Thursday, September 8, 2011

GTOG AFC Preview: Five Pressing QB Questions

By Finesse

Previewing just the NFC without also taking a look at the AFC would be like Canadian reporters only asking Crosby once if he was retiring.  Can't be done.  So because the NFL is a league where pretty much the only thing that matters is your quarterback, let's take 5 questions about the AFC QB's.

5. How devastating for the NFL is the Peyton Manning injury?

Huge.  Arguably the biggest of the season.  Many people are annoyed by Peyton, but two things are indisputable: 1) he's a historically great quarterback; and 2) he's interesting and unique in a league that is often neither.  Let's take the greatness first. He has his playoff failures, but when you watch Manning play, it is immediately apparent that this is a person performing his job at an extremely high level.  It's like if you came into my office building, walked by my office, and watched someone else work.

Now, the interesting and unique part.  The NFL is so monstrously popular that you are almost forced to watch games in which you have no rooting interest (other than fantasy) because if you don't, you won't know how to properly engage your spouse in sexual intercourse in two separate outdoor bathtubs with no water source.

Peyton Manning makes those games not only watchable, but entertaining.  So for any Manning haters, think about how you'll feel when Curtis Painter throws his fourth interception at New Orleans on Sunday Night Football in Week 7.

More questions, after the jump...

4. When James Harrison decapitates Andy Dalton in Week 13 and the Benglas drop to 0-12, will you feel bad?

Let's put it this way: We will be the first ones in line at the Pittsburgh Sports History Museum to see Dalton's head on a mantle next to Carson Palmer's ACL.  The Bengals have an opportunity this season to be historically bad and historically fun for the Steelers to beat twice, by a combined score of 81-9.  They have a starting wide receiver named "Jerome Simpson" which, for any Madden player, sounds exactly like one of the made up players you draft in the first round of year-2 in Franchise Mode.

At least he'll be prepared.
3. Who will be less effective: Terrelle Pryor or Tim Tebow?

If these two combined forces and morphed into Timrelle Prybow, they might be good enough to be Andy Dalton's backup.  It's never any fun to follow conventional wisdom, but when it comes to evaluating quarterbacks coming out of college, don't get too cute.  If everyone is in agreement that you are not a "pro-style" quarterback, it means one of three things: you reportedly got a 7 on the Wonderlic test (Pryor), the release point for your throws is your waist (Tebow), or you have the throwing accuracy of Mark Kaboly's tweets about Plaxico to the Steelers being a "done deal" (Timrele Prybow).

Bottom line: pick each of them up in Week 15 for your keeper league fantasy team and hope they are tight ends next year.

"I told you, I wired you the money. I don't know why it's not there yet."
2. How potent will the Ben Roethlisberger-led Steelers offense be?

We know so much about Ben's potency, but as we discussed on our podcast Wednesday night, the Steelers offense as a whole has the potential to be deadly this year.  We know that because everyone is saying it.  The common themes: Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown are blossoming, Mike Wallace has been anointed as a top-10 receiver, Rashard Mendenhall has finally figured out the truth about 9/11 and is ready to focus on football, Maurkice Pouncey is so good that he can play three positions at once, and, of course, Ben Roethlisberger had a distraction-free offseason.  Throw in Ben's continuity with Hines Ward and, well, let's let Ben tell us:
The great thing about me and Hines is that we are football players, not quarterbacks and receivers.  I mean, yeah, we actually hate each other and have since I was drafted, but still, when we're one the field it's just like, 'Hines, go out there and get open and I'll get you the ball.  There's a good chance I'll get sacked, but if not, then I'll try to get you the ball.'  Sometimes when I don't get it to him, he actually cries.  Band of brothers though.  During my rookie year, he once came up to me in the locker room with tears in his eyes and said, 'I was a third round pick.'  I didn't say anything to him because I thought I was better than everyone that season and my teammates hated me.  Faith and God.  Faith and God.  Offensive line.

1. Which AFC QB will be the last man standing?

Let's dust off the unimpeachable "GTOG Super Bowl Evaluator Formula."  It's simple: rank the quarterbacks, and the teams with the best quarterbacks are the only ones with a chance of winning the Super Bowl.  Here's the breakdown:

The Elite Of The Elite: Tom Brady
The Not As Elite: Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers
The One Who Is Supposed To Be Good But Goes 8-8 Every Year: Matt Schaub
Recognizable Excrement: Joe Flacco, Kyle Orton, Jason Campbell, Matt Cassel
Would Rather Be A Lifeguard: Mark Sanchez
Could Be Good But Plays For Cleveland: Colt McCoy
Would Cheat Off Of But Not Draft In Fantasy: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Toilets Waiting to be Flushed: Kerry Collins, Matt Hasselbeck
Nuclear Holocaust: Chad Henne, Andy Dalton, Luke McCown

Based on those rankings, only the Patriots, Steelers and Chargers have a chance to come out of the AFC.  That's it, that's the list.  I'm a homer if I pick the Steelers and it's unthinkable to pick a team coached by Bill Belicheck.  Therefore, we're left with San Diego.  They finished ranked #1 in offense and #1 in defense last year, and even though those stats don't mean everything (after all, they missed the playoffs), that's still pretty impressive.  Norv Turner is their Achilles Heal, but that's what everyone was saying about Mike McCarthy for the Packers last year.  And we all saw how that turned out.  A good quarterback trumps all.

As detestable as Philip Rivers can be at times, he's the closest QB in the league to Aaron Rodgers when it comes to slinging darts all across the field.  And if you're thinking in terms of story lines, well, maybe it's just his turn.

"Haha! Yes, I am unlikeable!!!"
[Playoff teams: San Diego, New England, Pittsburgh, Houston, New York Jets, Cleveland (whatever, worth a shot).]

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