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Andy

Things Are Going To Be Different This Year

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An article I just finished writing which will be published in a local canadian newspaper.

Things are going to be Different this Year

After seeing what has happened so far this year, it’s safe to say that this year is going to be different. We have former playoff contenders losing, laughing stocks turning into playoff contenders, and everything in between. It’s going to be an exciting year.

Let’s start with the playoff contenders falling.

The Colts lost the heart and soul of their team, the 4 time MVP Peyton Manning. Now Kerry Collins is in charge, and not doing that great of a job. Their O-line is doing a mediocre job, and the right tackle Jeff Linkenbach is playing awfully and is letting guys like Jamaal Sheard go around him. Their defense is playing too much Tampa 2, and is getting beat with the short passes. It’s not looking that great for them.

The Kansas City Chiefs lost their star running back, Jamaal Charles, who tore his acl. Their quarterback is not performing like he’s supposed to, and one of their best defensive players, Eric Berry is gone for the year. Things are not looking good for them, especially with the emergence of the Raiders, and the Chargers playing well.

The Seattle Seahawks lost their quarterback and best defensive player, and they were beat badly in Week 1 and 2.

Then there are the teams that are coming out of nowhere.

The one that really stands out are the Detroit Lions. They got their franchise QB back, the most underrated wide receiver in the game right now (Calvin Johnson), a great young tight end, and a good O-line. On defense, they have Ndamukong Suh, who is beast and puts constant pressure on the QB. They have Corey Williams, a very good and underrated utility tackle who plays alongside Suh, and is a great run stopper. They also have Kyle Vanden Bosch, who is a great run stopper and pretty good pass rusher. They’re fairly weak at linebacker, but they have some great young players playing in the secondary. Louis Delmas, is the 2nd most underrated safety in the NFL (Antoine Bethea is the most), and they have Alphonso Smith who is always around the ball, making big plays. They also beat their first 2 teams by a total of 52 points, 45 of those points came against the Chiefs.

Another team coming out of nowhere are the Buffalo Bills. They’re coming together, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is putting up some great numbers. Fred Jackson is a great all around running back, and Scott Chandler is really stepping up, after barely playing in his previous 4 years in the NFL. Their defense is also playing very nicely, stopping the run, and doing well against the pass. They came back against the Raiders and killed the Chiefs. They have some great young talent in Stevie Johnson, Jarius Byrd, Donte Whitner and Kyle Williams, an elite defensive tackle. No one circles the wagon like the Buffalo Bills!

The Washington Redskins are another team. They played great against the Giants and played well against the Cards. They’re defense is pretty good, but they’re offense is the reason they’re winning. Rex Grossman, of all people, is leading the way for the Skins, and Santana Moss is by far their best receiver. Tim Hightower is also providing some good offense, and Roy Helu is playing nicely. They have a chance at the playoffs.

The final team that is really doing well are the Houston Texans. They went 6-10 last year, and even though they had some high expectations, no one expected what happened in Week 1. They completed took advantage of a Colts team that looked depleted. Ben Tate is looking really good, Andre Johnson is looking really good, but the story is their defense. The Texans brought in defensive guru Wade Phillips over the offseason, and he quickly changed the defense to a 3-4 defense. He moved all-pro Mario Williams to outside linebacker, which was a risky move, but in the end it was worth it. They’re putting great pressure on the QBs and that switch is the main reason why they’re doing so well.

The 3-4 defense is the future of defensive schemes. The best defenses use that defense, the Packers, the Steelers, the Chargers, the Patriots (they go back and forth with the 4-3), the Dolphins, and the Jets. What it does is that the outside linebackers provide more pressure on the QB, and it works against teams that like to run the ball. It’s for outside speed defenses.

With all that being said, it’s going to be a different year from years past, and it looks like powerhouse teams may be going down, and other rising to the occasion. It’s going to be one great year!

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