Schedule Breakdown (Wins - Losses)
OK, been working on this off and on for about 3 weeks. Time to run it out there and see what you think. By the way, it was written before the Buluga injury but I didn't think that cat was gonna solidify the LT position anyway.
Vikings Offensive Rank – Pass 31rst/Run 2nd Defensive Rank – Pass 24th/Run 11th Week 1 - Sep 8 AT Lions (WIN 1-0)
Offensive Rank – Pass 2nd/Run 23rd
Defensive Rank – Pass 14th/Run 16th
Draft - The Lions make a bold and risky move selecting Ansah. Who has very little game experience. He will need to ramp up his technique and pass-rush moves, but his athletic talent is almost unparalleled. Slay provides them some immediate help in the secondary. A smooth and fluid athlete with explosive closing burst, Slay possesses the ball skills to break up and intercept passes. Additionally, the Lions addressed their offensive line, but address their hole at right guard instead of the media's perceived need at left tackle. Warford is one of the most physically dominant at the point of attack. He possesses elite strength and punching ability, and will be as productive in pass protection and will really provide immediate help in the run game were they need help.
Vets - RB Reggie Bush, G Leroy Harris, G Jake Scott, DE Israel Idonije, DE/DT Jason Jones, DT C.J. Mosley, S Glover Quin, K David Akers, K Havard Rugland, KR Michael Spurlock.
Will Reggie be enough to get that ground game going. I like the addition of Idonije and Mosley.
Analysis – Dome Game. This is my number one example of why a much heralded QB gets all kinds of slack given to him by the press and the ESPN talking heads. Stafford, although he had lots of yards is terrible protecting the ball. Mix that in with how many drops his WRs and TE’s have and you will see why the cannot win games on a consistent basis.
This is a pretty good matchup for our defense as the Lions can chuck it all over the place but struggle running the ball and it remains to be seen if Bush can be that bell cow that can fix that aspect of their running game. Our offense should be able to dictate to them as they are about middle of the pack defensively.
Week 2 - Sep 15 AT Bears (WIN 2-0)
Offensive Rank – Pass 29th/Run 10th
Defensive Rank – Pass 8th/Run 8th
Draft – Kyle Long is very quick and explosive but a bit stiff in the hips and too often bends at the waist to try to make blocks. Most believe he was a reach were they took him. I’m not sure if he is going to help them in the area they needed most on the OL and that is pass protection. The Bears tried to fill their need at MLB with Bostic who is considered by most as a reach as well.
Vets - TE Martellus Bennett, TE Steve Maneri, OT Jermon Bushrod, G Matt Slauson, G Eben Britton, DE Kyle Moore, DE Turk McBride, DT Sedrick Ellis, DT Andre Fluellen, OLB James Anderson, S Tom Zbikowski.
Bennet and Bushrod should provide immediate help. Slauson and Britton will provide some competition.
Analysis – Outside game – Weather won’t be cold. New Head Coach with lots of uncertainty across the board in many areas of this organization to include the players.
Offensively the additions of Bushrod and Long should be enough to help solidify the OL, that is if Long works out but I just can’t help but think that they are putting a lot on Long. Additionally, they are banking on Bennett to help out the passing game as well as hoping that Jeffries improves. They struggled with the pass last year so we should be able to take that away from them and focus on their running game with was just OK last year. Pretty tough matchup for our offense but questions remain on their new makeup on the defensive side of the ball as there are still a lot of old players over there mixed in with players yet to prove themselves.
Week 3 - Sep 22 Browns (WIN 3-0)
Offensive Rank – Pass 19th/Run 24th
Defensive Rank – Pass 25th/Run 19th
Draft - The Browns needed help on defense, both pass and run and opted to go with Mingo as a means to pressure the QB. They then got some help opposite of Joe Haden when they selected McFadden whose strong point is the Cover 2 but does look smooth and explosive enough in his transition to possibly play some man.
Vets - QB Brian Hoyer, QB Jason Campbell, RB Dion Lewis, WR Davone Bess, WR David Nelson, TE Kellen Davis, TE Gary Barnidge, OT Rashad Butler, DT Desmond Bryant, DE/OLB Paul Kruger, DE/OLB Quentin Groves, CB Chris Owens, K Shayne Graham.
The additions of Hoyer and Campbell could be taken as a sign they aren’t sure about their starting QB. Weeden completed just 57.4 percent of his passes, generated a poor YPA of 6.5 and maintained a touchdown-to-turnover ratio of 14-to-18. He will be celebrating his 30th birthday in October - and he might be doing so as a reserve.
Analysis – Home/Dome. New changes all over, especially at the GM position. Lombardi had made it pretty well known that he wants to completely change most of the team especially at QB so look for this team to be ripe for the picking early in the season as they try to find their way. Aside from that, it’s a pretty good matchup for our defense should be able to shut down both aspects. Offensively, we should be able to run as well as pass.
Week 4 - Sep 29 Steelers (LOSS 3-1)
Offensive Rank – Pass 14th/Run 26th
Defensive Rank – Pass 1rst/Run 2nd
Draft – With the loss of Harrison, the Steelers went after a OLB that can get after the QB in Jones. Considered by most to be a strong and powerful pass rusher with the burst to beat offensive tackles around the corner and the speed to close on quarterbacks, Jones has the talent to be an impact edge rusher. The addition of Laveon Bell, RB, and Marcus Wheaton, WR, they got some help to address the loss of Wallace and what was a weak running attack.
Vets - QB Bruce Gradkowski, TE Matt Spaeth, OT Guy Whimper, CB William Gay.
As with the past, this teams grows their own replacements.
Analysis – Outside game – Not cold. I want to make this one a win in the biggest way, however, I will resist the urge until after camp so I can see how the passing game works out for them. Anyway, most casual fans don’t know that Pittsburgh turned the ball over more than all but six other NFL squads. Heck I’m a stat nut and I didn’t know it until I started this research. Miller still remains a question and seeings how he is one of Big Bens favorite targets, other receivers are going to have to step up especially with Wallace leaving for greener pastures.
Tough matchup defensively. We should be able to stop the run and our new DB’s will be tested to cover a questionable WR corps. Need to get after a scrambling QB early and often. Tougher matchup for our offense. Will need to be patient and don’t make turnovers. Let the defensive control the field and keep us close enough for our ST’s to score points.
Week 5 BYE
Week 6 - Oct 13 Panthers (WIN 4-1)
Offensive Rank – Pass 16th/Run 9th
Defensive Rank – Pass 13th/Run 14th
Draft – When the Panthers grabbed Star Lotulelei in round one followed up by grabbing Kawaan Short in the second, gave them a dominant interior player rotation that along with two very good DE’s in Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy. This should create what could be the best 3-4 DL’s in the league in 2014.
Vets - WR Domenik Hixon, DT Colin Cole, ILB Chase Blackburn, CB D.J. Moore, CB Drayton Florence, S Michael Mitchell, KR Ted Ginn.
Hixon should be productive right away. I like the addition of Blackburn as well.
Analysis Home/Dome game. One of the other QB’s that I like to point to when people try to tell me that QB’s are instantly great in this league. They aren’t, what they are is inconsistent. Just like our QB, Newtons play was inconsistent at best because (1-6 in the first 7 games) and 5 and 1 in the last 6 because of his eight interceptions to just five passing touchdowns. Luckily, he got hot towards the end of the year throwing 10 TD’s and only 2 INT’s in the final six games.
Another tough matchup for our defense. Question is, will we be able to keep a running QB in the pocket? Offensively we should be able to move the ball but will have to remain patient with a middle of the pack defense.
Schedule Breakdown (Wins - Losses)
12-4?! Lol not with Ponder.