NFC Obituary/Hierarchy: Pre-Preseason edition

I have a bunch of new readers since the end of the regular season last year, so for those of you that are new, we do a “Hierarchy/Obituary” post every week in which we kill off teams that I think have reached the point where they have almost no chance to make the playoffs.  We then write their obituary and never speak of them again.  We also rank the teams in terms of the hierarchy of the NFC, from least threatening to the king.  The AFC gets completely ignored, because, well, I’m not going to pretend that I know the AFC teams anywhere close to the level that I know the NFC teams.

Anyway, it’s my hackneyed sell-out spin on the more traditional “Power Rankings,” but they’re fun to do and give me an excuse to poke fun at a whole new group of teams around the league, while also throwing out some random nuggets.  Let’s just get right to it:

Adrian Peterson didn’t just tear his ACL on Christmas last year.  He completely shredded his knee.  Torn ACL, MCL, and meniscus.  In 2005, Duante Culpepper tore his ACL, MCL, and PCL, and it wrecked his career.  Tom Brady tore his ACL, MCL, and meniscus in 2008, and it took him two years to get back to where he was.  Those are QBs, of course, and obviously healthy knees are less important to a QB than they are to a RB.  Even if Peterson can get back on the field by Week 1, it’s totally unrealistic to expect him to be anywhere close to the player we’re used to seeing.

Minus a healthy Adrian Peterson, the Vikings offense doesn’t have much, nor do they have a good defense.  In fact, there’s a decent chance they’ll be starting a pair of rookies at safety this season.

I think that the Vikings are probably better than the Rams, but the Vikes have the misfortune of playing in the same division as the Packers, Lions, and Bears.

The Rams fooled a lot of people last year.  5 of the 7 NFL.com experts picked the Rams to win the NFC West.  9 of the 12 ESPN experts picked the Rams as well.  4 of the 7 at FOX Sports.  7 of 8 at Sports Illustrated.  And so on.

I get that the NFC West was supposed to absolutely suck last year, but why the Rams?  I mean… What did people see in that garbage team?  At the time (and remember, this was before Cam Newton and Andy Dalton went out and had legitimately impressive rookie seasons), it had been a long time since a great rookie QB played really well for a full season, and I think some people went a little overboard in proclaiming Bradford “the next great QB.”   People convinced themselves that he was the best QB in that division, and rolled with it.  However, the thinking that Sam Bradford had a good rookie season was very much a myth.  The reality was that he had a nice 6-game stretch in the middle of the season, but was otherwise really bad:

Sam Bradford 2010 Comp Att Yards TD INT Rating
Games 1-5 115 203 1159 6 8 66.51
Games 6-11 135 210 1307 11 1 97.06
Games 12-16 104 177 1046 1 6 63.43
Totals 354 590 3512 18 15 76.5

In 2011, Bradford had no such impressive stretch.  He was just bad from wire to wire, never throwing more than 1 TD pass in any game, and barely topping 6 yards per pass attempt.

I like some of the moves they made in free agency (Cortland Finnegan, Scott Wells, etc), and they had 4 of the top 50 picks in the 2012 draft.  They’ll also of course have an extra 1st round pick in 2013 and 2014, courtesy of the Redskins, so this is certainly a team to look out for in the next 3 or 4 years.  But this team, for now, is still junk.

Poor Steven Jackson:

Rams W L
2011 2 14
2010 7 9
2009 1 15
2008 2 14
2007 3 13

Another 3000 or so words after the jump…

By the time the 2011 season was over, the Bucs were the worst team in the league, in my opinion.  They were 27th in points scored and dead last (by a mile) in points allowed.  They gave up at least 24 points in every single one of their last 10 games, all losses.  Over their last 12 games, they gave up 417 points, or 34.75 per game.  They were second worst in the league with a point differential of -207 (the aforementioned Rams were last at -214).  That’s some serious awfulness.

This offseason, the Bucs finally spent some money.  The big signings were Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks and Eric Wright, and they added some other smaller pieces like Dallas Clark and Amobi Okoye.

They’ll be better in 2012 (not sure how they could possibly be worse), but this is still clearly the worst team in the NFC South.

This season is Washington is a honeymoon.  Fans will marvel at the occasional big play by RG3, and they’ll roll with the inevitable growing pains.  Mike Shanahan is in Year 3 of his “5 year plan.”  So far, his record is 11-21.  I would expect the gap between wins and losses to widen further this year, as this is not a team that is going to compete for the NFC East title in 2012.  The Redskins will have to at the very least show that they have the look of a contender in 2013, or Shanahan could be gone.

However, I certainly don’t expect the Skins to be a pushover.  This is a team that didn’t just sweep the Super Bowl Champions last season – They manhandled them.  They have a really solid front 7 and some young up-and-comers at the offensive skill positions.  The major worries will be the offensive line and the defensive secondary.

If the Skins can somehow win 7 games and RG3 shows progression throughout the season, 2012 should be viewed as a success.

The Cardinals are very quietly building an impressive, young defense (ages as of today’s date):

  • DE: Calais Campbell – 25
  • NT: Dan Williams – 25
  • DE: Darnell Dockett – 31
  • LOLB: O’Brien Schofield – 25
  • LILB: Daryl Washington – 25
  • RILB: Paris Lenon – 34
  • ROLB: Sam Acho – 25
  • LCB: Patrick Peterson – 21
  • SS: Adrian Wilson -32
  • FS: Kerry Rhodes -29
  • RCB: A.J. Jefferson – 24

Calais Campbell is one of the best defensive players in the league.  In fact, he made my world famous Marklar team.  That’s when you know you’ve arrived.  It’s my understanding that Campbell broke down and cried when he learned that he made it.  Campbell, Darnell Dockett, and Dan Williams may be the best 3-4 DL in the league.  But it doesn’t end there.  Daryl Washington is an absolute stud at ILB, and Sam Acho closed the season with 4 sacks and 3 FF in his last 6 games as a rookie.  Meanwhile, Patrick Peterson stunk last season (return ability aside), but he’ll only get better, and the Cards have a good veteran duo in Kerry Rhodes and Adrian Wilson.  It’s not complete, but they’re on their way.

The offense, meanwhile, may once again have a really scary WR duo in Larry Fitzgerald and rookie Michael Floyd.  Unfortunately, Kevin Kolb got worse last season.  I’m still a believer in #4, but my confidence is waning.

The Panthers’ rushing attack:

Player Rush Yards YPC TD
DeAngelo Williams 155 836 5.4 7
Jonathan Stewart 142 761 5.4 4
Cam Newton 126 706 5.6 14
Totals 423 2303 5.4 25

In a league that is building defenses designed to stop the pass, the Panthers are going to be very difficult to match up with for some teams.

On a side note, Carolina drafted three of my favorite players in this year’s draft: Luke Keuchly, Amini Silotolu, who has just a comical college highlight reel against weaker competition (video has since been made private), and WR Joe Adams, who was my favorite player at the Senior Bowl.

I think the Seahawks are going to have difficulty scoring, but I love this defense.  They’re light on name recognition, but they’re fast and and they swarm to the football.  A lot of people dumped on the Seahawks for their draft, especially for taking DE Bruce Irvin in the 1st and QB Russell Wilson in the 3rd, but after digesting it a little I kind of liked what they did.

Pre-draft, there was an interesting little nugget from DCFanatic Radio, who did an interview with DE/OLB Bruce Irvin from West Virginia. Irvin was widely projected as a pass rushing 3-4 OLB at the next level, but they asked Irvin if any 4-3 teams have talked to him. Apparently, the Eagles and Lions had shown interest. The commonality of the Eagles and Lions? They both run the wide 9. In college, Irvin was used in a position that didn’t play to his strengths. West Virginia ran a weird 3-3-5 defense with Irvin playing DE in that scheme, and he still found a way to get to the QB 22.5 times the last 2 seasons. Here’s what their 3-3-5 defense looks like:

The other interesting thing from Irvin’s interview was when he said he’s never been taught how to pass rush.

I feel like, to be honest with you, I’ve never been taught how to pass rush. The last two years, the 23 sacks that I got, it was all natural ability. Not to knock my coaches, but they emphasized stopping the run, and that’s what we did. We never did any pass rushing drills. I feel like, with the proper coaching and the right people around me I feel like I can be a very productive player in this league.

That sounds crazy to me that a football school like WVU wouldn’t have pass rushing drills, but you can kind of see it in the film above. You don’t see a variety of pass rushing moves at all. It’s basically a repertoire of 3 moves: Speed around the corner with a little dip, speed around the corner with a quick stop and rip underneath, and the bull rush. As Irvin noted, it appears that whenever he was getting to the QB, it was just on raw ability. Irvin ran a 4.50 at the Combine. DE’s with that kind of speed don’t grow on trees. Very intriguing player with a lot of upside, and he fits in perfectly with the speedy Seahawk D.

I’m going to go out on a limb here a little – I think if I had to pick a DROY this season, I’d go with Luke Keuchly, but I think Irvin can be right in that mix.

Also like the Bobby Wagner pick in the 2nd, by the way.  This defense is going to make plays.

Seemingly every year, you’ll hear NFL analysts refer to the Cowboys as one of the most talented teams in the league, and it’s easy to see why.  With players like DeMarcus Ware, Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Jay Ratliff, and Sean Lee, the Cowboys don’t lack star power.  And again, seemingly every year, the very same analysts call the Cowboys “underachievers” or “disappointments” for either failing to qualify for the playoffs, or getting knocked out early.

But it really shouldn’t come as a huge surprise why the Cowboys are 14-18 over the last two seasons.  They’ve been weak in the trenches, their other starters and/or role players have underperformed, and they have lacked depth up and down the roster.  All sizzle, no steak.  In my opinion, this is an average team, and is pretty clearly behind the Eagles and Giants in the NFC East (bracing for onslaught).

Matty Ice in the playoffs:

Matty Ice in the playoffs Comp Att Yards YPA TD INT Rating Result
Vs Giants, 2011 24 41 199 4.85 0 0 71.1 L (24-2)
Vs Packers, 2010 20 29 186 6.41 1 2 69 L (48-21)
Vs Cardinals, 2009 26 40 199 4.98 2 2 72.8 L (30-24)

If Ryan played in a bigger market that cared more about sports, he would be getting destroyed.

The Bears with Jay Cutler and Matt Forte last year:

The Bears without Jay Cutler and Matt Forte last season:

Cutler and Forte will be back.

This time last year, I did not believe in the Lions, and said so, in emphatic fashion:

A funny thing happens with traditionally good teams and traditionally bad teams.  People try to poke holes in the good teams’ rosters and try to make arguments why they won’t be good, ignoring their strengths.  Conversely, they try to point out the strengths of the bad teams and try to make an argument why they’ll be good, while ignoring the mountain of weaknesses.  The Lions are Exhibit A.  Peter King has them going 10-6.  Really?  10-6?  A few points:

- Complete lack of a running game in 2010 that didn’t get any better.

- The QB has missed 19 games the past two seasons, and has a career passer rating of 67.1.  Let’s not pretend that he’s suddenly going to be a major upgrade to Shaun Hill.  Obviously, Stafford is the long term answer and hopefully becomes the face of the franchise, but Hill-to-Stafford is probably a downgrade in the short term, at least early in the season.

- Major holes in the secondary.

- Major holes along the OL.

- Despite that really good DL, they still couldn’t stop the run last season (24th in the league).

So go ahead and waste your 7th round pick in your fantasy league on Stafford, or go ahead and predict they’re going to go 10-6.  It’s fun, I get it.  And I should note here that I reeeeaaaally like what the Lions are doing and have 100% faith in Jim Schwartz.  But you’re wasting your time.  Maybe in 2012.

Wow, OK, so not only was I wildly wrong (especially in making fun of Peter King), but I managed to sound like an arrogant prick in the process.  While I was kind of right on 4 out of 5 of those bullet points, Matthew Stafford was awesome last season.

On a side fantasy football note regarding Stafford, one major thing to note on him:

That lead the league in 2011:

That probably won’t change much, seeing as the Lions still don’t have any kind of running game, as long as Stafford stays healthy.

And one last thing, courtesy of Evan Silva:

Is this the best defense in the NFL?  I think so.  Having four guys like the incredible Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Navorro Bowman, and Aldon Smith all on one defense is almost unfair.  I’m not sure how Eli Manning survived the NFC Championship Game, frankly, but I think we all saw how tough that guy really is.

It’s just that… Alex Smith.  I just can’t get myself to buy in there yet.

In 2011, Alex Smith had career bests in all of the following categories:

Kudos to Smith and head coach Jim Harbaugh for the season he had in 2011.  However, it the number of INTs that give me pause on Smith.  He had just 5 in 2012.  And it’s not like they didn’t throw the ball.  445 pass attempts is a legitimate amount.  The extremely low INT total is very impressive, but it is also unsustainable.  Expect that number to at least double in 2012.

The talent on this offense rivals that of the Saints and the Packers, and in my opinion, this defense is much better.  The major difference, however, is that I have full confidence that Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers will be great every week, whereas Michael Vick’s greatness is more sporadic, and occasionally absent.

But the real strength of this team is the defensive line, which is beyond stacked.  A day or two ago, I peeked in on Osi Umenyiora’s Rotoworld page to see if they had any details on his contract yet, and happened to stumble upon this analysis:

Giants DE Osi Umenyiora’s restructured deal with the Giants is for just one season.

Financial details are forthcoming, but NFL Network’s Albert Breer has reported that the deal is likely to be worth roughly $7.5 million in 2012, with a voidable year in 2013 to spread out the salary cap hit. It’s believed Umenyiora will receive a $3 million signing bonus. He’ll hit unrestricted free agency next year at age 31, seeking one last mega-contract. For 2012, the Giants will keep intact the NFL’s most ferocious defensive line east of Detroit.

Wait a second.  On that last sentence… most ferocious D Line “east of Detroit?”  What does that mean?  That Detroit’s DL is better than the Giants’ DL, and the Eagles’ as well?  Is that a joke?

Eagles DL:

Eagles 1 2 3
LDE Jason Babin Brandon Graham Phillip Hunt
LDT Cullen Jenkins Fletcher Cox Cedric Thornton
RDT Mike Patterson Antonio Dixon Derek Landri
RDE Trent Cole Vinny Curry Darryl Tapp

Giants DL:

Giants 1 2 3
LDE Justin Tuck Justin Trattou Adrian Tracy
LDT Linval Joseph Shaun Rogers Rocky Bernard
RDT Chris Canty Marvin Austin Markus Kuhn
RDE Jason Pierre-Paul Osi Umenyiora

Lions DL:

Lions 1 2 3
LDE Cliff Avril Lawrence Jackson Everette Brown
LDT Ndamukong Suh Nick Fairley
RDT Corey Williams Sammie Lee Hill Andre Fluellen
RDE Kyle Vanden-Bosch Willie Young Ronnell Lewis

I think there’s a great debate between the Eagles and Giants, but the Lions aren’t even in the conversation.

Wildcard, bitches!  YEEEEEHHHHHHAAAAAA!“  When does Drew Brees sign a contract and join his teammates?  Until we know that, I don’t really think I can comment on this team.  Obviously, distractions are going to follow the Saints around the entire season, but I think they’ll be fine as long as their true leader is in the fold.  But if Drew’s absence lingers on into training camp, they could be in deep trouble.

Still an awesome team, but far from perfect.  Here are the major deficiencies that would scare me if I were a Packers fan:

  • Marshall Newhouse is likely to start the season as the LT.  Newhouse was affected by the lack of an offseason last year and had to deal with the death of his grandmother in the middle of the season, but he was horrid in 2011.
  • Scott Wells is out at center.  Wells is one of the best centers on the league, and he left to join the Rams.  The Packers filled that hole with Jeff Saturday, who turns 37 in a few weeks.  Saturday played well last year on a terrible Colts team, but how much can he reasonably have left in the tank?
  • The Packers secondary was horrid last year.  At this time last year, the secondary was perceived as a major strength, with Charles Woodson, breakout star Tramon Williams, and rookie surprise Sam Shields at CB.  Woodson made a few plays, but the group as a whole got shredded to the tune of 299.8 passing yards per game.  Only one another team (the Saints) were within 40 yards of that average.  In fairness, the Packers often held leads on their opponents, who were forced to throw more than normal, but 300 yards per game is still an unacceptable total, any way you slice it.  The loss of Nick Collins to a severe neck injury last season really hurt them.  His replacement, Charlie Peprah, is not a legitimate NFL starting safety.
  • B.J. Raji is a big name, but he stunk in 2011.  NT is such an important position in the 3-4, and if the Packers can’t jump out to big leads regularly like they did in 2011, they can’t afford to have Raji pushed around in the run game like he was last season.  He needs to be much better in 2012.

Now, as I mentioned above:

A funny thing happens with traditionally good teams and traditionally bad teams.  People try to poke holes in the good teams’ rosters and try to make arguments why they won’t be good, ignoring their strengths.  Conversely, they try to point out the strengths of the bad teams and try to make an argument why they’ll be good, while ignoring the mountain of weaknesses.

I don’t want to be the guy that does that.  Despite the above bullet points, Aaron Rodgers remains the best player in the game, and that offense as a whole is almost impossible to defend when it’s clicking.  This is still the best team in the league, in my opinion.

The Champs.

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  84. [...] my NFC Obituary/Hierarchy post of a few days ago were to be taken as season predictions (it shouldn’t, by the way), I’d have a couple [...]

  85. SkinsaneAsylum says:

    Harsh on the Skins much? I commented on your article about the secondary being a potential disaster this year, so i wont go into it all the way. But i disagree that it is vastly deficient from last year.

    The 2011 Washington Redskins ranked 13th in D last year and I would argue, have improved on D and will rise in the rankings this year. Here is my reasoning:

    1)Josh Wilson in his second year in Haslett’s system will be improved
    2) DHall had a down year last year. He will be moved inside and outside this year which *may* help him be more of a playmaker and minimize his time on an “island” on guys like Dez Bryant (we all saw how that worked out last year). I will say DHall is an neither improved nor worse off than last year.
    3) I know you look at the safeties on this roster and scratch your head, but honestly the Skins were never able to rely on Landry or Otogwe last year due to injuries. They had Reed Doughty and Dejon Gomes as a rookie for the majority of the season ans still fair “alright”.
    4) Building off point #3: Merriweather, Tanard Jackson, and Gomes in his 2nd year will be an improvement over Doughty and Gomes as a rookie. PERIOD.
    5) Beyond DHall and Wilson, the depth is better than last year with Cedric Griffin, Kevin Barnes, our two draft picks, and this dude Trent (wont make it out of camp).
    6) The front 7 will be as good, if not better than last year with a 2nd year in the 3-4 for Bowen and Cofield and then the addition of a healthy Jarvis Jenkins. A stout front 7 with a good pass rush can help to mask the weaknesses in the secondary.

    Either way, i love your posts Jimmy….even if you havnt warmed up the the Skins this year. I dont expect anyone to warm up to our continued improvement until evidence is shown on the field. I for one, think that its only a matter of time and will occur sooner than most outsiders do (duh).

    Skins will most definitely compete for the NFC East last year….hell, they were not that far behind with Grossman at QB last year.

    1. SkinsaneAsylum says:

      Skins will compete THIS year*

      Count it.

  86. CasanovaWong says:

    It’s worth noting that Kiwanuka will play a bunch of DL for the Giants too.

  87. Trub Deuce says:

    No love for the cowboys again huh jimmy. And to the person who said were old, those new pick ups are barely 28! ALL OF EM NONE WERE OLDER THAN 29! I LOOOOOVE BEING A COWBOYS FAN! NFL ENEMY #1

    1. joe d says:

      Sorry no love from me either. Your stand out players who actually produce are getting up there in age and I don’t think the defense was just 1-2 good CBs from being really good. Again, we could be wrong, but it’s not because we hate the Cowboys… It’s not like the Cowboys have done anything since 2007 and that was basically off of Parcells leftovers… So there’s actual evidence to back up a reasoable claim that the Cowboys will again be mediocre this year.

      And as I noted to Jimmy, I think he rated the Eagles, who have a lot more backing up to do to earn a #3 spot in the NFC E… Hell, aside from Giants fans most wouldn’t even put them in the top 2 and they won the sb.

      1. Mike says:

        ” I don’t think the defense was just 1-2 good CBs from being really good”

        In both the eye test, and statistically, the worst part of the Cowboys defense (by far) was their secondary. Their pass rush put up top 10 statistics in sacks, pressures, and QB hits. They were also very stout against the run, posting the best rush defense numbers in the East. They’ve gotten younger (and probably better) at ILB. They’ve added some depth at OLB. They upgraded at safety. They didn’t just add “1-2 good CBs”.

        Offense is not going to be an issue. They’ve got the best depth in the East at QB. In a QB rich division, Romo stacks up to Eli and Vick. I won’t say he’s better, I think they’re all very, very close. They’ve got the best TE. They’re no slouch at WR, with Austin and Bryant. Their RBs did well last year.

        I would argue they’ve got the best starting tackles in the East, with Jason Peters now out. Jimmy loves to absolutely murder Phil Costa, but as far as I can find…he allowed somewhere around 15 fewer pressures that Jason Kelce, who gets tons of love, and was the Eagles 3rd best player under 25 according to Jimmy.

        And despite being “old”, Romo, Ware, and Ratliff are all the same age as Manning, Tuck, and Osi. But somehow, the Giants aren’t getting up there in years, and looking at their window closing.

        “It’s not like the Cowboys have done anything since 2007 and that was basically off of Parcells leftovers”

        Also, they won their playoff game in ’09.

        I’m sure that’s a supremely rosy outlook, and probably a bit too optimistic. But I happen to think it’s a hell of a lot closer to reality than suggesting that the Cowboys are overrated, and full of holes, while the Eagles are a top 4 team that are ready to dominate, loaded all over the place, and better than 3 playoff teams, and a team that WOULD’VE been in the playoffs if their starting QB and RB hadn’t been hurt.

        Last I checked, they had the same 8-8 record last year.

        1. Some of PFF’s data is invaluable, like snap counts. Others, which require judgment, and several different people evaluating a stat like a pressure (one guy’s “pressure” may not be another guy’s “pressure”), are totally useless. The Cowboys as a team allowed 126 pressures, according to PFF. The Eagles allowed 161. And yet, according to PFF the Cowboys allowed 32 sacks to the Eagles’ 23. Something is obviously wrong there.

          Anyway, I watch the film of all four teams. Phil Costa is nowhere close to Jason Kelce. Kelce didn’t give up a singe sack the entire season playing center. There was one game where Mathis got hurt, Kelce moved over to LG, Jamaal Jackson filled in at center, and Kelce had to try to block Jason Pierre-Paul one-on-one. He lost that battle. That was the only sack he gave up all season, and it wasn’t at his normal position. He’s the best center in the division, and it’s not even close, no what what PFF’s dopey “hurries” numbers say.

          1. Mike says:

            Haha…it’s pretty entertaining that in the span of two paragraphs you talk about how subjectivity employed by PFF is useless, then proceed with the argument that “I watched it! He wasn’t even close!” Because, just like you, PFF watches the same film of all four teams. Not that they’re even remotely perfect, but dismissing their data totally…

            Pressures aren’t guaranteed to turn into sacks last time I checked, so suggesting that just because the Cowboys were credited with fewer pressure but more sacks means something is wrong is just flat out a poor argument. You think Michael Vick doesn’t have anything to do with the Eagles having a lower sack-per-pressure rate? He’s by far the most agile QB in the East (well, he was last year at least) and it makes sense to me that he would tend to escape from pressure at a better rate than Romo.

            Also, correct me if I’m wrong…but wasn’t Michael Vick sacked 23 times? Because according to my fact checking, Kafka and Young added 9 more sacks for a total of 32 sacks given up by that line, compared to 39 sacks given up by the Cowboys.

            Forgive me for not accepting that your eyeball test and stat gathering is any less dopey than what PFF does, though.

            1. Also, correct me if I’m wrong…but wasn’t Michael Vick sacked 23 times? Because according to my fact checking, Kafka and Young added 9 more sacks for a total of 32 sacks given up by that line, compared to 39 sacks given up by the Cowboys.

              Forgive me for not accepting that your eyeball test and stat gathering is any less dopey than what PFF does

              Yes! You’ve done one of my favorite things here. The 4-step approach to making someone look like an asshole on the Internet:

              1) You start light: You go with the whole “correct me if I’m wrong” thing. This leads the recipient to think “Hmmm, we’re having a civil debate here. He’s not 100% sure if he’s correct here, so he wants my input on whether or not he has all his facts straight. Let’s see what he has to say.”

              2) You show the reader that you too have done some homework and your findings are different by saying “because according to my fact checking…”

              3) The money shot! You reveal a statistic that has completely made the person with whom you’re debating look like a foolish asshole.

              4) You go into a victory dance, sarcastically asking your fallen foe to forgive you for ignoring his stupidity.

              Bravo! Textbook form. Even the East German judge is giving you a 10.

              Only… Oh no… Shit… There’s just one tiny problem.

              (drumroll)…

              You’re wrong.

              We were talking about PFF and THEIR data, were we not? THEY said the Eagles allowed 23 sacks. THEY said the Cowboys allowed 32. Not me.

              Here’s a screen shot for the Eagles:

              http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac48/jimkempski/23sacksallowed.png

              And one for the Cowboys:

              http://i884.photobucket.com/albums/ac48/jimkempski/32sacksallowed.png

              Look, I have zero interest in debating you on whether or not Jason Kelce is better than Phil Costa. I hate to make assumptions, but I’ll assume you’re a Cowboys fan, and if indeed you are, I’ll go on and make a second assumption that you’re familiar with the work of Rafael Vela over at Cowboys Nation. Raf spends a ton of time breaking down film, and is as hardcore a Dallas Cowboy fan as you’ll ever find. So instead of taking it from a dopey, biased know-nothing like me, go ask him who the better player is.

              1. Skinsational says:

                TKO

        2. slandog says:

          So you’re happy with just one playoff win since 2007?

          Yes Romo, Ware and Ratliff are the same age as Manning, Tuck and Osi, but they have a ring on their hand so they have produced results. I believe that Romo, Ware and Ratliff have nothing to show for……they may have numbers, but they don’t have many key wins to back anything up…..so be happy with your one playoff win in 2009.

          1. Mike says:

            That…

            has absolutely nothing to do with what I said in any way what-so-ever.

            1. slandog says:

              Well you did say this in your rambling: “Also, they won their playoff game in ’09. ”

              So I could be wrong. But saying that, it sounds like your happy about that one playoff win. Even though every year EVERY cowboy fan says it’s their year again, when in fact they rarely even make the playoffs.

              So yeah my very first line DOES have something do with what you said.

    2. Yo Trub Deuce says:

      Actually Nate Livings is 30….

      Point proven.

      Get your facts straight.

      Now go back to cowboyszone where you belong.

      Idiot.

    3. slandog says:

      What did you get in FA? You got one good player, or above average player Carr. Other then that you got a couple of OL that were on the garbage pile. You happy about that, haha, you be happy then.

      The draft you had, well it is what it is….nobody knows yet because they haven’t played a down in the league.

      You seem overly optimistic for a team that has been under achieving for years.

  88. BBI says:

    MMMM I love spaghetti-Os

    1. Eli peed in them.

      1. BBI says:

        It adds character

  89. Will B says:

    Great post Jimmy! Love reading these posts.

  90. Willgfass says:

    Yes! I fully agree on the Cowboys. They’ve been over rated for years, solely for the symbol on their helmet.
    I also feel the division will ultimately be won by the Eagles or Giants.

    Lions dline isnt on the same level either. Ludicrous to say that

    1. Willgfass says:

      Also agree on the bears. They have a strong team if cutlet and forte stay healthy

  91. andiamo says:

    I think Bulaga (is he healthy?) could also make a push for LT in GB.

    1. Bulaga is their RT.

      1. slandog says:

        And I don’t think he has the quickness or arm length to play LT.

  92. andiamo says:

    the giants get the “best DL” label b/c that’s just how it goes.

    there were times last year when they clearly weren’t doing much (outside of JPP), of course Tuck and Osi were hurt…but b/c they’ve had a solid Dline so long and they won 2 SBs recently than people give them that label.

    ultimately it’s a pretty fair label…

    but sometimes it is over blown and sometimes the DBs are underrated b/c everyone thinks that the D is good b/c of the front 4….like Webster and Phillips are simply only good b/c their Dline is pressuring the QB.

  93. Pitteagle says:

    I am surprised you didn’t put Phillip Hunt on that list i like him to beat out Darryl Tapp this year for a roster spot. If not on just talent (which i think hunt was better last year) then especially with salaries Tapp’s (2,575,000) vs hunt’s (465,000). I think if it is close, hunt gets the nod.

    1. Yeah, earlier comment noted that. Fixed. And agreed, Hunt will be given every opportunity to beat out Tapp.

  94. joe d says:

    Cowboys fans shouldn’t get salty over the post either. They are basically the 2011 Eagles, except they have been doing it every year after 2007. Letting the Tuna go was the biggest mistake, and they should’ve had Wade Phillips as DC, not HC.. He’s a phenomenal DC and its weird I don’t hate him anymore now that he’s not fat wade celebrating on the Cowboys sidelines.

  95. joe d says:

    If I May:

    1) As an Eagles fan I think you rated them a little high on the depth chart. As far as I’m concerned we’re an 8-8 team, with obvious serious contending potential, but based on last years performance I wouldn’t rank them higher than DET, CHI, OR SF, whom the Eagles lost to. You can debate the Falcons, because I don’t think they are that great at all as evidenced by being shut out by the Giants, among other issues.

    2) Charles Woodson has been losing a step for awhile now. We bash DeAngelo Hall because he gets soo much praise for making the occassional big play while getting toasted.. This is exactly where Charles has been for the past 2 years and I really do appreciate his game and once he retires he’ll go down as great… But he is a weakness on that defense, and he was a bad choice for team Marklar.

    3) That’s some harsh rankings for the Skins. Their defense is great. I like their stable of running backs, their WRs have IMPROVED, and I think Santana MOss will have a good year kinda like Steve Smith got better with a QB who could air it out to him. I like the skins for 3rd in the division and RG3 may be really fun to watch.

    4) It will be REALLY interesting to see what happens this season to the Giants. THeir ranking is appropriate but we pretty much saw the worst regular season team ever to win a SB aside from the 2007 Giants… Though in 2008 it carried on until Plax shot himself (thanks for that plax lol), will it carry over in 2012?????? Very interesting because unlike the 2008 team who was amazing in the trenches both in OL and DL, their OL is really, really weak… Cant wait for this season

    1. On the Skins, I think their D is in some trouble. Really like that front 7, but I definitely wouldn’t consider that D as a whole “great.” That secondary has all the makings of being a disaster, as chronicled here:

      http://bloggingthebeast.com/2012/04/09/how-are-the-redskins-going-to-be-able-cover-the-impressive-passing-attacks-of-the-giants-eagles-and-cowboys/

      (Published in early April – Some names have changed, but they still haven’t really gotten any better there).

      1. joe d says:

        Fair enough now I have been hounding you about Woodson for awhile now, can you at least concede that he’s a shell of his former pro bowl self?

        1. slandog says:

          Woodson isn’t a shell of his former self. He is still a good player and miles better then Hall. Can’t believe you even put their names together. Last year after losing Collins Woodson had much more on his plate. Williams was terrible, because I think Collins really cleaned up for him. Peprah didn’t know where to be on the field so Williams never had his help which exposed Williams.

          Woodson was still good and a guy with his strength, length and speed playing around the line is a good thing to have, he played it well. Didn’t the Eagles want NA to play a similiar role? But NA couldn’t handle it, so it’s not like Woodson has an easy role to play.

          Has he aged and lost a step, certainly. But he is still a very good player, better then what you give him credit for.

  96. Skinsational says:

    I would have my Skins a little higher and I disagree with the placement of the Seahawks, but this is an awesome read.

    1. Anders says:

      The Skins are tough to evaluate in my opinion because alot of it depends on the play of RG3.

    2. joe d says:

      As an Eagles fans I’m with you. I think the Skins are better, I would take the Skins team over the aging underachieving Cowboys…

  97. Anders says:

    Jimmy you forgot Hunt on the Eagles DL and I actually think he will win the 5th DE spot over Tapp.

    I also understand why the Giants are on the top, but I honestly believe the Eagles will win the NFCE with a 12-4 record (Giants will be 2nd with a 10-6 record)

    1. Oops. Had Hunt in there, not sure what happened there. Fixed, thanks for the heads up.

      Regarding the Giants, I think most Giants fans would all agree the Packers (for example) are better.

      But I’d rather not have the first 15 Giants comments say “Uh, didn’t they win the Super Bowl?” Plus, they should be at the top (as you noted, you understand why). They’re the champs, and deserve the spoils of being rated at the top of the stupid rankings pieces, ha.

    2. Also… I actually wouldn’t be surprised if they keep 11 D Linemen, crazy as that sounds. Ideally, they’d get a late-round pick for Tapp, but that might be tough.

      1. Anders says:

        Tapp really needs to blow out both Graham and Hunt at TC to still get a spot and I think 11 DL is a bit to heavy unless they go very light at safety or LB.

        As you said, untill proven other wise, the Giants are defending champs no matter how crap they played in the regular season in 2011.

        1. They may not necessarily have to go light at S or LB to accommodate such a deep DL. They could go light on O: 3 QB, 3 backs, 1 FB, 5 WRs, 2 TEs, 8-9 OL. That would only be 22-23 players on O. Add in the 3 specialists, and they’d have 27-28 spots for the D.

          1. Anders says:

            I only see that happen if both the FB and one the backup RBs can prove to be a weapon in the receiving game, this is also why I think Brown have a greater chance then Polk to be the backup RB

        2. …and we agree on Tapp being the 6th guy right now.

  98. KJ Brophy says:

    I think I picked the Rams last year & it was mainly because they were in the West. Kinda disappointed you didn’t make a 40 burger reference when saying how much they fooled everybody. I was going to say I don’t think they even broke 30pts in a game last year but they did when they beat the Saints & broke 20 only 2 other times

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