PFF Week: Up North, Week 1
It’s your last chance to get caught up on the happenings at PFF before the next slate of games is upon us, and our new ‘PFF Week’ posts provide quick access to the week that was. The ‘Up North’ edition covers all things pertaining to the AFC and NFC North divisions for a one-stop Saturday shop built to keep you in the loop and on top of your football-watching game.
The PFF week began with the announcement of our first ever Team of the Week to be drawn from a complete analysis of every player on every play of the preseason. Lions Willie Young and Dwight Bentley made the team, along with Bobby Rainey, Daryl Smith and Terrance Cody from the Ravens, and Chicago’s Kyle Long.
Diving further into the preseason action, our Re-Focused articles recapped notable performances in each team’s final tune-up. Here’s the selection of ‘ReFo’s’ for the teams up North:
REFO: Lions @ Bills, Preseason Week 4
REFO: Packers @ Chiefs, Preseason Week 4
REFO: Titans @ Vikings, Preseason Week 4
REFO: Browns @ Bears, Preseason Week 4
REFO: Ravens @ Rams, Preseason Week 4
REFO: Colts @ Bengals, Preseason Week 4
REFO: Steelers @ Panthers, Preseason Week 4
We wrapped-up our preseason coverage with Nathan Jahnke’s 32 Observations: Roster Surprises, which threw up one name from each of the 53-man final rosters that few would have predicted to make the cut. They included undrafted longshots like Cleveland’s Martin Wallace, Jason DiManche from the Bengals, and the Vikings’ Zach Line. Remember, if you sign up for PFF’s Premium Stats you’ll get access to all the grades from every play of preseason, including our unique Signature Stats.
2013 On the Way
Moving on from those looks back at the preseason to looking forward to the real thing, with our Four Questions, Four Analysts preview series. You can take a look at who our senior analysts think will be the breakout players and top rookies from both the AFC North and NFC North, how they think each team will fare against their projected Over/Under win totals, and who will ultimately win each division title.
For a little more prognostication, take a look at how each of our senior analysts sees the 2013 playoffs playing out in PFF’s 2013 Predictions. Our experts are unanimous in thinking the Packers will win the NFC North (and Steve Palazzolo thinks Green Bay can win it all), while the AFC North vote was split between the Ravens and Bengals. Who’ve you got emerging from the North?
Building on those predictions, our team set out their vision for the entire league with the PFF Power Rankings: 2013 Season Opener. Green Bay and Baltimore both slipped in to the Top 5 of a few of our analysts’ individual rankings. Click to check out where all of the teams up North landed on the list.
Next up in the PFF week was founder Neil Hornsby’s season primer, which graded every member of every team’s projected 2013 starting line-ups. Click on your team’s link at the bottom of the post to see a color-coded grade of every player from Poor to Elite (Blue Chip)… for instance, if you’re a Pittsburgh fan that means everyone from Ziggy Hood to Big Ben.
Neil’s piece follows on from our earlier 32 Teams in 32 Days season previews, which outlined five reasons for optimism and pessimism among the fans of each team. You can check in with how our analysts see your team’s fortunes here:
The Real Games Begin
Our attention then switched from the big picture to the small, as we previewed each of the Week 1 games. Our weekly Three To Focus On series picks out the key matchups our analysts feel will determine the winner of every game of the season. Click below to find out how our analysts think your team will fare in the all-important first game of the year.
And, if you need a little last-minute help with you tips for the weekends’ games, check out PFF Pick’em: Week 1. Our team think Pittsburgh is a lock to beat the Titans this week, while the Bengals and Lions are heavily favored — who’ve you got?
Finally, Ravens fans can take a look at how it all went wrong in the season opener at Denver with Ben Stockwell’s Re-Focused: Ravens @ Broncos, Week 1. While giving up seven passing TDs to Peyton Manning is never a good sign for the defense, Ben feels the Ravens’ offense was as much to blame for the heavy loss:
“This game really offered the Ravens a perfect storm of things to go wrong on offense. Baltimore didn’t get the big plays deep and with the running game largely shutdown before it was abandoned, that put the onus on a short passing game that is still anything but efficient. Joe Flacco was 20 of 31 on short throws, including two interceptions, and the (should have been) pick-six to Trevathan on a 4th-and-1 play that should never have been put in the air.”
We’ll have Re-Focused articles dissecting each game this year, so check back with us early in the week to see how your team performed.
On top of the game-specific content, our analysts also bring you a number of in-depth articles throughout the week. While Ravens fans may not enjoy Sam Monson’s first Analysis Notebook of the season, which details exactly how the Broncos were able to spring Julius Thomas for an early touchdown, the series regularly illustrates the finer workings of some of the NFL’s most impressive plays and players.
Steve Palazzolo this week offered two editions of Palazzolo’s Pitch. The first threw up a few final thoughts on the preseason, including how he feels injured 2012 first-round draft picks Dre Kirkpatrick of the Bengals and the Steelers’ David DeCastro will fare in their bounce-back seasons. And the second touched on the hot-button issue of analytics in the NFL, including PFFs place in football’s grand scheme.
And if football’s “grand scheme” is something that interests you, take a look at our PFF Page of Fame. This page brings together all the best performances we’ve seen over our time grading every player, on every play, of every game. You’ll find the best of the best single-game and season performances for every position on the gridiron.
So there it is, a week crammed full of content, and we’re only one game in to the season!