The Riverfront Reporter

NFLAY Player Newsletter

Issue One

ed Robert Crowther

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the NFLAY Player Newsletter, providing reviews, previews, profiles and (hopefully) providing a forum for communication between coaches of the AY. Since I already do a newsletter every turn for the NFLBP this will be an occasional publication. I plan to put an issue out every two or four turns, depending on how much support I get from the rest of you. If anyone is keen to do a newsletter on a more regular basis, or even on alternate weeks to this one, then drop me a line. My address is:


2 Lily Terrace

Edinburgh

EH11 1PN


Or email me at [email protected]'. Any articles, predictions or letters of encouragement should also be sent to this address! This newsletter will be appearing online on my website at:


www.geocities.com/dot_rob/gameplan.html


The site is still under construction so excuse any broken links or other blunders. While you're online check out the Gameplan club on Yahoo! and the Endzone1 site, links are provided from my page.


Week Thirteen Review


The Colts took one step closer to the retention of their AFC East title with a narrow win over the Seahawks. Indianapolis dominated on both sides of the ball but made heavy work of overcoming Seattle's early lead. Oakland made major gains in the race for the playoffs with a win over wildcard rival New York, defeats for their divisional rivals left them in pole position there too and in the running to retain their AFC title. The Raiders' secondary was leaking yards all over and the running game was, as usual, ineffective but a seventy yard touchdown pass and a couple of interceptions laid the groundwork for victory. Cincinnati secured themselves a playoff spot with a huge victory over New England. The Bengals struggled on offense but were able to take full advantage of opportunities provided by special teams and Patriot mistakes. The Ravens kept up the pressure on the Bengals and guaranteed themselves at least a wildcard with win over struggling Miami. The Dolphins got good passing yardage as they came from behind but were ultimately no match for the more balanced and consistent Baltimore. Pittsburgh stayed in contention for the final wildcard place with a come from behind win in Kansas City. The Chiefs, with only three wins this year, led for three quarters. In San Diego the Jaguars produced the surprise of the day, winning a tight defensive struggle. Jacksonville couldn't get much going on offense for most of the game, converting on only two third down attempts, but snatched victory thanks to solid defense and a 59 yard touchdown pass.


San Francisco made their wildcard spot more secure with a win over the only team that could yet displace them, the Eagles. Philly kept it close in the first half but lacked the firepower to catch up when the 49ers pulled away in the third quarter. Carolina continued their impressive defense of their AY title and stretched their unbeaten run to 22 games thanks to another mistake free performance. Dallas matched the champions almost yard for yard but committed two turnovers against the Panthers' none. Washington took full advantage of the Cowboy's defeat with a win in Minnesota. The Vikings pounded the Redskins defense with 239 rushing yards but were unable to penetrate the endzone until they were already well behind. Detroit had no trouble with the struggling Giants, running and passing consistently and racking up thirty first downs. Atlanta kept their slim hopes of a playoff place alive with a win over visiting Green Bay. The Falcons' offense was missing in action for most of the game but was flawless in the redzone, and the defense and special teams came through with some big plays. Chicago grabbed only their second win of the season over fellow also rans St Louis, the Rams couldn't stop the run or protect the passer.


Offensive performance of the week goes to Detroit for their thirty first downs. Defensive performance of the week goes to Indianapolis for keeping the Seahawks out of the endzone. Special teams performance of the week goes to Washington for a kick return touchdown and flawless kicking.


Player Profile


Name

Robert Crowther

Age

29

Occupation

None (Internet/IT when I get round to it)

Gameplan Experience

Currently coach of the NFLBP Raiders, NFLAY Bengals and NFLBG Vikings.

Favourite Team

Oakland Raiders

Favourite Things

Reading; TV; Watching and playing american football (currently with the London Mets); Watching most sport.

Favourite Authors

Iain Banks; Douglas Coupland; William Gibson; Haruki Murakami; Jeff Noon; Victor Pelevin; Terry Pratchett; Neal Stephenson; Jack Womack.

Favourite TV

Buffy; Angel; ER; Friends; Star Trek (all flavours); South Park; Simpsons; Red Dwarf.

Favourite Films

Grosse Point Blank; Bladerunner; When Harry Met Sally; Buffy the Vampire Slayer (best crap film ever made).

Favourite Music

Talking Heads; Wonderstuff; Stone Roses; Blur.

If I won the lottery...

I would buy a car for every day of the week and a computer for every room in my (very large) house – plus an extra house just to hold all my books.


Please don't feel you need to follow my categories when doing your own profiles ;-)


Week Fourteen Preview


Colts at Patriots One more win will see the Colts retain their divisional title but the Patriots are capable of making them work, especially in their home stadium. New England have been putting up good yardage numbers all season but they are frequently let down by their abysmal special teams and leave their opponents with a short field. Indianapolis have special teams problems of their own but should win if they don't make any mistakes. Colts by 3


Jets at Dolphins The Dolphins still have an outside shot at the playoffs but they'll have to win all their games to have any chance. The Jets are better than Miami in almost every major category and a repeat of their comfortable week two victory seems likely. Jets by 10


Ravens at Jaguars Baltimore thrashed Jacksonville back in week two, however the Jags have done much better in recent weeks. Wins over Cincinnati and Oakland were both gained through excellent defensive performances. The Ravens are still big favourites and should be able to put up the twenty points or so that will leave the game beyond the reach of the opposing offense. Ravens by 10


Bengals at Steelers Cincinnati had little trouble dispatching Pittsburgh in week two, the Steelers inability to move the ball on the Bengals' defense and their relatively weak run defense left them with little chance. Should be a closer game this time, with playoff places on the line.


Raiders at Chiefs Oakland can take a big step towards the retention of their division title with a win in Kansas City. The Chiefs have struggled all season and shouldn't offer too much of a challenge while at least one of the Raiders' two rivals will lose. Raiders by 14


Seahawks at Chargers Both teams have much better offenses than defenses so a high scoring game is in prospect. Seattle won the shootout in week two thanks to a three to one advantage in turnovers, San Diego might have the edge on home soil. Chargers by 1


Eagles at Redskins One of the more interesting division title races will take a clearer form here. Philadelphia face both their rivals in the final three weeks while Washington and Dallas should both pick up a win against New York. The pressure is on the Eagles to win today with their game against Carolina next week. The Redskins have the better record but the could struggle with the Eagles who outclassed them in week two. Defense is the strength of both teams so the game is likely to be low scoring and will probably come down to a lucky play in the fourth. Eagles by 1


Cowboys at Giants New York are perhaps not as bad as their record suggests but it would be a major upset if they beat Dallas. The Cowboys top ranked defense will give the Giants few opportunities. Dallas by 14


Lions at Bears Chicago's poor special teams should give the Detroit offense plenty of short scoring drives. The Bears' ball control offense will need to break out some big plays if they hope to stand a chance. Lions by 10


Vikings at Packers Green Bay produced an upset in Minnesota in week two but that was a product of some terrible kicking from the Vikings rather than any brilliance on the part of the Packers. Expect Minnesota to redress the balance here. Vikings by 10


Panthers at Falcons Carolina have the league's best passing offense, Atlanta have the league's worst passing defense – another win for the champions seems almost a forgone conclusion. The Falcons did run the Panthers close in week two but they'll need some turnovers to repeat that performance. Panthers by 7


49ers at Rams San Francisco have one of the worst defenses in the NFLAY in terms of yardage and yet manage to be among the leaders in terms of points allowed. As long as they can keep that up their powerful offense and dead eye kicking should be too much for St Louis. 49ers by 7


Lock of the Week – Panthers; Shock of the Week – Eagles; Blowout of the Week – Cowboys; Shootout of the Week – Seahawks at Chargers; Slugfest of the Week – Eagles at Redskins.


Week Fifteen Highlights


In the AFC the top clash is between Oakland and Indianapolis, a rematch of last season's AFC Championship game. Indianapolis have looked the better team this year, but you could have said that before their last meeting – Oakland find a way to win in big games. In the NFC Washington and Detroit could be fighting for their playoff lives, both have a good chance of winning their respective divisions but the loser here could find themselves out of the wildcard race. A classic encounter will see the defense oriented Washington battle with the more offensive minded Lions.


Week Sixteen Highlights


A number of divisional titles will be on the line as Cincinnati visit Baltimore, Seattle visit Oakland, Dallas visit Philadelphia and Minnesota travel to Detroit. The Bengals have been transformed this year and feature the top offense and defense in the AFC, but the Ravens will not be giving up their title without a fight. Baltimore have scored more points than Cincinnati, indicating their better redzone efficiency. Seattle have a tough road to their showdown with the Oakland and could easily come up short in their battles with other playoff contenders in weeks fourteen and fifteen, but it seems likely that this is a game the Raiders will have to win to secure the title. Philadelphia have the toughest run in of all the contenders in the NFC East, should they enter this game with their hopes intact they'll still have to figure out how to move the ball on the Dallas defense. Detroit surrendered over fifty points to Minnesota in week five and that must be looming large in their minds as they approach the end of the season, this result and the Vikings otherwise easy run in makes them the favourites in the NFC Central.


Closing Remarks


I hope you enjoyed this first issue, I plan to do another after week sixteen with a full preview of the playoffs. If you have any comments or contributions don't hesitate to send them to the addresses at the top of the newsletter.

Issue One

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2002 Season Week 14