A PASSING FANTASY ISSUE 23 1998 SEASON WEEK ONE

NFLBP PLAYER NEWSLETTER ed. Robert Crowther


In this issue...
I'm a bit short of time this week, so the promised season preview will have to wait. At least I'll be a bit less likely to make a fool of myself with the week one results to look at. I've had lots of contributions this week, so here they are...

DARREN BIRTCHNELL - SEASON PREDICTIONS

AFC East - 1 Buffalo 2 Miami 3 New York 4 New England

AFC Central - NO PREDICTIONS

AFC West - 1 Oakland 2 Denver 3 Seattle 4 Kansas City

NFC East - 1 Arizona 2 Philadelphia 3 Dallas 4 Washington

NFC Central - 1 Green Bay 2 Detroit 3 Chicago 4 Tampa Bay

NFC West - 1 San Francisco 2 New Orleans 3 St Louis 4 Carolina


WEEK ONE PREVIEW

I've predictions and commentary from both Martin Devine and Pat Ratcliffe this week, so both sets of comments appear below. There are also predictions from Darren Birtchnell.

Dolphins at Bengals

MD - A tough start for both teams. Cincinnati had problems with this sort of game last year but have improved vastly since. BENGALS BY 1

PR - With both teams coming off a loss in pre-season, Coach Birtchnell's Bengals will have to produce that little extra to match the Dolphins. Home advantage should see them through, just. BENGALS BY 1

DB - NO PREDICTION

Bills at Browns

MD - Buffalo's ball-control offense and solid defense should prove too much for Cleveland, although it's likely to be close. BILLS BY 3

PR - One of these unbeaten teams will lose. Will the Bills show more passing offense? I think so, and pick them to win on the road. BILLS BY 3

DB - BILLS BY 6

Jets at Raiders

MD - A tough defensive battle, but expect to see New York's rookie QB under a lot of pressure from the Oakland defense. RAIDERS BY 7

PR - Nothing but Silver and Black power, with maybe a touch of experimentation by Coach Crowther. RAIDERS BY 17

DB - RAIDERS BY 10

Patriots at Broncos

MD - New England cannot be any worse on offense than they were last season, but are unlikely to be able to improve enough to overcome Denver. BRONCOS BY 7

PR - Coach Rothwell's high octane offense will be too much for the weak Patriot's defense. BRONCOS BY 14

DB - BRONCOS BY 8

Steelers at Seahawks

MD - Pittsburgh are a very solid outfit, with no obvious weaknesses. A weak run defense will prove to be Seattle's downfall. STEELERS BY 5

PR - Can the Steelers stop the Seahawks' running offense? And will the Steelers find a way to score consistently? I hope so. NO PREDICTION

DB - STEELERS BY 10

Jaguars at Chiefs

MD - Expect a lot of yardage and points in this one. Unfortunately for KC, it's likely to be against their defense. JAGUARS BY 14

PR - Coach Morgan begins his assault on the AFC Central crown, against a Chiefs side that showed they can score heavily in preseason. But have they the defense against the Jacksonville offense? JAGUARS BY 3

DB - JAGUARS BY 9

Cardinals at Lions

MD - Another tough one to call. Detroit are a good looking team on paper, but Arizona looked very impressive in preseason. CARDINALS BY 1

PR - A big matchup in Week 1. Both teams are strong. Could go either way, and might be decided on turnovers or kicking. LIONS BY 1

DB - CARDINALS BY 4

Cowboys at Bucs

MD - Dallas should be the better team, but have too conservative an offense to be successful. Tampa Bay should be able to cope without difficulty on defense. BUCS BY 3

PR - Two evenly matched teams, but Dallas will have to address a weak offensive performance in preseason to overcome the Bucs. BUCS BY 3

DB - COWBOYS BY 1

Redskins at 49ers

MD - Washington's offense will test the newly strengthened 49er defense. The front seven for the Redskins looks to be too weak to cope with any decent running game, but the 49ers have had problems in that area recently. NO PREDICTION

PR - A serious scalping is in store for the Redskins' defense as the 49ers begin their march towards the bowl. 49ERS BY 14

DB - 49ERS BY 10

Eagles at Saints

MD - A good test for both teams early on. Both come off good offseasons, but New Orleans' ball control offense is likely to be the difference. SAINTS BY 3

PR - Will the Eagles' running offense open enough opportunities to pass successfully against a strong Saints defense? SAINTS BY 1

DB - SAINTS BY 4

Packers at Panthers

MD - This should be an easy game to start the Superbowl defense for Green Bay, although Carolina have the talent to be a good team - the weakness is in the playcalling. PACKERS BY 10

PR - Look to Coach Baird to regroup and come back strongly in defense of his title. Both teams need to improve on the run. PACKERS BY 7

DB - PACKERS BY 14

Bears at Rams

MD - St Louis are coming off a bad season (maybe due to having to start a rookie QB?), and should improve this year. Chicago should be too good here, though. BEARS BY 1

PR - Can the Bears silence the crowd in St Louis by grinding out a win? Or will Coach Whiting continue to use 4th downs so successfully? BEARS BY 1

DB - BEARS BY 7


Rob

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