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2016 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!        QB Flacco dangerous Wrong at all depths … minimum RB fumbles and blockers LG Yanda (7,6), FB Juszczyk (7,6), RT Wagner (7,4) … deep threat WR Wallace: +95, +70, +54 LP Wrong

Oh No!            RG Ducasse (3,0) … despite other blockers, a shabby run game that can’t go wide

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Excellent vs. run … A 6 (LB Mosley) and four 5s in front seven; a 6 (SS Weddle) and a 5 at safety

Oh No!            Five of front seven have pass-rush ratings 3 or lower

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        FG: 2-8, 12 good from 57 yds … perfect XP

Oh No!            LG on punt coverage

 

BUFFALO

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        HB McCoy leads excellent ground game, getting yards Right and Wrong (ER: LG on #11, +75, +22 and 12 SG chances) … HB Gillislee, QB Taylor also dangerous running with minimum RB fumbles and 6 run-blocking LG Incognito, TE Clay

Oh No!            Just not right: RT Mills (2,0), RG Miller (0,4) … Other than WR Watkins’ max LP catches, receivers at SP/LP

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Blitzing OLBs Alexander: 12*8 and Hughes: 10 … 6-rated RILB Zach Brown (with 8 pass rush) and LE Kyle Williams

Oh No!            Poor vs. run: No fumbles, big yards … Rare INTs, too … SS White (0)

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Punt coverage: +3, 6, 7

Oh No!            XP misses at #10, 11 … FG good only 2-6, 12 from 40-49 yds

 

 

CINCINNATI

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        WR Green: max catches, 2-tmd catches at all distances … TE Eifert’s big plays … RG Zeitler (7,6), LT Whitworth (7,5)

Oh No!            RT Ogbuehi (0,0) for boring group of runners

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Geno the Giant: DRT Atkins, a 6 w/team-best 10 pass rush

Oh No!            Only Atkins, LE Dunlap (9) are sack threats … Average to Poor run D with no fumbles

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        84 yd KO return

Oh No!            XP misses #10-12 … 50+ FG good only 2-3

 

CLEVELAND

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Capable, explosive HBs Crowell, Johnson are YAC-A, too … 6 run-blocking LT Thomas

Oh No!            Center Erving (0,0) the poster boy for helpless pass blocking: 2-3-0-2-4 from RT to LT … Good-not-great WR Pryor is one-man downfield threat

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Building blocks? New starters NT Shelton, RCB Taylor are 5s

Oh No!            Very Poor pass D, Poor run D: Six starting 0s (both safeties, both right-side LBs), no 6s and no pass rushers better than 6 … Touch-football run D: No fumbles, big yards … LG at #4 SP 3Men

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Nothing special about these special teams

Oh No!            XP misses on #11, 12 … No-threat PR, KR returns

 

DENVER

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Center Paradis (7,6) … Strong WRs Sanders, Thomas

Oh No!            No right of way: 0 run-blocking at RG, RT for Broncos team that lacks the horses – lackluster RBs who have 2-7 fumbles Right

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Good to Excellent pass D: Nobody takes it to the next level (the second level) like Broncos: LBs Miller (6 with 12*8 pass rush) and Marshall (6) and a secondary with two 6s at CB, two 5s at safety

Oh No!            Average to Poor run D: NT Williams (0 with 1 pass rush); foes will find easy yards here

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Punt coverage: +4, 5, 9 … FG good 2-6 from 55 yds

Oh No!            LG on KO coverage

 

 

HOUSTON

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        7-rated pass blockers at LT, C

Oh No!            Misfiring QB Osweiler with horrible LP card … both guards are 0 run blockers

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Average to Good pass D … RE Clowney (6), RCB Bouye (6) and four 5s … LOLB Mercilus (45 with 11 pass rush)

Oh No!            Low-Wattage replacement LE D.J. Reader (a 4 with 1 pass rush) next to 0-pass rush NT Wilfork … No fumbles in Average to Poor run D

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        #2 PR Fuller: TD on #4 … P Lechler: still 44 yds at #10 …

FG good 2-6 from 54 yds

Oh No!            -5 penalty-chance differential … Only team with LG on both KO, punt coverage .. XP misses on #10, 11

 

INDIANAPOLIS

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        High-skill QB Luck, passing and running … Explosive WR Hilton (28 chances of LG or better across his card) has 2-tmd catches … Rookie center Kelly’s 7 pass block; vet LT Castonzo’s 6 run block

Oh No!            Over-reliance on Luck will expose INTs … Bad RG Good (2,0)

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        LOLB Walden’s career-best 12*4 pass rush

Oh No!            Three 0s, seven 4s start for Very Poor pass D, Average to Poor run D w/ very low turnovers … SG at #7 and 8 OT w/0 LB … No blanks on SP 3Men; completes at #4, 5, 6 w/4Men

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        +5 penalty-chance differential … KOR TD on #3 … PK Vinatieri: perfect XP and 2-7, 12 good FG from 54 yds

Oh No!            blocked punt (otherwise monster yards for P McAfee)

 

JACKSONVILLE

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        7 pass blockers at C, LG … breakout year for WR Lee

Oh No!            Three 0 run blockers – RG, LT and even TE Marcedes Lewis -- and 4s at RT, LG … RB fumbles: 2-8 right … All of last year’s key players declined … QB Bortles does more harm than good Right

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Ageless MLB Posluszny (6) surrounded by RLB Smith (56), two 5s at DT and rookie RCB Ramsey (5)

Oh No!            Little pass rush and fewer turnovers for Average to Poor pass D … best pass rusher LE Ngakoue (9) a 0 vs run

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Lee KOR TD on #3 … Myers: FG good 2-7, 12 from 56 yds … 78-yd punt for Nortman

Oh No!            Worst-in-set -6 penalty-chance differential … LG on PR coverage … Missed XP on #11, 12

 

KANSAS CITY

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        HB Ware catches (YAC-A and LGs for FP/SP) even better than he runs (37 chances for SG or better across his card) … TE Kelce: max catches FP/SP and 2-tmd catches (big plays and strong LP, too) … Pass block: a 7 and three 5s … QB Smith’s FP … 24-carry HB/WR Hill’s explosive OT, ER Wrong

Oh No!            Smith’s SP/LP must be Wrong to be barely adequate ... WRs won’t help him

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Two 6s (LCB Peters, SS Berry) and a 5 in the secondary; a 6 (Johnson) and a 5 at ILB … ROLB Ford: 12*1 pass rush … Run D will force fumbles

Oh No!            LE Nunez-Roches (0 with 1 pass rush) on DL with 1-2-2 pass rushers … SGs on #s 7, 8 OT w/0 LB

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Tyreek Hill: PR TD on #3 (and +25 on #6), KOR TD on #2 …

Punt coverage: +1, 2, 3

Oh No!            XP misses on #11, 12

 

 

MIAMI

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        WR Landry: max FP/SP catches and YAC-A … big plays from QBs Tannehill and Moore, HB Ajayi, WRs Stills, Parker … Rookie LG Tunsil’s 7 pass block

Oh No!            Moore’s INTs make him high-risk/reward … What run blocking? Three 0s and two 4s on interior line

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        LT Suh (6), LE Wake (5 with 12*1 pass rush)

Oh No!            Poor vs. run and pass … 0 pass rush for all starting LBs; RLB Jenkins (04), MLB Butler (40) have other issues, too … SS Thomas (0) … SGs at #7 across the board w/0 LB … LG at #4 SP w/0Men

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        KOR and PR TDs … 27 deep-kickoff chances

Oh No!            -5 penalty-chance differential … FG good only 2-5, 11, 12 from 40-49 yds

 

 

NEW ENGLAND

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Bradys’s INTs are on roll #12 … Brady’s bodyguards: Two pass-blocking 7s, four 5s; RT Cannon (5,6) … TE Gronkowski (39), WR Hogan’s (32) chances LG or better across their cards. They are among five receivers who are YAC-A or B.

Oh No!            RBs Blount-Lewis-White aren’t going to keep defenses from guessing Pass

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Stingiest scoring D has 6s at every level (LT, 66 MLB Hightower, LCB and 66 FS McCourty) and four 5 … Excellent run D (no gains more than 3 on #7, 8)

Oh No!            SS Chung (0) and no pass rushers higher than 7 for Very Poor pass D (LGs possible on 21 LP chances w/0 Men)

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        +4 penalty-chance differential … GREAT kick coverage

Oh No!            XP miss on #11

 

 

NEW YORK JETS

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Both guards are 7 pass blockers … Minimum RB fumbles

Oh No!            Will Jets passers complete more passes from their cards to their own receivers than the defense? It might be close … Both tackles are 2 pass blockers, 0 run blockers … Rec & QB fumbles: 1-5

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        LE Williams (6), ROLB Richardson (06) stuff the run

Oh No!            Very Poor pass D: LG on #4 in SP w/3Men, two 4s (even Revis), two 0s in secondary; like Richardson, RILB Lee is a 0 in coverage, too … Revis, RE Wilkerson (4), rare turnovers and anemic pass rush for a D in deep decline

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Not so special

Oh No!            LG on KO coverage … blocked punt; XP miss on #s 11, 12

 

 

OAKLAND

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        QB Carr can make every throw and with minimum INTs … thanks, in part to The Great Wall of Oakland: LT, LG, C all 7,6; RG 7,5 and minimum RB fumbles … WR Cooper: Max LP catches, LGs at all distances, 2-tmd catches … A fullback (Olawale) who gets receiving LGs and LP catches.

Oh No!            HBs Murray, Washington lack explosiveness

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        RE Mack (6 with 11 pass rush), LLB Irvin (10 pass rush) … D will force fumbles

Oh No!            No other sack threats for Poor pass D … 0s at LE, LT, RLB … SGs across board at #7 w/0 LB

                        

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        31 deep kickoffs … KO coverage: +18, 14, 12 … P King: 50 yds at #7

                        FG good 2-6 from 56 yds

Oh No!            -4 penalty-chance differential … LG on punt coverage … XP miss on #11

 

 

PITTSBURGH

Offense:         

Oh Yeah!        QB Roethlisberger: 15 LP completes Wrong … WR Brown: max catches (and 2-tmd catches) at all ranges … HB Bell powers Right, bursts Wrong w/PIT’s minimum RB fumbles … All helped by the Protection Posse in Pittsburgh: Run block = two 6s, four 5s; pass block = three 7s and a 5

Oh No!            What if?  The Steelers had WR Martavis Bryant?

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Age-defiant James Harrison still the best Steeler: 55 with 7 pass rush

Oh No!            Age-defiant James Harrison still the best Steeler: No 6s, no major pass-rushers

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Best-in-set 32 deep kickoff chances … Perfect XP

Oh No!            blocked punt … good FG only 2-3 from 50+ yds

 

 

SAN DIEGO

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        QB Rivers: 14 LP Wrong complete chances … Two WRs (Benjamin, Williams) with max LP catches … 7-rated pass blockers at C, RG

Oh No!            Rivers may be more INT-prone than ever … 0-rated run blockers at RT, RG, LG

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        A 6 (RCB Hayward) and seven 5s, including Rookie LE Bosa (11 pass rush), LOLB Ingram (10 pass rush)

Oh No!            LCB Mager (0)

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        28 deep-kickoff chances

Oh No!            LG on punt coverage … 30 yds as good as it gets for return me … XP misses on #s 11, 12 … FG good only 2-3 for 50+ yds

 

 

 

 

TENNESSEE

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        From TE to LT: Bookend 6 run blockers, four 5s (with a second TE 6); LT Lewan (7,6) and four 5-rated pass blockers … HB Murray as receiver and take-it-to-the-house runner, complemented by power-running HB Henry … TE Walker’s 2-tmd catches

Oh No!            Though improved, QB Mariota still will misfire … No special WRs

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        RE Casey (6), ROLB Orakpo (6 with 12*1 pass rush), LOLB Morgan (10 pass rush)

Oh No!            Poor pass D … Seven 4s – three at LB, three in secondary … no forced fumbles and rare INTs

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        +4 penalty-chance differential … FG good 2-6 from 54 yds

Oh No!            LG on punt coverage