Pro Bowl Cheat Sheet: The AFC

Khaled Elsayed gives you the crib sheet for filling in your AFC Pro Bowl ballot

| 5 years ago

Pro Bowl Cheat Sheet: The AFC

Every two weeks we get down to it. Cutting through all the propaganda to give you guys the lowdown on which players have truly earned themselves a spot on your Pro Bowl team.

We’re only sticking to guys the NFL lets you vote for, so it leads to me being somewhat handcuffed at certain positions, and just scratching my head at others.

But here’s the list.

AFC Offense

Quarterbacks: Tom Brady (NE), Peyton Manning (DEN) and Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)

No change here. Brady and Manning are two of the easier choices I’ll get to make, while even the injury to Roethlisberger can’t convince me to go in another direction. Andrew Luck throws too many bad balls and Matt Schaub I find far from convincing under pressure.

Running Backs: C.J. Spiller (BUF), Ray Rice (BLT) and Stevan Ridley (NE)    

Those crying out for Arian Foster and his 3.9 yards per carry average will be disappointed. Instead, I’ve gone for the explosive Spiller, dynamic Rice, and industrious Ridley. Similarly, as much as I like Jamaal Charles, the four fumbles were always going to hurt his chances of getting my nod.

Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne (IND), A.J. Green (CIN), Andre Johnson (HST) and Demaryius Thomas (DEN)

This choice has become easier over the past two weeks. It just so happens that these guys top the charts in receiving yards for the AFC, and it’s well earned. Wayne has become the go-to guy for Andrew Luck, while A.J. Green has picked up an impressive 10 touchdowns. Johnson leads the conference in Yards Per Route Run with Thomas not far off. This is one year where Wes Welker, as good as he is, may need to take a back seat.

Fullback: Vonta Leach (BLT)

I am a fickle one. One week I allow myself to be won over by the ball carrying skills of Marcel Reece, the next I’m all about the lead blocking of Leach. Football purists, make Leach your man.

Tight Ends: Rob Gronkowski (NE) and Heath Miller (PIT)

Whether Gronkowski can continue to earn this vote could come down to whether he plays again this year. Are 10 games, dominant as they were, enough to give someone a Pro Bowl spot? Marcedes Lewis’ superior blocking earned him consideration, but Miller is doing enough in the passing game to look past that.

Offensive Tackles: Duane Brown (HST), Andre Smith (CIN) and D’Brickashaw Ferguson (NYJ)

Brown keeps his spot, but I’ve had a change of heart regarding the two others. Smith is coming off one of the best performances of his career on the same week Sebastian Vollmer had one of his worst. Meanwhile Ryan Clady is just missing out, with the difference in play between he and Ferguson being so marginal that something as small as having given up two penalties to five help me endorse the Jet. I wouldn’t begrudge the Bronco getting your vote.

Offensive Guards: Clint Boling (CIN), Marshal Yanda (BLT) and Kevin Zeitler (CIN)

It’s an All AFC North thing outside of Yanda, I’m looking at the NFC list of candidates and wondering why they couldn’t be in this conference to make things easier for me. As it is, Yanda is the best guard in the league, while the solid Cincinnati duo are better than anything else out there.

Centers: Mike Pouncey (MIA) and Chris Myers (HST)

No Nick Mangold? His inconsistency has got the better of me. That means Myers joins Pouncey as my two recommendations. I gave some serious consideration to Ryan Wendell, the Patriots’ center who has done an exceptional job in the run game. But you can’t give 19 quarterback disruptions up without it raising doubt in me.

Turn the page for the Defense

  • Anders

    Any reason for Tucker over Dawson as kicker?

    • Tropical Gene

      Don’t think Tucker has missed a chip shot in a close game like Dawson did yesterday

      • Mansoor

        Dawson’s kick was blocked, not missed. I don’t watch Baltimore’s games but I’d assume Tucker makes longer kicks on average? I know Dawson only has not made one kick yet this season so I’d assume Tucker would have to have also only missed one or two kicks.

        • Jason B

          Phil Dawson is 23/24 overall, and 5/5 from 50+ yards. Justin Tucker is 24/26 and 4/4 from 50+ yards. Both to me are deserving, but Dawson at first glance does seem to be slightly more impressive. I would also make a case for Janikowski, who is 24/26 but whose two misses are from 61 and 64 yards.

  • Sppash101

    A site that understands how Arain Foster is actually performing this year. May be the workhorse of his team, but hasn’t nearly been as good as he had been for the past two seasons.

    • Action_Ghost

      He’s definitely slowed down, and the loss of the right side of the line (i believe he ran to the ran right side a large majority of his carries) has certainly hurt his production. Also it seems Kubiak has been has been using him in obvious run situations more and more this year, which has definitely hurt as well.

    • pbskids4000

      The reason for Foster having a down year is because the offensive line is inconsistent at best. I’ve repeatedly watched the line not have the ability to make any holes for Foster to run through.

      • Sppash101

        I have repeatedly watched where Foster would miss a giant hole or cutback. I also have repeatedly watched him get brought that simply by arm tackles. The right side has been an issue, but with D.Brown, W. Smith, and C. Myers you have one of the strongest left side of the lines in the game.

        I honestly believe the reason for Foster struggles is the lack of Ben Tate. Last year Ben Tate would wear down a defense with his physicality and ability to run through tackles. The combo allowed for Tate being the bruiser and Foster being the finisher. This year Foster has had to take on more of the bruising role and has actually slowed him down.

  • Dotsmada

    In regards to Foster, I think the loss of 2 quality offensive lineman has hurt the Texans run game this year. Obviously, they’ve been able to overcome this so far this year.

    • Lars Lundahl

      Stevan Ridley has been running behind reserve o-linemen and he’s done a better job than Foster.

  • kse214

    Tough to believe Randy Starks isn’t more deserving than Casey

    • pbskids4000

      Starks isn’t doing nearly as well as he did the 1st half of the year. I was more surprised that Casey was ahead of Ngata.

      • kse214

        I haven’t watched Casey, sounds like I should. I agree that Starks is not playing as well lately.

  • Alex

    No love for Reshad Jones ?

    • Steve Palazzolo

      He gets a mention in the write up

  • Lars Lundahl

    No Vollmer !? He’s regarded as the best right tackle in the league by the AP. And he is. PLaying the way he is with back injury is impressive. Already Solder should be in that category, but no Vollmer ? I can’t agree. We are talking about the numbe rone offense in the league, one of the best pass protection o-line and a run game averaging 140 rushing yards on the year. Compared to the Jets and Bengals ? And Wes Welker, I’m sorry but no one does what he does. I mean, who takes passes over the middle anymore ? None of these 6.3 receivers have the guts to do what Welker does for a 5.9 prototype. He has hands of stone. I’m not thinking with my heart, but until those prima-donnas do what Welker does, I’m giving the edge to the little man.

  • gdeuce

    wow, no players from the leagues #1 DEFENCE

  • Roger

    Brett Kern for AFC Punter!

  • Brian

    What about Brandon Fields?

  • Rear View Mirror

    This is a peculiar list. This site claims to be all about objectivity but several of these rankings are purely subjective. Which is it going to be going forward?

  • Matt

    Really nice to see some recognition of the Bengals O-line. Their play (minus the plug in centers) has been phenomenal all season.

  • Chris Zanon

    Phil Dawson?

  • steven lourie

    Not going to disagree with the choices, but Wilkerson is on the ballot as a DT and Mayo is as a MLB. I think it would be more helpful if you listed out who you think deserves people’s vote given the way the ballot is, however incorrect it may be with some guys’ positions.