Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) vs Denver Broncos (12-4)
January 17th 4:40 PM ET/ 3:40 Central
Last Saturday’s victory over the Cincinnati Bengals was not only impressive, great & epic, it proved to be costly as well. Scoreboard wise the Steelers might’ve won 18-16 but in the minds of many this upcoming game against the Broncos is where the Steelers injury riddled season ends.
Healthy, the Steelers were/are an offensive juggernaut not too many if any teams would like to face. They posses not only an All-Pro Quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger but also an All-Pro Running Back in Le’Veon Bell & an All-Pro Reciever in Antonio Brown. They also have guys like Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant & Heath Miller who can make plays as well. Oh, and the Steelers also have a legit guy backing up Bell in DeAngelo Williams.
The bad thing about what I just listed is….The stars are hurt….
Ben Roethlisberger has a separated shoulder. (Injured in the Cincy game.)
Antonio Brown has a concussion so he’s out for the game. (Injured in the Cincy game.)
And Le’Veon Bell has been out since Week 8 with a season ending knee injury. (Injured in a game against Cincy actually.)
Even backup running back DeAngelo Williams is out this week due to a foot injury.
The Broncos on the other hand are a lot more healthy.
Even with the inconsistent play at quarterback this season (Peyton Manning & Brock O) the Denver Broncos were still pretty damn dominant in part because of their defense.
On defense guys like DeMarcus Ware, Shane Ray, Derek Wolfe & Von Miller (linebackers/ defensive ends) can rush the quarterback while guys like Aqib Talib & Chris Harris Jr. can lock down the opposing teams’ receivers.
From top to bottom the Denver Broncos are the scariest defense in football.
On the season Denver has 52.0 sacks, 14int, 25 forced fumbles (13 recovered), two blocked kicks & 5 defensive TDs….
Prediction: win 24-13
No Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell & DeAngelo Williams is going to hurt the Steelers ultimately. Throw in the fact that they have half of Ben & I don’t see them having much of a chance…. Peyton could still very much throw the game away. But that’s highly unlikely.
Whenever there’s a discussion about elite Quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning are both mentioned. Peyton is universally known as the Greatest Regular Season Quarterback ever, while Eli is known as the only to defeat Tom Brady not only once…. but TWICE. Together they have accounted for 3 Super Bowls, 3 Super Bowl MVPs, 17 Pro Bowl selections and 5 NFL MVP awards.
For the past few seasons both players haven’t sustained great play.
Last season in particular we saw an ailing Peyton fail to make the appropriate throws necessary for his team to be successful. Was his minor thigh injury to blame? Or was it because of his torn right quad? Maybe the neck surgery finally caught up to him…….Whatever the case may be Peyton is not right and he hasn’t been the same since losing to the Seahawks in the Super Bowl a couple of years back. Is he starting to decline or is it too soon to conclude?
Eli on the other hand hasn’t been consistent. After winning the Super Bowl in 2012(season of 2011) his teams have finished with records of 9-7, 7-9 & 6-10 missing the playoffs in each of those years. Here at the start of 2015 his team is facing an 0-1 hole after questionable decision making on his behalf. Is he worth the $84 million contract extension recently signed? Or is he officially overpaid?
Me and fellow writer @deshawnh are about to dive in….
Ryan Fort: In the case of Eli I don’t believe he’s worth $85 million. For a guy whose won multiple Super Bowls he still makes rookie mistakes which doesn’t bode too well for me. In my eyes that displays a lack of growth, leadership and passion for the game. When you look at his numbers you can’t tell if he’s getting better or worse from a year to year basis. Serious question, why do some view him as an elite. Please enlighten me.
Deshawn Hornback: Well where to start? I honestly believe Eli catches a little more criticism than he should because he is not an awful QB. With that being said he has never been elite and the money he is getting paid shows otherwise. Eli makes more money than his brother Peyton, Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers. He is not better than any of those I mentioned. He had his best season last year, but I could easily see him relapsing like he has so many times before.
Fort: I believe he deserves every little ounce of criticism. Peyton, Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Brees are all ways viewed as the favorites to win their respective divisions and contend for a Super Bowl while Eli isn’t. Guys like Romo, Michael Vick, Robert Griffin lll and Nick Foles have constantly outshined him. You can pick any year from his career and I guarantee you he wasn’t the best quarterback in his division at that time.
Hornback: I can agree with Eli never being the best QB in the division, but I would not say that the Giants have never been given the expectations of a division title with him at the helm. He had some elite defenses. I have two questions for you. Do you believe that Eli will receive a spot in Canton and do you believe he deserves to be there?
Fort: Yeah, he did have some elite defenses. And as far as the whole Canton idea goes I’m on the fence. I believe he’ll have a spot because his last name is Manning. But as far as deserving a spot goes, it could go either way. What’s your take?
Hornback: I believe he will without a doubt because of that first championship alone and how it all went down, but when it comes to truly deserving it I say no. I really believe that he isn’t a top 50 QB ever. He barely has anything outside of the two championships in terms of accolades and the numbers definitely don’t support the idea of him being a Hall of Famer.
Fort: Agreed. He has a lot of ground to make up if he wants to be mentioned with the likes of Peyton, Joe Montana, Brett Farve etc. Eli Manning is nothing more than a modern day era Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson. Granted, he is a better passer than the two I just mentioned but that’s not saying very much.
Fort: Let’s get away from Eli for a second and turn our attention towards Peyton… Does he still have it?
Hornback: Well do I believe he still has it. Will he be a top 3 QB this year like he was for about 12 straight years? No. I do still think he can be a top 10 QB that does just enough to win, because the team he has right now is the best overall team he has ever been on in my opinion. They have arguably a top 5 defense, CJ Anderson started to rejuvenate their run game at the end of last year, and their receiving core still has Demariyus Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Peyton does not need to be great; he only has to be good. And in that sense I believe Peyton still has something. After the first half of his game in Arrowhead everyone on social media was overreacting and saying how he was done. Then, even though it was the ugliest drive I had ever seen from him, he still got them a tie ball game in the final minute of a crucial division road game.
Fort: I don’t think Peyton has entirely too much left. Ever since he lead Denver to historical numbers offensively a few seasons ago I think he started to fall off. His throwing power isn’t the same nor is his accuracy. Can he still play? Yes, but I don’t know for how much longer.
Hornback: I really believe he has a great chance to lead Denver to a championship this year. He has tremendous talent all around him. The only weakness I see is his offensive line but it is not awful. Of course I don’t have Denver winning the AFC but it would not surprise me one bit to see him representing the AFC again this year.
Fort: It wouldn’t surprise me either because of Wade Phillips’ defense. As far as the offense goes I think Gary Kubiak needs to take a step back. He came to Denver with the intent on extending Manning’s career by having him play the late John Elway role. In Houston and Baltimore that system was better suited because he had Arian Foster and Justin Forsett in the backfield, while having inconsistency in the quarterbacking department as Matt Schuab and Joe Flacco were his leaders. I don’t like that scheme for Denver.
Hornback: I believe the worst thing you can do is take control out of Peyton’s hands. Honestly I don’t believe there is a better play caller in the history of the NFL. He’s the most intelligent QB in NFL history let him use that. I think Elway coming by and saying “Hey Terrell Davis extended my career, allow CJ to extend yours,” is enough to convince Peyton to take a minor step back. Putting the control into Kubiak’s hands is not the answer.
Fort: Yeah I’m guessing CJ is now Terrell Davis good….child please. My main point is that Peyton is without a doubt declining and I believe Kubiak’s system is and will make it more apparent. Last season we saw Peyton drop out of the top 5, (Rodgers, Romo, Brady, Rothlisberger, Luck & Wilson imo were better) and I believe he has a chance to drop even further down the list this season. (Brees, Rivers, Ryan and Flacco could all be better.) His farewell tour has pretty much started in my eyes.
Hornback: First of all I never said CJ=Terell. I’m saying take a cue from what Elway did and hand it off about 350 times like he did with Terrell. Elway differed so much that he got his passing attempts below 400 at one point. Peyton should aim for that. 2nd of all I disagree with Peyton falling that far out. Until I see him fall apart I’m going to stick by him and still say he’s a tremendous QB than could easily win a championship this year.
Fort: In essence Peyton and Eli could both prove me wrong this season… I just don’t think they will. What do you see them accomplishing this season and how much longer do you think they’ll last?
Hornback: I think Eli will play out his contract and Peyton I think should retire after this season before it gets worse but if they (Denver) fool around and win a ring I could see anything happening.
Fort: True. I see Eli blossoming into a trading chip at some point within the next two to three years. As far as Peyton goes I think he’s done after this season regardless of what happens. I don’t see him playing as long as Brett Farve did while being as effective. They’ll both be gone though in five years max…. And as far this season goes Peyton could make a run towards a another Super Bowl, and for Eli he’s and the Giants are in ”No Mans Land….Nothing is happening.
Be sure to voice your opinions… Do you agree or disagree? We’d love to debate with you.
Wellllll heyyyyyy I know this was a surprise huh? The Oakland Raiders have been a joke since Rich Gannon and Charles Woodson got screwed on the infamous “Tuck Rule”. The Raiders have a little bit of hope. David Carr has been a glimmer of hope showing signs of some great potential. That along with grabbing Amari Cooper in the draft the future’s looking brighter in Oakland than it has in quite some time. Now considering today and these upcoming Sundays? Oakland has pretty much no chance. It’s hard being arguably the worst team in the league and being in one of the league’s toughest divisions. The Raiders will be lucky to win a single division game and it is even less likely they have much success anywhere else in their schedule. I have the Raiders going 3-12 and last in their division.
Kansas City Chiefs
Last season much of the Chiefs season went downhill from the first game. Many defensive key pieces got injured in their first game of the year against the Titans. Going into this season, Andy Reid got one of his old weapons back in Jeremy Maclin. Offensive mastermind, getting one of the most explosive receivers in the game, along with arguably the best running back in the league, should equal success on offense right? Wrong. As long as Alex Smith is the quarterback of this team the passing will always fall short. His inability to throw down the field will continue to plague this team’s offense this year. The offense the last 2 years have relied on the running backs and it will continue to be that way this year. On the other side of the ball Kansas City has been elite for the last 2 years and I see no reason for that to change. The Kansas City Chiefs have an incredibly hard schedule this season and I cannot see them surpassing 7 games this year, being 3rd in their division and outside of the playoffs.
San Diego Chargers
Questions came up in the offseason whether or not Rivers would be with the team at the beginning of the season. Now the season is approaching and Rivers is still at the helm of the offense. The Chargers have one glaring issue, and that is the 4 game suspension of future first ballot hall of famer Antonio Gates. The Chargers grabbed Stevie Johnson and Jacoby Jones to go with Keenan Allen and Malcolm Floyd which should be able to fill the void for the first 4 games of the season; if Gates does not win an appeal to reduce the games. Rivers last year was the leading MVP Candidate for about the first 6 weeks of the season. Now, this season the Chargers hope for their QB to not only repeat that but to have it stretch out for the entire season. With the departure of Ryan Matthews, the Chargers decided to grab Melvin Gordon in the draft, who has a lot of upside. The Chargers are filled with a lot of maybes this year, but I believe they will come out on the positive side of those maybes and end the year 10-6 edging into the playoffs in a wildcard spot.
Peyton Manning has been heralded by many as the best regular season QB of all time and I am one who agrees with that statement. Many believe Peyton may have finally hit that wall that happens to all athletes when they reach a certain age, but until I see it for myself I will have to shove all of those beliefs away. Denver still has pretty much everyone from last year. Near the tail end of the season they found a RB named C.J. Anderson who helped push the Broncos to some hard earned victories near the end of the season when Peyton was playing hurt. Now they get a full season with this dual threat RB which could help Peyton not have to do so much. On defense they have the same core of guys who will continue to give teams hell. This division is a lot like the AFC East in my opinion, that it is the same team that will continue to win the division until another team rises high enough to take them down. The Broncos will have a hold over the division once again going 12-4 and making it to the divisional round once again.
After a wild week in the Wildcard we’ve arrived to the Divisional Round. Within the Wildcard we saw the:
(4) Indianapolis Colts beat the (5) Cincinnati Bengals 26-10
(6) Baltimore Ravens beat the (3) Pittsburgh Steelers 30-17
(3) Dallas Cowboys beat the (6) Detroit Lions 24-20
(4) Carolina Panthers beat the (5) Arizona Cardinals 27-16
Here in the Divisional Round we have:
(6) Baltimore Ravens @ (1) New England Patriots
(4) Indianapolis Colts @ (2) Denver Broncos
(4) Carolina Panthers @ (1) Seattle Seahawks
(3) Dallas Cowboys @ (2) Green Bay Packers
Saturday 4:35 PM ET
(6) Baltimore Ravens vs (1) New England Patriots
Last week Baltimore dominated the Steelers. They were able to stifle the run game, rush the quarterback and make things tough on the receivers. Joe Flacco finished the game with 259 yards 2TDs and 0 interceptions while continuing to show us that he’s an elite quarterback. Despite Justin Forsett not having a great game the Ravens still won. If Forsett isn’t contributing this week things could get ugly.
The Patriots struggled the final two weeks of the season as they barely defeated the Jets and lost to the Bills. But even with the drop off in play to end the season New England was still a dominant team. They beat two division leaders, six teams above .500 and went 4-1 against the teams that made the playoffs.
In previous years the Baltimore Ravens have had the Patriots number. Brady is 1-2 against the Ravens, but a lot of that had to deal with presence of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. In this specific math-up give me the Patriots over Baltimore 33-24. Gronk is healthy and they have alot of weapons in the backfield along with a defense that can lockup the Raven’s receiving core.
Saturday 8:15 PM ET
(4) Carolina Panthers vs (1) Seattle Seahawks
Last week Carolina struggled early against Arizona, but turned it up later on in the 2nd half. Cam was solid (198 yards 2TDs 1int) as was the run game. Johnathan Stewart ran for 123 yards and had a TD. Carolina’s defense was able to force three turnovers which pretty much was the difference maker.
Seattle finished the season on roll and seem to be dominant once again. (Article about them here https://fortonsports.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/they-are-back/.) The L.OB. is still hell to deal with and Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch are dominating on the ground. But even with that success late the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys provided the blueprint on how to beat them.
Earlier this season these two teams met and the Panthers lost 13-9 having turned the ball over twice and fumbling the ball four times. Johnathan Stewart was solid but the turnovers killed them. This time give me the Panthers over Seattle 23-16. Seattle still struggles to score and the Panthers have hit their stride and the run game is dominant, which is an important asset to have when playing Seattle. FUN FACT: Superbowl Champs are 0-8 the following season in playoff games.
Sunday 1:05 PM ET
(3) Dallas Cowboys vs (2) Green Bay Packers
Last week the Cowboys had a controversial rally against the Lions. In that specific game they got dominated in the trenches resulting in them being average in the passing attack and stagnant in the run game. Defensively they forced a few turnovers and shut down Detroit’s offense in the 2nd half keeping the game close.
The Packers were a very dominate team at home as they went 8-0. A-Rod was a monster throwing over 20+ TDs and having 0ints at home. The Packers also average slightly over 40pts at home and went 3-2 against playoff teams. ever since the infamous R-E-L-A-X quote the Packers have gone 11-2.
This match up features a team that dominates on the road (Boys 8-0) and an undefeated home team. The Packers allow around 5.0 yards per carry. Cowboys running back Demarco Murray averaged about 5.0 ypc meaning he could be primed for a big game. With Rodgers’ torn calf being an issue the Cowboys will have an advantage if they can apply an ample amount of pressure. Give me the Cowboys over Packers 34-17. They’ll dominate on the ground, force a few turnovers and of course dominate the time of possession.
Sunday 4:40 PM ET
(4) Indianapolis Colts vs (2) Denver Broncos
Last week the Colts beat an ailing Cincinnati team that played without key weapons who pose a threat in the passing game. Luck had an alright game throwing for 376 yards and 1TD. That game was more about how the Colts had a game where they actually rushed for over 100 yards.
The Broncos have been a decent team this season. Offensively they aren’t as good as last year’s team, but this year’s defense is much better. They went 8-3 against teams .500 and above. The downside of that is the fact they went 2-3 against playoff teams.
In week one of the season these two teams played and the Broncos were victorious. The Colts turned the ball over multiple times while the Broncos were nearly flawless. But even with that it was only a seven point game. Luck and Manning are 1-1 when playing each other but this time i’m giving the edge to Andrew Luck. If he can be efficient and not turn the ball over they’ll win this game. Give me Indy over Denver 38-34.
The Quarterback position is the equivalent to having a coach on the field. They call the shots and are essential to a championship team. All of the quarterbacks listed below have shown signs of leadership and greatness.
He has already posted four 4,000 yard passing seasons (only two seasons without 4,000 yards). Rodgers won a super bowl and the other season missed 7 games; he has a Super Bowl ring and outside of his first year starting, has never had a losing record. His only season of not posting a 100+ passer rating was his first season starting. Aaron Rodgers is primed for greatness and has high potential to be a top 5 quarterback of all time. Only two seasons with 10+ interceptions too? We are witnessing greatness and it will only continue.
15. Jim Kelly
Sadly Kelly’s name is always associated with the infamous Buffalo Bills team that made four straight Super Bowls and lost each year. You have to understand though, reaching four straight Super Bowl is not easy. Jim Kelly came from the CFL to the NFL and if I was to include his CFL stats, then Kelly would be a few pegs up.
14. Roger Stabauch
Staubach lost a lot of years that could have garnered him even more success than he got in his illustrious career. Serving the Navy before joining the Cowboys, Staubach was a 27 year old rookie. He took the Cowboys to 5 Super Bowls and won 2 of them. Roger had arguably his best season in his last year when he recorded career highs for both passing yards and touchdowns, however, he declined a two year offer by the Cowboys following that season to avoid any long term injuries, after having 20 concussions in his career.
13. Dan Fouts
Fouts stuffed stat sheets like few others could do. He set season passing yardage records in 3 consecutive seasons in the NFL. Until Dan Marino came, Fouts was the man putting up huge numbers. His biggest hit to his career has to be the fact that he never reached a Super Bowl, even though he had amazing AFC championship performances.
12. Warren Moon
Warren Moon’s legacy should be even greater than it was. He was forced to play in the CFL for a few years, and he dominated it. Many executives didn’t believe in Moon thinking that black quarterback could not be successful in the NFL. Moon broke barriers for players in the NFL, and every African-American quarterback to this day owes him thanks.
11. Fran Tarkenton
Tarkenton came in and racked up points immediately. He is the only person to ever throw for 4 touchdowns in their first game. He led the Vikings to three Super Bowls but lost all of them. He was a dual threat quarterback ranking 4th in career rushing yards of all quarterbacks. He’s 5th all time in wins for a QB despite his losses in the Super Bowl.
10. Drew Brees
Brees was not always the great quarterback that you see today. He started out on the San Diego Chargers and was eventually given up on and traded to New Orleans. As soon as he arrived, Brees became a completely different player. I don’t think anyone would have said after he left the Chargers that he would end up in the top 5 for career passing yards and touchdowns. Brees led the Saints to a championship over the Peyton Manning led Colts, and if Brees can keep up his performance for the next few years, he could end up moving to up to the top 3 of passing yards and touchdowns.
9. Otto Graham
Graham is the greatest winner the sport has ever seen. Graham reached the NFL title game every single year he played and won 7 of them. A lot of this is due to the lack of competitive teams at the time but regardless, this feat is impressive. He is arguably the greatest pro athlete to play for Cleveland as he lead them to more championships than any other player from any of the city’s professional teams.
8. John Elway
John Elway ended his career the way every player would want to. He came out on top. After a long career of not quite being able to do it, Elway pushed through his final two years and won back to back Super Bowls. Elway early on developed as one of the premiere clutch quarterbacks in the game. He’s had many great moments throughout his career, but is best remembered for his AFC Championship game when he had “The Drive” against the Cleveland Browns to go to the Super Bowl.
7. Steve Young
How do you fill the gaping hole left by Joe Montana? With Steve Young. The 49ers probably had the best luck ever when they lost their top 5 quarterback and found another top 10 one. The greatest left handed QB ever has a underdog story of how he became one of the greatest football players of all-time.
6. Brett Favre
Brett Favre was the definition of a gunner. If Favre saw even the tiniest of seams he was going to throw it. If it went wrong he didn’t care and if he saw the same seam the next time out he would throw it again. Despite how bad that sounds it is what launched Favre into greatness. His gunner mentality brought Green Bay a championship and only twice in Favre’s extremely long career did he have a losing season.
5. Johnny Unitas
Unitas is best known for “The Greatest Game Ever Played”. In the NFL Championship, Unitas beat the Giants in the first overtime game in NFL history. His numbers are not as flashy because of the time he was in, but there is no doubt Unitas was a top 5 quarterback of all time. He led the Colts to 3 NFL championships, and was a 4x MVP and 10x Pro Bowler.
4. Dan Marino
Dan Marino helped evolve the game. Marino is arguably the greatest pure passer the NFL has ever seen. In his second year, Marino broke season records for passing yards and touchdowns. Both stood for at least 20 years. Marino is arguably the greatest pure passer on this entire list, but his biggest knock has to be the fact that he was never able to get a ring. In his one time reaching the Super Bowl, Marino threw two interceptions and lost 38-16. Known most for his quick release and uncanny awareness, Marino stands as the greatest quarterback to never win a ring.
3. Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning is a perfectionist. Football is his life. Two weeks after the season is over, Peyton will be in the film room studying defenses. I believe he is the greatest regular season quarterback of all time. It’s his shortcomings in late postseason runs that make people question him. If you’re a stats guy he might be your greatest quarterback of all time. He is going to end his career at the top of 90% of passing records. In his second year with the Broncos, he ran statistically the greatest offense of all time. If Peyton could grab just another ring or two, then he could possibly be the greatest of all time.
2. Tom Brady
Brady was an underdog. Selected in the 6th round from Michigan, Brady rode the bench until Drew Bledsoe went down. Brady has not looked back since then by winning three consecutive Super Bowl championships. He cultivated the greatest season ever by a quarterback when he threw for 50 touchdowns and nearly went undefeated for the entire season. Brady was great at winning with guys who were not perennial stars. He only had 3 guys in the receiving core to ever make a pro bowl (Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Randy Moss). Brady is still going and if he can win another one, then the topic of Brady being the GOAT could become a legitimate argument.
1. Joe Montana
Joe Montana is the greatest quarterback of all time. Joe had ice water in his veins and always closed out games when his team needed him to. His regular season stats were mostly not over the top. He is in the top 5 of every passing Super Bowl stat you can think of. Montana had a gift for showing up when his number was called and he always delivered. Montana was the definition of greatness in a quarterback. He not only had the talent to be a great quarterback, but he was a natural leader, his toughness was second to none, and he has the championships to prove his greatness.
Omolade Saka (https://fortonsports.wordpress.com/author/omoladesaka/): The Denver Broncos are obvious contenders. Even though they started off slower than last year this team has a lot of offensive weapons and of course Peyton Manning, who could arguably be a top 5 QB of all time. You just can’t count them out with all of the talent they have offensively. Plus, their defense has improved from last year.
R’Mon Allen (https://fortonsports.wordpress.com/author/mononsports/): There is no question about the Denver Broncos being contenders in the AFC. They are currently the reigning AFC champions, both their offense and defense improved. Also they are extremely motivated after what happened to them in the Super Bowl. Even though they lost their run game in Knowshown Moreno, you have to believe that their all time great QB Peyton Manning, will figure it out.
Ryan Fort (https://fortonsports.wordpress.com/author/ryanfort/): Contenders. Any team that has Peyton Manning at QB has to deemed as a Contender right? Yeah they started off slow but they’re starting to pick it up which could mean trouble for a lot of the teams in the AFC. Gulp, league.
San Diego Chargers
Hornback: The leading MVP Phillip Rivers has his team performing at a contending level and will continue that throughout this season. Don’t be surprised if they steal the division this year.
Saka: The San Diego Chargers are definitely contenders. This team is led by QB Phillip Rivers, who in my opinion is playing like the best QB in the NFL as of right now. Defensively this team is having a very good season. Ranking third in the NFL in Total Offensive yards allowed and fourth in total passing yards allowed. Don’t be surprised if you see them playing for the Lombardi trophy this year.
Allen: The San Diego Chargers are a very legit contender in the AFC. Phillip Rivers is obviously the league MVP and proving all the doubters that buried him years ago wrong. They are vastly improved on the defensive end and their offense is loaded with weapons. Like Denver their running game is suspect due to injury, but a great QB can always cancel that out.
Fort: They are Contenders no doubt. Rivers is having a great year and the team is doing well despite a number of injuries here early on. If any team can dethrone Denver it’s them.
Hornback: The most talented team in the AFC is what I call them despite them always finding a way to come up short. They will win the division by default but I will not call them contenders.
Saka: This team is a pretender. Yes, this team will definitely make the playoffs and more than likely win their division but they have yet to win a playoff game under Marvin Lewis and he has been their head coach since 2003. Plus their No. 1 WR is out till who knows when.
Allen: Despite being the most talented team in the league the Bengals are merely a pretender. They never seem to show up when the big moments arrive. You can have all the talent you want to but it takes heart be a contender in this league.
Fort: Pretenders. In the Playoffs they can never get going. And with Green injured I’m expecting a huge drop with this team.
New England Patriots
Hornback: I always believe in Brady because somehow someway his team will find a way to be successful. But I do believe that they need to capitalize on these receivers being dangled around on the trade block. Contender.
Saka: Tom Brady is just a flat out winner and you can never count him out because he will always find a way to win. I also believe in Bill Belicheck, which I believe is one of the greatest coaches in NFL history. Don’t count this team out just yet. Contender.
Allen: We are finally starting to see decline of The New England Patriots. With Logan Mankins not there to protect their all time great QB Tom Brady and having limited weapons on both the passing and running game the Patriots are going to have a tough time competing with the best in the Conference. Borderline Pretender at best.
Fort: The jury is still out on this squad. They’re starting to put it together but I honestly don’t know…. It all depends on if Gronk can healthy… I’m going with…. Pretender. Brady is in decline.
Hornback: Flacco has been solid and the defense is underrated this year but this team is quietly making noise. I don’t quite see them as a contender without more star power. Pretender
Saka: Pretender. This team can’t compete with elite teams in the AFC and probably won’t even win their division because they have the Bengals in it.
Allen: Contender, you have to love the way the Ravens have improved their passing game by acquiring Steve Smith and their Defense has always been top notch. They will be a force to be reckoned with.
Fort: If they can make it through the regular season above .500 sure they’ll be Contenders. Flacco is currently under the radar which is good. Unlike Peyton, Flacco is the QB you want in the postseason. He’ll be getting called ELITE again by season’s end.
Hornback: Not impressed with anything about this team so far. Horrible run game and Luck is turning over the ball too much. Pretender.
Saka: Contenders. The Colts have the #1 total offense and the #1 passing offense. This team is gonna be hard for any defense to compete with. They can make a run for the championship. It’s all depending on Andrew Luck.
Allen: Not sold on the Colts just yet. They play in the worst division in football (AFC South) and their offense is mistake prone despite of the numbers Luck is putting up. Pretenders for now.
Fort: The Colts are not Contenders, yet. Luck turns the ball over too much for my liking. If he were to play Brady, Manning or Rivers it would get ugly because of his turnovers. We all remember what happened when Luck faced Brady last year. But then again he did dismantle Cincy and beat the Ravens so far…. So hmmm.
Hornback: With Fitzpatrick at QB I’m calling this team a pretender. Despite JJ Watt’s greatness I don’t see this team making any noise this year.
Saka: Pretenders. This team might be very good defensively and they do have the best defensive player in the NFL in JJ Watt but they just can’t win with Fitzpatrick at QB. The guy is just terrible in my opinion.
Allen: Clearly the Texans are pretenders, despite having the best defensive player in the league. Their QB is Ryan Fitzpatrick. Nothing else to say.
Fort: Pretenders. J.J Watt is the best defensive player in Football but let’s be honest here…. Fitzpatrick is a 6th tier QB. You can’t contend with him.
AFC Team That Could Rise:
The Browns could be very interesting if they can stay over.500 by the time they get Josh Gordon back, because if they do they WILL make the playoffs.
This is a weak conference and I don’t see anyone else coming up and becoming contenders. The Playoff teams are very clear in this conference.
At this point in time the race for the AFC seems clear cut and I don’t see much coming from anywhere else in the AFC.
Kansas City is slowly coming up. If they continue to improve their play and Bowe along with Charles remain healthy they could regain last year’s form. Just watch.
How was this even a debate? I mean really, who would even ask this question without laughing? One is consistent while the other one inconsistently inconsistent. They’re both going for records. One’s going for the Int. record while the other is on pace to break numerous records. This topic in general is blasphemy!
6-year, $108million contract extension….. Breathe Cowboy fans breathe…
This extension is not, and I repeat, IS NOT the end of the world or a sign the Cowboys don’t want to win. By signing Romo it shows that they want to win.
Yes Romo makes mistakes and doesn’t show up in big time games. We know that. But can you name someone that’ll help make the Cowboys better?
Sure Brady, Manning, Rodgers and Brees would make them better, but lets be honest for a second; do they really have a chance to get them?
No they don’t and there aren’t any other quarterbacks available to make a legit case. Some may say draft a QB. But as of late the Cowboys have had a bad history when it comes to drafting quarterbacks. So in other words Tony Romo is staying whether you like it or not.
Now that they’ve addressed the QB and salary situation it’s time to bulk up the O-Line and improve the defense. They also need to find a solution at the runningback position. At this point it’s time to improve the overall team. Signing Romo helped, but it won’t be enough.
Superbowl Mvp,record for most touchdowns thrown in playoffs history, 11-0 touchdown interception ratio in four playoff games with a Superbowl ring to cap it off. That’s everything Joe Flacco accomplished during this years playoffs; not to overlook the fact he out played both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning en route to accomplishing these feats. After that spectacular run one question must be answered; Is Joe Flacco ELITE? An elite quarterback does great things in both the regular season and postseason. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Ben Rothlisberger and Aaron Rodgers are all elite quarterbacks because of that. You can’t just grade a quarterback on postseason play you have to look at everything. Looking at stats from last season Joe Flacco had 3,610 yards passing with 20tds and 12 picks, completing 57.6% of his passes finishing with a QBR of 59.7 (Total Rating 80.9). This season he had 3,817 passing yards with 22tds and 10 picks, completing 59.7% of his passes finishing with a QBR of 46.8 ( Total Rating 87.7). Now lets take a look at the elite quarterbacks’stats along with 6 others during this two year span.
Tom Brady 2011: 5,235 passing yards 39tds 12 picks 65.6% passes completed. QBR 72.7 (Total Rating 105.6)
This Season: 4,827 passing yards 34tds 8 picks 63% passes completed 77.1 QBR and (98.7 TR)
Each of those quarterbacks won a SuperBowl or two and shows greatness throughout the season and postseason. It’s not an “I’ll show up for one part,” type of thing for them. They’re consistently consistent with everything they do. Regular season or playoffs they show up unlike the other QBs.
After viewing those stats does Flacco really belong in the elite category? How many of those 2nd tier quarterbacks is he better than? The answers are no and not many. There are plenty of QBs who led their respective teams to SuperBowl titles who weren’t elite. ( Example Eli Manning both years and Big Ben 1st year.) The playoffs help define your career but doesn’t nec essarily make it. If Flacco comes back next season stellar and playing out of his mind then maybe just maybe he can be considered Elite. But as if right now he’s not.