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There have been many debates over the years. Waffles or pancakes? Chocolate or peanut butter? Tastes great or less filling? Allow me to add one more related to the NFL draft: Best available or fill needs?
I decided to dig into which strategy works better by researching ten years of drafts from 2009 through 2019. I chose the best team in each NFL division based on the overall record from that same period. I first looked at statistics for each season for these eight teams.
Items such as points scored and allowed, offensive and defensive rankings in each season, sacks allowed and recorded, and depth issues formed the baseline for what I saw as team needs for each draft. Any player chosen that would help improve the team in any of these areas was seen as a need pick, not a best available. Here are the teams and my analysis:
The trade deadline has passed, and it was pretty uneventful. Yes, there were a few trades in the week leading up, but, as it often does, it ended up being a lot of rumors and wishful thinking. What this week has brought, however, is a handful of odd stories that have many shaking their heads.
Let’s start with Tom Brady. Brady, the 42yr old, future Hall of Fame, current Patriots quarterback, has never played for another team and truly no one could imagine him doing so. Until this week. I think it started with Jason La Canfora’s article saying Brady has an interest in playing for the Los Angeles Chargers next year if he’s not in New England. It snowballed after that, with fans and media grabbing the idea and running with it.
All four of these teams need this break to heal and regroup. What’s interesting to me, is the startling similarities between these four teams.
Two from the AFC North and two from the NFC South. Two struggling with first-year head coaches and sub-par quarterback play, while the other two are dealing with injuries that have taken out their starting QB and left their entire offenses struggling.
But I wonder… will this “Bye” week hurt or heal these teams?
Let’s face it – the AFC North was a hot mess last year! With Le’Veon Bell sitting out, the once-dominant Pittsburgh Steelers had to root for the Cleveland Browns in Week 17 in order to make the playoffs.
The Baltimore Ravens benched quarterback Joe Flacco and began the new era of Lamar Jackson football. Can Jackson keep being the leading rusher for this team and avoid injury?
The Cincinnati Bengals landed at the bottom of a division where the Browns had held that spot for too many years to count. But the once 0-16 Browns, under the leadership of rookie QB Baker Mayfield, are making their case to take over the division.
Let’s take a team-by-team look at the moves they’ve made so far to get ready for the battle to be “Kings of the North.”
Despite the win in Cincinnati, the Steelers still end up missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
First, we start the year with running back Le’Veon Bell holding out for a long-term deal instead of a franchise tag. While most felt that it was going to come together at some point, it didn’t.
But no one benefited from Bell’s absence more than RB James Conner. Conner finished the season with almost 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards passing and had 13 touchdowns. He stepped into the RB role and made it his own. Could Bell be changing the way that holdouts go? Is there anything wrong with betting on yourself? Should you think of your team?
No, this isn’t going to be a diatribe on why Cris Collinsworth is awful, nor will it be a diatribe on why he’s amazing. Collinsworth’s catchphrase is what came to my mind when I thought about Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Now here’s a guy who gets it. He just does. He’s one of the younger players in the NFL and he works hard!
Crazy to have Coach Belichick, a legendary coach I’ve watched my whole life, come up to me after the game and tell me he respects my game and how I play!!! 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯
It was an emotional day, to say the least for the Pittsburgh fans. Still coming to grips with the shooting at the Pittsburgh Synagogue, Steelers fans filled up the stadium for a game against division foe Cleveland Browns.
Coming off of the bye, and a come from behind win against the Bengals, the Steelers were looking to pick up where they left off. That was the thought anyway. The Steeler defense was a little bit sleepy in the first few possessions. The Browns were able to pretty much do what they wanted on the opening drive, but it stalled and had to kick a field goal.
A couple of series later, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception. Thankfully it wasn’t a pick six, but yeah, it was a slow start. Finally, Roethlisberger was able to connect with wide receiver Antonio Brown and get the scoring party started. Sort of.
On a game that the Steelers “had” to have in this early season, they didn’t disappoint. While the Falcons have been rather lackluster this season, the Steelers have been inconsistent. What looked like would be a very tight game, turned into a pretty commanding win for the Steelers.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown was his usual self and had 6 catches for 101 yards. Brown also had 2 touchdowns. Running back James Conner also had himself a game. He was running, he was catching, and he was scoring!
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did have an interception at the end of the half to keep the game interesting. However, they scored a touchdown on their next three possessions coming out of halftime which pretty much sealed the deal against the Falcons.
Before I get into the write-up, let me just introduce this. Yes, you know me as a Lions fan. However, the Steelers needed some love, so I went ahead and decided that I would pick them up and write about them as well.
It’s been fun learning about this team. I know plenty of Steeler fans, a lot of my family are Steelers fans, so it’s good to branch out a bit. I’ll do it like my Pride Report articles. I’ll have the person who was the Steel Deal (did something well) and who was Not the Deal (who didn’t do something well). So, here we go! (See what I did there?)
The Pittsburgh Steelers had to go on the road to face the red-hot Buccaneers and the even hotter quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. This was looking to be quite the task. The winless Pittsburgh Steelers have had quite a drama-filled off-season and season so far. From running back Le’Veon Bell’s holdout to wide receiver Antonio Brown’s absence from practice earlier in the week, it’s been eventful. Could the Steelers come in and pull off the win?