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Old 10-16-2012, 10:22 AM    (permalink
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Default Can anybody but the Patriots, Texans, or Broncos advance to the Super Bowl from AFC?

I just can't see it right now. Everyone in the AFC is mediocre with the exception of a few (three, to be exact) teams at the top.

The Patriots strike me as the same team they were last year: elite offense with a mediocre defense. However, their defense does look a little better this year than last.

The Broncos are similar to the Patriots in that they have an elite offense with an elite QB, but an average defense. However, they have two stud pass rushers who could make the difference in a shoot-out.

I thought the Texans were the most complete team in the NFL, and they still might end up being that, but after the shellacking they took at the hands of the Packers, I'm beginning to have my doubts.


Outside of those three teams, who else in the AFC even has a shot though?

- The Steelers and the Ravens have the same problem: they relied on aging stars on defense for too long and now have to live without them, and will suffer on defense for it. These two teams, so accustomed to playing with top-5 defenses year-in and year-out, now will both end the season with defenses ranked in the bottom-10 in all likelihood. I don't see any way they can compete with those defenses. Their offenses are not as good as the Broncos' or Patriots' and thus I feel that these two teams simply cannot be contenders without a top-10 defense, which they won't have this year.

- The Chargers just showed us last night why they can't be taken seriously as a Super Bowl contender. 'Nuff said.

- The Jets and Dolphins are two teams that seem solid enough on defense that they could make somewhat of a run, but both of them are either relying on a rookie quarterback (Dolphins) or someone who plays like a rookie (New York Jets).

- The Colts, Bengals, Browns, Jaguars, Titans, Chiefs, Bills, and Raiders are all just medicore to terrible teams that have critical flaws in one area or another that will prevent them from making any kind of impact in the playoffs.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:25 AM    (permalink
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Any given Sunday.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:33 AM    (permalink
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Any given Sunday.
Not when it comes to making a Super Bowl run.

Takes quality to go that far.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:38 AM    (permalink
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The AFC is just messed up this year.

The Texans looked the best team but got absolutely schooled by the Packers.

The Patriots have 3 losses by a combined 4 points but at times look as mediocre as a lot of other teams further down the list.

The Broncos have looked pretty good at the end of a lot of their games. However they went down big to Houston and lost. Went down big to NE and lost. I don't think you can bank on coming back against the better teams

Baltimore are 5-1, however defensively I have some major, major worries. If Ngata is in any way affected by his knee it could be trouble.

Pittsburgh are a weird team. At times they look as though they can mix it with anyone then at others they **** the bed against teams like Oakland and Tennessee.

One team I just cannot get a handle on is the Dolphins. They are two OT losses away from being 5-1, however they have only beaten St Louis, Cincy and Oakland. Tannehill will be wildly inconsistent but can be great and their defense is very stout. If Tannehill can be more good than bad down the stretch they could make a run
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:38 AM    (permalink
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The Steelers, they have a great offense, franchise QB and solid enough defense, at least when compare it to what the Broncos and Pats are working with. I expect the Chargers to get one wild card spot while the other goes to the ravens, Bengals or Bills, so that leaves just the Pats, Broncos, Stillers and Texans as legit SB contenders from the AFC.
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Most misleading 10+ sack season EVER.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:41 AM    (permalink
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Not when it comes to making a Super Bowl run.

Takes quality to go that far.
You can't predict a Super Bowl representative by who is playing the best football the first 6 weeks of the season. When is the last time the best team from this time of the year made it to the SB? Odds are that one of the teams who aren't looking that impressive right now will get hot late and make a run. It's about who is playing the best at the right time.
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I guarantee that if someone picks Cam Newton in the Top 5 they will regret it.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:42 AM    (permalink
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The Steelers, they have a great offense, franchise QB and solid enough defense, at least when compare it to what the Broncos and Pats are working with. I expect the Chargers to get one wild card spot while the other goes to the ravens, Bengals or Bills, so that leaves just the Pats, Broncos, Stillers and Texans as legit SB contenders from the AFC.
The Steelers defense this year is worse than what the Broncos and Patriots have, because the Steelers have the same questionable secondaries with even less pass rush (Woodley and Timmons are their only solid front-seven players at this point, and Woodley is the only real pass rusher they have now, and he's injured alot)

And I wouldn't put the Steelers offense on the same level as the Pats or the Broncos. Remember, Roethsliberger is not a top-5 QB. He won all of those Super Bowls because the Steelers were the best, or second best, defensive team in the league those years.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:45 AM    (permalink
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That's a little pedantic as Big Ben may not be a top 5 QB, but he is a top 6 QB, and he's been doing great things with those weapons for a few years now.
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Is Shaun Hill a top 10 QB? Definitely not. Is he a top 20 one? Almost certainly.
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Most misleading 10+ sack season EVER.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:48 AM    (permalink
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I still think Baltimore comes out of the AFC. Sure, their defense may be an issue, but the offense has shown the ability to carry the team at times this year. And having a great defense is no longer the path to the Super Bowl. My biggest concern is their occasional stinker of a game (Jacksonville, Kansas City). The Ravens will likely get a first round bye so they only need to string together two solid games. They can definitely do that.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:51 AM    (permalink
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You can't predict a Super Bowl representative by who is playing the best football the first 6 weeks of the season. When is the last time the best team from this time of the year made it to the SB? Odds are that one of the teams who aren't looking that impressive right now will get hot late and make a run. It's about who is playing the best at the right time.
Actually you can, and as early as the first four weeks of the season:

2011: Giants 3-1 to start season, great defense, great offense outside of one game against Redskins

2010: Packers 3-1 to start season, blowing out teams, but lost close game to Bears in which they outplayed the Bears but got penalized a 1000 times

2009: Saints 4-0, blowing everyone out, clearly the best team that year after first few weeks

2008: Steelers 3-1, shutting everyone down on defense, but lost close game to Philly due to Philly's defense annihilating Roethlisberger

2007: Giants 2-2; up and down to start the season, I'll give you this one. You would be hard-pressed to see the '07 Giants as a Super Bowl team early on, althought they did have that awesome 600-sack game against the Eagles in week 4 that would hint at future greatness on the defensive line

2006: Colts 4-0; scoring points like crazy with an average defense, typical Peyton Manning team that was in the running every year

2005: Steelers 3-1; held two opponents to only 7 points, looked great on defense.

2004: Patriots 4-0; crushing everyone early in the season

2003: Patriots 2-2; inexplicable early terrible loss to the Bills. This one would be harder to predict, as they played much better later in the season

2002: Buccaneeers 3-1; Blanking people on defense, looking absolutely stifling on defense, pretty obviously the best team in the NFC for almost the entire year


So that's just the past ten years of Super Bowl winners and how they started out. You can clearly see trends early in the season that point to the likely Super Bowl teams. Prior to 2002, it was even more pronounced, as you typically knew almost before the season began who would be the Super Bowl team that year - it was always one of the powerhouse teams like the 49ers, Cowboys, Redskins, Giants that almost always started out 4-0 or 3-1 and had better stats than any other team in the league.


After four weeks, and especially later, after six or more weeks, you can begin to separate the "contenders" from the "pretenders". Teams that end up in the Super Bowl almost always start out at the very least, *solid*. So far, only a handful of teams can be described as *solid* in the AFC thus far: Patriots, Texans, Broncos, Ravens, but I'd say that the Ravens will be simply too inept on defense to be a Super Bowl contender in light of all of these injuries.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:54 AM    (permalink
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I still think Baltimore comes out of the AFC. Sure, their defense may be an issue, but the offense has shown the ability to carry the team at times this year. And having a great defense is no longer the path to the Super Bowl. My biggest concern is their occasional stinker of a game (Jacksonville, Kansas City). The Ravens will likely get a first round bye so they only need to string together two solid games. They can definitely do that.
This is a completely false statement.

Defense is crucial to winning championships still. The Giants had a great defense last year aside from a three or four game stretch during the middle of the season.

Every single other Super Bowl winner prior to 2011 basically had a top-10 defense, as well.

Without at least a top-10 defense, a team is simply not winning a Super Bowl, nor are they even playing in the Super Bowl (aside from flukes like last year's Patriots)
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:00 AM    (permalink
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The AFC is so wack, bruh.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:02 AM    (permalink
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Actually you can, and as early as the first four weeks of the season:
.
We are 6 weeks in now. And by your own admission, the Ravens should be in the SB, yet you left them off your list which contradicts the point you made. There are also numerous teams who started off 3-1, 4-0, or something close and didn't sniff the SB. There are too many to count. So do we only use the teams when it fits your argument, or do we ignore teams like Green Bay last year?
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:05 AM    (permalink
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We are 6 weeks in now. And by your own admission, the Ravens should be in the SB, yet you left them off your list which contradicts the point you made. There are also numerous teams who started off 3-1, 4-0, or something close and didn't sniff the SB. There are too many to count. So do we only use the teams when it fits your argument, or do we ignore teams like Green Bay last year?
I never said that the Ravens *should* be in the Super Bowl. They have a nice record, but that doesnt' guarantee anything. Not every 4-0 or 3-1 team makes the Super Bowl, obviously. They *were* a contender, but with the number of injuries they've sustained on defense, I don't see them possibly fielding even a top-20 defense at this point, and with that kind of bad defense, it's next to impossible to make a deep playoff run.

Again, not every 4-0 or 3-1 team makes the Super Bowl, but the team that ends up in the Super Bowl usually started out 3-1 or 4-0 and looked good early. How is this so hard to understand? You can't make the Super Bowl if you look bad early. You might not make the Super Bowl even if you *do* look good early, but one of those teams that looks really good early is going to make it.

The point of this thread is to point out which AFC teams have looked *good enough* so far to be legit. Super Bowl contenders. As far as I can tell, it's only been four: the Patriots, Texans, Broncos, and Ravens, and I can write the Ravens off at this point because their defense will be too bad to carry them through the playoffs and their offense just isn't good enough to compensate.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:07 AM    (permalink
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I won't say the Steelers can't as long as Ben is on the team. Not reset to write off the Ravens yet either.

But this isn't some new problem in the AFC. Look at the last decade. Only the Steelers, Pats, or Colts have gone to the Super Bowl. Every year since 2002. AFC has been dominated by Brady, Manning, and Roethlisberger led teams.

Conference is very weak this year. Once the top 6 pan out, anything can happen in the playoffs. I don't see any rules that say if you look bad early you won't make the Superbowl. Just gotta get hot at the end.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:09 AM    (permalink
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I won't say the Steelers can't as long as Ben is on the team. Not reset to write off the Ravens yet either.

But this isn't some new problem in the AFC. Look at the last decade. Only the Steelers, Pats, or Colts have gone to the Super Bowl. Every year since 2002. AFC has been dominated by Brady, Manning, and Roethlisberger led teams.

Conference is very weak this year. Once the top 6 pan out, anything can happen in the playoffs.
Anything can happen in one game of the playoffs, but at the end of the day after several rounds of playoffs, only a few teams have a real shot at making it all the way through the playoffs to the Super Bowl. Teams outside of the top 3-4 in the AFC simply cannot, under any circumstances, make it all the way through the playoffs to the Super Bowl. It just doesn't happen that way, and hasn't happened that way ever. The team that ends up in the Super Bowl is one of the top 4 teams in the conference every single year.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:12 AM    (permalink
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Anything can happen in one game of the playoffs, but at the end of the day after several rounds of playoffs, only a few teams have a real shot at making it all the way through the playoffs to the Super Bowl. Teams outside of the top 3-4 in the AFC simply cannot, under any circumstances, make it all the way through the playoffs to the Super Bowl. It just doesn't happen that way, and hasn't happened that way ever. The team that ends up in the Super Bowl is one of the top 4 teams in the conference every single year.
Except when the Giants and Steelers won the superbowl as a 6th seed?
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Is Shaun Hill a top 10 QB? Definitely not. Is he a top 20 one? Almost certainly.
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Most misleading 10+ sack season EVER.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:18 AM    (permalink
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This is a completely false statement.

Defense is crucial to winning championships still. The Giants had a great defense last year aside from a three or four game stretch during the middle of the season.

Every single other Super Bowl winner prior to 2011 basically had a top-10 defense, as well.

Without at least a top-10 defense, a team is simply not winning a Super Bowl, nor are they even playing in the Super Bowl (aside from flukes like last year's Patriots)
New York was ranked 27th in defense. That is not "great." Even if you take out those three games (which is BS but whatever) they would still be ranked 17th in total defense. That's average, not great.

It isn't only a fluke. 2011 New York (27), 2011 New Egnald (31), 2009 New Orleans (25), 2009 Indianapolis (18), 2008 Arizona (19), 2006 Indianapolis (21), and 2005 Seattle (16). 50% of the last 14 Super Bowl Participants have has a defense ranked outside of the top-15, including three champions (43%).

The truth is, offense is more important. Only two of the last 14 (14%) Super Bowl teams, have had a offense outside of the top-15. The average rank of defenses in the last 7 Super Bowls: 13.2. Average rank of the offenses, 8.5.

What is really important is you have a very good offense and a defense that steps up when playoff time comes. Baltimore has shown their offense can win games for them. And with a veteran defense with loads of playoff experience, especially with Suggs coming back, I have no doubt their defense will step up in the playoffs.
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Brilliant letting one of Scott Pioli's henchmen have his own team to ruin.  One of the premier GM jobs in the NFL and it gets handed to a stupid **** who makes three facepalm moves for every good one.  Awesome.  Just like handing a new Mercedes to a 16 year old girl who's already been in three wrecks. 
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:20 AM    (permalink
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Except when the Giants and Steelers won the superbowl as a 6th seed?
Seeding doesn't matter that much, because fluky losses, easy/hard schedules, and bad stretches of play due to injury can affect your final win-loss record too easily.

It's how you played for *most of the season*, and other stats such as point differential, and ANY/A (adjusted net yards per attempt) differential that truly tell the story of the top teams.

In 2007, the Giants were kind of fluky, yes. That's basically one team out of like 50+ years of Super Bowl winners. Even so, they were #1 that year in sacks, so they had something going for them statistically.


The 2005 Steelers were one of the top three teams in the AFC that year. Their record was a bad representation of how good they actually were. According to point differential, the only teams better than the Steelers in the AFC that year were the Colts and Broncos, and not by much.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:22 AM    (permalink
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Except when the Giants and Steelers won the superbowl as a 6th seed?
The Packers were either the 5th or 6th seed as well.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:27 AM    (permalink
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New York was ranked 27th in defense. That is not "great." Even if you take out those three games (which is BS but whatever) they would still be ranked 17th in total defense. That's average, not great.

It isn't only a fluke. 2011 New York (27), 2011 New Egnald (31), 2009 New Orleans (25), 2009 Indianapolis (18), 2008 Arizona (19), 2006 Indianapolis (21), and 2005 Seattle (16). 50% of the last 14 Super Bowl Participants have has a defense ranked outside of the top-15, including three champions (43%).
If you are just ranking defense by yards allowed, that's ludicrous. That is a terrible approximation of defensive strength.

The most important facet of defense in the NFL is passing defense. The best way to look at that is typically ANY/A (adjusted net yards per attempt) which does the best job of describing how efficient a defense is at stopping the pass.

Typically, the teams with the best ANY/A differntial overall (passing on offense minus passing on defense) rise to the cream of the crop and become the Super Bowl teams.

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The truth is, offense is more important. Only two of the last 14 (14%) Super Bowl teams, have had a offense outside of the top-15. The average rank of defenses in the last 7 Super Bowls: 13.2. Average rank of the offenses, 8.5.
Again, ranking by yards allowed is terribly dense.

If you look at the entire history of the Super Bowl, the vast majority of teams have had balance. Top-10 offense and Top-10 defense. This is the ideal team to win the Super Bowl.

Now, a few teams have had mediocre defense lately in the Super Bowl (2008 Arizona Cardinals, 2011 Patriots) but these are outliers. You can't take outliers and extrapolate a final theory from them.

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What is really important is you have a very good offense and a defense that steps up when playoff time comes. Baltimore has shown their offense can win games for them. And with a veteran defense with loads of playoff experience, especially with Suggs coming back, I have no doubt their defense will step up in the playoffs.
"step up" and "loads of playoff experience" are completely vague, nebulous concepts. What does that mean, exactly? How important is that, exactly? What I see, both from the stats and from watching the games, is a defense that has trouble stopping both the pass and the run, and the return of a gimpy recently injured Terrell Suggs will do little to alleviate sieve-like holes everywhere else.

Last year they were a great defense because Suggs was healthy and basically a top-5 player against both run and pass. That Suggs will not show up for another year, if even then. And they've just lost their best cover corner, they lose Jarrett Johnson, one of their best run stuffers, and everyone else is older - injured and out (Lewis) or otherwise on the decline.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:28 AM    (permalink
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The Packers were either the 5th or 6th seed as well.
But they were the second best team in the NFL that year by point differential, which is more accurate an approximation of team strength than merely win-loss record.

They were also the top team that year in ANY/A differential which measures total strength of passing offense and passing defense combined.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:35 AM    (permalink
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Thumper's development as a posting prospect is intriguing.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:42 AM    (permalink
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What Giants went 3-1, but barely got into the playoffs last year to win it. If you can predict superbowl runs you should be in vegas making a living out of it.


Anyways the AFC is pretty much open to anyone who gets hot at the right time and as of right now it's wide open so you really can't tell who will pick up steam in December.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:43 AM    (permalink
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If you look at the entire history of the Super Bowl, the vast majority of teams have had balance. Top-10 offense and Top-10 defense. This is the ideal team to win the Super Bowl.

Now, a few teams have had mediocre defense lately in the Super Bowl (2008 Arizona Cardinals, 2011 Patriots) but these are outliers. You can't take outliers and extrapolate a final theory from them.
You can't look at the entire history of Super Bowls. The NFL has drstically changed into a more pass-centric league in the last few years. And in that time, 50% of the defense were below average. You want to olyl talk about pass defense? Okay...

2011 Giants (29th), 2011 Patriots (32nd), 2009 Saints (26th), 2008 Caridnals (22nd), 2007 Bears (27th), 2005 Steelers (16th), 2005 Seahawks (25th). So 50% had below average pass defenses. You don't like total yards? Let's do passing TDs allowed.

2011 Giants (25th), 2011 Patriots (22nd), 2008 Cardinals (32nd), 2007 Patriots (18th), 2007 Giants (20th).
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Brilliant letting one of Scott Pioli's henchmen have his own team to ruin.  One of the premier GM jobs in the NFL and it gets handed to a stupid **** who makes three facepalm moves for every good one.  Awesome.  Just like handing a new Mercedes to a 16 year old girl who's already been in three wrecks. 
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