Category Archives: AFC

Premature Evaluation: A way Too Early Look at the NFL Power Rankings, Part 1 AFC

Image via NFL
Image via NFL

With the league offices on Park Avenue literally turning into the Big Apple Circus, I figured why not have fun at the expense of the thirty two franchises whom keep this “non-profit” organization going.  This is considered “down-time” for the NFL, when coaches and staff take a month or so off, to unwind before going full tilt into training camp.   Bill is most likely parading around Nantucket on his newly renamed boat.  Mr. Kraft is off in the mother land being an evangelist for Israeli football.  The Forehead is figuring out if Denver really did want to trade him to Houston for God only knows how many draft picks.  With the Brady appeal decision looming, we take a look at the league as a whole and why this year is the year YOUR franchise wins the Lombardi Trophy.

AFC East

BUFFALO BILLS:

Season tickets are at an all-time high.

Rex gives Brady more trouble than anyone.

Shady McCoy is going to run for 2,000 yards.

Translation:

Buffalo is still a cesspool and almost had Bon Jovi as their owner.

Agreed, but his record is still under five hundred.

Until he has a hamstring pull and starts calling Rex a racist as well.

MIAMI DOLPHINS:

Suh!

We own Brady in Miami and the AFC is weak.

Our coach is coaching for his job, he has a lot to prove.

Translation:

O/U on the amount of games before Suh gets suspended is 3.5.  I’ll take the under.

As soon as the weather drops below South Beach, the Dolphins turn into guppies.

The doppelganger from the father in Step Brothers is a pud.  Plain and simple.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS:

They are the defending world champions.

We have Brady and Belichick.

Our schedule is much easier than last year, the AFC goes through Foxboro.

Translation:

True, but nobody has won back to back titles since…..

God, I love them both.  I’d take a bullet for them.

Patriots always seem to have that “WTF” game somewhere early/mid-season.

NEW YORK JETS:

Brandon Marshall and Decker will be unstoppable.

Our defense is the best in the league!

Todd Bowles is a no nonsense coach.

Translation:

Whom is going to throw them the ball?

Cromartie is a shell of himself, but their front seven is solid.

He also has a permanent grin on.  He reminds me of the Joker.  Actually from this day on he will be referred to as the Joker.

AFC North

PITTSBURGH STEELERS:

Dick Lebeau needed to go, time for new blood on defense.

Big Ben had one of his best years as a pro last season, the Steelers were very close.

Winning in Pittsburgh is tough in the cold weather.

Translation:

Pittsburgh hasn’t been stout on defense in years, especially against the pass.  This is a building process for them.

Can the Pittsburgh offense stay out of the tub and off the drugs long enough to sustain success?

You lost to Tampa Bay at home last season, enough said.

CINCINNATI BENGALS:

Andy Dalton is going to take the next step this year.

Geno Atkins leading that front seven is scary.

The Jungle is becoming a very tough place for opposing teams to play.

Translation:

Andy Dalton is going to take another step in which direction?

Geno Atkins wasn’t the same player after he got hurt.  Case closed.

Marvin Lewis continues to hold a franchise back with more talent on both sides of the ball than most other teams.

BALTIMORE RAVENS:

Flacco is a proven winner.

Our defense is solid and will continue to win us big games.

Harbaugh is one of the best in the business.  He can coach up holes in all three phases of the game.

Translation:

Flacco threw two gifts to the Patriots in the biggest game of the year.

Your defense blew two fourteen point leads in the playoffs.

Harbaugh is a cry baby like his twin and folded when BB put the heat on him.

CLEVELAND BROWNS:

Josh McCown is legit and will win us more games than lose them.

Our secondary is one of the best in the business.  Haden is the GOAT.

It’s been fifty-one years!  Our time is now.

Translation:

McCown has Matt Flynn syndrome.  The Denim King went down with a concussion and he played decent against second tier defense.

Haden is good against mediocre receivers.  Look at his numbers against the elite.

Exactly, it has fifty-one years.  If Lebron couldn’t get it done.  Josh McCown isn’t going to be either.

AFC South

 

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS:

We got Frank Gore to carry the rock and Andre Johnson as another target for The Neck Beard.

Our division is so weak, we’ve all but guaranteed a home playoff game.

Luck is going to take that next step into elite status, and should win the AFC.

Translation:

You are still soft and I have no words to describe what is going to happen to you week six when New England comes to town.

Raise a banner for that one too.

Ask Luck and the drug addict owner their record against BB and TB12 led teams.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS:

Bortles got some much needed experience last year and our line is much improved.

Julius Thomas is going to be a monster in the red zone.

Our team is resilient and going to surprise a lot of people next year.

Translation:

Bortles did improve, but whom is going to carry the rock?  MJD isn’t coming through that door.

Who are the other playmakers on that offense? And Julius Thomas is soft as well.

Your coach was surprised when you didn’t turn the ball over.  Plain and simple.

TENNESSEE TITANS:

The Silent Hawaiian is going no-huddle straight out of the gate.

Sankey will surprise people this year and go for over 1,500 yards.

Our secondary is one of the best in the league, we’re going to be tough to throw against.

Translation:

How many college quarterbacks who don’t run a pro-style offense do anything in year one?

Sankey looks like Tyrion Lannister in football pads.

Luckily you’re playing against the AFC East this year.  Outside of TB12, you have paper bags throwing against you.

HOUSTON TEXANS:

Foster is going to reestablish his dominance in the running game.

JJ Watt is an “All-World” talent.  Who is going to stop him?

We have two Brady understudies fighting for the QB job.  They are both Pro Bowl talents.

Translation:

You can keep Arian Foster and his rubber band hamstrings.

JJ Watt IS an all-world player.  But he is only one of 22.

Matt Cassel, Kevin O’Connell, Michael Bishop, etc. etc.

AFC West

DENVER BRONCOS:

Manning is the best to play the game, he is due for his second Lombardi.

Our front seven is going to be dominant.  Miller and Ware paired with our rookie class will be giving nightmares to defensive coordinators.

Our offense is going to be more balanced this year, and not depend on 18 to win every game.

Translation:

As of today, whom is his number one receiver? Soft Thomas went to Jacksonville and Hard Thomas doesn’t want to take part in OTA’s.

Miller feasts on bad quarterbacks and disappears against physical offensive linemen.  Watch the tape.

CJ Anderson and Monte Ball are NOT the saviors in the Mile High City.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS:

Alex Smith is as good a game manager as there is in this league.

Jamal Charles may run for 2,000 yards this year with a healthy offensive line.

Houston, Hali and Poe are the second coming of the Steel Curtain.

Translation:

Alex Smith also forgot how to throw touchdowns to his wide receivers.

There is a lot of tread on Jamal’s tires.  Not to mention he is creeping up on the wrong side of 30.

The secondary is the question mark here.  Here is hoping Eric Berry gets healthy.  In all seriousness, prayers to him.

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS:

This is a contract year for Rivers, he is going to be playing like a man possessed.

San Diego is one of the toughest places for opposing teams to play, especially east coast teams.

Antonio Gates came into OTA’s leaner and quicker than he is looked in years.

Translation:

This could also be a contract year for the Chargers in general.

Tell that to New England whom came in on short rest last season.

Any tight end with a bad foot, spells bad news for everyone involved.

OAKLAND RAIDERS:

Derek Carr showed promise in year one, he could surprise some people this year.

Latavius Murray is a beast pounding the rock.  He may go for 2,000 yards this year.

Khalil Mack may win defensive player of the year.

Translation:

He may, but his offensive line may get him killed before Halloween.

Murray was a flash in the pan last season and won’t break 1,000 yards this year.  I’ll throw some money on that as well.

Sadly Khalil is only one of twenty two out there, and you are still the Raiders.

As I said before, this is the most boring of times for any NFL fan.  Many of us are waiting with baited breath on the fate of Thomas Edward Brady.   The fans of the other thirty one franchises are anticipating big things from their team this year, and feel they are only a piece or two away from surprising people.  In reality, the NFL is a tricky place and things happen that can change the entire competitive landscape in the blink of an eye.   Personally, my sites are set on opening weekend when the Steelers come to town.  We’ll see if the loss of the entire cornerback platoon has any effect on the BB run defense.  Oh, and there is also that slight detail if the greatest quarterback to ever play the game will be suiting up for it as well.   We are just about a month out from training camps folks, hang tight.

By: Mike Procopio

Patriots Training Camp Battles: Tyms Vs Dobson for #4 WR

Images via NESN
Images via NESN

As it stands right now, the Patriots have their top three wide receivers on the depth chart set. Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, and Danny Amendola seem to be locked in as the the primary three starters. Then there is the fourth wide receiver spot that is up in the air as of right now. Free agent acquisition Brandon Gibson reportedly received solid reps during OTA’s, but the real competition for the fourth spot will be between Aaron Dobson and Brian Tyms.

Aaron Dobson’s Patriots career started right out of the gate his rookie season. Due to a severe lack of wide receivers, Dobson was thrown into the fire right away, and it took him a while to become acclimated to the complex Patriots offense. As time progressed, Dobson became comfortable and he became one of the league’s best rookie receivers in 2013 finishing with 37 receptions, for 519, with four touchdowns in only 12 games. During the most important offseason of his career, (year one heading into year two) he spent his time rehabbing from ankle surgery, which killed his progression. The ankle continued to bother Dobson, and it lead to him playing in only three games in 2014, along with a hamstring injury.

After a full offseason in which he was healthy, Aaron Dobson has had time to get back on track. He spent much of his time at the highly acclaimed Fischer Sports Institute in Arizona, which is famous for helping players recover from surgery. Dobson’s biggest asset is his size. He is one of the tallest receivers on the team, and he has great athletic ability. Dobson showed his rookie season that he has the ability to stretch the field, and be valuable in the red zone. Strength and health is his main issue. For his own sake, he needs to prove in training camp that he can stay healthy, be a solid run blocker, and shake free of corner jams off the line, because if he doesn’t he may be out of a job.

The Patriots re-signed Brian Tyms this offseason, to basically a one-year make or break deal. With virtually zero guaranteed money, it won’t be a difficult decision for the Patriots to cut Tyms if they decide to at the end of camp. Although, many reports from OTA’s and minicamp have been that Tyms is getting the majority of first team reps, over Aaron Dobson.

Of course, it is never the best idea to read into minicamp reports because players are in shorts and t-shirts, but it is something to keep in mind when training camp starts next month. With Dobson being injured for the majority of last season, Tyms received his chances to really take control of the fourth receiver spot, but he failed to truly capitalize. He finished the year with only five receptions on twelve targets. He made one significant play and that was the 43-yard touchdown reception in Buffalo during their week six contest.

In order for Brian Tyms to secure his spot on the Patriots roster, he will need to prove he can be more than a, “one-trick pony. ” At 6-3, 210 pounds Tyms runs the vertical route with the same look as Randy Moss, who was his mentor of his in San Francisco. However, Tyms doesn’t run with nearly the same speed, and the, “go-route” is the only weapon in his arsenal. He will need to show that he can be effective in more than one way.

In conclusion, the training camp battle for the fourth wide receiver spot on the Patriots roster will most likely be won by Aaron Dobson. What it comes down to is who has more raw talent, and Dobson certainly wins that contest. When fully healthy, Aaron Dobson can stretch the field and also catch the ball over the middle of the field. In addition, the strength and physicality is there more with Dobson, and of course the most important thing is he has more trust from Tom Brady. Tyms is a little awkward when running routes, and hasn’t shown yet that he can valuable in any situation. With only twelve targets from Brady last year, the trust doesn’t look to be there. It will certainly be one the more interesting competitions to keep an eye on in Foxborough this summer.

By: Jake Mackey

The Patriots Secondary May Have Improved Even With the Loss of Revis and Browner

Photos via WBZ TV
Photos via WBZ TV

It’s a new year and a completely different secondary for the Patriots. Last year was amazing and no true Pats fan will ever forget it, but that was then and as Bill says we’re on to 2015. Forget about Revis, forget about Browner, time for the next men to step into place, do their job and lock down the aerial attack. Easier said than done when you lose the biggest physical corner in the league in Browner and arguably the best 1 on 1 shut down defender the league has seen over the last eight years since his start in the NFL. However this year’s secondary could be just as good if not even better.

Projected Starters- CB1-Malcolm Butler, CB2-Bradley Fletcher,

SS-Patrick Chung,  FS-Devin McCourty

The savior of Super Bowl XLIX Malcolm Butler made the single best play of his life but now he will be a starter and that’s a whole new ball game. As an undrafted free agent last year Butler was used scarcely in a loaded Patriot secondary appearing in 11 games and starting in just 1. Based on the few practices the Pats have had this year in OTA’s they have used Butler on Edelman, clueing us in that they see him as the lockdown corner of the roster. He will be asked to shut down the best WR of all Patriots 2015 opponents including Antonio Brown, Sammy Watkins, T.Y Hilton, and Dez Bryant and that’s just in the first five games. In the eyes of Pats Nation if he can single handedly win the biggest game with one play then he has the potential to fill the shoes of the 6x Pro Bowl CB Derrelle Revis.

The Patriots chose to roll the dice and let Brandon Browner test the free agent market, who ultimately signed with the Saints for a bigger payday than the Patriots were willing to give the penalty prone DB. Bradley Fletcher will more than likely get the CB2 position to start the 2015 year. The former Iowa Hawkeye and veteran of 6 full seasons with the Rams and Eagles has pulled down 8 interceptions in his career, with his best pick totals coming in 2010 when he pulled down 4 balls. Fletcher (28yrs old) is a solid CB poised for a breakthrough season with the defending champions.

Returning Safeties Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung (each 27 yrs old) are entering their prime football years. These two men aim to secure the potential deep threat against the Patriots in 2015 and are the strongest, most reliable pieces that the New England secondary has. The hard hitting Chung has to improve his on-ball coverage skills and protect the over the top bombs that QB’s have know to be a vulnerability of Chung’s in the past. As well McCourty needs to lower his shoulder and put the pounding on opposing WR going over the middle and put that fear into their eyes. If these men can help teach each other the best parts of their game the safety duo have the potential to rival any other in the history of the NFL.

Possibly the biggest strength to this year’s Patriots secondary is the improved front seven. With key additions like Jabaal Sheard, rookie big man Malcom Brown and the healthy return of Jerod Mayo, youngster Dominique Easley, New England’s pass rush is sure to pick up tremendously. Also the improved play of Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins (all 25 yrs old) is sure to spell disaster for opposing offences all over the league. The best friend to this year’s Patriots secondary will be a strong presence in the backfield. This core of young studs and solid veteran leadership is sure to set the New England defense up for great success in 2015 and years to come.