Tag Archive | NFC North vs AFC West

NFC North 2015 Preview — NFC North vs AFC West

This week is my NFC North preview of the AFC West.

This year, the NFC North pulled the AFC West and the NFC West as their divisions to rotate through.

Everyone in the NFC North (Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, and Vikings) will play everyone in the AFC West (Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, and San Diego).

Let’s preview that in alphabetical order.

Denver (2014 standing 12-4. Won Division.):

There was a lot of coaching turnover for Denver in the off-season. John Fox left for Chicago, so look to see that as a big game this season. John Fox will almost certainly have something to prove.

Instead of John Fox, Denver hired Gary Kubiak as their new head coach.

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This is the guy they get to replace John Fox? Ugh.

It must be due, in part, to the relationship between John Elway and Gary Kubiak. Kubiak was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Denver between 1995 and 2005. The Broncos won the Super Bowl twice in 1997 and 1998 when Elway was the quarterback for Denver.

However, it wasn’t just John Fox that left. Fox took with him to Chicago (and I post their names here because it effects Chicago):

  • Defensive Backs coach Same Garnes
  • Special Teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers
  • Defensive Line coach Jay Rodgers
  • Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase
  • Offensive Line coach Dave Magazu
  • Assistant Special Teams coordinator Derius Swinton II
  • Assistant Strength and Conditioning coach Jason George
  • Offensive Quality Control coach Bo Hardegree

Umm … okay? I list these as well because WOW! Talk about a turnover of staff.

Kubiak hired (the more important ones):

  • Defensive Coordinator Wade Phiilips
  • Tight-Ends coach Brian Pariani
  • Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
  • Defensive Line coach Bill Kolar
  • Linebackers coach Reggie Herring

 

Current Roster:

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A key position Denver lost in the off-season was Julius Thomas at tight-end. That will be critical to watch what happens there. Thomas went to the Jags to get paid. That’s all he will be doing in Jacksonville — winning will not be on the agenda.

2015 Denver Broncos schedule:

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Kansas City (2014 standing 9-7. 2nd place in division):

The Chiefs are a team that we always think are going to be better than they are. Coach Andy Reid is still there, as is Alex Smith, Jeremy Maclin, Jamaal Charles, and, well … that’s it.

Here is their depth chart:

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I really just have nothing to say about this team.

 

Oakland (2014 standing 3-13. Last place in division):

Come on, guys! You can do this! Raider Nation needs you!

I must admit, outside of Charles Woodson, I know nothing of this team.

Well, lookie-loo! The Raiders have a new head coach in Jack Del Rio. Here is JDR’s record as a head coach:

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Not super impressive, eh?

From 2012 to 2014 he was the Denver Broncos Defensive coordinator and he served as interim head coach in 2013 when John Fox was out with heart surgery. Let me just say this. Do you hire someone who was fired as the head coach of Jacksonville?

JDR will have as his Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave and Defensive Coordinator is Ken Norton, Jr. Of particular note is that Ken Norton, Jr. was previously the Seattle Seahawks Linebackers coach.

Derek Carr is the quarterback and this will be his second year with the Raiders. Unfortunately, he did not shine as much as other rookie QB’s last year, as in Teddy Bridgewater. He played for Fresno State in college. Let’s hope he does not have a sophomore slump.

As for receivers, it looks like Michael Crabtree left SF to go to Oakland. The Raiders released James Jones (one-year deal with NYG) to pick up Crabtree and apparently draft Amari Cooper. Okay, I guess.

Running back is Trent Richardson (is he ever going to do good?) and Latavius Murray. Um. Sure, why not.

Here is the rest of the depth chart:

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Here is the schedule:

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Good luck Raiders, I hope you do well this year, just not against my Pack.

 

San Diego (2014 standing 9-7. 3rd place in division):

Ugh. I live in San Diego now and I really, really need to learn about my home team. More importantly, I need to find someone on the team I can root for…

Okay. Let’s investigate.

Head coach is Mike McCoy. Who the heck is that? Here is his resume:

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Mike McCoy has been the head coach since 2013. The Chargers went 9-7 both years. Okay, fine then.

The quarterback is still the mega-annoying Philip Rivers. I just puked a little in my mouth at the thought of having to follow him. I refuse.

I need a good running back or wide receiver to root for. Let’s see, Keenan Allen is not a bad, well, not a great choice. He had 77 receptions last year for 783 yards. Meh. The tight-end is Antonio Gates and he had 69 receptions for a total of 821 yards. He gets my thumbs up approval as he was born in Detroit and attended Michigan State University which is my alma mater.

Well, hopefully their draft pick works out in regards to running back. Melvin Gordon, per NFL Network, is not impressing.

Here is the rest of the roster:

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As for defense no names pop out to me besides Manti Te’o, but not for football reasons. It will be interesting to see who stands out to me as a newbie Chargers watcher. I won’t say fan yet. Last season, the Chargers had the 9th overall defense, so there is that.

Here is their schedule:

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As of note, I had to look what the asterisk was for. Apparently, this season, the NFL can start flexing as early as October 18th? That’s a bit premature. Must be Goodell’s idea …

Well, that’s my preview. As always, GO Pack GO!

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NFC North 2015 Preview – Green Bay Packers

This week is my NFC North preview of the Green Bay Packers.

Last year we finished first in the NFC North, one game ahead of Detroit at 12-4. We earned a bye the first week in the playoffs, but did not secure home field advantage in the NFC Championship game which was one of the multiple factors effecting our loss in the game.

Here is how 2014 shaped up:

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Here is the post-season:

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As you can see, the loss to the Saints and Bills were killer, costing us home field advantage in the NFC championship game. Home field advantage was critical to the Packs success last season as we won every game at home. Perhaps a Lambeau crowd could have helped the disastrous slide into a loss during the 4th quarter of that NFC championship game.

Here is the box score from the championship game:

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I really don’t have much more to say about it. If you want to know more, you can read my recap from last year. I’m still way too upset about it. I thought I had let it go, but as I’ve been recapping the Packers 2014 season, I’m just getting madder and madder.

Let’s move on to this season.

Here was our draft:

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I’m happy that we took two corners. Our defense certainly needs to improve, however, I worry about developing them in the douchebag Dom Capers system.

Speaking of coaches …

Mike McCarthy is no longer in charge of offensive play calling. It seems even his head was on a platter after the NFC Championship game meltdown. The working theory is that if McCarthy didn’t have play calling duties in the championship game, perhaps he would have seen the bigger picture. That picture being the need for more aggressive play calling. It seemed McCarthy was in don’t lose mode, not finish them mode.

I, for one, am not so sure. Anyone watching the game could see the scoreboard. McCarthy is not a dumb man. He was perhaps dumb for not being more aggressive, but that was the strategy he went with the whole 4th quarter. The last 4 minutes of the game were unheard of. It has literally never happened in the playoffs before to lose that big of a lead in that short of time. Perhaps, we should be looking at the defense as well for not shutting the Hawks down just as much as the non-aggressive play calling. Also, there is some merit behind not turning the ball over when you have that big of a lead. Unfortunately, the real problem arose when those 4 minutes went into overdrive. We did not recover at any point, offense, defense, or special teams to stop the bleeding.

The offensive coordinator is still Tom Clements – he has been since 2012. He just now takes on play calling duties. His new label though is associate head coach.

The defensive coordinator remains Dom Capers. I swear to f’ing God. How is he not demoted? How is he still here!?!?! I think he is blackmailing somebody. How does Mike McCarthy lose title but this ass-clown remains defensive coordinator?

Also, Mike McCarthy having less play calling responsibility is also assigned to provide more focus on special teams. I feel like we made a big leap last year. In 2013 I felt like we were constantly pinned down before the 20- yard line. It’s hard to get a drive going when if you just took a knee in the end zone you would be better off.

I feel like, and have been saying this for years, we need to improve our defense, and not just through the draft.

Our special teams coordinator is Ron Zook. Previously he was assistant special teams coordinator. Shawn Slocum was fired.

In case you forgot, he was fired over the fact that during an onside kick, Brandon Bostick, a tight-end with little playing time, decided to go up and retrieve the football despite the fact that directly behind him, Jordy Nelson waited with his hands to collect the ball. Bostick essentially intercepted a perfect opportunity for Jordy to catch the ball. We would have won if that had not happened.

Here is our upcoming schedule:

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It’s not easy. The bit in the middle is brutal. It has the potential of being catastrophic if there is an injury. Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago, then Detroit. Two of those are Thursday games. To lump that many division games in a row, if there are any injuries … ugh. It could be lethal to the season.

I’m not super happy about that.

FYI, I guess in 2016 we will be going to London, too. I’m beyond not a fan of London games. It’s ridiculous. Greedy f’ing NFL owners.

I digress.

We also play a brutal division in the round-robin scheduling of the NFL. The NFC North has received the NFC West.

Here are their 2014 standings:

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Yikes.

We also pulled the AFC West. Not as bad.

Here are their standings:

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We still have to face Peyton, which is never, ever something that a team wants to do. It will be the talk of the town with the two elite QB’s going head-to-head.

Lastly, we get the Panthers. This is because each team from the NFC North has to face their equivalent opponent in standings from the previous year’s NFC division matchup. GB had the best record in the NFC North, so we get the best in the NFC South.

Here is how that division ended up last year:

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Hm. There is nothing good to say about that division.

All-in-all GB faces 4 opponents who were in the playoffs last year.

Awesome.

Here is our roster for the year so far:

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Good luck Green Bay Packers. Love you and can’t wait for the new season!