The Chiefs were once again solid on run defense and took advantage of five turnovers from the Jets to make up for a rather lacklustre offensive performance. Seattle, in their first game under a new coach, put on another formidable offensive display in the first half in Buffalo. The Bills kept it close and, thanks to an improved second half performance from their defense, were able to snatch victory in the fourth. Pittsburgh flashed their playoff credentials with a surprisingly comfortable victory over the Dolphins in Miami. New England were able to collect their second win of 1999, equalling their 1998 total, in a hard fought game against the Jaguars - preserving their lead in an exciting fourth quarter. Oakland crashed to another defeat at the hands of Cincinnati who produced three long scoring drives in the first half. The Raiders produced plenty of yardage in their attempts to comeback in the second half but were thwarted by the third down play of the Bengals defense. Denver produced seventeen points in the fourth quarter in Cleveland only to see the Browns kick the winning field goal in overtime. Carolina suffered another tough defeat at the hands of an NFC playoff contender. The Cardinals depended very heavily on their kicking game, six field goals including the winning points in the fourth. The Rams provided the surprise of the week, beating the Eagles thanks to turnovers. Tampa Bay got into a scoring contest with the Redskins but only have themselves to blame, committing seven turnovers. The Chicago offense seemed to get stronger as the game progressed, in marked contrast to the Cowboys who built a fourteen point halftime lead then ran out of steam. Green Bay were in charge for most of the game against New Orleans, building a seventeen point lead over three periods. New Orleans finally got their act together in the fourth but it was too little, too late. San Francisco finally put in a quality performance, handing the Lions their first defeat of the season and by a comfortable margin.
Offensive performance of the week goes to San Francisco for their almost machine like efficiency on third downs. Defensive performance of the week goes to Pittsburgh for not allowing a single touchdown. Special teams performance of the week goes to Arizona, six field goals and some good punt returns.
I have to pass on an apology from Darren, it seems he calculated John Coleman's score incorrectly, hardly surprising given the complexity of the scoring system, but it has now been corrected.
1 Martin Devine 15 (2) 2 John Coleman 14 (1) 3 Darren Birtchnell 13.25 (4) 4 Robert Crowther 12.5 (4) 5 Quentin Jenkinson 10.5 (4)
How to ... beat the Cardinals - Shoot the kicker before the game. Six of six field goals, 100%! Forty seven and forty eight yarders!! Bugger!!!
In season one: Arizona beat Philadelphia and New Orleans beat St Louis as both teams maintained their one hundred percent records. Kansas City amassed 475 yards on offense and 44 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter, only to be defeated by the Seahawks who gained 571 yards and scored 47 points, 20 in the fourth quarter.
In season two: The Dolphins and Raiders moved to 5-0 with wins over the Jets and Seahawks respectively, the Cardinals and Packers remained undefeated with wins over Dallas and Tampa Bay. Denver managed 568 yards of offense against the Chiefs (1139 yards conceded by Kansas City in week five - I've not checked, but it's probably a record).
In season three: The Broncos ended the Raiders' record setting regular season winning streak with an overtime touchdown. Arizona, Green Bay and New Orleans preserved their perfect records with wins over Dallas, Chicago and San Francisco respectively. Cleveland grabbed top spot in the AFC Central after defeating the Bengals.
Predictions and commentary from myself, other predictions from Quentin Jenkinson, Darren Birtchnell and John Coleman.
Jets at Bills The Jets have made a poor start to the season, as predicted their
QB has been under a lot of pressure and, with little in the way of
a running game, has made a lot of mistakes. The Bills have the
league's number one run offense going against the surprisingly
weak New York run defense and should win comfortably. BILLS BY 10
QJ - BILLS BY 7 DB - BILLS BY 14 JC - BILLS BY 28
Dolphins at Patriots A critical game for the Dolphins who could find themselves three
games behind the Bills if they lose here. The key matchup for the
Patriots is in the passing game, the Dolphins rank fourth in pass
offense while New England are giving up over fifteen yards per
completion. DOLPHINS BY 3
QJ - PATRIOTS BY 7 DB - DOLPHINS BY 1 JC - PATRIOTS BY 7
Bengals at BrownsThe Bengals will be looking to take full advantage of the weak
Cleveland run defense. The Browns have to figure out a way to
score against the Cincy D, who have given up a lot of yards but
not a lot of points. BENGALS BY 7
QJ - BENGALS BY 10 JC - BROWNS BY 3
Steelers at Jaguars The Jaguars have the AFC's top ranked defense, but this is
slightly illusory as they have the second worst run defense.
Pittsburgh are more than capable of running all over them.
STEELERS BY 10
QJ - STEELERS BY 3 DB - STEELERS BY 10 JC - STEELERS BY 3
Raiders at BroncosLast season this fixture produced a shock overtime victory for the
Broncos, part of a long winning streak. Both these teams have
looked less competent this season - both defenses have struggled
and the Raiders have missed veteran leadership at QB. Oakland
need a big day from their run defense.
QJ - RAIDERS BY 10 DB - RAIDERS BY 7 JC - BRONCOS BY 3
Chiefs at SeahawksKansas City's run defense, for once not an oxymoron, will be
crucial here. If the Seahawks can be contained on the ground then
the Chief's offense should be able to put up plenty of points.
CHIEFS BY 7
QJ - CHIEFS BY 7 DB - CHIEFS BY 3 JC - SEAHAWKS BY 3
Cardinals at Eagles Arizona are the team to beat in the NFC East, Philadelphia are
the young pretenders. The Eagles feature a formidable running
game and the league's top defense but, thanks to turnovers, have
only managed to translate this into two wins. The Cards are
mostly average except for run defense and special teams, which are
exceptional. Philly will need a mistake free performance to get
their first ever win over Arizona. CARDINALS BY 1
DB - CARDINALS BY 6 JC - EAGLES BY 3
Redskins at Cowboys The Redskins have yanked themselves into playoff contention with
some great offensive showings. The Cowboys are the lowest scoring
team in the league. Even with Washington's weak defense they
should be able to outscore Dallas. REDSKINS BY 7
QJ - REDSKINS BY 14 DB - REDSKINS BY 7 JC - REDSKINS BY 7
Packers at LionsGreen Bay have been very poor on offense so far, but have made few
mistakes and played great defense. The Lions have been rampant on
offense but look vulnerable on defense. A classic offense verses
defense matchup then, though I have a feeling the Packers are due
a big day on offense. PACKERS BY 3
QJ - LIONS BY 3 DB - PACKERS BY 3 JC - PACKERS BY 3
Bucs at Bears The Bucs, so far, have not been the defensive force they were
expected to be, and need to be if they are to contend for the
playoffs. The Bears, on the other hand, have put up some credible
resistance on defense, certainly more than I expected, and can
probably outscore Tampa. BEARS BY 3
QJ - BUCS BY 3 DB - BUCS BY 3 JC - BEARS BY 7
Saints at 49ersOne week after being written off as a spent force the rejuvenated
49ers have an opportunity to regain the lead in the NFC West. New
Orleans lost to San Francisco in the final game of last season,
but had little to play for then. However, the 49ers defensive
strengths match up very well with the Saints' run based offense.
49ERS BY 3
QJ - SAINTS BY 7 DB - 49ERS BY 1 JC - 49ERS BY 1
Panthers at RamsThe Rams have, without a doubt, the worst defense in the league.
They also have, as the Eagles found to their cost, a very potent
offense. Carolina have a lot of defensive talent and should be
able to contain St Louis long enough to pile up a good lead.
PANTHERS BY 7
QJ - PANTHERS BY 3 DB - PANTHERS BY 4 JC - RAMS BY 7
RC - LOCK Bills SHOCK Bears BLOWOUT Steelers SHOOTOUT Panthers at Rams SLUGFEST
Cardinals at Eagles
QJ - LOCK Bengals SHOCK Lions BLOWOUT Redskins SHOOTOUT Chiefs at Seahawks SLUGFEST Bucs at Bears
DB - LOCK Bengals SHOCK Dolphins BLOWOUT Bills SHOOTOUT Chiefs at Seahawks SLUGFEST Cardinals at Eagles
JC - LOCK Steelers SHOCK 49ers BLOWOUT Bills SHOOTOUT Bucs at Bears SLUGFEST Raiders at Broncos
The Chiefs and Seahawks offenses are ranked first and second in the AFC respectively and this should lead to a scoring fest at the Kingdome. The new coach a Seattle didn't start off his reign with a victory, but he did well in the first half against the Bills and should give Kansas City a hard time, especially with homefield advantage. The Chiefs have got off to a great start this season and have a very good passing attack. Elvis Grbac lost his first game as a starter but rebounded to win three straight games and his arm strength has been a major factor in his teams success. These two teams can score at will, so the scoreboard will probably blow a fuse before this game is over.