announcements

 

2017 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!        WR Fitzgerald’s max FP/SP + 2-tmd catches

Oh No!            Nowhere to run: sub-par RBs and a meh OL

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        LCB Peterson (6) and two 5s in secondary, LOLB Jones (*10 sacks)

Oh No!            When safeties are the best run stuffers, we have a problem

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        PK Dawson: 2-6,12 FG from 50-57 yds

Oh No!            Shank City: Missed XP 10-11 … long gain on KO return coverage

 

 

ATLANTA

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Hot in ‘Lanta: WR Jones’ max catches at all 3 depths + 2-tmd catches + explosive plays … C Mack (7,6) leads three 7-rated pass blockers, four 5+ run blockers

Oh No!            The other 3 WR have the minimum LP catches

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        LT Jarrett (6) and two 5s on the DL; MLB Jones (64); nine starters have at least one 5 or 6 in their ratings

Oh No!            Must have sub DE Clayborn (10) for pass rush – LB Beasley (7) only other better than 4

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Leg man: Bryant FG good 2-7,11,12 at 50-57 yds

Oh No!            +34/37/33 kickoff coverage

 

 

CAROLINA

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Rookie RB McCaffrey as a receiver at all depths … LG Norwell (7,6)

Oh No!            Still more runner than passer, Newton doesn’t do either all that well this time … Not that he gets much help from his RBs or WRs

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        MLB Keuchly (66) RT Short (6), * sacker Addison

Oh No!            0 no! – 0s at LCB, RCB, FS

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        29 chances for deep kickoffs … great punt coverage

Oh No!            Yet FGs good only 2-3 from 50+ … Missed XP 11-12

 

 

CHICAGO

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        5-5-6-5 run block from RG to LT for solid RB Howard

Oh No!            Rookie QB Trubisky doesn’t elevate weak receivers

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        6s at both ends, SS (66) and 5s at both CB spots

Oh No!            Two 0s and a 4 in pass coverage for LBs

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        TDs for both punt returners

Oh No!            long gains on both KO, PR coverage … Missed XP on 11

 

DALLAS

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        C Frederick, RG Martin: both 7,6 w/LT smith (5,6)

Oh No!            RT Collins (2 pass block) needs another position change … RB Elliott is just a guy

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Stud LE Lawrence (6 w/*4 sacks)

Oh No!            Gut check: Twin 0s at DT

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        PR TD ... superb punt coverage … FG good 2-6 from 50-56 yds

Oh No!            Missed XP 11-12

 

DETROIT

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Stafford: Maybe best overall passer in set

Oh No!            Stafford will need to be (we could call Lions’ ground game the underground game)

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        LCB Slay, FS Quin both 6s

Oh No!            RCB and SS both 0s … All three LB are 0s vs pass

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Agnew’s PR TD on #3 … Prater: FG good 2-7, 12 from 5-58 yds … 32 chances for deep kickoffs

Oh No!            longest KO return: 35 yds

 

GREEN BAY

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        WR Adams: 2-tmd catches … LT Bakhtiari (7,6)

Oh No!            Not the Aaron Rodgers we know … Seriously? RT Spriggs (0,0)

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        NT Clark, RE Daniels: Two 6s on 3-man DL … double-digit sacks at both OLB

Oh No!            Free pass: 0s at both CB, 4s at both safeties

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Excellent punt coverage

Oh No!            Missed XP on 11

 

LOS ANGELES RAMS

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Big upgrade from last year w/QB Goff, RB Gurley (best run/catch dual threat in set), OL (three 6 run blockers, four 5+ pass blockers)

Oh No!            Rams now have an Austin without powers at WR and drive-killing RB fumbles

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        6s at both ends and 65 FS Joyner; pass rush from RE Donald (11), ROLB Quinn (12)

Oh No!            0 at NT … Only 4s and 0s in coverage at LB, CB

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        KO return TD … Great punting + coverage … Zuerlein FG good 2-7 from 50-56 yds

Oh No!            Missed XP on 11

 

MINNESOTA

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Max SP for both WR Thielen (also 2-tmd catches), Diggs … Pass block: Two 7s, two 5s … RB Cook has 11 chances for SG or better both OT and ER Wrong

Oh No!            No 6s, one 5 run blocking on OL, including TE

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Nine 6s and 5s led by FS Smith (66) and * sacker Griffen at RE

Oh No!            You keep it: No fumbles on D card

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Forbath: FG good 2-7 from 50-54 yds

Oh No!            Missed XP 10-11 … long gain on punt coverage

 

NEW ORLEANS

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Three 7s, two 5s will keep Brees upright for throws to TD-making WR Thomas (2-tmd catches), deep threat Ginn (max LP catches) and three-depth-threat RB Kamara … Stud RB Ingram (OT: long gain on #4, +50 on #2, +25 on +11) pounds and romps

Oh No!            Still, both Brees and his receiving corps are a step down from recent years

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        LE Jordan (6 w/* sacks) … seven 6s and 5s in all

Oh No!            If Jordan doesn’t get the QB, little chance anyone else will

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Kamara KOR TD on #3

Oh No!            Missed XP on 11 … long gain on punt coverage

 

NEW YORK GIANTS

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Three 7-rated pass blockers

Oh No!            Game plan: Don’t let the D blow hard (four 0-rated run blockers)

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        LT Harrison (6) and two 5s on the DL … SS Collins (65)

Oh No!            Age-old LB problems still unsolved

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Excellent KO coverage

Oh No!            blocked punt and long gain on return … Missed XP on 10-11

 

 

PHILADELPHIA

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        RG, RT (both 7,6) and C (7,5) support sharpshooter QB Wentz, max FP/SP TE Ertz, who also has 2-tmd catches      

Oh No!            Left-side pass blocking (2 LT, 3 LG)

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        LT Cox (6), three 5s on the DL and three 5s in the secondary         

Oh No!            No double-digit sackers         

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Elliott: FG good 2-6, 11, 12 from 50-61 yds

Oh No!            blocked punt … Missed XP on 11-12

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        QB Garoppolo gives this offense instant cred … LT Staley (7,6)

Oh No!            Until Jimmy G plays, SF’s offense will scare no foe

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Twin 5s at DE and at safety … rookie MLB Foster (55)

Oh No!            Sad sacks: No starters rated better than 5

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Gould: FG good 2-6, 12 from 50-54 yds

Oh No!            Whistle while you work: -5 penalty differential … long gain on punt coverage … Missed XP on 11

 

 

SEATTLE

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        His must runs, pistol runs and wide gaps between SP/LP comps Right and Wrong make QB Wilson the ultimate escape artist

Oh No!            Why Wilson flees: No dominant RB, no OL w/run block 5+ or pass block 7

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        Still booming: MLB Wagner (66), FS Thomas (65), SS Chancellor (56), LLB Wright (55), LE Bennett (5 w/10 pass rush)

Oh No!            Duds: a 0 and two 4s on the DL

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        PR TD … very good KO coverage

Oh No!            Black Flag: worst-in-memory -8 penalty differential

 

 

TAMPA BAY

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        Valiant LT Dotson (7,5) and C Marpet (5,5) … Big plays from TE Howard

Oh No!            Donut-hole run blocking (0 at RG, LG, LT) elsewhere; neither lead RB Martin (2.9 avg) nor his subs has a longer gain than 36 yds … Heavy fumbles, too

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        RLB David (66), LT McCoy (a 6 w/team-best 7 pass rush)

Oh No!            Hurries? no rush: Front seven starts a 7, two 3s, a 1 and three 0s

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Super punt coverage … Murray: FG good 2-6 from 50-54 yds

Oh No!            Only 13 deep-KO chances and +31/29/long gain coverage … Missed XP 11-12

 

 

WASHINGTON

Offense:

Oh Yeah!        LT Williams (7,6), RG Scherff (5,6) … TE Davis: good hands, good feet

Oh No!            Weak interior pass block at LG (2), C (3) … High-fumble, low-yardage RBs

 

Defense:

Oh Yeah!        QB sandwiches: LOLB Smith (12), ROLB Kerrigan (12*8) terrorize

Oh No!            DL goes 4-0-0 and back seven’s coverage has no 6s, two 5s

 

Special Teams:

Oh Yeah!        Excellent kickoff coverage

Oh No!            Missed XP 11-12 … long gain on punt coverage