A Passing Fantasy Issue 76
NFLBP Player Newsletter 2000 Season Week Twelve
ed Robert Crowther
Welcome to the second new look APF. Response has been favourable for the first issue, the major point of contention seems to be the columns. Currently two of the three comments I have received are in favour of columns so I'll stick with them for now. If you have any opinions then contact me at:
2 Lily Terrace
Or email at '[email protected]'. Also there appears to be a glitch with Danny's photocopier at the moment which leaves a band of unreadable text about two thirds of the way down the page. If you have access to the internet all of this season's newsletters (along with a wide selection of older ones) are now available online at my new website:
Week Eleven Review
The Bengals squeaked past the Patriots in overtime thanks mostly to a huge defensive play when they needed it most. Cincinnati also got some great performances on special teams, including a 51 yard field goal to win. Pittsburgh piled more woe upon the struggling Bills despite a poor day for their defense. The Buffalo offense was racking up the yardage but couldn't score points, the Steelers took full advantage in overtime. The Seahawks finally demonstrated why many people picked them as playoff contenders at the start of the season with a great offensive display against Miami. The Seahawks defense was still suspect but managed to hold the Dolphins to less than thirty, which was good enough. Denver finally got back into the win column but it was a less than convincing performance, a more potent opponent than the Jets would have had less trouble in outscoring them. The Oakland defense was in dominant form, mistakes by the offense kept the game as close as it was. The visiting Jaguars got their only score after a turnover in the Oakland half.
The Eagles took the opportunity to close the gap on their rivals for the second wildcard spot with a solid display in Green Bay. Philly had enough in reserve to overcome four turnovers and a kick return touchdown. Detroit gave Coach Passey a baptism of fire despite having only a mediocre day on offense. The Lions were clinical in the red zone, taking full advantage of the Cowboys' turnovers. St Louis became the latest victims of the Arizona defense. After a good start the pressure on the Rams' offense started to tell and Arizona built a good lead on the back of their opponent's mistakes. Washington caused a minor upset in New Orleans, holding the Saints to less than four yards per carry and keeping the game close enough to snatch it in the fourth. San Francisco had little trouble in handling the Bears and had the game won by halftime thanks to four second quarter scores. Carolina kept their advantage over the 49ers as a fourth quarter field goal gave them the win over Tampa Bay. The Bucs offense seems to be much more effective than earlier in the season but ran out of steam in the second half.
Offensive performance of the week goes to Carolina, not many teams have managed 27 points against the Tampa defense. Defensive performance of the week goes to Arizona for ten sacks and a return touchdown. Special teams performance of the week goes to Cincinnati, a great day on kick returns and flawless kicking.
From Dave Pinder to all: How to lose your unbeaten record in style: Take three downs from three yards out with 43 seconds left, get intercepted on the third and lose in overtime!!! Aaarrgghh. But well done to the Bengals, the true Superbowl favourites!
Courtesy of Darren Birtchnell. I received some predictions from John Coleman last week but unfortunately after I'd sent the newsletter off, these will be included in the next standings.
Week Twelve Preview
Predictions and commentary from Martin Devine and Martyn Williams, other predictions from Darren Birtchnell, John Coleman and myself.
49ers at Patriots
MD - A good test for both teams, especially New England after their first loss of the season in overtime last week. Two evenly matched teams, with the Patriots maybe a little stronger on offence and defence, but the 49ers picking up the slack on special teams.
MW - Having fought back to within half a game of Carolina, an away game at the Patriots is not what the 49ers want. The Pats will be smarting after losing their first game of the season last week and will be looking to beat up on someone. The 49ers are more than capable of holding their own in a tough ballgame so this match up is not for the faint hearted. A field goal will be the difference, and the Pats will get it. Patriots by 3
DB 49ers by 1
JC 49ers by 3
RC 49ers by 1
Bills at Panthers
MD - This should be fairly comfortable for Carolina, but Buffalo showed last week that they can move the ball - if the Bills repeat their offensive showing, this one could be close. PANTHERS BY 10
MW - The Panthers offence came back to life against Tampa's tough D last week, and the Bills' defence isn't likely to put up anywhere near as tough a challenge. The Panthers will take a step nearer the NFC West title with a convincing win. Panthers by 17
DB Panthers by 17
JC Panthers by 10
RC Panthers by 14
Rams at Dolphins
MD - St. Louis need to win this one to keep in touch in the NFC West, and to stay in contention for a wild card. Miami, even though they have the same record, don't need the win quite as badly. RAMS BY 3
MW - A match up of two teams who are both a few players short of being real Championship contenders, but on their day can beat the best. The Rams often struggle away from home, but their need for a win is greater than the Dolphins to keep ahead in the race for an NFC wildcard, and still keep the pressure on the 49ers and Panthers. The Rams need to get the running game going early to keep the pressure off the QB, and hope their defence turn up to play for them, to sink the 'fins.
DB Dolphins by 1
JC Rams by 3
RC Rams by 3
Jets at Saints
MD - In a week of important games, this one doesn't have much significance (apart from on the draft order for next year). New Orleans and their ground game should be too much for the New Yorkers here. SAINTS BY 9
MW - New Orleans must be unhappy with being out of playoff contention already, but the visiting Jets should give them the opportunity to remember what winning feels like. Saints by 7
DB Saints by 3
JC Saints by 7
RC Saints by 7
Eagles at Bengals
MD - With the AFC Central all but won, Cincinnati only have home-field advantage to think of, while Philadelphia need the win to stay in wild-card contention. Despite this, the Bengals should be too strong all round in this one. BENGALS BY 6
MW - The first of four games where the Eagles really have to play big to keep the playoff dream alive. They may upset one of the Superbowl contenders they meet over the next month, but it won't be the Bengals, who are beginning to look frighteningly good again. Bengals by 10
JC Bengals by 10
RC Bengals by 7
Steelers at Cowboys
MD - A difficult game to call - on past form, Pittsburgh are the better team, but how much does past form count with Dallas under a new coach? COWBOYS BY 1
MW - The Steelers offence has been struggling all season, so if Coach Passey can get his Cowboys to raise their game this could be his first victory in charge. Cowboys by 3
DB Steelers by 3
JC Cowboys by 3
RC Cowboys by 3
Cardinals at Browns
MD - The question in this one is how many quarterbacks the pass-happy Browns will go through against the all-out rush of Arizona. CARDINALS BY 17
MW - The Cardinals performance last week left many St Louis hacks struggling for words, they are quickly becoming the team to beat in the NFC. It will be a long, long day for the Browns QB(s)! Cardinals by 20
DB Cardinals by 24
JC Cardinals by 17
RC Cardinals by 14
Jaguars at Redskins
MD - Washington come in with a bit of momentum after last week's victory, and look to be the better team - Jacksonville will need a good offensive performance to come out on top. REDSKINS BY 5
MW - Jacksonville look woeful this season, and will be unable to take advantage of the Skins weak defence. Washington should manage to score on them though. Redskins by 10
DB Jaguars by 6
JC Redskins by 7
RC Jaguars by 3
Packers at Chiefs
MD - This one looks like it will end up being an aerial shootout - if it does, Kansas City will be favourites. Green Bay need to be more balanced to get back to the glory days. CHIEFS BY 10
MW - The Packers long losing streak will continue with a trip to Arrowhead. With the Raiders having a tough game the Chiefs could lead the AFC West by Sunday night. Chiefs by 14
DB Chiefs by 10
JC Chiefs by 10
RC Packers by 1
Raiders at Lions
MD - A big game for both teams, with both Oakland and Detroit under a bit of pressure in their division and both needing a good finish to challenge for home-field advantage. Difficult to pick a winner, with Oakland's solid defence and ball-control offence up against the high-powered Detroit offence. RAIDERS BY 1
MW - Can anybody stop the Lions scoring? The Raiders defence has been very impressive the last month and Coach Crowther knows how to win the big games, but the Lions have been scoring at will on anyone and everyone regardless of reputation this season. It could all come down to how many points the Raiders offence can score.... Lions by 3
DB Raiders by 3
JC Lions by 3
Bears at Seahawks
MD - Seattle should have enough on offence to overcome Chicago, but the Bears are due a bit of luck. SEAHAWKS BY 7
MW - Seattle showed last week what could have been this season, lighting up the scoreboard against the Dolphins. This is probably the weakest defence Chicago will face the rest of this season, so is it now or never? Seahawks by 10
DB Seahawks by 1
JC Seahawks by 14
RC Bears by 3
Broncos at Bucs
MD - Tampa Bay's balance on offence and consistent defence will prove tough for head coach-less Denver to handle. BUCS BY 10
MW - The Broncos are beginning to recover from their mid-season slump, while Tampa are quickly looking like dark horses for the playoffs. A victory for the Bucs looks most likely. Bucs by 7
DB Bucs by 1
JC Bucs by 12
RC Bucs by 7
MD: Lock Cardinals; Shock Cowboys; Blowout Cardinals; Shootout - Packers at Chiefs; Slugfest - 49ers at Patriots.
MW: Lock Cardinals; Shock Bears; Blowout Cardinals; Shootout - Raiders at Lions; Slugfest - Jets at Saints.
DB : Lock Panthers; Shock Dolphins; Blowout Cardinals; Shootout Bears at Seahawks; Slugfest Jaguars at Redskins.
JC: Lock Bucs; Shock 49ers; Blowout Cardinals; Shootout - Bears at Seahawks; Slugfest - Jaguars at Redskins.
RC: Lock Saints; Shock Packers (please); Blowout Cardinals; Shootout Bears at Seahawks; Slugfest Broncos at Bucs.
You'll have noticed the subtly different style this week, the banner on the front page might have been a give away amazing how complicated it is to have a front page with a banner instead of a header. The font seems easily legible, photocopier glitches aside, so I'll stick with that. As I mentioned before the main point of contention seems to be the columns. I quite like the professional 'newspaper style' effect, but I am open to suggestions.
NFLBP Player Newsletter
ed Robert Crowther