The Indianapolis Colts have a week three contest with the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.
Analysis: Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert is banged up with toe and hamstring problems at the moment but he should be ready to go for the Indy game. He has led the Jags to a 32nd ranked total offense, 30th in points per game and he himself has the 21st “best” passer rating in the league. When Brees, Cutler, Stafford and Vick get it going expect his passer rating near the bottom of the league once again. The Jags haven’t been able to muster up anything on offense this year and a road game in Indy won’t see Gabbert throwing for three touchdowns.
On the other hand you have a respectable Indy D but they are far from special. They are sixth in the league in sacks which is always a plus when facing a struggling quarterback who has yet to put up decent numbers on the road. The Indy D is available in virtually every league which makes sense but they are certainly worth roster consideration this week. Another defense to take a look at is the Buffalo D, a defense that has tons of talent up front and should beat up on the Browns this week.
If you did not pick up an elite defense through the draft you may want to consider some interesting options on defense in week one.
Analysis: As good as the Giants DST, Cowboys DST, Raiders DST, and Broncos DST defenses can be, it may not make sense to start them in week one with other solid options out there. The Detroit Lions DST is available in a few leagues and is worth consideration. The Lions have a week one match up with the Rams who only averaged 12.1 points per game last year. Sam Bradford has a career 74.2 passer rating and just loves holding on to the ball.
The widely available team to watch is the Vikings DST. They face the Jags in week one and we all know that Blaine Gabbert can make Tim Tebow look like Warren Moon. The Jags only averaged 15.2 points per game last year even with a healthy and prepared MJD. The Vikes led the league with 50 sacks in 2011 and expect more of the same from Jared Allen and company. Keep in mind that Minnesota is at home and Gabbert’s quarterback rating on the road last year was just 62.4 with only five touchdowns on 209 passing attempts.
The Jacksonville Jaguars traded up to get Oklahoma State wide out Justin Blackmon with the fifth pick of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Analysis: Here we have another rookie in Blackmon who finds himself in an awful situation. We don’t need to look any further than the futility of Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert finished the 2011 season playing in fifteen NFL games with a 50.8 completion percentage, thirty-second “best” in the NFL and one spot above Tim Tebow in last place. Gabbert finished thirty-third in yards per passing attempt, just behind Colt McCoy, Christian Ponder and Curtis Painter. Gabbert also finished thirty-third in the NFL last year with a passer rating of 65.4. Considering only thirty-three quarterbacks in the NFL in 2011 qualified to have a passer rating… Gabbert finished last or next to last in some very important quarterback statistics.
As talented as Justin Blackmon is, he will only go as far as Blaine Gabbert will allow him to go. At the moment, Blackmon is the thirty-third wide out being taken in twelve team format mock drafts. Other wide outs being taken at or near his average draft position include Brandon Lloyd, Eric Decker, Torrey Smith and Mike Williams(TB). Lloyd has Brady in a pass happy offense, Decker seems to be Manning’s new best friend, Torrey Smith is a burner with seven touchdowns as a rookie and Williams is a low risk sleeper at his ADP this year. Justin Blackmon will not outperform the wide outs at his ADP because Blaine Gabbert isn’t even on Mark Sanchez’s level.
There are not many solid options to stream in week sixteen but the Tennessee Titans’ defense has a good matchup.
Analysis: The Titans get Jacksonville at home this week in an absolute must win game. The Titans are coming off of a bad performance in Indy but the three Titan turnovers are what really lost the game for them. With Jacksonville you still have a team on the road with a rookie quarterback. The Jags are not even averaging fifteen points per game and are dead last in the NFL in yards per game by thirty yards to the Colts. Blaine Gabbert has a quarterback rating of 65.6 on the year and has thrown ten picks and has fumbled the ball thirteen times(losing four of them).
Surprisingly, the Titans still rank in the top ten in the NFL in points allowed per game. They know the blue print to dominate the Jacksonville squad is simple- stop MJD and apply pressure to Blaine Gabbert. The Jags are 1-6 on the road this year and have not scored more than seventeen points in any road game. The Titans need this game to keep within reach of the Jets and Bengals for the sixth playoff spot in the AFC and you can expect to see their defense give Gabbert the business.
Our review of the AFC South begins in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars identified the future face of their franchise and made a move to get him. The Jags making a move for Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert. With David Garrard still on board, Gabbert will have the luxury of watching and learning without having to be force-fed. Gabbert will also benefit with a Pro Bowl running back along side and a serviceable offensive line. Lehigh guard Will Rackley, the Jags 3rd round pick, has versatility to play anywhere along the line. Jacksonville stayed small school in the 4th round with Mount Union wide receiver Cecil Shorts. A real area of need, Shorts will not only compete for a starting job at receiver, he is reliable on special teams.
The Houston Texans were pretty much guaranteed to be looking corner in the 1st round, but surprised many by taking Wisconsin defensive lineman J.J.Watt. The Texans like Watt so much they are exploring a move of All Pro defensive end Mario Williams from end to outside linebacker. Pass rush was the focus atop the draft with Arizona edge rusher Brooks Reed the selection in round two. An end in college, Reed projects as an OLB in the Texans new 3-4 alignment. Houston did get its cover corner, but waited until round two to do so, landing Miami’s Brandon Harris. Houston with great value and another corner in round 4 with Rashad Carmichael from Virginia Tech. A developmental quarterback in North Carolina’s T.J.Yates came in round five.
As Peyton Manning continues to age, it becomes more and more important for the Indianapolis Colts to provide excellent protection up front. Massive offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, 6’7″ 315, comes via Boston College and will eventually be tasked with protecting Manning’s blind side. In the 2nd round, the Colts stayed with big uglies getting Villanova lineman Ben Ijalana. Ijalana has the versatility to play inside or outside. Indy with an absolute steal in the 3rd round, getting LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis. Nevis is an ideal fit for the Colts one gap scheme. Nevis’ interior penetration reminds me of Nick Fairley lite. In the 4th round, the Colts added another running back to a very crowded, competitive situation. Delone Carter from Syracuse is a load at 5’9 225 pounds.
The biggest surprise of the first round was the Titans selection of Washington quarterback Jake Locker. It was no surprise that Tennessee selected a quarterback, just that Locker was selected with Gabbert still on the board. The Titans bolstered their defense in the 2nd and 3rd rounds with UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers and USC defensive tackle Jurrell Casey. It would have come to no surprise had both been selected much higher in the draft. Tennessee focused on selected productive players at big time programs, Miami linebacker Colin McCarthy, Clemson fullback Jamie Harper and Auburn defensive lineman Zach Clayton all fit the bill.
We wrap up our previews tomorrow with a look at the AFC West