There are so many dynamics to evaluating an NFL defense, that debating who deserves their Pro Bowl selection and who got the short end of it is a debate that should be held by guys who truly understand Xs and Os. However, on the offensive side of the ball, outside of the offensive lineman, statistics are a great measure for selecting Pro Bowl players. In both the AFC and NFC, there were players we felt that truly deserved their selections, while others we are left either scratching our heads or could easily debate replacing them with a different player.
- Matt Schaub
- Keith - Nobody thinks of the passing attack when you talk about the Texans offense, everyone knows it revolves around Arian Foster. Schaub has thrown an unimpressive 22 TDs (same as Carson Palmer and Joe Flacco) while Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ben Roethlisberger (12 games) and Philip Rivers each have more. Just 10 interceptions is VERY impressive but again Flacco has also thrown just 10. Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer and Joe Flacco all have thrown for more yards and Schaub has averaged less than 250 yards per game. Funny part is though that I dont even think that Flacco should be the guy here, but you could debate it! Was QB play in the AFC that bad this season?
- Michael - In my mind, Matt Schaub did not have a Pro Bowl season. Schaub ranked 7th in the AFC in TDs, 7th in yards per game and 4th in QB rating. Having arguably the best RB in the game and a top 5 WR, the Texans never relied heavily on Schaub to win games, he was simply a game manager, as he only threw for 300 yards twice this year. I also look at strength of schedule when deciding if a guy belongs in the Pro Bowl, even though they have no control over who they play. Houston had the 4th easiest schedule. There weren't a lot of options at QB for the Pro Bowl outside of Brady and Manning but you can make a case for guys like Flacco, Luck and Dalton.
- Keith - My goodness was this guy impressive. I had the "joy" of watching him twice this year against my New York Football Giants and watched him just pick up apart and run all over us. But that's just it, 10 QBs in the NFC have attempted more passes which is why his yards per attempt are over 8! However that being said, he does have a 20/5 TD/INT ratio and he has completed 66% of his passes, but that is only
4th3rd best in the NFC ( Alex Smith, Matt Ryan & Aaron Rodgers). He is 10th in the NFC in passing yards and averages just 221 pass yards per game. Are those Pro Bowl numbers? I don't think that his rushing numbers should count in the debate. Drew Brees is getting screwed! When you lead the league in passing yards and passing TDs, you deserve to make the Pro Bowl. Even if you add RGIII rushing numbers to his totals, Brees still has more TDs and more total yards.
- Michael - So you can lead the NFL in passing yards and passing touchdowns and still not make the Pro Bowl? Are you kidding me? Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers deserve to be there. With the numbers RG3 put up this year, he definitely deserves to be up for discussion for the Pro Bowl, but there is no doubt in my mind that Ryan, Rodgers and Brees deserve to be there over him. RG3 got voted in simply due to the hype surrounding him and Brees did not make it because his team had a poor season which he was surrounded by a scandal that he had nothing to do with.
- Ray Rice
- Keith - Of the 7 running backs in the AFC with 1000+ yards, Ray Rice is second to last in yards per game. C.J Spiller is being over looked here because he had to split carries with Fred Jackson. No running back in the NFL averaged more yards per carry and he also added 41 receptions compared to Ray Rice's 61. Rice picked up just 44 more total yards of offense on 91 more touches!
- Michael - CJ Spiller is the guy who is getting screwed out of a Pro Bowl spot. Ray Rice had a nice season but as a superstar in the NFL it wasn't anything special. Rice ranked outside the top 10 in the NFL in rushing yards and was only 6th in the AFC. Having nearly 70 less carries than Rice, Spiller rushed for 50 more yards, and only had 3 less touchdowns than Rice. Spiller led the AFC with the most 20+ yard rushes and is a threat to bust out a long touchdown at any time.
- Frank Gore
- Keith - There are two rookies from the NFC that both deserved this selection over Frank Gore and they ares Doug Martin and Alfred Morris. When talking about pure running back stats Alfred Morris has over 300 carries and still had a 4.7 ypc while Gore's 238 carries have gone for just .1 more at 4.8 ypc. Morris also has scored 3 more touchdown (10 - 7). Frank Gore has 25 catches out of the backfield you say? Oh well Doug Martin has 45 AND over 1300 yards AND 10 rushing touchdowns. Frank Gore hasn't rushed for 100 yards since week 7, Martin and Morris each have 3 since then.
- Michael - I dont think Doug Martin deserved a spot in the Pro Bowl over Frank Gore as Martin has only 4 games with 100 or more yards and had 6 of his 10 rushing touchdowns come in 2 games. However the other rookie Alfred Morris deserves to be there. Morris who took a back seat to the spotlight thanks to rookie teammate RG3 put up an incredible season. Morris ranks 3rd in the NFC in rushing yards behind Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch (less than 80 yards behind). He has 10 rushing touchdowns, scoring in 8 different games, and how many touchdowns inside the 5 did he lose to RG3? Morris was a workhorse this year getting the 3rd most rushing attempts in the NFL, not splitting or sharing carries with anyone but his QB. He should be rewarded with a trip to the Pro Bowl.
- Wes Welker
- Keith - Wes Welker might as well be a running back because he had over 600 yards AFTER the catch. Yards are yards but if we are talking about the best wide receivers in the AFC, we have to consider talking about Demaryius Thomas who led the AFC in 20+ yard receptions with more than twice as many as Welker (26 - 11). Thomas also has 9 touchdowns this season, which isn't even the best on his team, Decker has 11, but his 15 yards per catch is the most amongst receivers with 60+ catches in the AFC
- Julio Jones
- Keith - Julio Jones was a TD machine as his 10 TDs make him one of just four receiver with double digit TDs. However, that doesn't mean anything by itself because James Jones leads all receivers with 14 and he is on NO ONES mind when talking about Pro Bowl wide receivers. However, Vincent Jackson is and Calvin Johnson was the only other receiver with 20+ catches of 20 yards or more. We are not even talking about yards after catch here as Jackson was 15th in the NFC. Jackson is the 2nd best deep threat receiver in the NFL and he proved that maximizing his 69 receptions leading the NFC in yards per catch by 3 yards!
- Michael - I personally think Jones' teammate Roddy White should be there instead of him. White has 10 more catches, and close to 300 more yards than Jones this year. Sharing the field with guys like Jones and Tony Gonzalez, White still managed to haul in at least 6 catches in 9 games, that's called consistency. I guess the fact that Jones had a double digit number in touchdowns was a good enough reason to give him the edge over White.
- Victor Cruz
- Keith - Cruz has averaged just 69 yards per game. Dez Bryant on the other hand has 10 touchdowns in his last 7 games! Bryant has been the most dominate receiver in the second half and has really saved the Cowboys season, giving meaning to Sundays matchup with the Washington Redskins. As a Giants fan this really hurts to say but Dez Bryant deserves this slot WAY more than Victor Cruz.
- Michael - Cruz can thank his Chunky Campbell Soup (and new Foot Locker) commercials for getting him to the Pro Bowl. Cruz put up another nice season with the Giants but did not do nearly enough to earn a trip to the Pro Bowl. Dez Bryant has more catches, yards and TDs than Cruz this season and has been far more consistent. Bryant has scored in 7 straight games giving him 12 on the season, 1 shy of the NFL lead. Honorable mention: Vincent Jackson.