Thanks this week to Darren Birtchnell who, because he's off work sick, has written most of the newsletter for me. I'm sure you'll all join me in wishing him a speedy recovery. Contributions can be sent to me at:
2 Lily Terrace
Or email to '[email protected]'. John Coleman asked if the 98 points scored by Green Bay and Detroit were an NFLBP record, can anyone remember a higher scoring game? Martin Devine compiled some all-time records during the second season of NFLBP so I know the Seahawks and the Dolphins combined for 103 points in the wildcard game of the inaugural season, but I think this might be a regular season record.
The Patriots maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a solid victory over Buffalo. The Bills' offense moved the ball fairly well but three interceptions proved to be costly. Miami had the Jets beaten by halftime, they are showing signs of getting back to their 1997 form. The Bengals continued their best ever start to a season by shutting out the Steelers. Neither team could pass the ball but the Bengals' running game and special teams were the difference. Jacksonville won their second straight game, albeit against another winless team. The Jags' offense was steady but the same can't be said of Cleveland, who need to go back to the drawing board. Oakland played their second overtime game of the season and this time emerged victorious. The Chiefs were outplayed in most areas and probably deserved to lose by more than three points. Denver jumped out to a big lead early and easily beat the Seahawks. The Broncos had an excellent game all round and two return touchdowns were the highlight. Philly produced ten points in the fourth quarter to beat the Cowboys. Dallas had much more of the possession but were unable to make it count. The Cardinals are now firing on all cylinders and were far too good for Washington. The Redskins' reward? More of the same treatment next week in Denver. The Packers and Lions served up a treat for fans in the Silverdome, combining for 98 points, thirteen touchdowns and over one thousand yards of offense. The Lions scored 35 in the second half alone which is a great achievement, particularly against the Packers. The Bucs' defense continues to impress as they suffocated the Bears into submission. Tampa finally look like they will win more games than they lose this season. Carolina joined the Patriots, Bengals and Cardinals at 5-0 with a comfortable victory over San Francisco. The 49ers' offense struggled early on which meant that they were always chasing the game. The Rams offense had another big day but the Saints almost stole the win thanks to some excellent returning.
Offensive performance of the week has to go to Detroit, their passing game is on fire at the moment. Defensive performance of the week goes to Arizona again, although Cincinnati and Denver also deserve a mention. Special teams performance of the week goes to New Orleans for some excellent punt returns and a kickoff return for a touchdown.
Darren has corrected an error in the week three scores which accounts for some variation below.
1 Martin Devine 19 (1) 2 Darren Birtchnell 17 (4) 3 John Coleman 13.75 (4) 4 Rob Crowther 12.8 (5) 5 Quentin Jenkinson 12.6 (5)
Should have printed this at the start of the year for the benefit of all the new coaches, sorry. This is how Darren works out the prediction rankings:
Lock of the Week - Three points if the team picked wins. Minus three points if the team loses.
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 correct prediction will be worth one point.
Ever wondered which team has gained the most yardage in the NFLBP? I have the answer! I got the idea for this from my NFL Record and Fact Book, and no it wasn't just to see my team up in lights (though it's nice to remember those halcyon days when the Raiders had a defense...). Below are lists of the leading teams in the categories of most offensive yardage gained and least defensive yardage conceded over the last two, three and four seasons. No games this season are included and the figures are only accurate to 16 yards per season (because I just multiplied figures from the League Stats report for season totals).
Offensive yardage gained Last two seasons Last three seasons Last four seasons Seahawks 12368 Saints 17120 Saints 23322 Rams 11728 Seahawks 16720 Seahawks 22180 Saints 11536 Lions 16704 Rams 22008 Steelers 11328 Eagles 16704 Bears 21850 Eagles 11264 Steelers 16576 Raiders 21500 Lions 10976 Rams 16464 Lions 21436 Defensive yardage conceded Last two seasons Last three seasons Last four seasons Bills 8753 Raiders 12256 Raiders 16050 Jets 8784 Bills 12864 Bills 17064 Raiders 8976 Packers 12864 Packers 17176 Bengals 9168 Jets 13632 Jets 17188 Eagles 9184 Bengals 13680 49ers 18112 Packers 9232 49ers 13968 Bengals 18384
Predictions and commentary from Darren Birtchnell and myself, other predictions from John Coleman and Martyn Williams.
Patriots at PackersRC - Green Bay have unusually dropped two games in a row and
there's every chance that the on form Patriots can make it
three. The Packers' offense was spectacular last week but
they still lost thanks to another poor showing from their
defense. PATRIOTS BY 7
DB - These two teams have had contrasting fortunes since reaching their respective conference championships last season, the Patriots have been very impressive while the Packers have a losing record for the first time in years. New England should stay unbeaten. PATRIOTS BY 10
JC - PATRIOTS BY 7 MW - PATRIOTS BY 7
Lions at Bills RC - Buffalo have every right to feel a bit hard done by with
only two victories. Detroit have won four without much help
from their defense and will struggle to control the powerful
Bills' running game. BILLS BY 3
DB - Two teams whose contrasting offensive philosophies match their opponent's defensive weaknesses - Buffalo can't stop the pass and Detroit can't stop the run. The Lions' better form should be the difference. LIONS BY 7
JC - LIONS BY 7 MW - LIONS BY 10
Dolphins at Bears RC - The Chicago offense can't seem to get anything going at
the minute while Miami are playing better than they have in
two years. DOLPHINS BY 7
DB - Miami are getting back to their best while Chicago are really struggling. Expect both of those trends to continue. DOLPHINS BY 10
JC - BEARS BY 3 MW - DOLPHINS BY 10
Bucs at Jets RC - There's every chance that the Tampa defense will
outscore their offense in this one. Expect the New York QB
to get buried. BUCS BY 14
DB - The Bucs' defense is playing very well and the Jets' offense is playing very badly. Should be a low scoring game, New York will be lucky if they get on the score sheet. BUCS BY 10
JC - BUCS BY 10 MW - BUCS BY 10
Bengals at 49ers RC - The most recent champions visit the original champions
in what is likely to be a close game. San Francisco are
better than their record suggests but will find it tough
going against the Cincy defense. BENGALS BY 3
Two coaches who know each other well, these teams have met once before when the then defending champion 49ers won 34-3. This time Cincinnati are defending champions and they want revenge...
JC - BENGALS BY 3 MW - BENGALS BY 7
Panthers at SteelersRC - The Carolina defense is showing signs of improvement
while the offense doesn't look like slowing down. Bad news
for Pittsburgh. PANTHERS BY 10
DB - The Steelers' defense is playing well this year, although their offense is struggling. Carolina are the opposite, and are also the better team so they should win comfortably enough. PANTHERS BY 10
JC - PANTHERS BY 3 MW - PANTHERS BY 14
Browns at Rams RC - It seems unlikely that the Cleveland offense is capable
of scoring enough points to keep up with St Louis. RAMS BY
DB - Cleveland are probably the worst team in the league while St Louis are quickly becoming one of the best. Cleveland will do well to keep it close. RAMS BY 20
JC - RAMS BY 21
Saints at Jaguars RC - Jacksonville face their third winless opponent on the
trot. New Orleans should be able to run the ball but will
their defense hold up? JAGUARS BY 3
DB - Can Jacksonville make it three wins in a row? Although the Saints are winless they are probably the better team and should get some success running the ball. SAINTS BY 6
JC - JAGUARS BY 1 MW - SAINTS BY 3
Chiefs at Eagles RC - Philadelphia are rapidly losing touch with the Cards
while Kansas City have lost two on the trot after starting 3-
0. Both pass defenses are suspect but this is more of an
issue for the Eagles as the Chiefs have one of the better
passing offenses. CHIEFS BY 7
DB - Philadelphia are back to their old inconsistent ways this season while Kansas City are continuing their good form of last season and should be good enough for the win. CHIEFS BY 7
JC - CHIEFS BY 3 MW - CHIEFS BY 14
Cowboys at Raiders RC - Dallas have had little success in stopping the run this
year and that's bad news when you're facing Oakland. On the
other side of the ball the Raiders will be hoping to contain
the relatively weak passing game of the Cowboys.
DB - Oakland shouldn't have too many problems here, the Cowboys have never been much better than average. RAIDERS BY 14
JC - RAIDERS BY 7 MW - RAIDERS BY 10
Seahawks at CardinalsRC - Seattle have been curiously ineffective on offense so
far this season, a lot of yardage for not many points.
Arizona will be looking to their excellent defense to
continue the trend while the offense takes advantage of a
weak secondary. CARDS BY 10
DB - Seattle will now what to expect from the Cards' defense having just played Denver, but will they be able to do anything about it? I don't think so, and they won't be able to stop the Cards' offense either. CARDS BY 24
JC - CARDS BY 28 MW - CARDS BY 21
Redskins at BroncosRC - The only question is will Washington manage any first
downs at all? BRONCOS BY 20
DB - You could probably copy what I've written above for this game, but Washington are a worse team than Seattle and have no chance whatsoever. BRONCOS BY 35
JC - BRONCOS BY 35 MW - BRONCOS BY 21
RC : Lock - Bucs; Shock - Bills; Blowout - Broncos; Shootout - Panthers at Steelers;
Slugfest - Bengals at 49ers.
DB : Lock - Cards; Shock - Saints; Blowout - Broncos; Shootout - Seahawks at Cardinals; Slugfest - Bucs at Jets.
JC : Lock - Rams; Shock - Bears; Blowout - Broncos; Shootout - Seahawks at Cardinals; Slugfest - Bengals at 49ers.
MW : Lock - Bucs; Shock - Cowboys; Blowout - Broncos; Shootout - Lions at Bills; Slugfest - Saints at Jaguars.