2015 NFL Thrills and Chills (AFC)

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:
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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)
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!)
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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