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This Week in the AFC North


Zombo

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The Great Zomboni is back after another highly successful Season in 2014. No one knows the AFC North like TGZ and with the upgraded crystal ball ... there's a chance he runs the table.

 

First off, let's make this clear: The Cleveland Browns are the best team in the AFC North. They will have the best OL in the league, which will allow new OC John DiFilippo to run a quick-hitting precision offense that will control the clock and score more than enough points to with a defense that will dominate. The Browns boast 4 Pro Bowlers in the secondary behind a front seven that will be relentless with some big off-season additions. No longer able to be easily run on, teams will have to pass on Cleveland more ... and bad things will happen. Perhaps the best special team unit in the NFL as well.

 

The Ravens are next. Always well-coached, good pass rush, and a QB in his prime. But theY don't have the offensive weapons of years past, and a few more holes in the roster than they are used too, so they will take the second chair.

 

The Bungles are headed out of the playoffs and back to Bungledom. Andy Dalton seems to be regressing as the playoff win monkey is no longer on his back, but crawling directly up his ass. Some of the parts are starting to need replaced in Cincinnati as the playoff window closes,but Marv Lewis will keep his sinking ship in contention through November and end up third.

 

The Steelers will bring up the rear this year, as it is clear they are not a very good football team. There is nothing to like about their defense. Dick LeBeau is gone, the secondary is terrible and the front seven is pedestrian. Does not resemble any Steeler team in 25 years, and that's a shame. Offensively, they have some weapons but it is doubtful the OL will keep Big Ben upright, and when he goes down the wheels come completely off. Long year in the Burgh.

 

Week One Action:

 

Pittsburgh at New England Thursday Night Football 8:30 PM

This game will set records for ratings, but when the dust settles at the end of the year, this will just be an average team beating a bad team. Expect Brady to be rusty, but Belichick will have enough cooked up to keep the Steelers at bay. PATRIOTS 30 STEELERS 19

 

Cleveland at NY Jets 1:00 PM

Jets will get better as the season goes along, but on Sunday they will be the first team to meet the Browns 2015 Defense, and they will pay dearly for that. BROWNS 23 JETS 10

 

Baltimore at Denver 4:25 PM

No one is talking much about the Broncos this year ... but I see a healthy Peyton Manning in a Gary Kubiak offense and a stacked defense ... this can't be good for the rest of the AFC ... including the Ravens. BRONCOS 35 RAVENS 24

 

Cincinnati at Oakland 4:25 PM

Improving Raider team opens at home and squeeks out a last second win, and the Andy Dalton Death Watch begins in Cincy ... RAIDERS 23 BUNGLES 22

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The Great Zomboni is back after another highly successful Season in 2014. No one knows the AFC North like TGZ and with the upgraded crystal ball ... there's a chance he runs the table.

 

First off, let's make this clear: The Cleveland Browns are the best team in the AFC North. They will have the best OL in the league, which will allow new OC John DiFilippo to run a quick-hitting precision offense that will control the clock and score more than enough points to with a defense that will dominate. The Browns boast 4 Pro Bowlers in the secondary behind a front seven that will be relentless with some big off-season additions. No longer able to be easily run on, teams will have to pass on Cleveland more ... and bad things will happen. Perhaps the best special team unit in the NFL as well.

You make a lot of good points....but best special team unit? Considering how bad they were last year? Sounds a little like Fantasyland....unless Travis Benjamin really comes back to form.

 

The Ravens are next. Always well-coached, good pass rush, and a QB in his prime. But theY don't have the offensive weapons of years past, and a few more holes in the roster than they are used too, so they will take the second chair.

 

The Bungles are headed out of the playoffs and back to Bungledom. Andy Dalton seems to be regressing as the playoff win monkey is no longer on his back, but crawling directly up his ass. Some of the parts are starting to need replaced in Cincinnati as the playoff window closes,but Marv Lewis will keep his sinking ship in contention through November and end up third.

 

The Steelers will bring up the rear this year, as it is clear they are not a very good football team. There is nothing to like about their defense. Dick LeBeau is gone, the secondary is terrible and the front seven is pedestrian. Does not resemble any Steeler team in 25 years, and that's a shame. Offensively, they have some weapons but it is doubtful the OL will keep Big Ben upright, and when he goes down the wheels come completely off. Long year in the Burgh.

I agree...their defense and OL do seem pedestrian compared to previous times.....and they do have some weapons.....but why do people think those weapons can carry them to the Super Bowl?

 

Week One Action:

 

Pittsburgh at New England Thursday Night Football 8:30 PM

This game will set records for ratings, but when the dust settles at the end of the year, this will just be an average team beating a bad team. Expect Brady to be rusty, but Belichick will have enough cooked up to keep the Steelers at bay. PATRIOTS 30 STEELERS 19

 

Cleveland at NY Jets 1:00 PM

Jets will get better as the season goes along, but on Sunday they will be the first team to meet the Browns 2015 Defense, and they will pay dearly for that. BROWNS 23 JETS 10

 

Baltimore at Denver 4:25 PM

No one is talking much about the Broncos this year ... but I see a healthy Peyton Manning in a Gary Kubiak offense and a stacked defense ... this can't be good for the rest of the AFC ... including the Ravens. BRONCOS 35 RAVENS 24

 

Cincinnati at Oakland 4:25 PM

Improving Raider team opens at home and squeeks out a last second win, and the Andy Dalton Death Watch begins in Cincy ... RAIDERS 23 BUNGLES 22

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I agree with the Great Zomboni's assessments, especially for Pittspile to blow this season. Their defense is most likely going to be one of the worst we have seen in years and should be enjoyable to watch fail.

 

Dalton still QBs for hapless Cincy, so nothing more to add here.

 

Bmore lacks talent in many areas and is still led at WR by an old man in Smith.

 

Browns should roll through the AFC North going 5-1 or 6-0.

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Ah... now it really feels like football season...

 

After narrowly defeating TGZ last season I threatened retirement... but this off season I realized I'd miss the game too much... so after minutes of rigorous training... I'm Back!

 

And unlike Z, I will continue to make my own picks without assistance...

http://thebrownsboard.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=31477&do=findComment&comment=465941

 

 

2014 Record:

 

Weekly Results ... Prev ..... This ... YTD

Straight-up ......... 31-28-1 .. 4-0 ... 35-28-1

Vs. the spread .... 34-26 .. 2-0-2 ... 36-26-2

But that was then, and now we begin again...

 

 

Pittsburgh @ New England (-7.0)

I hear there's a chance that Brady may play. That alone is more than enough to pick NE heads up.

Add that Bell won't and what chance PTG may have had to cover is no more.

At the end of the night we find ourselves with a 1/2 game lead in the rugged AFCN...

Prediction: NE 34 PTG 23

FINAL: NE 28 PTG 21 - W/T

 

Baltimore @ Denver (-4.5)

I think BLT is PTG-lite in 2015. They have a suspect D, especially up the middle, paired with a better O, but an O that has nowhere near PTG's offensive firepower.

I think the Kubiak-Manning marriage ultimately fails at altitude, but that comes later after they realize that Manning's arm is not the issue, it's his legs. Have you seen him take a drop from under center?

Prediction: DNV 30 BLT 16

FINAL: DNV 19 BLT 13 - W/W

 

Cincinnati @ Oakland (+3.5)

I've called CIN the most balanced team in the AFCN. I still think that. However, I no longer think they are good enough on either side to continue their rule in the division.

Traveling to the West Coast's PT-zone always takes a toll. And when a good team is waiting at the other end of that trip, it can get rough. OAK is now a "good team". It gets rough for CIN.

Prediction: OAK 35 CIN 17

FINAL: CIN 33 OAK 13 - L/L

 

Cleveland @ New York (NYJ) (-3.0)

Will the combined defenses outscore the combined offenses? Not quite, but I can see it being close. Even closer? The Kickers combined scoring...

This is a grinder of a game. We grind down the Jets' D-line with our running. Haden grinds his way to another containment of a name WR.

Tough D... low scores... FG fests... Welcome to 2015.

Prediction: CLE 20 NYJ 16

FINAL: NYJ 31 CLE 10 - L/L

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Tour still does not understand that Great Zomboni does not "compete" with anyone, but we love his predictions here every week anyway.

 

Browns uni's this week:

 

12006115_10153670484714684_5708998283805

Shades of the Kardiac Kids? Not a great look in my opinion....but perhaps better than some looks I have seen from them lately.

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You make a lot of good points....but best special team unit? Considering how bad they were last year? Sounds a little like Fantasyland....unless Travis Benjamin really comes back to form.

 

 

 

Well, Gip, our special teams were ranked 14 out of 32 teams last year (according to football outsiders http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamst2014), but the areas we were bad in, we should be a lot better in.

 

Kickoff returns: I assume Gilbert will help out here when he is healthy

Punt returns: We had no punt return game last year with Benji not at full speed or confidence due to the recovering knee. We had 30-something safties fair-catching the ball. Benji is back to being explosive and should return to being one of the best punt returners in the league

FG/XP: New kicker hasn't missed yet and his young leg has to give us more than we got from Cuntlips last season

 

The other areas, where we were very good, should remain very good. We were #1 in kick coverage and near the top in punt coverage. That is what I kept stressing about Moore, Poyer, Bademosi and Carder when others wanted to cut them: these are very, very good special teams players. And we have continuity with Tabor

 

Oh ... and we upgraded punter by miles.

 

Our special teams are going to be excellent.

 

Zombo

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I admire your homerism as it's quite funny at times. That being said I unfortunately can't argue with your Steelers prediction for tonight. It may actually be worse. Brady might put up 50. The offense isn't at full strength either. It's going to be a long night for me. The Browns are going to suck as usual though so there's that. Good luck with your predictions.

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Well, Gip, our special teams were ranked 14 out of 32 teams last year (according to football outsiders http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamst2014), but the areas we were bad in, we should be a lot better in.

 

Kickoff returns: I assume Gilbert will help out here when he is healthy

Punt returns: We had no punt return game last year with Benji not at full speed or confidence due to the recovering knee. We had 30-something safties fair-catching the ball. Benji is back to being explosive and should return to being one of the best punt returners in the league

FG/XP: New kicker hasn't missed yet and his young leg has to give us more than we got from Cuntlips last season

 

The other areas, where we were very good, should remain very good. We were #1 in kick coverage and near the top in punt coverage. That is what I kept stressing about Moore, Poyer, Bademosi and Carder when others wanted to cut them: these are very, very good special teams players. And we have continuity with Tabor

 

Oh ... and we upgraded punter by miles.

 

Our special teams are going to be excellent.

 

Zombo

I hope you are right. We really had no return game last season. Benji hopefully cures that.

And yes, the punter is better, and the kicker is no worse I suspect.

As for the coverages....I didn't realize were ranked that well. I thought we were middle of the road.

Moore is still no good at kick returning...so, yea, I would like to see us get some use out of Gilbert in the return game if he isn't going to do anything else.

But it would not surprise me to see him inactive on Sunday....and then what? Back to Moore.

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10 of 16 games have a 3point spread or under. These our my Gumby Gumball Winners. Throw out spread and pick winner ==Texans, Jets, Bills, Panthers, Zona, S.D, Titians, Bengals, Eagles and Vikings.

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10 of 16 games have a 3point spread or under. These our my Gumby Gumball Winners==Texans, Jets, Bills, Panthers, Zona, S.D, Titians, Bengals, Eagles and Vikings. Make your picks to play hardball weekly only on spreads of 3.50 or under? We could pin it if we need to track it or prize it if that is a option? what you think, I know it late?

Time will eventually defeat us all.

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I admire your homerism as it's quite funny at times. That being said I unfortunately can't argue with your Steelers prediction for tonight.

OK... now you're just fucking with us...

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I was highly unimpressed with both defenses last night.

 

Pats got gashed by a 32 year old running back all night long. Jabaal Sheard still hasn't learned how to buckle his chin strap.

 

Steelers defense looked like they were drawing plays up in the grass between huddles. Played with 10 defenders on plays, forgot to cover GRONK on more than a few plays.... and let a guy that was watching games on TV last year run for 75 yards on them.

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I admire your homerism as it's quite funny at times. That being said I unfortunately can't argue with your Steelers prediction for tonight. It may actually be worse. Brady might put up 50. The offense isn't at full strength either. It's going to be a long night for me. The Browns are going to suck as usual though so there's that. Good luck with your predictions.

 

 

Well, all of your troll buddies must have felt the same way, as they didn't even peek their heads in before the game.

 

And we KNOW they won't be peeking in after.

 

Zombo

--Where's my bitches?

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Well, all of your troll buddies must have felt the same way, as they didn't even peek their heads in before the game.

 

And we KNOW they won't be peeking in after.

 

Zombo

--Where's my bitches?

I'm here. I'm also not as disappointed about the game as I thought I'd be. Offensive line looked good, Williams looked good. AB was fantastic as usual. Heath Miller is his same steady self. No one got seriously hurt. They were in a competitive game, short handed at key positions in a hornets nest against the defending champs. The weren't bad. The back end of the defense needs work but the whole world knew that. I think the future is bright. They ran well, passed well and were a couple missed field goals from tying it with a 2pt conversion at the end. They're gonna be in it all year and that's all you can ask for.

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Last night just proved that everything the Stoolers did in camp this year was for not............. 0-1 period.

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Well, the squealers didn't send one of their players, usually James Harrison, to

take out Brady's knee, and didn't hit Gronk or any wr with a

helmet to his head..

 

Thusly, the musty squealer squids were going to lose. They failed to do what

enables them to win - illegal cheapshots on opposing players.

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I'm here. I'm also not as disappointed about the game as I thought I'd be. Offensive line looked good, Williams looked good. AB was fantastic as usual. Heath Miller is his same steady self. No one got seriously hurt. They were in a competitive game, short handed at key positions in a hornets nest against the defending champs. The weren't bad. The back end of the defense needs work but the whole world knew that. I think the future is bright. They ran well, passed well and were a couple missed field goals from tying it with a 2pt conversion at the end. They're gonna be in it all year and that's all you can ask for.

Trying to give you objective points of view here:

 

A. First....a few things that were no secrets.

1. No surprise: Brady is one of the best ever. BR also outstanding. (but Brady better)

2. Gronk and Brown are among the best in the league at what they do.

then these:

3. Steelers need to get Martavis Bryant back....as Wheaton was doing his best Quincy Morgan imitation...dropping half the balls thrown his way.

4. DeAngelo Williams is an adequate replacement....but don't get too hyped up Steeler fans because of the following:

 

5. The offensive lines of both these teams are adequate at best. Oh....they looked OK....but that may have been because of the quality of what they were facing...or lack thereof...and because of the quality of the QBs they were protecting:

6. The DLs of both the Pats and Steelers in my opinion would rank at best in the lower part of the third quatrile of Defensive lines in the league...i.e. definitely well below average.

7. The Linebacking corps of both teams is average at best

8. The Defensive backfields of both team are terrible....but the Steelers are a bit more terrible.

 

Face it, these teams are good because they have two of the best QBs in the game....and that is important, plus a couple of other quality offensive skill players.. But I see both of them being seriously challenged to retain their division titles this year. The Pats are more likely to do so because they don't have the competition the Steelers have from within their division.

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Trying to give you objective points of view here:

 

A. First....a few things that were no secrets.

1. No surprise: Brady is one of the best ever. BR also outstanding. (but Brady better)

2. Gronk and Brown are among the best in the league at what they do.

then these:

3. Steelers need to get Martavis Bryant back....as Wheaton was doing his best Quincy Morgan imitation...dropping half the balls thrown his way.

4. DeAngelo Williams is an adequate replacement....but don't get too hyped up Steeler fans because of the following:

 

5. The offensive lines of both these teams are adequate at best. Oh....they looked OK....but that may have been because of the quality of what they were facing...or lack thereof...and because of the quality of the QBs they were protecting:

6. The DLs of both the Pats and Steelers in my opinion would rank at best in the lower part of the third quatrile of Defensive lines in the league...i.e. definitely well below average.

7. The Linebacking corps of both teams is average at best

8. The Defensive backfields of both team are terrible....but the Steelers are a bit more terrible.

 

Face it, these teams are good because they have two of the best QBs in the game....and that is important, plus a couple of other quality offensive skill players.. But I see both of them being seriously challenged to retain their division titles this year. The Pats are more likely to do so because they don't have the competition the Steelers have from within their division.

1. Ok

2. Ok

3. Agreed on Bryant, but Wheaton's not going anywhere. It's DHB (who stepped out of bounds all on his own on what should have been a td) that will be replaced by Bryant. Wheaton was had a couple drops but also made a really nice sideline catch as well. He'll be alright.

4. DeAngelo Williams had a huge night, I think a little more than adequate as a replacement. Not sure what you expected for him to be more than "adequate". He's a good rb and will likely continue to get some reps after Bell returns.

5. For an "objective" point this is a little puzzling. You rate them based on your subjective opinion. Both offenses moved the ball well. When a team puts up over 470 yards of offense how could you possibly conclude their line is "adequate at best"? Should a rb run for 200 yards and a qb be able to hold the ball 8 seconds for you to consider a line more than adequate? Please explain. I'm sure no matter what happens with your team this year you'll conclude that their line is awesome. You've continually expressed that. That's not being objective. Ben had adequate time to throw, and they ran the ball really well. That's a little better than adequate.

6. Again, I don't know how you come up with this.

7. What's average? What does that mean? Did you see Shazier flying around last night? Did you see Jarvis Jones applying constant pressure? Did James Harrison abuse their left tackle? That's what I saw. Hell, Bud Dupree got a sack on his first play of his career. New England had 80yds rushing.

8. Dingdingdingding. We have a winner here. I'm not gonna get worked up when Gronkowski beats someone line Terrance Garvin on a fade pattern. He would beat any and everyone else in the league doing that. I'm not gonna complain when any guy beats another guy straight up to make a play. That's the game, and Gronk is 6'7" with great hands and athleticism. That's what he does. What absolutely kills me is when Gronkowski is running around the field unguarded. When all he does is run a streak down the hash and there isn't a Steeler on the tv screen anywhere around him, that's when my butthole puckers. That's what happened last night and I've heard no explanation for it. It's poor preparation, coaching and communication. Add that all up and you get terrible.

 

I agree with your last point, but that's every year. There are 3 good teams in the division and it'll be hard for any of them to win the division. I do think the Pats are a great team, but Buffalo and Miami are getting better. They will be challenged.

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1. Ok

2. Ok

3. Agreed on Bryant, but Wheaton's not going anywhere. It's DHB (who stepped out of bounds all on his own on what should have been a td) that will be replaced by Bryant. Wheaton was had a couple drops but also made a really nice sideline catch as well. He'll be alright.

I am not saying Wheaton is going anywhere....but yea, he had one good catch and like 3 drops. Eventually that could get you a ticket to ride.

4. DeAngelo Williams had a huge night, I think a little more than adequate as a replacement. Not sure what you expected for him to be more than "adequate". He's a good rb and will likely continue to get some reps after Bell returns.

Yes, he is a good RB.....I don't think I said otherwise. But I think he was gaining a lot on a porous defense.

5. For an "objective" point this is a little puzzling. You rate them based on your subjective opinion. Both offenses moved the ball well. When a team puts up over 470 yards of offense how could you possibly conclude their line is "adequate at best"? Should a rb run for 200 yards and a qb be able to hold the ball 8 seconds for you to consider a line more than adequate? Please explain. I'm sure no matter what happens with your team this year you'll conclude that their line is awesome. You've continually expressed that. That's not being objective. Ben had adequate time to throw, and they ran the ball really well. That's a little better than adequate.

An "adequate" offensive line that goes against a very below average DL should look decent...shouldn't it? And I said the QBs they are playing in front of make them look better.

But, I will give you this: I think they are well coached and may overachieve because of that.

6. Again, I don't know how you come up with this.

Because I am knowledgeable, insightful, and am aware of the competition they face. These two DLs would not rank in the top half of DLs in the league....particularly the AFC. Overall Steelers DL is probably #4 in AFCN, Same is probably true for Pats.

7. What's average? What does that mean? Did you see Shazier flying around last night? I saw him make one good play.

Did you see Jarvis Jones applying constant pressure? No. Because he didn't . Again, I saw one good play

Did James Harrison abuse their left tackle? That's what I saw. You are seeing things through piss colored glasses. I didn't see him "abuse" anyone. I saw him hand fighting with that OT a lot.

 

Hell, Bud Dupree got a sack on his first play of his career. New England had 80yds rushing.

Dupree did do that...did he do much else? NE had 80 yards rushing...which was all they wanted because they passed all the time because they knew they could abuse the Steelers secondary. Dion Lewis broke a lot and averaged like 5.0 yards per carry. The teams overall ypc avg. was down because Brady had 4-5 1 yard sneaks.

8. Dingdingdingding. We have a winner here. I'm not gonna get worked up when Gronkowski beats someone line Terrance Garvin on a fade pattern. He would beat any and everyone else in the league doing that. I'm not gonna complain when any guy beats another guy straight up to make a play. That's the game, and Gronk is 6'7" with great hands and athleticism. That's what he does. What absolutely kills me is when Gronkowski is running around the field unguarded. When all he does is run a streak down the hash and there isn't a Steeler on the tv screen anywhere around him, that's when my butthole puckers. That's what happened last night and I've heard no explanation for it. It's poor preparation, coaching and communication. Add that all up and you get terrible.

 

I agree with your last point, but that's every year. There are 3 good teams in the division and it'll be hard for any of them to win the division.

And the fourth team may have the most talent....except at the Offensive skill positions.

 

I do think the Pats are a great team, but Buffalo and Miami are getting better. They will be challenged.

Well, Brady and Gronk are great players....but I am not sure that overall the Pats are a great team. I think they are vulnerable because their OL is in flux...and so is their defense. They may have the worst defense in that division....same as the Steelers in their.

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Because I am knowledgeable, insightful, and am aware of the competition they face. These two DLs would not rank in the top half of DLs in the league....particularly the AFC. Overall Steelers DL is probably #4 in AFCN, Same is probably true for Pats.

And your most redeeming quality is your humility. Maybe we should withhold judgement until midseason when we have a sample size.

7. What's average? What does that mean? Did you see Shazier flying around last night? I saw him make one good play.

Then you weren't paying attention.

Did you see Jarvis Jones applying constant pressure? No. Because he didn't . Again, I saw one good play

Again, you weren't paying attention.

Did James Harrison abuse their left tackle? That's what I saw. You are seeing things through piss colored glasses. I didn't see him "abuse" anyone. I saw him hand fighting with that OT a lot.

James Harrison played well. You just happen to look through shit (Browns) colored glasses. Brady gets rid of the ball in most cases in well under 2.5 seconds. Pressure was applied, but Brady was Brady. Harrison made the tackle look like he was on skates. Admittedly, it didn't matter in hindsight.

 

Hell, Bud Dupree got a sack on his first play of his career. New England had 80yds rushing.

Dupree did do that...did he do much else? Yeah, he didn't cover Gronk on previously mentioned big play down the hash. Was he supposed to? If you judge by the reaction from Tomlin in Dupree's ear after the play he probably should have. He's a rookie, I give him a passing grade for his first game.

 

Well, Brady and Gronk are great players....but I am not sure that overall the Pats are a great team. I think they are vulnerable because their OL is in flux...and so is their defense. They may have the worst defense in that division....same as the Steelers in their. We will see.

 

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I'm here. I'm also not as disappointed about the game as I thought I'd be. Offensive line looked good, Williams looked good. AB was fantastic as usual. Heath Miller is his same steady self. No one got seriously hurt. They were in a competitive game, short handed at key positions in a hornets nest against the defending champs. The weren't bad. The back end of the defense needs work but the whole world knew that. I think the future is bright. They ran well, passed well and were a couple missed field goals from tying it with a 2pt conversion at the end. They're gonna be in it all year and that's all you can ask for.

Your offense is not the question. With all your pieces back from their hiatuses it has the potential to be the top yardage O in the league... but it's going to have to top scoring for the team to be competitive.

 

Pats took foot off the accelerator in the 2nd half.

A QB distracted throughout pre-season played catch with wide-open WRs through 3/4's... completing 18 in a row at one point.

An RB that a strong sneeze can knock down put 70 on you... mostly between the OTs... behind three interior, O-line rookies!

 

What pieces are returning to your D-side? I think there is a DC somewhere in TN that saw this year coming.

 

Black and Gold fans are not used to this style. Gonna be a long season in PTG...

 

Keep the Tums handy...

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Dupree got a sack because no one chose to block him on that play. If no one chooses to block him all year he's a shoe in for ROTY.

Aside from the big play from Gronk I watched him and I thought he played well. He got the sack and blew up another play in the backfield as well in limited action. Watched him in coverage when I could and he's pretty mobile for a big guy. I'm not predicting ROTY by any stretch, just giving him some cred for a decent first game.

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