A Passing Fantasy Issue 79
NFLBP Player Newsletter 2000 Season Week Fifteen ed Robert Crowther
I hope you all had a good Christmas and a happy Hogmanay, and didnt suffer too much with the snow and trains (GNER rescheduled my train without telling me, after I had to book a month in advance). A slightly different look this week, Im at my parents for Christmas and so am forced to wrestle with Word for Windows. This issue lacks columns, because I cant be bothered figuring out how to set them up properly (generally, the less time I spend dealing with Word, the happier I am), so those of you whove been wanting to see what APF looked like without the columns now have their chance. With the poor mail before Christmas I didnt receive any postal contributions before I left home, so the newsletter is a bit truncated, but I have received a few emails. Also I have Jon Cullens player profile held over from last issue (I said it was John Colemans, brain activity and proximity to Christmas are related by the inverse square law). Contributions for the next issue can be sent to the usual address:
2 Lily Terrace
Or email to [email protected]. Also, I received some predictions from Martin Devine too late for the last newsletter they are included in the online edition which those of you who have web access can check out at www.geocities.com/dot_rob/gameplan.html.
The Patriots secured their second straight divisional title in far more emphatic fashion than their first. They dominated most of the game in Miami and had a comfortable lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Dolphins showed their playoff potential with a great comeback but were unable to catch up. The Buffalo pass rush was unable to make up for the deficiencies of their secondary and the New York quarterback found enough time to throw for nearly three hundred yards. The Cleveland offense put in a creditable performance against the respected Cincinnati defense but the champions still won with some to spare. Pittsburgh maintained their distant second place in the Central after surviving a fourth quarter comeback in Jacksonville. Seattle have finally started playing up to the predictions many made at the start of the year, their win against the high flying Chiefs was too late for their own playoff hopes but put the penultimate nail in the coffin of Kansas Citys title defense. The Chiefs had a significant advantage in yardage and possession but committed three turnovers compared to none for the Seahawks. Oakland took full advantage with a convincing win in Denver, taking advantage of a couple of turnovers to build their lead and then rubbing it in after a couple of failed fourth down conversions late in the game.
The Arizona defense uncharacteristically gave up three touchdowns but it didnt matter as their offense was firing on all cylinders. The Eagles attacked on defense but struggled to put pressure the Cards quarterback, and repeatedly paid the price. Washington are in the midst of a revival and chalked up another win against the favoured Cowboys and their new coach. Green Bay finally picked up their third win of the year in a shootout in Chicago, the Bears still without their first win - might be feeling a little hard done by. The Tampa defense was on top form for the visit of Detroit, holding the Lions to just nine first downs. The Lions were able to beat the blitz on three occasions, however the Bucs offense was far more consistent. St Louis saw their playoff chances take a major dent as the visiting 49ers eked out a win on the basis of solid defense and excellent field goal kicking. The Rams managed a similar amount of yardage but were unable to get into field goal range. Carolina secured their first ever divisional title with another fine offensive display, however their defense still looks vulnerable the Saints had no trouble moving the ball in the fourth quarter.
Offensive performance of the week goes to Arizona for the 400 yards passing against a solid defense. Defensive performance of the week goes to Oakland, for shutting down a Broncos offense that managed over six hundred yards in week two. Special teams performance of the week goes to New York, solid returning and flawless kicking.
Job Retail manager
Fav. music Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music; Kate Bush; Cyndy Lauper.
Interests NFL; Gameplan; Computers .
Currently doing university degree in business studies and a computer office skills course.
I am a home owner (when its paid) with my good lady Anne and we share our home with our daft dog Max.
Predictions and commentary from myself, other predictions from Martyn Williams and Jonathan Cullen.
Chiefs at Patriots Both teams have already qualified for postseason action, New England have won their division and are jostling for homefield advantage while Kansas City still have something to play for an outside shot at winning the West. The Pats are the better team but the Chiefs have come up with their fair share of big wins in the last two seasons. PATRIOTS BY 3
MW - PATRIOTS BY 7 JC PATRIOTS BY 9
Raiders at Bills Buffalo have suffered a horrible season, their usually reliable defense has collapsed. Oakland are on a roll and will be expected to have little trouble in picking up another win and securing the division title. The Bills still have half decent run defense and could slow down the Raiders offense but their secondary will be playing Russian roulette with the Oakland QB.
MW - RAIDERS BY 14 JC RAIDERS BY 14
Bengals at Dolphins Miami have been the surprise team in the East this season, they are almost certain to make the playoffs and have run both the Raiders and Patriots close this season. The defending champs, however, have the best record in the AFC despite not quite hitting the form of last season. The Dolphins could match Cincinnati yard for yard and still end up on the losing side. BENGALS BY 3
MW - BENGALS BY 7 JC BENGALS BY 7
Steelers at Jets Pittsburgh have been slightly disappointing this season while New York have won three more games than I thought they would. The key is getting to the Jets QB, his pass protection is awful but, given even a small amount of time, he is capable of putting up big numbers. STEELERS BY 7
MW - STEELERS BY 6 JC JETS BY 3
Seahawks at Browns Seattle have once again run into form as they run out of games. Cleveland have shown some signs of life in recent weeks but they are still struggling to stop their opponents scoring. SEAHAWKS BY 10
MW - SEAHAWKS BY 10 JC SEAHAWKS BY 10
Broncos at Jaguars Denver have been a shadow of their former selves since their coach departed earlier in the year. It would still be a major shock if they lost in Jacksonville though. BRONCOS BY 10
MW - BRONCOS BY 7 JC JAGUARS BY 3
49ers at Eagles Another win for San Francisco will see them hosting the wildcard game, another loss for Philadelphia will make very little difference. The Eagles defense was helpless in the face of the Arizona passing attack last week and the 49ers are well equipped to do a similar job. 49ERS BY 7
MW - 49ERS BY 7 JC - 49ERS BY 7
Panthers at Cowboys Dallas might be able to take advantage of the slightly dodgy Carolina defense but they will also struggle to control the powerful Panthers offense. In a shootout the Cowboys might have a chance if they get the ball last but I suspect Carolina will be too far ahead by then. PANTHERS BY 10
MW - PANTHERS BY 14 JC - PANTHERS BY 7
Packers at Cardinals Green Bay finally got back in the win column last week but expect them to return to the loss column in a big way in Arizona. The Cards started out pretty well and, apart from a slight hiccup against Tampa, seem to have got even better as the season has worn on. CARDINALS BY 14
MW - CARDINALS BY 21 JC - CARDINALS BY 28
Lions at Redskins Detroit have suffered badly in recent weeks as they faced the tough part of the schedule. Back to games against the no hopers and all they have to do is defeat two teams with a combined twenty defeats to win their first divisional title. Washington have proven slightly more resilient in recent weeks, however, and might be able to take advantage of a demoralised Detroit team with a weak defense. REDSKINS BY 1
MW - LIONS BY 7 JC - REDSKINS BY 3
Rams at Bears St Louis are now outsiders in the race for the playoffs, but Chicago are dead certainties for the top draft pick. The Rams should pick up a win easily enough but are now relying on favours from others. RAMS BY 14
JC RAMS BY 10
Saints at Bucs Tampa seem to have discovered a way to score points more consistently and this has taken some of the load off their defense. New Orleans have always struggled against teams that can stop them running the ball. BUCS BY 7
MW - BUCCS BY 7 JC - BUCCS BY 10
JC : Lock Cardinals; Shock Redskins; Blowout Cardinals; Shootout Raiders at Bills; Slugfest Broncos at Jaguars
MW : Lock Cardinals; Shock Bears; Blowout Cardinals; Shootout - Rams at Bears; Slugfest - Broncos at Jaguars; Most Wished For Result - A Saints Victory!!!
RC : Lock Rams; Shock Redskins; Blowout Cardinals; Shootout Panthers at Cowboys; Slugfest Chiefs at Patriots.