NFC Half Season grades

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Here are my NFC Half Season grades.

Dallas Cowboys

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NFC East

Washington Good run gm but not much else. A very soft schedule has given them 5 wins B-

Philadelphia This is not where the Eagles expected to be. 4 losses have put this team in a must win.B-

Dallas Offense is way down this year & Defense has not been good for a long time. D

New York Giants Defense is actually better than the Offense. Coaching staff it the problem. D-

NFC North

Chicago Trubisky is playing better than last yr & the defense is outstanding. B+

Minnesota Keenum is fine but the Offense is down from last yr. So is the defense. B+

Green Bay Rodgers is great but no run gm, OL & do defense. C

Detroit Last place in a very strong division. Have Stafford and little else. C

NFC South

New Orleans Brees is outstanding but run gm that was so good last yr is down. Defense is down well. A-

Carolina Newton is better this season. Run gm is fine but Defense is giving up pass yds. B+

Atlanta Ryan is the O. Good thing he scores a lot because Defense gives up points in bunches B

Tampa Bay TB is #1 in passing but that is Fitzpatrick more than Winston. The Defense is horrible. D

NFC West

LA Rams Team is 8&0. Both Offense and Defense are really good. A

Seattle Wilson is the offense & the defense is developing nicely.

Arizona This team is a total disaster on Offense. Defense is playing better than last yr. D

San Francisco is REALLY hurt but will be fine next year when everyone is back. C+

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  • Published: Sep 15th, 2018
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on NFC Playoff predictions

NFC Playoff predictions

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And you thought your NFL NFC team had a chance to get to the playoffs this year? You are probably wrong. Here are my NFC Playoff predictions.

Dallas Cowboys

skeeze / Pixabay

NO CHANCE
NFC East
NG Really hard to predict this team but they won’t make the playoffs.
WA QB Smith has less to work with than he did in KC.
NFC North
DT All Stafford has is his arm. No OL, no WRS and a bad D.
CH Heading in the right direction but not sure if they have the right QB
NFC South
CR Cam is a question mark but the D is fine. That is not enough to get them into the playoffs
TB Jameis Winston starts the season with a 3-game suspension in the worst part of the schedule for TB and the D is not good enough to rescue the O.
NFC West
AZ They find out how much they miss Mathieu and fail to make the playoffs.
Teams that are in the playoffs
PH The D will keep PH in the race no matter who is QB
MN Kirk Cousins has much better targets than in WA. He and the D will get it done.
NO Brees and an improving D get NO back into the playoffs
On the bubble
LR Could make it but needed DT Aaron Donald to sign but traded DE Quinn because they had no idea how to use him.
Needs some help
DA The O is fine. If the D comes around and develops a pass rush DA could make it to the playoffs
GB If the OL can keep Rodgers healthy and D figures out how to cover WRS & TES
AT Ryan can score a lot of points but can the D stop anyone? If they can AT can get in.
Very little hope
SE Wilson is wonderful but he can’t play D. Legion of book is dead. So is the D.
SF Garoppolo gives SF fans some hope but the D needs to be better to make the playoffs
  • Author:
  • Published: Sep 8th, 2018
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on NFC South starting lineup grades

NFC South starting lineup grades

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They are coming out quickly now, getting ready for opening weekend. Here is the NFC South starting lineup grades.

New Orlean Saints

eileenploh / Pixabay

Atlanta Falcons
QB Matt Ryan is often overrated, but mostly gets the job done. Most mistakes come from trying to do too much. His contract extension was sizable but structured well. B+
RB Devonta Freeman Speaking of overrated…though his ceiling tops out well below that of Ryan. How much does Freeman really have in the tank? B-
WR Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and R Calvin Ridley. Drafting Ridley was an odd choice for a team with 2 solid receivers and a lot of defensive issues. Still, this group will help Ryan put points on the board. B+
TE Austin Hooper, Logan Paulsen. Hooper has some potential but makes a lot of critical mistakes. Paulson was a nice veteran FA addition and is a solid blocker. C+
OL LT Jake Matthews LG Andy Levitre C Alex Mack RG Wes Schweitzer RT Ryan Schraeder team is returning all 5 starters, but Brandon Fusco may push Schweitzer for the RG job. Mack is an All Pro. Levitre is an excellent run blocker but is coming off an injury. B-
DL Takkarist McKinley, Terrell McClain, Grady Jarrett, Vic Beasley Letting Dontari Poe leave remains a huge mistake. Claybourn is also gone (NE). Beasley and Jarrett are respectable. McKinley showed good pass rush skills his rookie season, but this group still feels soft. C
LB WLB Duke Riley MLB Deion Jones SLB De’Vondre Campbell. Jones is a Pro Bowler. Campbell is improving and has benefited from the move to SAM in 2017. Riley is behind the rest of the group and there’s not much depth. C
DB CB Robert Alford, Desmond Trufant, Brian Poole. Lack of depth and underperformance in critical situations in this group contributed hugely to the Falcons demise last season. Attempts to bolster CB this offseason with Justin Bethel (Cardinals) and Isaiah Oliver didn’t  impress me much.  FS Keanu Neal, SS Ricardo Allen. Lots of depth in this group. Allen is a true QB of the defense. C+ (safeties B+, CBs C-)
Carolina Panthers 
QB Cam Newton gets an A when it comes to natural talent, but that will never matter unless he finally gets his head screwed on straight. C
RB CJ Anderson, Christian McCaffrey. Anderson was a nice pickup, but the acquisition is getting more attention than it should. McCaffrey is a stellar pass catcher and excels at finding the end zone, but can’t realistically carry the load on the ground. C+
WR Torrey Smith, Devin Funchess, DJ Moore. Underwhelming but functional group. Can Moore be a breakout contributor? Big changes this offseason, but are the really any different in terms of where they rank than the disappointing receiving corps from 2017? C
TE Greg Olsen is among the league’s best. A
OL LT Matt Kalil, LG Amini Silatolu, C Ryan Kalil, RG Trai Turner, RT Taylor Moton. The Panthers have lost 3 starters to injury, all of whom have uncertain timetables. Matt Kalil just had his knee scoped. The depth isn’t good and the term “position catastrophe” has been tossed around by local media. D
DL Julius Peppers, Dontari Poe, Kawann Short, Mario Addison Solid across all 4 spots. Poe was a near perfect replacement for Star Lotulelei. Depth is the only potential issue. A-
LB SLB Shaq Thompson, MLB Luke Kuechly, WLB Thomas Davis. Kuechly is among the league’s best. Davis will start the season serving a four-game suspension. The Panthers have some depth to absorb that, but it’s largely unproven. B+.
DB CB James Bradberry, Kevon Seymour, FS Mike Adams, SS Da’Norris Searcy. Bradberry and Adams are the only returning starters after a season in which this group sank the entire defense. Searcy has experience but will be pushed in camp by younger candidates. Lots of questions about how the lack of depth here will impact play against teams using heavy receiver sets. C-
New Orleans Saints
QB Drew Brees can throw successfully to anyone, against anyone, protected by anyone, and he never gets injured despite advancing age. A
RB Mark Ingram (suspended 4 games PEDs), Alvin Kamara. Ingram was overrated last season and will go right back to being the Ingram we all know and hate now that he’s off the PEDs. Kamara has a ton of talent and can pick up the slack during Ingram’s suspension, but can he stay healthy? B-
WR Ted Ginn Jr., Michael Thomas, Tre’Quan Smith, Cameron Meredith. Unremarkable group? Yes. Does it matter? Not a bit. Brees spreads the ball around better than anyone in football and can make mediocre receivers look good. C+
TE Benjamin Watson, Josh Hill. Watson is a good leader who once had good physical talent, but he’s old and has had multiple head injuries. C
OL LT Terron Armstead, LG Andrus Peat, C Max Unger, RG Larry Warford, RT Ryan Ramczyk. This might be the best OL in the league. They’re not an A in a vacuum, but they sure are when you grade on a bell curve. A
DL Cameron Jordan, Sheldon Rankins, Tyeler Davison, Alex Okafor, R Marcus Davenport. Potentially excellent, especially in terms of depth, but can they continue to develop at the pace they achieved last year? Was drafting Davenport really the right way to go? B-
LB SLB AJ Klein, MLB Manti Te’o WLB Demario Davis. Weakest and most concerning unit on an otherwise up-and-coming, solid defense. Worst LB corps in the division. Klein has good experience as Kuechly’s backup in Carolina, but can he stand on his own? C-
DB CB Ken Crawley, Marshon Lattimore, Patrick Robinson FS Marcus Williams SS Kurt Coleman. Critical youth-driven mistakes cost them dearly in the playoffs last season. That should improve as the group ages and gains experience. B
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
QB Jameis Winston starts the season with a 3-game suspension and can’t stay out of trouble, forcing Fitzpatrick to start for the 3 opening tilts and possibly again if Winston can’t keep it together. On the field, Winston has been decent but seems to have stagnated in terms of career progress, likely a coaching issue. C
RB Peyton Barber, Jacquizz Rodgers, Ronald Jones. Hugely concerning unless you’re a big believer in the potential of Ronald Jones. Did it really make sense to release Doug Martin? C-
WR Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson. Evans is as good as it gets, Jackson has lost some flash but still contributes well. Depth is decent but not exceptional. A-
TE OJ Howard, Cameron Brate Howard is well on his way to being a star at the position. A-
OL LT Donovan Smith LG Ali Marpet C Ryan Jensen RG Caleb Benenoch, Demar Dotson. Tons of issues with 80% of starters returning from a disastrous 2017 group, though positions have been rejiggered slightly. This is still a bottom half of the league line. D+
DL Jason Pierre-Paul, Gerald McCoy, Beau Allen (R Vita Vea), Vinny Curry The talent level here is ridiculous, but the group underachieved horrifically last season. We mostly blamed coaching, and unfortunately that doesn’t look like it will change much. The players themselves get a B+
LB SLB Adarius Taylor MLB Kwon Alexander WLB Lavonte Davis. This group underachieved far less than others on this defense last season, and their positional coach was hired away. B+
DB CB Vernon Hargreaves, Brent Grimes, R Carlton Davis, S Chris Conte, Justin Evans. A lot of youth and inexperience in the position group. Hargreaves has had some injury issues, and the safeties concern me. C-
  • Author:
  • Published: Apr 23rd, 2018
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Top 5 Questions facing the NFC South teams

Top 5 Questions facing the NFC South teams

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Falcons
The O fell off badly last yr. That put a lot of pressure on the over-rated D. That did not go well.
5 DT Dontari Poe left. Who will be able to stop the run gm?
4 Can the D play better this year as they did last year?
3 Will RB Devonta Freeman be healthy and return to a 1000 y season?
2 Jones had his worst season since he was a rookie. Can the WR group get the O running smoothly again?
1 Can Matt Ryan get back to his level of play in 2016?
 
Panthers
The biggest asset is also the biggest question. The D is solid & will be better in 18 but depends on the O to get to a SB.
5 Will the addition of W Torrey Smith give CR the speed that they lacked last season?
4 Will the rebuilt OL be better than the old version last year?
3 Christian McCaffrey was good in pass gm but not running. Can the Run game survive the loss of Jonathan Stewart?
2 Can the D stay healthy this year?
1 Will Cam Newton stop pouting & get his guts back?
 
Saints
A young D makes mistakes that cost them a NFC title gm. Resigning Brees was a HUGE step to get back.
5 Can TE Ben Watson fill the hole that management created when they traded Jimmy Graham
4 Will the young D continue to develop as fast as they did last year?
3 Will Ingram and Kamara continue to produce like they did last year?
2 Can the LB group stay healthy this year?
1 Can the OL continue to protect Brees & block for the run as well as last year?
 
Buccaneers
TB had a bunch of inj last season. Didn’t do a lot in FA but brought back key players that were UFA’s.
5 Spence was hurt in wk 3. Can the DL generate a pass rush this year?
4 The lack of pass rush hurt Dbackfield the most. Can it survive another no rush season?
3 The run gm did not exist last year. Can TB get a run gm going this year?
2 TB started the season with 3 OL injured. Can the updated OL stay healthy all year?
1 Will Jameis Winston stay healthy & continue to develop?

News, Notes & Rumors on Fridays is about the games coming up and Monday on the results of the weekend.  My co-host is Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports.  Podcasts can be heard on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/. Thanks for your support.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits https://fryingpansports.com.  He has also published several novels on http://www.eBooks-Library.com/Contemporary/ and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/.  Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts.  You can hear the previous shows on https://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/.

 

  • Author:
  • Published: Jul 21st, 2017
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Top 5 questions facing NFC South teams

Top 5 questions facing NFC South teams

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AT       5 Can the run game become a force to balance the O?
4 Can HC Quinn get AT to play more physical FB?
3 Can Matt Ryan have another Super Bowl season?
2 Can Quinn get the D cover anybody or was the SB game an indcation they are overmatched?
1 Can AT mentally  overcome the Super Bowl Loss?
CR      5 After a bad 16, can CR get back to the playoffs this year?
4 Can the CR run game help balance the O with someone other than Newton carrying the load?
3 Will the O line be able to protect Newton better than last year?
2 Will the D get back to playoff level play? Pass D was at the bottom of the league last year.
1 Can HC Ron Rivera get QB Cam Newton‘s head out of his posterior?
NO      5 Did NO do enough to help the pass D by adding CB Marshon Lattimore & S Marcus Williams?
4 Will Brees have anyone to throw to with Cook traded?  Michael Thomas, Willie Snead, Brandon Coleman,
3 Is this the year that RB Peterson rolls over and plays dead?  MN thought so and let him walk.
2 Can NO fix the O line?  C Max Unger is the only solid starter & LT Armstead is out for 4-6 months.
1 Can DC Dennis Allen get the run D back to being competitive again?
TB       5 Is TB a contender for wild card?
4 Will the rebuilt O line be better? Sweezy was hurt, Smith was the only solid T.
3 Will RB Doug Martin be healthy again in 17 or be hurt like 14 & 15?
2 Will TB get the D  competitive again by adding FS J.J. Wilcox & keeping SS Chris Conte?
1 Will QB Jameis Winston continue to turn over the ball (18 picks & 6 lost fumbles)?

NFC Win projections from NNR podcast

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NFC EAST AFC West          
NFC West D N A E T
DA W6 @AT GB 4 3 3 1 11
WA W5 @NO MN 2 2 2 1 7
NY W8 @TB DT 4 2 2 2 10
PH W10 @CR CH 2 2 2 2 8
    12 9 9 6  
NFC North AFC North          
  NFC South D N A E T
GB W8 @DA SE 5 4 3 1 13
MN W9 @WA LR 4 2 2 2 10
DT W7 @NG AZ 3 1 1 0 5
CH W9 @PH SF 0 1 1 1 3
    12 8 7 4  
NFC South AFC East          
  NFC North D N A E T
AT W5 @SE DA 4 3 3 0 10
CR W11 @AZ PH 3 2 2 1 8
NO W5 @LR WA 3 2 2 2 9
TB W11 @SF NG 2 1 2 1 6
    12 8 9 4  
NFC West AFC South          
  NFC East D N A E T
SE W6 @GB AT 4 3 4 1 12
AZ W8 @DT TB 4 2 3 2 11
LR W8 @MN NO 2 2 2 0 6
SF W11 @CH CR 1 0 0 0 1

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