D and good SP/LP cards
Oh No!             Safeties Demps and Hal (both 40) won’t help the run D … LBs (0 and three 4s) won’t help the pass D
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!             Lechler’s punting: 46 yds on #9
Oh No!              XP miss on 10-11 … No big plays on KR, PR
 
INDIANAPOLIS
Offense:
Oh Yeah!             WR Hilton’s big plays w/max LP catches … LT Castonzo (7,5) and five pass-blocking 5s
Oh No!              QB Luck is much better runner than passer
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!             RILB Freeman (55 w/6 pass rush)
Oh No!             Average to Poor Run + Pass D (SG-heavy run card w/rare fumbles) … One of the toastiest CBs in the NFL, Toler is LCB (0) … Both DTs are 4 with 1pass rush
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!             Best-in-set 31 very deep KO chances w/+11/12/13 coverage … Deep punting, too: McAfee 47 yds on #9 … Superb FG: 2-10 good at 49 yds, 2-6, 12 at 55 yds
Oh No!             Missed XP on 11-12 … LG on PR coverage
 
 
 
JACKSONVILLE
Offense:
Oh Yeah!             Yards for A. Robinson, Hurns looks like WRs from ‘60s, ‘70s … TD-maker Robinson has 2-TM catches, too … QB Bortles can throw and run … RT Parnell (5,5) salvages weak OL
Oh No!             INTs and pass blocking mean D must guess wrong to throw downfield … 1-4 QB/Rec fumbles … No push up front: 0-4-4 run block from RG-C-LG … LT Joeckel (3 pass block)
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!             Career year from RT Miller (5 w/6 pass rush); FA CB House (5 in first year as starter)
Oh No!             Very Poor Pass D w/FS Evans (00), SS Cyprien (04), LLB Skuta (04) and no sub depth … Average to Poor Run D w/LE Branch (0), SGs at #7 across the board w/0LB
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!            PR TD on #3 … Strong punting (45 yds on #9) and KO (25 chances go very deep)… 58-yd FG good 2-6
Oh No!             Here’s a kick in the teeth: Missed XP on 10-12, the worst in set (go for 2!)
 
KANSAS CITY
Offense:
Oh Yeah!             HB Charles: 21 chances SG or better ER-Wrong … Power-running HB Ware w/17 chances of SG or better OT-Wrong … Low RB fumbles and low-INT QB Smith w/+49 must run, pistol ER … WR Maclin w/max FP/SP catches, LGs … TE Kelce has 2-Tmd catches, YAC-A
Oh No!             Safety-first QB Smith has low INTs, but low yardage
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!             Big Chiefs: NT Poe (6), FS Berry (66), LBs Houston (56), Johnson (66), Hali (56) … Top INT team
Oh No!             Need FS Berry to stay home to avoid frightening LP 0Men … Pass rush hasn’t disappeared, but the asterisks have … Will seldom force fumbles
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!            PR coverage (+4/2/7) … 54-yd FG good 2-6, 12
Oh No!              Missed XP on 11
 
MIAMI
Offense:
Oh Yeah!             QB Tannehill’s FP (full) … WR Landry’s max FP/SP catches … No RB fumbles … Lightning strikes from HB Miller: LG on ER, +85 on OT, LP catches, YAC-A Big yards without LGs for rookie WR Parker … C Pouncey (7,6)
Oh No!             A pair of 0 run-blockers at G and two more at RT, TE
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!             LT Suh (6 w/7 pass rush) on DL with two 5s
Oh No!             Poor Run D w/no fumbles, many SG and RT Mitchell (0 w/0 pass rush), MLB Sheppard (00) … Average to Poor Pass D thanks to low INTs, no 6s or 5s for coverage, as LCB Grimes plummets to a 4
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!             PR TD … Darr’s strong punting (46 yds on #9)
Oh No!             Heavily penalized and -4 differential … Missed XP on 11-12 … Shaky FG beyond 39 yds
 
 
NEW ENGLAND
Offense:
Oh Yeah!             Brady rules: He’s the best at SP and LP … Gronkowski: Max FP/SP catches and  25 long gains across his card – that’s elite for a WR … Old-school RBs can catch AND get yards in the flat and downfield … RG Kline, LT Vollmer both 7,5
Oh No!             The RBs get downfield because the WRs are so wimpy on LP.
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!             Nine 6s and 5s … LCB Butler (6) in secondary with three 5s … LLB Collins (66)… RE Jones (5) and 12(1*)
Oh No!             Worst LP 0Men card in set (LGs everywhere but #6, 7, 10) won’t get the worst results thanks to NE’s excellent defenders (#8 and 9) – STILL!
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!             +82 PR … After Brady, Gronk, is Gostkowski the MVP? – 25 very deep KO chances with +10/11/12 coverage … Perfect XP, strong FG rates w/2-6 good up to 57 yds
Oh No!             Blocked punt … LG on PR coverage
           
 
NEW YORK JETS
Offense:
Oh Yeah!             You Are Marshall: WR has max catches, LGs, 2-Tmd catches at all ranges … HB Ivory punishes w/LG, +54, +21 on LB, +58, +31 and 24 on OT … Ageless C Mangold (7,6) again on OL with three pass-blocking 7s, two 5s
Oh No!             Despite his TD passes, QB Fitzpatrick’s success relies more on run game, pass blocking, WRs Marshall/Decker and his A/B YAC HBs than his passing card … Only the WRs can go deep and only Marshall has an LG … HBs can’t run wide … RG Winters a 0 run-blocker
Defense:
Oh Yeah!             Excellent Run D w/LE Wilkerson (6) and 12(1*) on 6-6-5 DL … LCB Revis (6) … Maybe the best FP 1Man card, despite rare INT (but see LB note below)
Oh No!             Only Harris (54) is better than 4 in pass D among four LBs
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!             Did we say “Special?” – Nothing special here
Oh No!             Blocked punt and +9/22/LG coverage … Only 14 very deep KO chances
 
 
OAKLAND
Offense:
Oh Yeah!             WRs: Rookie Cooper max LP catches w/LGs; Crabtree max SP catches … HB Murray’s LG on ER-Wrong … FB Reece’s FP/SP receiving … C Hudson, LT Penn (both 7,5) and LG Jackson (5,5) on stronger-than-usual OL
Oh No!             1-4 QB/Rec fumbles … RG Webb (3,0) … There’s talent, potential, but lots of self-destruction w/drops, missed receivers, penalties
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!             Good Run D w/LE Mack (6) and 12(2*) and LT Williams (6) … Add final-year FS Woodson (65) and solid D cards and this D can win games
Oh No!             They will have to in order to overcome LCB Hayden (0), SS Carrie (00), MLB Lofton (04)
           
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!             +2/6/5 PR coverage … 56-yd FG good 2-6, 12
Oh No!             Heavily penalized and scary -7 differential will lose games … Blocked punt … LG on KR coverage
 
 
PITTSBURGH
Offense:
Oh Yeah!             Roethlisberger: full FP completes, 21 SP Wrong, 12 LP Wrong … Only the WRs go deep, but they go DEEP: This Fab Four has readings of 88, 72, 69, 68, 66, 64, 59, 57, 56 and 56 and all have LGs in SP! … Antonio Brown’s max catches (natch) and 2-Tmd grabs … HBs Bell, Williams can destroy Wrong with this pass attack (Bell: 34 SG or better chances across his card; Williams: LG and +55 OT- Wrong) … RG DeCastro (7,6)
Oh No!              C Wallace (4,0)
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!           Excellent Run D will force fumbles … FS Mitchell (54) will have to save a shaky pass D
Oh No!             Average to Poor Pass D … Burnt-to-a-crisp RCB Blake (0) … Look-In Alert: both ILB are (04)
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           PR TD
Oh No!             XP miss on 11 … Only 14 very deep KO chances
           
 
 
SAN DIEGO
Offense:
Oh Yeah!            QB Rivers probably second best to Brady (completes Wrong: FP full, 23 SP, 12 LP, with all INTs on #11) … 80-catch HB Woodhead: max FP, +61 on good SP card, YAC-A … WRs: Allen max SP catches, Floyd max catches LP w/14 chances Wrong of LG or better … RT, RG are pass-block 7s
Oh No!             Pass attack will have to do it Right: C Robinson (2,0), LT Hairston (3,0) on team with no run blockers better than 4 for a very unsexy RB crew
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!             RCB Verrett (6), pass-rushing OLBs Ingram 12(5*), Attaochu (10)
Oh No!             Poor Run D might be generous description w/SG-heavy card, few fumbles and 0s at LE, NT (3 LBs w/run D 5s can help) … 3-man DL’s pass rush: 2-1-3
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!             54-yd FG good 2-6, 12
Oh No!             Blocked punt … Missed XP on 10-11 … KR coverage: +35/38/25; PR coverage: +10/22/LG … Cowardly PR w/18 long … 34 longest KR
 
TENNESSEE
Offense:
Oh Yeah!             Delanie Walker, Delanie Walker, Delanie Walker: max FP/SP catches and a TE with LGs on LP … Mariota’s +87 MR
Oh No!             No one else … Isn’t that so, C Gallik (0,0) and LG Spain (3.0)? … 2-7, 11, 12 RB Fumbles Right; 1-4 QB/Rec fumbles
 
Defense:
Oh Yeah!             Sacking LB crew: 8-10-7 and 12(1*) – that’s Orakpo … LILB Woodyard (46) stuffs the run and sacks the QB (10) … SS Searcy (55)
Oh No!             Poor Pass D with 0 pass rushers at LE, NT and LCB Sensabaugh (0) … Average to Poor run D with high-SG chances, low fumbles
 
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!             Kern’s punting: 47 yds on #9 … 23 very deep KO chances … Good as it gets FG up to 49 yds: 2-11, 2-11, 2-10, 2-10
Oh No!             But LG on PR coverage, +35/37/20 KR coverage and 50-yd FG good only 2-4 … XP Miss on 11 … Longest KR: 34