The new season is underway and already we have more than our share of surprises. This is our first season without form carryover and, as Coach Jenkinson expressed in his letter to me this week, we can expect a few upsets as teams start on a more even basis. The more established teams are going to have to put some effort into maintaining their status.
This week features all the usual stuff plus a player profile from new Patriots' coach, Dave Pinder. Any articles should be sent to me at:
2 Lily Terrace
Or email me at '[email protected]'.
The Steelers were able to run the ball with surprising ease on the Jets, and at the same time shut down the New York ground game. The Jets' passing attack was able to keep them in the game for a half but Pittsburgh pulled away in the second. Buffalo put in an overpowering rushing performance but just couldn't seem to get into scoring territory, giving the Jaguars a chance to snatch victory with a fourth quarter field goal. The Raiders took advantage of early turnovers to build a big lead against Miami. The Dolphins played well enough to get back into it in the second half but were let down by a poor performance from their kicker. New England proved they a force to be reckoned with by beating last year's wildcard winners, the Broncos. Denver ran well but were unable to take advantage of the Patriots' supposed weakness in the secondary. The AFC champions needed a big fourth quarter to get the better of the Chiefs. Kansas City put in a great performance but will be ruing all those turnovers. Seattle had an unusual game, they got more yards passing than rushing, but beat the Browns thanks to an unexpectedly good defensive performance. The Cardinals built a first half lead in Tampa but struggled to add to it in the second half. An otherwise quiet performance by the Bucs was spiced up by a sixty one yard touchdown pass, making the fourth quarter a tense affair for Arizona. Chicago, as expected, could offer no resistance to the Philadelphia offense and, but for interceptions and missed field goals, might have given up fifty points. New Orleans were consistent as ever on offense, offering the Redskins little opportunity. But for the day's biggest play - an eighty three yard touchdown run - this wouldn't even have been close. The 49ers made a nervous start to their campaign to regain their division title, a lack of penetration in the redzone left them vulnerable to a second half surge from the Cowboys. Carolina got two first quarter touchdowns and that was enough to take the game into overtime as the Packers struggled to make an impression. The Panthers lack of power on the ground cost them eventually. Detroit put in an impressive passing performance, albeit against the Rams. Five hundred yards came at around nineteen yards per completion.
Offensive performance of the week goes to Detroit, we don't see five hundred passing yards too often. Defensive performance of the week goes to the Panthers, if they can figure out how to score some points this team will be in the playoffs. Special teams performance of the week goes to Pittsburgh, perfect on field goals and good returns all round.
I am 27, married (no kids) and live in Surbiton, Surrey.
My main interests are Football (Massive West Ham fan) and cricket (as well as American Football)
I am also currently the coach of SF 49ers in NFLBY, in which I have just finished my third season. Overall regular season record 37-9-0, with one (super)Bowl victory and once runner-up.
I am looking forward to playing in this league, it looks interesting, there are obviously some very good coaches and I've got a job on my hands to turn the Pats around. OK I had first draft pick and 147 losing points, but with no defensive backfield and other glaring holes, it's a big task.
My email is [email protected], good luck to everyone for the new season.
Predictions and commentary from Martin Devine, other predictions from Darren Birtchnell, Quentin Jenkinson and myself.
Dolphins at Jets MD - This could turn into an aerial shootout, but both defences
are good enough to make this unlikely, especially given the lack
of pass protection on both lines. Miami are better here, so
DOLPHINS BY 7
DB - DOLPHINS BY 7 QJ - JETS BY 3 RC - DOLPHINS BY 3
Patriots at BillsMD - If Buffalo keep the ball on the ground as much as they did
last week, this one won't be close. The Bills' best chance is to
be more balanced, or New England will come out on top with ease.
PATRIOTS BY 10
DB - PATRIOTS BY 7 QJ - PATRIOTS BY 7 RC - BILLS BY 3
Steelers at Bengals MD - This game will show where each team really is after last
week's surprises - the Steelers were very solid all round, while
Cincinnati struggled against the Chiefs. The Bengals defence is
the key to this one - it isn't as bad as it was last week.
BENGALS BY 6
QJ - BENGALS BY 7 RC - BENGALS BY 1
Jaguars at BrownsMD - Even though Jacksonville won last week, there should only be
one winner in this one. Cleveland are stronger than the Jags in
the areas which matter - offensive line and defence. BROWNS BY 14
DB - BROWNS BY 4 QJ - BROWNS BY 3 RC - BROWNS BY 10
Seahawks at Broncos MD - Both teams keep the ball on the ground offensively, so the
key here is the run defences, an area where Denver have the edge.
Seattle do have the firepower to come from behind with the pass,
though. BRONCOS BY 3
DB - BRONCOS BY 6 QJ - SEAHAWKS BY 7 RC - BRONCOS BY 7
Chiefs at RaidersMD - Despite last week's showing, Kansas City are weak
defensively, which Oakland are better suited to take advantage of
than Cincinnati. This one won't be close unless the KC offence
has a huge day. RAIDERS BY 12
DB - RAIDERS BY 7 QJ - RAIDERS BY 10
Redskins at Cardinals MD - A difficult one for the Redskins to win, with their
defensive problems. Arizona have the advantage of top-notch
special teams to boot. CARDINALS BY 9
DB - CARDINALS BY 10 RC - CARDINALS BY 14
Cowboys at EaglesMD - Despite last week's good showing against the 49ers, the
Cowboys will struggle here. Philadelphia are solid in all areas,
and will be tough to beat this year. EAGLES BY 10
DB - EAGLES BY 10 QJ - EAGLES BY 3 RC - EAGLES BY 14
Bucs at PackersMD - It's tough to see Tampa Bay winning this one, even though
Carolina came very close to upsetting the Pack last week. Expect
Green Bay to have a much easier time this week. PACKERS BY 10
DB - PACKERS BY 10 QJ - PACKERS BY 21 RC - PACKERS BY 7
Bears at LionsMD - Going by last week, any team playing Chicago can look forward
to a good offensive performance, and Detroit are fresh from a
500-yard passing day in St. Louis... LIONS BY 14
DB - LIONS BY 6 QJ - LIONS BY 7 RC - LIONS BY 10
Rams at 49ers MD - A test for the 49er secondary - is it improved over last
year's version? San Francisco should be able to put some points
on the board against a weak St. Louis defence, but could have
problems getting away from the Rams and their offence.
DB - 49ERS BY 14 QJ - 49ERS BY 3 RC - 49ERS BY 14
Panthers at SaintsMD - This one will be a struggle for Carolina if they persist with
their run-first offensive strategy, as New Orleans have a solid
run defence. The Panthers will keep it close through their
defence, though. SAINTS BY 3
DB - SAINTS BY 1 QJ - PANTHERS BY 3 RC - SAINTS BY 3
MD DB QJ RC Lock Raiders Packers Raiders Lions Shock Seahawks Bills Blowout Lions 49ers Packers Eagles Shootout Bears at Lions Bears at Lions Bears at Lions Dolphins at Jets Slugfest Panthers at Saints Panthers at Saints Dolphins at Jets Panthers at S.
In the six previous games between these teams the record is Oakland 6, Kansas City 0. I can see no reason why Kansas City will be able to stop the Raiders claiming another win as they are playing in the fortress that is the Network Associates Coliseum - the only team to have beaten the Raiders there is the Bengals. The Chiefs will find it difficult to stop Oakland running the ball, and when they get the ball young Elvis Grbac will be put under severe pressure - he could find that his leading pass catcher is wearing Sliver and Black! The Raiders should be able to take the lead early on and their strong running game will take the pressure off young Don Hollas, as he settles into his stride as the starting quarterback, giving him time to find his receivers.
Darren Birtchnell has agreed to keep track of the predictions rankings, thanks Darren! After much discussion we have agreed the following points system for evaluating predictions in the new categories of lock, blowout etc.:
Lock of the Week - Three points if the team picked wins. Minus three points if the
Shock of the Week - One point for every coach who predicted your shock team to lose. An additional bonus point if anyone picks their opponents as lock of the week.
Blowout of the Week - Three points if this is the highest margin of victory that week, two points for the second highest and one point for the third highest.
Shootout of the Week - Three points if this is the highest scoring game, two points for the second highest and one point for the third highest.
Slugfest of the Week - Three points if this is the lowest scoring game, two for the second lowest and one point for the third lowest.
In addition each normal result prediction will be worth one point.