Training Camp Preview by Suge Day
Well it’s been awhile since we last saw the Minnesota Vikings derail the Mike Glennon Pittsburgh Steelers in the Power Bowl. All 32 owners begin the quest but only a few truly have a shot at the playoffs and the Vikings crown. This year we come out the gates swinging, breaking down the best division in the NML, the UFC West.
Last year we saw the Broncos drop to 1-2-1 to start the season only to run away with back to back West titles going 5-1 in the division only losing a meaningless game at the end of the season. But it is the Chiefs who can still claim top dog as they have won a power bowl and made it further than the broncos both years despite not winning their own division. Let’s break down the teams.
This team suffered injuries at the worst time which ended a very promising season to the Steelers in the playoffs. Is time running out on this Brady led team? What will DJ be capable of in this offense? Will they regret trading Gronk?
This offseason the Broncos traded their stud TE for what turned out to be Edelman, The Badger, Carlos Henderson, Coby Fleener and more. With the injuries to the WR core last year the Broncos may have the most depth in the league now.
The team finished 3rd in points at 33 a game. 2nd in yards at 388.3. 7th in passing yards 282.6. 5th in rushing at 105.6.
What more can you ask from this offense? Tom Brady is the unquestioned leader and has weapons everywhere to be successful. David Johnson is arguably the best back in the league. Fitz, Edelman, Baldwin and Brown will cause teams nightmares. The team brought fleener back to replace Gronk who missed the playoffs in his only season. The line has two studs in Paradis and Scherff but former first round pick DJ Humphries, Iupati and Veldheer will look to prove they are not the weak links on this team.
The team finished 7th with 16 points per game. 9th in yards allowed at 270.3. 16 in passing yards at 226. 3rd in rushing yards allowed at 43.7.
When you can’t run the ball against a team you have to throw but the Broncos went and acquired the Badger to team with Aqib Talib. They will rely on 2nd year Rashard Robinson (acquired in Gronk trade) and Brandon Williams to complete the cb rotation. The other safety spot will be Bethea and Branch. The outside rush is stacked with Clay who will play the middle, Jones and Golden. I expect improvement on defense from last year.
This team looked dead in the water after losing to the Broncos. Turns out nobody ahead of them wanted to make the playoffs and the Chiefs do what the Chiefs do, get hot late and win. One of the best rivalries should only get better as the Chiefs look to dethrone the Broncos.
Finished 12th at 26 points a game. 22nd in yards at 278 yards a game. 30th in pass yards at 170 yards a game. 3rd in rushing at 108 a game.
The offense is led by Drew Brees. His clear target these days is a top two TE in Travis Kelce. Jordan Matthews and Golladay will try to keep cbs honest on the outside. Jamal Charles is back for what could be his last run for the Chiefs. Will this run game take a step back? The pass offense has to improve, right?
Finished 8th with 16 points allowed a game. 7th in yards at 263. 13th in pass yards allowed at 220. 2nd in rush yards allowed at 43 yards a game.
Any defense with Donald, Houston, Johnson, Trevathan has a chance to be special. In a pass driven league they better get to the QB because if there is any weakness it would be the secondary.
The Raiders were the feel good story of the NML two years ago. Finished second in their division ahead of the Chiefs who won the Power Bowl that year. Last year we saw a different team on the field. Unfortunately for this team they play in the Wild West with the Broncos and Chiefs. If the Raiders were in the East they may make the playoffs but you can’t lose all your games to division rivals and make the playoffs.
13th in points at 25 a game. 14th in yards at 320 yards. 16th in passing at 232. 8th in rushing at 88.
Teddy Bridgewater leads this team with Crabtree and Jackson on the outside. Chris Johnson and Denard Robinson lead the rushing attack. The offense has more talent then in years past but do they have enough firepower to score with the Broncos or score on the Chiefs defense.
20th in points allowed at 25 a game. 26 in yards at 353. 25 in passing at 271. 20 in rushing at 81.
The defense is led by Malik Jackson, Irvin, Johnson and Ward. Is there enough talent to rise above the lower third in defense. They tally a bunch of sacks throughout the season but 20/26/25/20 will not allow you to make the playoffs. If they can improve defensively they have chance. This team does a lot with the talent they have.
Sometimes you feel bad for new owners when they take over teams. They got a taste of the league last year and we will see what they do with a full season in charge. The problem for the Chargers is they have to leapfrog the Raiders, Chiefs, and Broncos.
25th in points at 16. 19th in yards at 290. 11th in pass yards at 253. 31st in rushing at 37.
Tannehill leads the team and is flanked by one of the better WR Cooper. Landry and Cobb round out a solid WR unit. Mark Ingram will try to improve on the second worst rush offense. Vernon Davis will try to live out his dream of playing one more season.
28th in points allowed at 31. 30th in yards at 384. 30th in pass yards at 296. 26th in rush yards at 88.
There is a reason the defense is near the bottom in every category, talent. Lamarr Houston and Vic Beasley will try and lead a unit back to respectability. They have to play better but no one really knows what to expect under a full season of new ownership.