AFC West review, also talking about the recent coaching changes/non changes in the NFL

Posted: 01/03/2012 by levcohen in Football
Tags:

Today i’ll be talking about the AFC North, and some recent NFL coaching changes. BTW, I just realized how many records Drew Brees and his Saints broke.

1. Passing yards (single season)  5,476

2. First downs (team, single season) 416

3. Offensive yards (team, single season) 7,474

4. Passing yards (team, single season) 5,347

5. Completions (single season) 468

6. Completion % (single season) 71.6, breaking his own record

7. Darren Sproles, combined yards (kickoff, punt, receptions, rushing with 2,696)

#2 Baltimore, 12-4: The Ravens are a team that rely on rushing and defense. Just like they were supposed to. Joe Flacco is a less than stellar QB, you might say, but he certainly has flashes of brilliance. On offense, the team relies on Ray Rice, the stellar RB. He ran for 100+ yards 6 times, and broke 200 in one. In three games, however, he got fewer than 10 carries, but he made up for it by leading the Ravens with 76 catches, and came in third with 704 yards. WR1 Anquan Boldin disappointed, catching on 57 of his 105 targets, and not breaking the 900 yard mark. On the defensive side, the Ravens have two guys everyone talks about, and then some other very solid ones. I don’t need to say much about Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. They are studs, and have been for many years. They have 3 other very very good defensive players. Ladarius Webb picked off five passes, was a lockdown corner, and was the team’s punt returner. He ran one punt back for a touchdown. Terrell Suggs has also been good for a long time. Recently, he moved from DE to LB, and his stats are great. He had 14 sacks. Last but not least is Haloti Ngata, the defensive lineman who plays it dirty. He was second on the team in sacks with 5, very good for a DL. The achilles heel for this team is their failure to show up at times. All four of their losses were to average or below average teams, in Jacksonville, Seattle, Tennessee, and San Diego. In the Jacksonville game, they looked especially lackluster. They have a first round bye, which has eluded them in the past. I would put them as the AFC favorite, and the underdog in the Superbowl.

#5 Pittsburgh, 12-4: The Steelers, as opposed to the Ravens, lost to all good teams. They lost to the Texans, the 49ers, and the rival Ravens twice. In the playoffs, all they are going to face is good teams. Well, maybe not in the first round, where they face Tebow-mania and the Broncos. Their team is very solid, and they have had to play through a lot of injuries to get the 5 seed. Big Ben played through injury and posted 4000 yards passing and a 90 passer rating. He will not be playing at 100% in at least the first playoff game, so the Steelers would have liked to get a first round bye. Rashard Mendenhall had a decent year, running for over 900 yards with nine touchdowns on 4.1 yards per carry. However, he tore his ACL in the last game of the season, and will not make it back in time for the playoffs. All is not lost, though. Backup running back Isaac Redman averaged 4.5 yards per carry, and might be a better fit for Pitt. Look for him to put up solid playoff numbers. At WR, the Steelers have a stud, Mike Wallace, and a breakout guy in Antonio Brown. They are all set there. Everyone marvels about the Steelers aging defense. Led by Troy Polomalu, they also have a lot of other solid options, in Lawrence Timmons, James Harrison, James Farrior, Ryan Clark (injured), Brett Kiesel (fear the beard), and Lamar Woodley. Look for these guys to attack Tebow, (especially Harrison), and knock the Broncos out early. After that, I don’t think the Steelers have a great chance to advance far into the playoffs.

#6 Cincinnati Bengals, 9-7: Who would have guessed that this team would have made the playoffs? Not me, that’s for sure. They did, at 9-7. However, all 7 of their losses came to teams in the playoffs, and they didn’t win against a playoff team. Their rookies performed very well this week. Andy Dalton played much better than expected for a rookie QB, and AJ Green immediately turned into a marque wideout, going for over 1,000 yards. While running back Cedric Benson was solid as usual, going for 1,000 yards rushing, he also averaged under 4 yards per carry. I’m sure everyone has seen Jerome Simpson’s spectacular flip into the endzone, which shows how good an athlete he is. The defense has Leon Hall, a great cover man, and Ray Maualuga, a fantastic young linebacker. They have a good chance to beat the Texans on the road in game one, but probably don’t have much of a chance after that. They will however, get the great experience a young team needs to develop.

Cleveland Browns, 4-12: There were the three playoff teams, and then there were the Browns. They went 4-12, and their stud player fell apart. Colt McCoy, the QB, put up lackluster numbers, but as a young QB he has time to get better. What he needs is a WR core with some talent. Their best WR is Greg Little, and that is saying something. RB Peyton Hillis suffered the Madden curse, and ran for just 587 yards. Ouch. Their defense has some potential, led by D’Quell Jackson. This team needs a lot of time to mature, and they need some draft picks. We could see a few years at 6-10 or worse for the Browns. Maybe they should go after FA QB Matt Flynn, who has played very well as a backup to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.

NBA FANTASY PLAYER OF THE DAY:
Kevin Love, MIN PF: Him again! While this game he had 6 TO’s, he scored 24 points with 15 rebounds. he hit 8-15 FG’s, and 4-9 3’s. Love added 3 steals and 2 blocks. There is a good chance that the team who has Love in a lot of fantasy leagues will be near the top of the standings.

COLLEGE BOWL PREDICTION:
West Virginia-26 Clemson-24

BTW.. Congrats Case Keenum on throwing for for 532 yards against Penn State..

RECENT NFL COACHING SHUFFLE:

Andy Reid- Staying with the Eagles: This needs to change. Reid has wore out his welcome in Philly, and while he has led very good teams, they haven’t won one Superbowl, and this year was a disaster. The front office should have made a move

Coach Norv Turner, GM AJ Smith to remain with the Chargers: I think this is the right move. While the Chargers had an off year this year, these guys have done pretty well in San Diego. They are a great late season team, and if and when they get better in early season, they can win the division with ease. Usually, the Chargers don’t have all that much talent to work with, but recently they have gotten a lot better. This is probably the last chance for Turner, but he deserves it.

Coach Raheem Morris- fired: Right move. TB had an awful year this year, and they had a decently talented team. At times, they looked unmotivated and that is the coaches fault. Morris went 17-31 at TB. The Bucs have contacted former GB Packer coach Mike Sherman for the job, and they want someone with offensive experience to help out with Josh Freeman

Coach Steve Spagnuolo – fired: I think the Rams should have given this guy another year. They are a young team, and need to develop. However, they were supposed to be good this year, and ended up very bad, so I can’t fault the Rams front office.

Mike Martz out of Chicago, Lovie Smith to stay- The Bears offense looked decent with Cutler and Forte healthy, so I don’t think Martz is to blame. Lovie Smith is a very solid coach.

in college, the Nittany Lions seem very desperate to land a coach

That is all for today. Tomorrow i will be going over another NFL division

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