Monday, August 31, 2015

2015 NFL PREVIEW - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS                      

2014 Record: 2-14-0 (4th in NFC South)

HEAD COACH: Lovie Smith

New Players in 2015 - DL Henry Melton; LB Bruce Carter; DB Chris Conte; DL George Johnson; LB Larry Dean; DB Sterling Moore.

OFFENSIVE RANK in 2014 -  30th in NFL (292 ypg)

DEFENSIVE RANK in 2014 -  25th in NFL (368.9 ypg)

Offense:  The Buccaneers will be going with rookie Jameis Winston (Florida State), the number one pick in the NFL Draft, as the starting quarterback this season. Backing him up will be Mike Glennon, who had 1,417 passing yards a year ago with ten touchdowns and six interceptions.
Doug Martin (494 yards, 3.7 ypc average and two touchdowns while missing five games) and Bobby Rainey (406, 4.3 ypc and one TD) are the top two running backs heading into the new season.
The wide receivers are led by Vincent Jackson (70 receptions, 1,002 yards, two TD) and Mike Evans (68, 1,051 and 12 TD) while Louis Murphy (31, 380, two TD) is the third option. The tight ends are Austin Seferian-Jenkins (21, 221, two TD) and Brandon Myers, who had 22 catches for 190 yards.
The line has center Evan Dietrich-Smith, along with guards Logan Mankins and Patrick Omameh. The tackles will be Demar Dotson and either rookie Donovan Smith (Penn State) or Kevin Pamphile.

Defense:  The ends in the 4-3 set are Jacquies Smith (6 1/2 QB sacks) and George Johnson while the tackles are Gerald McCoy (8 1/2 sacks) and Clinton McDonald, who registered five sacks a year ago.
The linebackers are Bruce Carter in the middle with Danny Lansanah (three interceptions) and Lavonte David on the outside. Kwon Alexander (LSU) is a rookie linebacker who may be called upon along with Larry Dean and Orie Lemon.
In the secondary are corner men Alterraun Verner (two INT) and Johnthan Banks (four picks) along with safeties Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald. Backing up will be Sterling Moore, Leonard Johnson, Major Wright and Keith Tandy.

OUTLOOK FOR 2015 -  Tampa Bay Head Coach Lovie Smith will be looking for rookie quarterback Jameis Winston to help giver the offense a much needed shot in the arm this season after the team ranked 30th in the NFL last season.
Winston is a former Heisman Trophy winner who led Florida State to a national championship two years ago and many think the rookie can step right in at the pro level and be a mover and shaker. Winston, along with receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, should improve the passing attack.
The offensive line must do a better job in pass protection for the rookie in 2015 after they allowed 52 sacks last season.
The running game must improve after averaging a paltry 86 rushing yards per game last season and the Bucs are hoping that injury riddled RB Doug Martin can regain some of the magic he displayed back in the 2012 season at halfback.
The defense was lacking a year ago as well (25th overall and 28th against the pass) as they allowed nearly 26 points per game and registering 36 QB sacks.
Playing in the NFC South, the Buccaneers need not look long term to get back into the thick of things as Carolina won the division in 2014 with a sub .500 record.
Their loyal fans are counting on just that to happen sooner rather than later, so figure on a 5-11 season this year as the Bucs improve from last year's disastrous first year under Lovie Smith while they build for a better future.

Week 1 - vs. Tennessee Titans
Week 2 - at New Orleans Saints
Week 3 - at Houston Texans
Week 4 - vs. Carolina Panthers
Week 5 - vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 6 - BYE WEEK
Week 7 - at Washington Redskins
Week 8 - at Atlanta Falcons
Week 9 - vs. New York Giants
Week 10 - vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 11 - at Philadelphia Eagles
Week 12 - at Indianapolis Colts
Week 13 - vs. Atlanta Falcons
Week 14 - vs. New Orleans Saints
Week 15 - at St. Louis Rams
Week 16 - vs. Chicago Bears
Week 17 - at Carolina Panthers

Sunday, August 30, 2015

2015 NFL PREVIEW - New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS                            

2014 Record: 7-9-0 (2nd in NFC South)

HEAD COACH: Sean Payton

New Players in 2015 -  OL Max Unger; RB C.J. Spiller; LB Dannell Ellerbe; LB Anthony Spencer; DB Brandon Browner; DB Kyle Wilson.

OFFENSIVE RANK in 2014 -  1st in NFL (411.4 ypg)

DEFENSIVE RANK in 2014 -  31st in NFL (384 ypg)

Offense:  Quarterback Drew Brees had 4,952 passing yards last season with 33 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Veteran Luke McCown will hold the clip board.
Mark Ingram (964 rushing yards with a 4.3 ypc average and nine touchdowns) will lead the Saints running game once again. Khiry Robinson (362 yards, 4.8 ypc and three scores) and C.J. Spiller (300 rush yards and 19 receptions in just nine games with Buffalo last season) will back him up.
Leading receivers (tight end) Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills are gone entering 2015, leaving Brees with wideouts Marques Colston (59 receptions for 902 yards and five touchdowns) and Brandin Cooks, who made 53 receptions for 550 yards and three touchdowns. Nick Toon will look for more of a role this season after making 17 receptions for 215 yards and one touchdown.
While the Saints cannot replace Graham's numbers at tight end, they will have two players looking to fill the role as Benjamin Watson (20, 136, two TD) and Josh Hill (14, 176, five TD) will take over this season.
The O-Line has Max Unger, the player they traded Graham to Seattle for, playing center. The tackles are Terron Armstead and Zach Strief. Playing the guard spots will be Senio Kelemete and Jahri Evans. Top rookie pick is offensive tackle Andrus Peat (Stanford), who will look to get his chance as well.

Defense:  Up front in the 3-4 set is nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley along with ends Akiem Hicks and Cameron Jordan, who had 7 1/2 sacks a year ago. John Jenkins, Glenn Foster and Lawrence Virgil will rotate in up front.
The linebacking unit is comprised of outside men Parys Haralson (three sacks) and either Ronald Powell or Anthony Spencer. The inside backers are David Hawthorne and possibly rookie Stephone Anthony (Clemson) or Dannell Ellerbe.
The defensive backs include safeties Kenny Vaccaro (two interceptions) and Jairus Byrd along with cornerbacks Keenan Lewis (two picks) and free agent signee Brandon Browner, who left the New England Patriots after last season's Super Bowl winning season.

OUTLOOK FOR 2015 -  Quarterback Drew Brees can only do so much and last season seemed to be pressing, which resulted in numerous turnovers (Saints were a minus-13 in that category) that cost his team by season's end.
The Saints did lead the league on offense, averaging 411 yards per game while also putting up 25 points a game.
Running back Mark Ingram will be looking to crack the 1,000-yard plateau and help balance the offense and take some of the burden off Brees. Running back C.J. Spiller comes over from Buffalo to give Brees the outlet receiver he was lacking last year after Darren Sproles had gone to Philadelphia via free agency.
The defense was downright woeful in 2014 and New Orleans will be looking to some new talent this season to help turn that around after finishing 31st overall on defense by allowing 384 yards per game and 26.5 points per game.
Head Coach Sean Payton is entering his tenth season at the helm in New Orleans along with Brees and the duo will be looking to recapture some of the mojo that seemed to be sorely lacking a year ago.
The NFC South looks to be a three-way battle once again and the Tampa Bay Bucs are a team that could be on the rise as well, which would further crowd the field for the division title.
Look for a 9-7 turn around season for the Saints as they look to improve the defense and keep the offense moving along while limiting the mistakes and costly turnovers that ruined their 2014 season.
The playoffs are once again a realistic possibility in the Big Easy this year. 

Week 1 - at Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 - vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 3 - at Carolina Panthers
Week 4 - vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 5 - at Philadelphia Eagles
Week 6 - vs. Atlanta Falcons
Week 7 - at Indianapolis Colts
Week 8 - vs. New York Giants
Week 9 - vs. Tennessee Titans
Week 10 - at Washington Redskins
Week 11 - BYE WEEK
Week 12 - at Houston Texans
Week 13 - vs. Carolina Panthers
Week 14 - at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 15 - vs. Detroit Lions
Week 16 - vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 17 - at Atlanta Falcons

Saturday, August 29, 2015

2015 NFL PREVIEW - Carolina Panthers

CAROLINA PANTHERS                         

2014 Record:  7-8-1 (1st in NFC South)

HEAD COACH: Ron Rivera

New Players in 2015 - DB Kurt Coleman; DB Charles Tillman; WR/KR Ted Ginn, Jr.; OL Jonathan Martin; OL Michael Oher; LB Jason Trusnik; RB Jordan Todman.

OFFENSIVE RANK in 2014 -  16th in NFL (346.7 ypg)

DEFENSIVE RANK in 2014 -  10th in NFL (339.8 ypg)

Offense:  Quarterback Cam Newton is back after passing for 3,127 yards and 18 touchdown passes with 12 interceptions. Newton also ran for 539 yards (5.2 ypc average) and scored five touchdowns. Derek Anderson (701 yards with five TD) is the backup.
Jonathan Stewart (809 yards, 4.6 ypc average and three TD) is the primary back along with Mike Tolbert (fullback), Fozzy Whittaker and Jordan Todman.
The wide receiving corps got a major shakeup in camp as top wideout Kelvin Benjamin was lost for the season with a knee injury. Benjamin had 73 receptions for 1,008 yards with nine touchdowns last season.
The Panthers will look to Ted Ginn, Jr. (14 receptions with Arizona and a punt return for TD), Corey Brown (21 receptions, 296 yards, two TD), Brenton Bersin (13, 151, one TD), rookie Devin Fuchness (Michigan) and Jerricho Cotchery, who had 48 receptions for 580 yards and one score. The tight end is Greg Olsen, who led the team in 2014 with 84 receptions for 1,008 yards with six touchdowns.
Up front on the line is center Ryan Kalil, guards Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner and tackle Michael Oher and Mike Remmers.

Defense:  Ends Charles Johnson (8 1/2 QB sacks) and Kony Ealy (four sacks) will start along with tackles Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei. Mario Addison (6 1/2 sacks), Wes Horton, Colin Cole and Dwan Edwards will be on hand as well.
The linebacking unit has All-Pro Luke Kuechly manning the middle and he is flanked by outside backers Thomas Davis and A.J. Klein. Backing up will be rookie Shaq Thompson (Washington), Jason Trusnick and Adarius Glanton.
The secondary will feature cornerbacks Charles 'Peanut' Tillman, who comes over after a long successful stint with the Chicago Bears, and Josh Norman, who had two interceptions. The safeties will be Roman Harper (four INT) and Tre Boston. Backups include Josh Norman, Melvin White, Kurt Coleman and Colin Jones

OUTLOOK FOR 2015 -  Quarterback Cam Newton is the unquestioned leader of the offense and when he is healthy, he is among one of the better quarterbacks in pro football. He is a danger with his running abilities as well as his arm.
Carolina's offense will likely be challenged as they go along without Kelvin Benjamin at wide receiver, but they do have a slew of players who are certainly capable of doing the job. They need a big season from RB Jonathan Stewart, who led the team in rushing a year ago.
The defense slipped somewhat last season, giving up some big yardage plays after a monster 2013 season when only Seattle was better on defense.
Luke Kuechly leads the defense at middle linebacker as the Panthers tallied 40 QB sacks a year ago while ranking tenth overall, giving up 340 yards per game. They can also get after the football by forcing turnovers, as they had a plus-three in that category.
Head Coach Ron Rivera shouldn't have to sweat it out on the proverbial "hot seat" entering the season as the team has made the playoffs for two straight years now.
The Panthers look to be a .500 (or possibly better) team this year as well, which just might be enough to win the NFC South division again. A 9-7 record could be in store for Carolina, which if it's good enough to get them into the post-season once again, they could make some noise.
It will depend on how far a healthy Cam Newton and the offense can go as they try and overcome injuries and possible uncertainties with the running game.

Week 1 - at Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 2 - vs. Houston Texans
Week 3 - vs. New Orleans Saints
Week 4 - at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 5 - BYE WEEK
Week 6 - at Seattle Seahawks
Week 7 - vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Week 8 - vs. Indianapolis Colts
Week 9 - vs. Green Bay Packers
Week 10 - at Tennessee Titans
Week 11 - vs. Washington Redskins
Week 12 - at Dallas Cowboys
Week 13 - at New Orleans Saints
Week 14 - vs. Atlanta Falcons
Week 15 - at New York Giants
Week 16 - at Atlanta Falcons
Week 17 - vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Thursday, August 27, 2015

2015 NFL PREVIEW - Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA FALCONS                                                  

2014 Record:  6-10-0 (3rd in NFC South)


New Players in 2015 -  LB Justin Durant; DL Adrian Clayborn; WR Leonard Hankerson; TE Tony Moeaki; TE Jacob Tamme; DL Tyson Jackson; LB Brooks Reed; OL Jared Smith; DL/LB O'Brien Schofield.

OFFENSIVE RANK in 2014 - 8th in NFL (378.2 ypg)

DEFENSIVE RANK in 2014 - 32nd in NFL (398.3 ypg)

Offense:  Matt Ryan will be back for his eighth season as the Atlanta quarterback after he had 4,694 passing yards last season with 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Backing him up will be either T.J. Yates or recently signed veteran Rex Grossman.
The running game will be without Steven Jackson this year after he was not re-signed in the off-season. Devonta Freeman (248 rushing yards with a 3.8 ypc average and one touchdown along with 30 receptions for 225 yards and one score) will likely be the starting halfback. Rookie Tevin Coleman (Indiana) and Jerome Smith (144 yards, 6.3 ypc and two TD) are other possibilities to carry the ball this season.
The wide receivers are once again Roddy White (80 receptions for 921 yards with seven TD) and Julio Jones, who made 104 catches for 1,593 yards and six scores. Devin Hester (38, 504, two TD and one punt return for TD) is back this season as a third option.
Leonard Hankerson comes over from Washington looking for a spot after missing the last two seasons with numerous injuries. Also available will be Eric Weems and rookie Justin Hardy (East Carolina). The tight end will either be Levine Toilolo (31, 238, two TD), Tony Moeaki (with Seattle last year) or Jacob Tamme, who had 14 receptions for 109 yards and two scores with Denver last season.
The O-Line has center Joe Hawley, along with guards Harland Gunn and Jon Asamoah. The tackles are Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder.

Defense:  Playing in the 4-3 set, the Falcons will have Tyson Jackson and either rookie Vic Beasley (Clemson) or Adrian Clayborn at the ends. The tackles are Jonathan Babineaux and Paul Soliai.
The linebacking crew consists of Paul Worrilow in the middle with Brooks Reed and Justin Durant playing outside. O'Brien Schofield, Allen Bradford and team sack leader Kroy Biermann (4 1/2 QB sacks) provide depth.
The secondary has corners Desmond Trufant (three interceptions) and rookie Jalen Collins (LSU) or Robert Alford (three picks) starting this year. The safeties will likely be William Moore and Kemal Ishmael, who led the team with four picks a year ago. Providing backup will be Sean Baker, Ricardo Allen, Dezmen Southward and Charles Godfrey.

OUTLOOK FOR 2015 -  If the Falcons want to contend once again in the NFC South division, they will have to be much better on defense than they were a year ago.
Atlanta finished dead last in total defense last season, giving up 398 yards per game while also allowing 26 points per game. The pass defense was abysmal, giving up 280 yards per game, including a good number of big plays allowed. A better pass rush is also a must in 2015 as the Falcons had a meager 22 QB sacks last season.
The offense was pretty decent, scoring 23.5 points per game while finishing eighth in the league overall, averaging 378 yards per game.
Matt Ryan is the leader of the offense and knows his two receivers (White and Jones) extremely well. The running game must improve after gaining just 94 yards per game in 2014.
Head Coach Dan Quinn knows his team can compete with New Orleans and Carolina for the division crown, having just missed by one game last season.
The Falcons can get after the ball, evidenced by their plus-five turnover rate a year ago. More of that would help the defense as some new faces are being added via free agency and the NFL draft.
The key for the team will be the ability to beat the division foes and try to take advantage of what (on paper) looks to be a favorable schedule through the first ten weeks.
An 8-8 record is possible, and that may be enough to contend in the division once again. The Falcons can either soar back to the playoffs this year or be left out for the third straight season.
Stay tuned.

Week 1 - vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Week 2 - at New York Giants
Week 3 - at Dallas Cowboys
Week 4 - vs. Houston Texans
Week 5 - vs. Washington Redskins
Week 6 - at New Orleans Saints
Week 7 - at Tennessee Titans
Week 8 - vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 9 - at San Francisco 49ers
Week 10 - BYE WEEK
Week 11 - vs. Indianapolis Colts
Week 12 - vs. Minnesota Vikings
Week 13 - at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 14 - at Carolina Panthers
Week 15 - at Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 16 - vs. Carolina Panthers
Week 17 - vs. New Orleans Saints

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015 NFL PREVIEW - Tennessee Titans

TENNESSEE TITANS                                                     

2014 Record:  2-14-0 (4th in AFC South)

HEAD COACH: Ken Whisenhunt

New Players in 2015 - LB Brian Orakpo; WR Hakeem Nicks; OL Byron Bell; DB Perrish Cox; WR Harry Douglas; TE Anthony Fasano; WR Jacoby Ford; WR Clyde Gates; DB Da'Norris Searcy.

OFFENSIVE RANK in 2014 -  29th in NFL (303.7 ypg)

DEFENSIVE RANK in 2014 -  27th in NFL (373 ypg)

Offense:  With the second pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Titans selected quarterback Marcus Mariota (Oregon) and he will be the starter this season. Zach Mettenberger (1,412 passing yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions) and Charlie Whitehurst (1,316 yards with seven TD and two INT) will back up the rookie.
The running game will likely see Bishop Sankey (569 yards, 3.7 ypc and two TD) as the featured back. Dexter McCluster (131 rush yards and 26 receptions with one score) and rookie David Cobb (Minnesota) will back up.
The wide receivers are Kendall Wright (57 receptions, 715 yards, six TD), Justin Hunter (28, 498, two TD) and Harry Douglas, who made 51 catches for 556 yards and two touchdowns with Atlanta last year. Tight end Delanie Walker led the team with 63 receptions last season for 890 yards and had four touchdowns.
Others in the mix for 2015 include Hakeem Nicks (38, 405, four TD with Indy), Jacoby Ford, Clyde Gates, rookie Dorial Green-Beckham (Missouri) and tight ends Anthony Fasano (25, 226, four TD with Kansas City) and Craig Stevens.
The offensive line has tackles Taylor Lewan and Byron Stingily. The guards are Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack and the center is Brian Schwenke.

Defense:  Sammie Hill (three QB sacks) plays nose tackle in the 3-4 set with end Ropati Pitoitua and Jurrell Casey (five sacks) at tackle. Karl Klug, Al Woods and Mike Martin are also available up front.
Outside linebacker Derrick Morgan led the Titans with 6 1/2 QB sacks last season and will be joined by free agent Brian Orakpo, who comes over from Washington. The inside backers are Zach Brown and Avery Williamson, who made three sacks.
In the secondary will be Perrish Cox and Jason McCourty (three interceptions) at the corners along with safeties Da'Norris Searcy and Michael Griffin, who made two picks last season. Backing up are Coty Sensabaugh, Brandon Harris, Daimion Stafford and Marqueston Huff.

OUTLOOK FOR 2015 -  It's a new era in Tennessee as rookie QB Marcus Mariota takes over behind center.
The Titans finished in last place in the AFC South in 2014 and Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt will be looking for the team to go forward this season with Mariota and company on offense improving on their 29th ranked unit from 2014. The Titans averaged just under 16 points a game last year as well, which was 30th in the NFL.
The defense needs to improve in stopping the run (31st in NFL last season) as they gave up 137 yards per game while also holding down the opposition on the scoreboard, where they finished 29th overall, yielding 27.4 points per game.
This year definitely will be the beginning of the rebuilding process for Tennessee, but recent history has shown that teams can improve in a hurry. Indianapolis has done so since Andrew Luck took over as their quarterback in 2012 and prior to numerous injuries, Washington made a one-year turnaround with RG3 at quarterback.
Mariota will learn as he grows in the offense and Whisenhunt is a good coach who runs a good system, so look for the Titans to improve from last year. A 5-11 (possibly better) record looks to be in store this season.
But the future should get much better in Tennessee as the team looks forward to better days ahead.
Week 1- at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 2 - at Cleveland Browns
Week 3 - vs. Indianapolis Colts
Week 4 - BYE WEEK
Week 5 - vs. Buffalo Bills
Week 6 - vs. Miami Dolphins
Week 7 - vs. Atlanta Falcons
Week 8 - at Houston Texans
Week 9 - at New Orleans Saints
Week 10 - vs. Carolina Panthers
Week 11 - at Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 12 - vs. Oakland Raiders
Week 13 - vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 14 - at New York Jets
Week 15 - at New England Patriots
Week 16 - vs. Houston Texans
Week 17 - at Indianapolis Colts

Monday, August 24, 2015

2015 NFL PREVIEW - Jacksonville Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS                                        

2014 Record: 3-13-0 (3rd in AFC South)

HEAD COACH: Gus Bradley

New Players in 2015 - TE Julius Thomas; RB Bernard Pierce; LB Dan Skuta; DB Sergio Brown; DB Davon House; DL Jared Odrick; OL Jeremy Parnell; OL Stefen Wisniewski.

OFFENSIVE RANK in 2014 -  31st in NFL (289.6 ypg)

DEFENSIVE RANK in 2014 -  26th in NFL (370.8 ypg)

Offense:  Blake Bortles is back after a rough rookie season in which he passed for 2,908 yards with eleven touchdowns and also 17 interceptions. Backing up Bortles will be Chad Henne (492 yards passing with three TD and one INT).
The running game could be going the way of running back by committee this season as last year's team leading rusher Denard Robinson returns after going for 582 yards (4.3 ypc average) and four touchdowns. Also in the mix will be Bernard Pierce (366 rush yards, 3.9 ypc and two TD with Baltimore), Toby Gerhart (326 yards, 3.2 ypc and two TD) and rookie T.J. Yeldon (Alabama).
Allen Robinson (48 receptions for 548 yards and two TD), Marqise Lee (37, 422, one TD), Allen Hurns (51, 677, six TD) and rookie Rashad Greene (Florida State) will be the primary receivers for the Jaguars this year.
The tight end is Julius Thomas, who signed on with the Jags as a free agent after making 43 receptions for 489 yards and twelve touchdowns in Denver last season. Marcedes Lewis (18, 206, two TD) and Clay Harbor (26, 289, one TD) are the other tight ends.
Up front on the line is center Stefen Wisniewski along with tackles Luke Joeckel and Jeremy Parnell. The guards are Zane Beadles and Brandon Linder.

Defense:  The tackles are Sen'Derrick Marks (8 1/2 QB sacks) and free agent Jared Odrick. The ends in the 4-3 set will be Tyson Alualu and Chris Clemons, who registered eight sacks a year ago.
Top rookie pick Dante Fowler, Jr. (Florida) was lost for the season when he suffered a severe knee injury in the rookie mini camp. Ryan Davis (6 1/2 sacks) and Andre Branch (three sacks) will add depth up front.
The linebackers include nine-year veteran Paul Posluszny (two sacks) in the middle along with outside linebackers Telvin Smith and Dan Skuta.
The corners are Demetrius McCray and Davon House and the safeties are Jonathan Cyprien and Sergio Brown. Rookie James Sample (Louisville) is another safety and along with Aaron Colvin, Josh Evans and Dwayne Gratz, will look to rotate into the secondary during games.

OUTLOOK FOR 2015 -  Heading into his second season as Jacksonville quarterback, Blake Bortles will be hoping to stay on his feet as the team allowed a whopping 71 sacks last season. That MUST improve if the team wants to have success on offense, where they ranked next to last in the NFL in yardage last season.
In fact, the Jaguars will be looking to improve in scoring points as well as they finished dead last in the league in scoring, averaging just 15.6 points per game.
It all starts up front with the line in pass protection and run blocking, so Head Coach Gus Bradley will need the passing game to get better  (31st ranked in NFL in 2014) and also see more consistency from the running game.
The defense has to be more aggressive and create turnovers after picking off only six passes last year. On a bright note, the Jags did muster up 45 QB sacks, which was sixth in the NFL.
All in all, it's still an uphill climb for this team entering the 2015 season. The Jaguars should be more competitive after being outscored by 10-plus points per game a year ago. They play in the AFC South and will likely battle Tennessee once again to avoid the division basement.
A 4-12 record would be a one-game improvement as the team continues to build around Bortles and company and looks for better days ahead in the future.

Week 1 - vs. Carolina Panthers
Week 2 - vs. Miami Dolphins
Week 3 - at New England Patriots
Week 4 - at Indianapolis Colts
Week 5 - at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 6 - vs. Houston Texans
Week 7 - vs. Buffalo Bills (London, England)
Week 8 - BYE WEEK
Week 9 - at New York Jets
Week 10 - at Baltimore Ravens
Week 11 - vs. Tennessee Titans
Week 12 - vs. San Diego Chargers
Week 13 - at Tennessee Titans
Week 14 - vs. Indianapolis Colts
Week 15 - vs. Atlanta Falcons
Week 16 - at New Orleans Saints
Week 17 - at Houston Texans

Sunday, August 23, 2015

2015 NFL PREVIEW - Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS                                           

2014 Record:  11-5-0 (1st in AFC South)

HEAD COACH: Chuck Pagano

New Players in 2015 - RB Frank Gore; WR Andre Johnson; OL Todd Herremans; DB Dwight Lowery; DL Kendall Langford; LB Nate Irving.

OFFENSIVE RANK in 2014 -  3rd in NFL (406.6 ypg)

DEFENSIVE RANK in 2014 -  11th in NFL (342.7 ypg)

Offense:  The Colts offense revolves around quarterback Andrew Luck, who is coming off his best season as a pro. Luck threw for 4,761 yards with a league best 40 touchdown passes along with 16 interceptions. Ageless veteran Matt Hasselbeck will once again back him up.
The running game will look to veteran Frank Gore, who finished the 2014 season with 1,106 rushing yards (4.3 ypc average) and scored four touchdowns with the San Francisco 49ers. Backing up will be Dan Herron (351 yards, 4.5 ypc and one TD).
T.Y. Hilton is the top wide receiver for Indianapolis after a big year in which he caught 82 passes for 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns. Longtime Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson comes over this year to replace Reggie Wayne, who left as a free agent in the off-season. Johnson had 85 receptions for 936 yards and three scores last year.
Rookie Phillip Dorsett (Miami, Florida), along with Donte Moncrief (32, 444, three TD) will give the team depth. The tight end is Coby Fleener, who had 51 receptions for 774 yards and eight touchdowns.
Up front on the line will be either Khaled Holmes or Jonotthan Harrison at center along with guards Lance Louis and Todd Herremans. The tackles are Anthony Castonzo and Jack Mewhort.

Defense:  Josh Chapman looks to be the nose tackle while Arthur Jones will play the other tackle spot. The end will be Kendall Langford in the 3-4 alignment. Zach Kerr (three QB sacks) is also available at nose tackle.
Linebackers include veteran Robert Mathis, who is coming off a serious Achilles injury, on the outside along with Trent Cole. The inside spots are manned by D'Qwell Jackson (four QB sacks) and Jerrell Freeman. Pass rushers Jonathan Newsome (6 1/2 sacks) and Erik Walden (six sacks) will be on the outside spots as well.
The secondary will see corner men Vontae Davis (four interceptions) and Greg Toler team with safeties Mike Adams (five INT) and Dwight Lowery. Rookie D'Joun Smith (Florida Atlantic) and Darius Butler provide depth at cornerback while Dewey McDonald and rookie Clayton Geathers (UCF) will look to rotate in at safety.

OUTLOOK FOR  2015 -  As long as quarterback Andrew Luck stays healthy, the Colts should remain a contender in the AFC.
The running game will be looking to veteran Frank Gore for a shot in the arm to complement the passing attack, which was number one in the NFL a year ago, averaging 306 yards per game. With T.Y. Hilton and Andre Johnson in tow, Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano knows Luck will enjoy more success in the passing game.
The defense needs to step up after last year's 45-7 shellacking against New England in the AFC title game.
The Colts will have Robert Mathis looking to come back from last year's Achilles injury that cost him the season. Mathis is the team's all-time sack leader and provides leadership on the field.
The Colts were eleventh overall on defense a year ago while finishing 19th in scoring defense, giving up 23 points per game.
After winning the AFC South last season and advancing to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since the Peyton Manning era, the Colts will no doubt set their sights even higher entering the 2015 season.
Expect another division title with an 11-5 record as Indianapolis will look to get over the next hurdle and make it to the Super Bowl this time around. It's possible, but only if Luck doesn't get injured and the defense is more consistent.

Week 1 - at Buffalo Bills
Week 2 - vs. New York Jets
Week 3 - at Tennessee Titans
Week 4 - vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 5 - at Houston Texans
Week 6 - vs. New England Patriots
Week 7 - vs. New Orleans Saints
Week 8 - at Carolina Panthers
Week 9 - vs. Denver Broncos
Week 10 - BYE WEEK
Week 11 - at Atlanta Falcons
Week 12 - vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 13 - at Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 14 - at Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 15 - vs. Houston Texans
Week 16 - at Miami Dolphins
Week 17 - vs. Tennessee Titans