A Passing Fantasy Issue 111

NFLBP Player Newsletter 2002 Week Five

ed Robert Crowther

Contributions from the usual suspects, cheers, (once again Martyn has written half the newsletter), for everyone else the address for contributions is:


25 Colman Court

Christchurch Avenue

Finchley

London

N12 0DT


Or email at '[email protected]'.

Week Four Review


New England continued their excellent start to the season, an explosive four touchdown second quarter was enough to see off the visiting Seahawks. Miami kept up the pressure on the Pats with a convincing win over the previously unbeaten Chiefs. The new coach in New York was on hand to witness the Jets' first win of the year, a strong defensive display saw off the Ravens. Tennessee were robbed of victory once again, this time a fourth quarter field goal capped a points explosion for the normally low scoring Bills. In the big grudge match in the AFC the Raiders coasted to a surprisingly easy victory, Cincinnati couldn't seem to get on track offensively as a couple of big plays from Oakland gave them a cushion. Denver finally put in a performance worthy of a playoff team, destroying the Browns with the power running game.


Philadelphia's defense continues to do the business but Coach Gaines may be disappointed they didn't get more points out of a solid looking offensive showing against Carolina. The Cowboys had only twelve first downs compared to the Saints' 29 but somehow snuck victory with a fourth quarter field goal. Arizona were another team doing it with defense, snatching a couple of early scores on the back of some good returning before holding the Lions at bay for the rest of the game. After many years of disappointment the Redskins have finally given up, they were replaced this week by the Giants and immediately things have started to improve. New York didn't lose, but found moving the ball on the Chicago defense hard going, the Bears found it equally difficult and a tie was the end result of five quarters of uninspired offense. St Louis cruised to their fourth win as Coach Odgers struggled to get his team into the endzone. Tampa Bay put in another solid display but it wasn't enough to beat the visiting 49ers who finally seem to be getting it together offensively.


Offensive performance of the week goes to the Raiders, nearly five hundred yards of offense. Defensive performance of the week goes to Miami for holding a very consistent KC offense to just two field goals. Special teams performance of the week goes to Buffalo, solid all round and a kick return touchdown to tip the game.


Predictions Standings

Darren Birtchnell


Darren Birtchnell

13.50

(4)

Martyn Williams

13.25

(4)

Rob Crowther

13.00

(3)


Week Four Top Performances

Martyn Williams


RUSHING OFFENCE

Team

Att

Yds

AvgR

TD

Fm

Rating

Broncos

37

147

3.97

2

0

88.99

Raiders

27

237

8.78

1

1

87.69

Eagles

45

221

4.91

1

0

80.94


PASSING OFFENCE

Team

Cmp

Att

Pct

Yds

TD

Int

Sk

Rating

Broncos

6

13

46.15

228

2

0

2

132.21

Patriots

19

30

63.33

211

3

0

2

117.50

Bucs

18

25

72.00

213

1

0

1

110.92


RUSHING DEFENCE

Team

Att

Yds

AvgR

TD

Fm

Rating

Cardinals

29

72

2.48

1

5

26.21

Lions

40

61

1.53

1

2

40.13

Patriots

22

23

1.05

1

1

48.18


PASSING DEFENCE

Team

Cmp

Att

Pct

Yds

TD

Int

Sk

Rating

Raiders

18

32

56.25

188

1

3

3

44.79

Rams

15

32

46.88

161

1

2

3

46.48

Jets

17

30

56.67

106

0

1

3

50.14


ST LOUIS POST-DESPATCH – FOUr WEEK REVIEW

Martyn Williams


AFC EAST


The battle for supremacy in the East looks like being a real nailbiter if the first four weeks of the season are anything to go by. After a poor season the Dolphins have come back strong and, after already beating the Bengals look like offering the Patriots a real challenge this season. Whoever wins the game between the two this week should go unbeaten to the halfway point of the season, with the other team only one game behind. The Patriots will be favourites but it is no way a done deal. The Bills finally got some offence last week and could still be at .500 come week 9, while the Jets at long last have a new coach who looks like he could make a difference, although early struggles are to be expected given the Jets weakness at OL.


AFC CENTRAL


Could last season really have been the beginning of the end of Cincinnati's stranglehold on the AFC? It's too early to tell but Coach Birthnell won't be happy at already being two games down on three other teams. Luckily as per usual the Central isn't putting up much of a challenge to his Bengals, and so a quick return to form should be achieved, although the week six trip to the Rams will tell us a lot about the state of both teams this season. Behind the Bengals the Titans and Ravens will battle it out for second, while the Browns current form suggests that they may struggle to win a game at all this season.


AFC WEST


All hail the Superbowl Champions! I'm not sure how the Raiders have done it, but the luck that helped carry them through last season's playoffs has continued through into this season. Statistically the only area they look particularly good in is turnovers, but who cares when you are unbeaten? The Raiders do have a tough game coming up against the Eagles week 6, and a potentially difficult game against the Chiefs week 8, but personally I think they will still be unbeaten come week 9. Behind them the Chiefs look good enough to snatch a wildcard, but no more, while the Broncos and Seahawks look to have lost last season's playoff form.


NFC EAST


The Eagles look a better team than the one that made the NFC Championship game last season, their offence looks a little more explosive and the D is as mean and aggressive as ever. The test will come week 6 when the play host to the Raiders, whom I would expect to win if the Eagles D doesn't change a few things. Behind them last season's wildcard Cowboys are still winning games thanks to big plays, and could again snatch a wildcard that way - they won't trouble the Eagles for the division though. The Cardinals could have a winning record come week 9 on the back of their strong defence, while after years of under-achievement in Washington the franchise has upped sticks and moved to the big apple to become the Giants. That move and new Coach Steele should see the teams fortunes improve.


NFC CENTRAL


The expected renaissance in Chicago hasn't occurred, but it looks like it could be happening in Tampa. They were only a field goal short of taking the 49ers to OT last week, and despite a tough schedule over the next four weeks (includes Dolphins and Rams) they should still sit atop the Central after 8 games. Behind them the Bears will begin to improve, while the Packers and the Lions need some work, with the Packers looking to be a little further down the road of rebuilding.


NFC WEST


The Rams expected this to be a rebuilding year while a new QB was groomed and a few injured players carried, however the young defence has stepped up and has conceded on average less than a TD a game so far. Which is just as well given the offences move away from the points explosions of the past to a more conservative approach. A big test for the NFC Champions these next two weeks though - first off a key divisional game at the 49ers, then a visit from the Bengals. The results of those games will show more on what the Rams truly have to offer this season. The 49ers have looked a little battle weary on the way to 3-1, and again will be looking to the visit of the Rams to give an indication of where the power in the West lies this year. The Saints and Panthers look a shadow of their former selves, of the two it is the Saints who look the better team.


STATS CORNER

Martyn Williams


RUSHING OFFENCE

Team

Att

Yds

AvgR

TD

Fm

Rating

Patriots

130

589

4.53

7

2

84.00

Buccaneers

118

461

3.91

6

2

78.90

Raiders

111

608

5.48

3

2

76.69

Rams

124

476

3.84

2

0

73.15

Dolphins

111

397

3.58

3

1

71.69

Saints

193

712

3.69

4

1

71.65

Chiefs

103

328

3.18

3

2

65.36

Eagles

162

612

3.78

2

2

65.15

Titans

115

563

4.90

3

4

65.02

Ravens

120

420

3.50

3

3

62.50

Packers

156

501

3.21

2

2

62.28

Giants

175

601

3.43

1

3

58.39


PASSING OFFENCE

Team

Cmp

Att

Pct

Yds

TD

Int

Sk

Rating

Patriots

85

132

64.39

911

11

0

8

112.28

Broncos

48

84

57.14

804

5

1

13

104.46

Rams

68

117

58.12

897

8

1

9

101.69

Bucs

69

117

58.97

975

8

2

10

101.62

Dolphins

83

142

58.45

1104

9

2

11

98.44

Titans

90

157

57.32

1112

10

3

11

92.64

Cards

58

96

60.42

644

4

1

6

89.93

Saints

67

109

61.47

906

4

3

8

88.70

Chiefs

68

125

54.40

930

6

3

7

84.42

49ers

65

108

60.19

716

7

5

17

82.18

Raiders

63

113

55.75

745

8

5

11

81.18

Bengals

80

140

57.14

876

10

7

11

78.75


RUSHING DEFENCE

Team

Att

Yds

AvgR

TD

Fm

Rating

Chiefs

85

196

2.31

0

5

29.62

Giants

113

317

2.81

2

6

42.06

Cardinals

133

438

3.29

1

6

44.42

Raiders

119

430

3.61

0

5

44.56

Eagles

99

158

1.60

2

3

48.41

Patriots

80

168

2.10

2

3

49.25

Lions

137

337

2.46

3

5

50.31

Seahawks

97

305

3.14

1

3

51.88

Broncos

114

340

2.98

1

3

52.76

Rams

116

368

3.17

1

2

58.19

Titans

94

347

3.69

2

3

58.51

Bengals

110

444

4.04

3

4

60.41


PASSING DEFENCE

Team

Cmp

Att

Pct

Yds

TD

Int

Sk

Rating

Rams

74

143

51.75

792

2

6

11

55.46

49ers

77

130

59.23

795

2

5

9

66.03

Raiders

95

165

57.58

1091

4

7

13

68.02

Dolphins

78

148

52.70

980

5

5

6

70.78

Bills

70

134

52.24

819

5

4

20

71.08

Patriots

91

155

58.71

1125

4

6

14

73.72

Packers

61

116

52.59

789

3

2

15

75.68

Broncos

84

153

54.90

956

6

4

16

76.05

Jets

78

137

56.93

816

5

3

13

77.39

Bengals

84

149

56.38

1136

6

6

15

77.47

Cards

65

120

54.17

902

5

4

11

78.54

Saints

54

99

54.55

776

5

4

11

80.20


TURNOVER RATIO

Team

T/O +/-

St Louis Rams

7

New England Patriots

7

Oakland Raiders

5

Arizona Cardinals

5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

4

Kansas City Chiefs

3

Miami Dolphins

3

New York Giants

2

New Orleans Saints

1

Cincinnati Bengals

0

New York Jets

0

Denver Broncos

0


The New England Reporter – Four Week Review

Dave Pinder


The Patriots registered another relatively comfortable win this week, this is what Coach Pinder had to say:


I’m glad that we’re 4-0 and another tricky opponent dispatched, but a little disappointed at the number of yards given up this week. OK so we won the game by 23 points and after the 1st quarter were never in trouble, but it’s a little worrying the way that the secondary receivers were getting free and hurting us up the middle. Otherwise happy at the way we stopped the run again and with four turnovers we never felt under great pressure. I’ll be having a quiet word with the defensive backfield staff and coaches this week and hopefully we’ll see an improvement against the Dolphins. Those guys chipped in with an interception return TD this week so its not all bad.


As regards the offense, I’m obviously pleased with the performances so far this season, my QB is finding his receivers with ease and were retaining possession well. A special mention for Drew, who since winning the starter spot has really grown into the kind of QB who I feel could take us all the way. He’s yet to throw a pick yet this season and with 11 TD’s leads the league, what more can I ask? The addition of Chris Calloway in the offseason certainly has helped with the deep threat, but if I have one criticism it would be the lack of penetration beyond 25 yards. I believe we have the personnel, so watch this space.


Looking forward to the Dolphins game this week, we know its always tough to get anything in Miami, they’re a talented side who on their day can give the best a run for their money. Just look at their defeat of the Bengals in week 3, they have a potent pass-based offence, currently ranked 4th overall and a solid defence to back it up. QB Fiedler has been throwing at 13.3 per completion, despite having very limited personnel at WR and Lamar Smith has provided ample backup on the ground. We wont be taking them lightly I assure you. We are however confident of winning, as we are in all games at present.


The final word from Coach Pinder was saved for the new incumbent at the Jets: A big welcome to Coach Turner, I wish you luck with your new team, you’ve come into a tough League, but one with the opportunity to compete. I know the Jets roster needs a bit of work at present, an O-line will help, but there are the makings of a very good team there so go for it! Just don’t expect any mercy when we meet at Foxboro week 14!


Week Five Preview


Predictions from Darren Birtchnell, Martyn Williams, Dave Pinder and myself.


DB – Patriots by 7, Jets by 3, Titans by 6, Raiders by 14, Chiefs by 3, Eagles by 10, Cards by 1 (Shock, Slugfest), Buccs by 3, Bears by 4, Rams by 3, Saints by 3 (Shootout), Lock & Blowout – Bengals

MW – Patriots by 7 (Shootout), Jets by 6, Bengals by 28 (Lock, Blowout), Titans by 7, Raiders by 14 (Shock – Broncos), Chiefs by 10, Eagles by 10, Giants by 3 (Slugfest), Buccaneers by 10, Bears by 3, Saints by 6


RC – Patriots by 10 (Lock), Jets by 7 (Slugfest), Bengals by 14 (Blowout), Titans by 7, Seahawks by 3 (Shock), Eagles by 10, Giants by 7, Bucs by 3 (Shootout), Bears by 3, 49ers by 3, Saints by 7


DP – Jets by 3, Bengals by 14 (Blowout), Titans by 7, Raiders by 10 (Shock – Broncos), Chiefs by 7, Eagles by 14 (Lock), Giants by 3, Packers by 7 (Slugfest), Bears by 2, Rams by 3, Saints by 7.


NFLBP Player Newsletter

-4-

ed Robert Crowther