Apologies for last week, I was in North London and there was some sort of postal action (which I didn't find out about until Wednesday) which meant that the newsletter didn't make it to Danny in time. If I have your address you should already of received a copy, if you want a copy and haven't got one you'll have to drop me a line. This is the first time I've missed a deadline, one out of nearly ninety isn't too bad. Hopefully this won't put anyone off sending contributions! The address is:
2 Lily Terrace
Or email at '[email protected]'. If this newsletter seems hurried that's because it is! I'm trying to get it in the post before I get the train back down to London, so at least you'll all get to see it.
The Steelers were the first team this year to be able to contain the Patriots' offense, it didn't do them much good, however, as the New England defense was still on form. The champions went to Buffalo, a team with which they've had problems in the past, and stuck it to them. The Bills could find no way through the Cincy defense and were simply overwhelmed by the Bengals' offense. The shock result of the week occurred in Miami where the Dolphins snuck past the previously dominant Broncos. Miami were well outgained but matched Denver's scoring total in the first half before building a decisive lead in the third. The Jets finally got on the score sheet, building a three touchdown lead over the visiting Seahawks in the first quarter. Three touchdowns isn't very much for the Seattle offense, however, and they matched that total in the second quarter before pulling away in the second half. Oakland found the going tough in Cleveland as the Browns built a ten point halftime lead. Normal service was resumed in the second half as the Raiders got back in the lead and then survived a tense fourth quarter. Kansas City took advantage of the Broncos' slip up by beating the Jaguars to move to first place in the West. The Lions proved their status as contenders with an overtime win in Philadelphia. Both teams racked up over four hundred yards of offense but the Eagles managed only two touchdowns to Detroit's four. Green Bay destroyed the Cowboys with a four touchdown second quarter. Dallas looked well out of their depth on offense, managing only three points and giving up two touchdowns on returns. Arizona had a fairly comfortable victory over the visiting Saints, going ahead in the first quarter and maintaining that margin throughout. St Louis won the battle of the offenses by displaying some very competent defense. The Redskins were only able to manage just over three hundred yards on the supposedly weak Rams defense. Carolina continued their run of fine form, stretching back to the second half of last season, with a comfortable win over the Bears. Chicago were able to pile up plenty of yardage but couldn't get the ball into the endzone. The Bucs went for a passing attack against the visiting 49ers but managed less than four yards per attempt. The San Francisco kicker was the man of the hour as he nailed six field goals to mask a poor showing from the 49er offense.
Offensive performance of the week goes to Cincinnati, who were nearly unstoppable. Defensive performance of the week also goes to Green Bay, because the defense would have won the game by eleven points if the offense hadn't bothered turning up. Special teams performance of the week goes to San Francisco for winning the game without much help from the offense.
Predictions and commentary from myself, other predictions from Darren Birtchnell, John Coleman and Quentin Jenkinson.
Seahawks at Patriots The Seahawks are always a dangerous team to play because you
never know when their offense is going to explode. Defense is
another matter, New England have a good one, Seattle have a bad
one. The Patriots ought to win comfortably but if the game is
close the Seahawks have a chance. PATRIOTS BY 7
DB - PATRIOTS BY 7 JC - PATRIOTS BY 14 QJ - PATRIOTS BY 7
Broncos at BillsBuffalo could easily suffer their second shutout on the trot,
their run based offense will likely struggle with the Denver all
blitz attack. BRONCOS BY 14
DB - BRONCOS BY 17 JC - BRONCOS BY 3 QJ - BRONCOS BY 10
Browns at DolphinsAfter poor starts both these teams are showing signs of
improvement. Miami have the better balanced team but if the
Cleveland defense plays like it did last week they should edge it.
BROWNS BY 1
DB - DOLPHINS BY 6 JC - DOLPHINS BY 10 QJ - DOLPHINS BY 17
Jaguars at JetsCan't see the Jets winning a game this year. JAGUARS BY 7
DB - JETS BY 3 JC - JETS BY 3 QJ - JAGUARS BY 3
Chiefs at BengalsThe big game of the week in the AFC, two unbeaten teams go head to
head. Cincinnati have the better defense while Kansas City have
the better offense. The champions look to be in better form,
however. If they can run the ball the Bengals will win. BENGALS
JC - BENGALS BY 3 QJ - BENGALS BY 14
Raiders at Steelers Oakland will be looking to a big performance from their running
game after a couple of dodgy outings, if they get it the game
won't be close. Pittsburgh have embarrassed the Raiders' defense
in the past and will take advantage if given enough opportunities.
DB - RAIDERS BY 6 JC - STEELERS BY 3 QJ - RAIDERS BY 7
Rams at EaglesSt Louis seem to have a half decent defense at last and this does
not bode well for Philadelphia. The Eagles have not been the same
team that won the division last season. RAMS BY 3
DB - RAMS BY 3 JC - RAMS BY 3 QJ - RAMS BY 7
Saints at CowboysDallas need to stop the New Orleans' running game, not as hard as
it once was. If they manage that they should have plenty of
chances to take advantage of the Saints' secondary. COWBOYS BY 3
DB - COWBOYS BY 1 JC - COWBOYS BY 3 QJ - SAINTS BY 3
Bears at CardinalsArizona are well deserving of their unbeaten mark but their
defense has never looked as imposing as the similarly all blitzing
Broncos. The Chicago passing game is one of the best in the
league and gives them a good chance of an upset, providing they
can keep their QB upright. BEARS BY 1
DB - CARDINALS BY 14 JC - CARDINALS BY 27
Bucs at RedskinsThe Tampa Bay defense should be able to contain the potent
Washington offense, the question is over the ability of the Bucs
to score points. I think they'll manage it. BUCS BY 3
DB - BUCS BY 7 JC - BUCS BY 3 QJ - BUCS BY 3
49ers at PackersA rematch of last season's NFC Championship game, two very good
defenses will slug it out. Green Bay have been in better form so
far but San Francisco have the ability to win games they maybe
don't deserve to with strong special teams. Homefield might be
enough of an edge. PACKERS BY 1
DB - PACKERS BY 3 JC - PACKERS BY 10 QJ - 49ERS BY 3
Panthers at LionsBoth teams are unbeaten. Detroit's defense has been a somewhat
surprising strength so far but I don't think that will last
against Carolina. PANTHERS BY 7
DB - PANTHERS BY 7 JC - LIONS BY 7 QJ - PANTHERS BY 7
RC : Lock - Jaguars; Shock - Bears; Blowout - Broncos; Shootout - Panthers at Lions;
Slugfest - 49ers at Packers.
DB : Lock - Cardinals; Shock - Cowboys; Blowout - Broncos; Shootout - Panthers at Lions; Slugfest - Jaguars at Jets.
JC : Lock - Cardinals; Shock - Broncos; Blowout - Lions; Shootout - Seahawks at Patriots; Slugfest - Jaguars at Jets.
QJ : Lock - Bengals; Shock - Saints; Blowout - Dolphins; Shootout - Panthers at Lions; Slugfest - 49ers at Packers.