Dress Rehearsal Preparations: AFC
IN ADVANCE OF THE DRESS REHEARSALS,
WE CONTINUE ANALYSIS WITH THE AFC
Yesterday in the NOTEBOOK we ran yards-per-play numbers on offense and defense from 2012 for the NFC. We continue our preparations for the first “REAL FOOTBALL” action of the 2013 season by reviewing the AFC. This week’s dress rehearsals will see teams playing their starters well into the second half. And, of course, the actual regular season where every win counts is now just a couple of weeks away!
We’ll start with the best AFC offenses from 2012. Remember that the AFC was much inferior to the NFC in terms of offensive talent (most often exposed in regular season interconference action). That will lead to lower offensive and defensive numbers than you saw yesterday.
BEST AFC OFFENSES
New England 5.7
We’re going to split the AFC into three groups instead of two in this category. There just weren’t that many good offenses! Fully a dozen NFC offenses were at 5.4 or better in yesterday’s report. Only five from the AFC could make it that high. To be fair, Denver, New England, and Houston were sitting on a lot of second half leads where they logically backed off to run clock rather than emphasizing big ypp numbers.
MEDIOCRE AFC OFFENSES
Obviously we couldn’t put Oakland in the top group. They dumped their quarterback and are trying to fix things because 5.3 wasn’t satisfactory. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh emphasized defense in disappointing offensive campaigns. Indianapolis had to pull a lot of games out of the fire against a very weak schedule because they couldn’t manage top notch per-play production.
WORST AFC OFFENSES
Kansas City 5.0
NY Jets 4.8
San Diego 4.8
Headaches across the board here. As we saw in the NFC yesterday, being at the bottom of the league in offensive yards-per-play will get your head coach fired! We have new coaches in four of the bottom five spots, with Rex Ryan still being on the verge of losing his job. Miami has a second-year head coach—Joe Philbin-- who’s emphasizing a faster pace on offense this year.
Moving to defenses…
BEST AFC DEFENSES
NY Jets 5.1
San Diego 5.2
Makes sense to use the top eight and ties here because there’s a more clear and logical split. You generally heard positive things about every defense on that list last season. Even San Diego probably deserved more credit than they were getting from the media. Everyone was so focused on Norv Turner and Philip Rivers that they missed the positives on this side of the ball. Otherwise, those numbers should match what you remember from last year.
WORST AFC DEFENSES
New England 5.7
Kansas City 5.9
Indianapolis graded out as the worst defense in the AFC last year despite playing a weak schedule. That could make for some exciting games this year as Andrew Luck has to keep trying to outscore what his defense is allowing vs. a better schedule. You know…like Tom Brady has had to do in recent years!
Now you’ve got a full sense of offense and defense for both conferences. That will help you frame this week’s top dress rehearsal showdowns as you try to pick winners. Games we’re looking forward to include…
DRESS REHEARSAL HIGHLIGHTS THIS WEEK
Thursday: New England at Detroit (a lot of scoring potential here)
Thursday: Carolina at Baltimore (2013 sleeper visiting 2012 sleeper?)
Friday: Seattle at Green Bay (potential playoff preview)
Saturday: NY Giants at NY Jets (blood rivalry)
Saturday: Kansas City at Pittsburgh (new KC coach Andy Reid facing tough test)
Saturday: Cincinnati at Dallas (can Cowboys make it back to playoffs?)
Sunday: New Orleans at Houston (bayou shootout!)
Sunday: Minnesota at San Francisco (defensive war)
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