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:




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



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





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



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





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



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





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



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




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



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




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



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




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)



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




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



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




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)



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




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



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




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



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





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           



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




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



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





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



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





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



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+




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!           



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