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2016 NFL Thrills and Chills, Part I

 

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!        Explosive dual-threat HB David Johnson … 107-catch WR Fitzgerald has 2-tmd catches … QB Palmer goes deep with help from pass blockers (a 7 and three 5s)

Oh No!            QB Palmer’s INTs Right … Foes can ignore all but Johnson, Fitzgerald

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Excellent run D with short yardage, strong fumbles; both OLB are * pass rushers … LE Campbell, LCB Peterson and LILB Bucannon (coverage) are all 6s

Oh No!            0s at RCB, RLB

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        +4 penalty advantage … FG good 2-6 from 60 yds

Oh No!            LG on KO coverage

 

 

ATLANTA

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        MVP Ryan can make any offense go: He’s better Right than most QBs are Wrong … And he has help: A minimum-turnover offense with SE Jone: max catches, 2-tmd catches and 34 chances of LG or better … HBs Freeman (LG and +75 on ER) and Coleman can hurt you Wrong with help from three 6-rated run blockers, esp. C Mack (7,6)

Oh No!            RG Chester’s 2 pass block

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Sack leader Beasley’s 12*5 rating (and 56 base rating)

Oh No!            Falcons will need all that offense: Very Poor vs. pass = no blank results on SP 3Men; foes won’t hesitate to run against these D cards, either

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        PK Bryant: 2-7 FG from 59 yds … P Bosher: still 42 yds on #10

Oh No!            Nothing annoying

 

 

CAROLINA

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Deep-threat TE Olsen has max catches FP/SP and 2-tmd catches … LG Norwell (7,6)

Oh No!            QB Newton’s ho-hum pass and run cards

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Stars: LT Short (6 with 7 pass rush); MLB Kuechly (66), RLB Davis (65); LLB Thompson (55) completes brick LB wall in Good to Excellent run D

Oh No!            Average to Poor pass D

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Best KO coverage: +10, +11, +12 … FG good 2-6 from 54 yds

Oh No!            XP misses on 11, 12; FG misses on 8-9 inside 40 … LG on punt coverage

 

 

CHICAGO

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        HB Howard debuts with 33 chances SG or better … both guards are 7 pass blockers

Oh No!            At QB, the Three Bears: You can choose Baby Bear (Hoyer) with low INTs, but only FP success, Papa Bear (Cutler) with LPs with high INTs (Cutler) or Mama Bear (Barkley) with a high SP complete rate but frightening INT frequency … OLT Leno’s 0 run block

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Pass rush from OLBs Young 12*1, Floyd 11 … LILB Freeman (65)

Oh No!            Poor vs. run: no fumbles and SGs across the board at #7; Average to Poor vs. pass: Though the team cards are clean, 0 pass coverage at LCB, SS, ROLB

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        PR TD

Oh No!            LG on punt coverage; weak-leg PK Barth

 

DALLAS

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        HB Elliott and fellow rookie QB Prescott create tremendous pressure on defenses to be Right. Even then, that OL again – LT Smith (7,6), RG Martin (7,6), C Frederick (5,6) – and HB Elliott can impose their will on the ground Right

Oh No!            RT Free, LG Leary are 3 pass blockers

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Excellent run D forces fumbles … RLB Lee (65), three 5s in secondary

Oh No!            Very Poor pass D (despite the 5s) shows on team cards (e.g. no blanks on SP 3Men with completes on #4, 5, 6 with 4Men and almost no INTs) … 0 DRT Collins; no pass rushers above 7

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        25 deep kickoffs; PK Bailey: perfect XP, FG 2-6 good from 56 yds

Oh No!            The Cowboy tradition of weak KO returns

 

DETROIT

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        WR Tate: max FP catches and YAC-A; +67, 66 and 61 in LP … Minimum RB fumbles and new LT Taylor (7,5)

Oh No!            Weak run game gets no help from 0 run block at LG, TE

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!       

Oh No!            Now we know why Lions needed all those comeback wins. Pass rush: three 0s, three 3s on starting front seven; 0 base grade for MLB, DLT … Very Poor pass D (LG at #4 on SP, rate INTs); Average to Poor run D (no fumbles)

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        PR TD on #3 … P Martin (50 yds at #7) and punt coverage (+2, +4, +5) …

FG good 2-7, 12 at 58 yds

Oh No!            XP miss on #11

 

GREEN BAY

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Rogers, the most complete QB: High completes/low INTs at all pass depths, 19 chances of SG or better ER Wrong, 15 MR chances of +11 or better … A 6 and three 5 run blockers; two 7 pass blockers (RG Lang is 7,6) … WR Nelson: max SP/LP catches w/2-tmd catches, too

Oh No!            LG Taylor (3,0) … Run game won’t get yards Right (but maybe it won’t have to)

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Safeties Burnett, Clinton-Dix both 56; LOLB Perry: 13*3 pass rush, 6 run D

Oh No!            Very Poor pass D has 0s at both CB, LOLB, RILB and LG at #4 on SP 3Men … Clay Mathews’ decline (44, pass rush 7)

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        XP miss on #11; long FGs good only 2-4

Oh No!            KO coverage: +36, +32, LG

 

LOS ANGELES

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Minimum RB fumbles … WR Britt’s long gains

Oh No!            With a card like this for HB Gurley, you just know Strat players are going to start calling him Girlie … Wasted rookie year for No. 1 pick QB Goff … No help from the OL, with 0 run blockers at C, RG, TE; no 7s and one 5 pass blocker

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Stud LT Donald (6 with team-best 9 pass rush); five other 5s

Oh No!            Very Poor pass D has rare INTs and three starters with 0 pass rush, including 04 LLB Forrest

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        GREAT kick coverage … If LA can score a TD, the XP is 2-12 …

P Hekker: 50 yds at #7

Oh No!            -5 penalty chance differential

 

MINNESOTA

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        QB Bradford: Minimum INTs and deadly FP/SP accuracy … C Berger (7,5), LG Boone (7,4) can protect.

Oh No!            Pass-first offense will have to be pass-second and pass-third with this phantom run game … Vikes have to play careful game with OTs Sirles (4,2), Clemmings (4,3)

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        6s at RE, RCB, FS; sub DE Hunter’s 12*1 pass rush … Run D will force fumbles

Oh No!            OLBs Barr, Greenway both 0 in coverage with little pass rush to offer … generous run D yardage

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        PR TD (on #3) and KR TD

Oh No!            Maybe scoring a TD is not such a good idea: XP misses on #9, 10 … KO coverage: +33, +32, LG

 

NEW ORLEANS

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        QB Brees dares you to guess Run … HB Ingram: +75 and LG OT Wrong … WR Cooks: +98, +87 and seven LG chances LP Wrong … Rookie WR Thomas will be the TD maker with max SP catches … 7 pass blockers at C, RG, RT … minimum RB fumbles

Oh No!            Ex-road-grading RG Evans now a 0 run blocker

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        RE Jordan (6 with team-best 8 pass rush)

Oh No!            Very Poor pass D has secondary with a 0, three 4s; two LBs are 0 in coverage

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Very poor KO returns

Oh No!            PK Lutz: good FGs 2-10 to 49 yds, 2-6 to 57 yds; 26 deep kickoffs …

                        P Morstead: 50 yds at #7

 

NEW YORK GIANTS

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        WR Beckham: max catches (and 2-tmd catches) at every distance with +75, +66 and LG on 11 chances LP Wrong … 7 pass blockers at C, RG, RT (and three 5s elsewhere)

Oh No!            QB Manning INT-prone Right … 0 run blockers at RG, TE

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Newcomers Harrison (LT-6), Vernon (RE-6, team-best 9 pass rush), Jenkins (RCB-6) propel D with two other secondary 6s and a LE-5 … Good to Excellent vs. run relies mostly on individual ratings

Oh No!            Unfortified LBs can’t stuff or sack and two of them are 0s in coverage … No blanks in LP 0Men; 7 completion chances with 1Man

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        28 deep kickoff chances

Oh No!            -6 penalty-chance differential (worst in set) … XP misses on #10, 11 … Good FG at 50+ yds only 2-3

 

 

PHILADELPHIA

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        HB Mathews ER Wrong: 17 chances SG or better … minimum RB fumbles and LT Peters (7,6), RG Brooks (7,5) and solid 5-6 run blocking from RT thru LT    

Oh No!            Blankety-blank QB Wentz – too many incompletes Right and Wrong … C Kelce slumps to pass block 2           

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        RT Cox (6 with team-best 8 pass rush), RE Graham (6 with 7 pass rush)

Oh No!            Average to Poor pass D has 0s at both CB and in coverage at RLB … generous yardage on team Run D cards

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Fab KO returns (TD on #11 for #2 man Smallwood, big gains for #1 man Barner) … 29 deep kickoffs and excellent KO coverage … FG god 2-6, 12 at 55 yds

Oh No!            LG on punt coverage

 

SAN FRANCISCO

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        QB Kaepernick may have to run for his life, but he might survive with his ER Wrong (24 chances SG or better) and Must Run (+30, +20 and still +12 at roll 6) … Chunky yardage for TE McDonald

Oh No!            Strong breeze can topple this OL, with 0 run block at RG, RT, pass block of 3-2-2-4 at LG, C, RG, RT (only LT Staley respectable at 5,5) … Worst fumbles in the set

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Sacking LBs: 11 (LOLB Brooks), 8, 8, 6

Oh No!            A defense that plays on all fours: 10 starters rated 4 … It’s Poor vs. run, Very Poor vs. pass … Ole run D has SG at #7 and #8 for LB, OT w/0 LB and 2-11 chance for +15 at #4 OT

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        26 deep kickoffs and KO coverage: +13, +16, +12

Oh No!            Cowardly PR; short-yardage KO returns

 

 

SEATTLE

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        WR Baldwin: max catches FP/SP w/YAC-B … WR Lockett: 22 chances of LG or better across card … HB Prosise catches like a WR … Minimum RB fumbles … C Britt (7,5)

Oh No!            Bad ankle wipes out Wilson as run threat … Run block: No 6s, one 5, four 0s (BB, LT, RG, RT) … HBs don’t make up the difference – not enough run game to support Wilson’s strong Wrong passing

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Strength of the team are its individual D ratings with MLB Wagner (66) and 6s for LE Bennett, LCB Sherman, FS Thomas and four 5s to support them.

Oh No!            Seahawks among worst at forcing turnovers … LLB Marsh (00)

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Strong kick coverage

Oh No!            blocked punt … XP misses on #10, 11, 12

 

 

TAMPA BAY

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Minimum RB fumbles and RG Marpet (7,6), RT Dotson (7,5) … QB Winston’s big plays … WR Evans has max LP catches and 2-tmd catches

Oh No!            QB Winston’s INTs … 0 run block at LG, 2 pass block at LT

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        LT McCoy (6 with team-best 9 pass rush), LCB Grimes (6)

Oh No!            Rookie RCB Hargreaves (0); poor run-tackling LBs (two 0s, one 4)

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Punt coverage: +1, 2, 3

Oh No!            Long drives needed: Not a single return man can go more than 26 yds … And they better end in TDs: Aguayo FGs good only 2-6 from 40-49 yds, 2-3 from 50+

 

WASHINGTON

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Cousins: 15 LP completes Wrong … deep-threat WR DeSean “Gone” Jackson: max LP catches include +80, +67, +57 and LG at roll #7 … TE Reed has 2-tmd catches … 7,6 blockers: LT Williams, RG Scherff; 7,5 for RT Moses … 3rd-down HB Thompson’s FP and run Wrong columns

Oh No!           

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        RCB Norman (6), ROLB Kerrigan’s 12*2 pass rush

Oh No!            Average to Poor for both run, pass … few forced fumbles and generous yards vs. run … NT Hood (0) and not-so-safe safeties Whitner (04), Ihenacho (40)

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        PR TD … Solid punt coverage … FG good 2-6 from 54 yds

Oh No!            XP miss on #11, 12 … LG on KO coverage