The Riverfront Reporter

NFLAY Player Newsletter

Issue Nine

ed Robert Crowther

Welcome to another issue. Despite my best intentions, it is already Tuesday night – hopefully most of the issue will still be relevant by the time you all read it (and if I lose this week, you already have my excuse...). My next planned issue is a superbowl preview and draft review spectacular, which you will (hopefully) get with the Superbowl results. Send any contributions to:


Robert Crowther

25 Colman Court

Christchurch Avenue

Finchley

London

N12 0DT


Or email at '[email protected]'. In case there is anyone out there who doesn't know there is a club on Yahoo! for gameplanners (uk.clubs.yahoo.com/clubs/gameplan), we are having a pub meet on Saturday 17th November at the Firkin brewery pub across the road from Holborn tube station. Anyone interested in chatting about gameplan (or just getting blind drunk) feel free to turn up, should be getting going in the late afternoon.


Wildcard Review


In Cincinnati the Bengals got off to a fast start and never looked back. The New England offense struggled to gain momentum, averaging less than five yards a pass and never really getting their ground game going. Third quarter turnovers gave Cincinnati several easy chances and the game was over by the time the Patriots finally got their first touchdown in the fourth quarter.


Something of a surprise occurred in San Francisco where the favoured 49ers couldn't establish any sort of consistency in the face of a tough Detroit defense, managing only 11 first downs all day. The Redskins, meanwhile, where controlling the ball and the clock with a display of power running. Only Detroit turnovers were keeping the game close and it nearly cost them dearly in the fourth quarter when the 49ers finally hit the endzone with a 57 yard touchdown pass, but the Redskins' defense held firm on the two point conversion to secure victory.


Sliver Bowl Review


The Dolphins' sorry run of form continued into the Silver Bowl, the team that was top of the AFC East in week nine and managed to finish last fell victim to a fourth quarter comeback from divisional rivals New York. Philadelphia heaped more woe upon the heads of the Falcons, despite being forced to punt ten times the Eagles, with a lot of help from their defense, kept finding a way into the endzone. Another solid day from the Dallas defense was wasted by the Dallas offense, who had a nightmare on third down in Seattle. Pittsburgh continued to impress under their new coach with a comprehensive win over the Vikings. The Jacksonville offense disappeared in the second half in New York while the Giants overturned a ten point half time deficit, but woke up enough to seal victory in overtime. Five turnovers destroyed the Rams' chances in Kansas, the Chiefs didn't have to do much work to build an unassailable first half lead.



Playoff Preview


AFC


Oakland Raiders (10-6) at Baltimore Ravens (12-4)


Ravens home record: 8-0

Raiders road record: 3-5


Ravens offense: 4th Run: 1st Pass: 4th

Raiders defense: 3rd Run: 5th Pass: 3rd


Raiders offense: 9th Run: 12th Pass: 5th

Ravens defense: 6th Run: 3rd Pass: 7th


Regular season result: Oakland 6 at 26 Baltimore (Week 4)


The Ravens finished the season with three consecutive road defeats, while Oakland won three of their last four. A return to PSINet Stadium could be the answer to their form problems. The Raiders must hope to establish their short passing game early and not leave their defense to the mercy of the Baltimore ground attack.


Cincinnati Bengals (10-5-1) at Indianapolis Colts (11-5)


Colts home record: 5-3

Bengals road record: 2-5-1


Colts offense: 5th Run: 10th Pass: 1st

Bengals defense: 8th Run: 10th Pass: 7th


Bengals offense: 6th Run: 4th Pass: 6th

Colts defense: 2nd Run: 4th Pass: 5th


Regular season result: Indianapolis 14 at 24 Cincinnati (Week 11)


The Colts have some slightly dodgy home form, but it's not nearly as bad as the form of Cincinnati on the road. The Bengals did win comfortably in week eleven but were significantly outgained in yardage on the day, Indianapolis start as favourites.


NFC


Detroit Lions 8-8 at Carolina Panthers 16-0


Panthers home record: 8-0

Lions road record: 4-4


Panthers offense: 1st Run: 12th Pass: 1st

Lions defense: 8th Run: 6th Pass: 8th



Lions offense: 6th Run: 8th Pass: 4th

Panthers defense: 6th Run: 11th Pass: 6th


Regular season result: Carolina 31 at 3 Detroit (Week 4)


It's something of a miracle that Detroit are here at all, but very hard to see them upsetting the Carolina unbeaten run. The Redskins' defense isn't well equipped to contain the high octane passing attack of the Panthers, while Carolina look more than capable of stopping the Detroit offense.


Washington Redskins 10-6 at Chicago Bears 15-1


Bears home record: 7-1

Redskins road record: 5-3


Bears offense: 2nd Run: 6th Pass: 2nd

Redskins defense: 4th Run: 4th Pass: 2nd



Redskins offense: 11th Run: 9th Pass: 12th

Bears defense: 2nd Run: 2nd Pass: 3rd


Regular season result: Washington 0 at 24 Chicago (Week 1)


Looks like the only chance for the Redskins is to keep the game low scoring and look for some lucky breaks in the fourth quarter. With the quality of their defense they might manage this, but if the Chicago offense gets going Washington will have a very hard time keeping up.



Issue Nine

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2002 Season Week 14