A Passing Fantasy Issue 80

NFLBP Player Newsletter 2000 Season Week Sixteen

ed Robert Crowther

I'm back home this week so back to the columns (sorry Darren!). Next issue will be the playoff preview spectacular so get your predictions to:


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Week Fifteen Review


The Patriots dominated Kansas City for three quarters before letting up slightly in the fourth. The Chiefs were able to balance out the yardage but were never going to overcome the points deficit. Oakland just needed a win in Buffalo to reclaim their divisional title and they managed that comfortably. The Bills were able to move the ball but didn't threaten the endzone for the most part. Cincinnati suffered an upset in Miami which could cost them come playoff time. The Bengals are now in danger of having to start the playoffs on the road while the Dolphins have a shot at hosting the wildcard game – depending on the outcome of the Raiders-Chiefs game next week. Pittsburgh defeated the Jets though the New York QB, in the times he was able to get the pass off, made enough plays to make things interesting. Seattle added another chapter to their two volume work, 'Too Little, Too Late', with a win over Cleveland. The Browns offense was mighty impressive in defeat however, showing signs of a return to their league leading form of a few seasons ago. The Denver defense has collapsed since the departure of Coach Gamble to the extent that even Jacksonville are able to embarrass them.


The 49ers secured yet another playoff spot with a come from behind win in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile in Dallas the NFC West got a whole lot more interesting as the Cowboys were able to knock off the division leading Panthers. Carolina were simply outplayed by Dallas and now face a crunch showdown with the 49ers to determine the division title. Green Bay, struggling all season, nearly produced the upset of the year in Arizona. It was business as usual for the Cards in the first quarter as they built a ten point lead but in the second the Packers managed three scores. The Arizona offense floundered under the pressure and, were it not for a safety from the defense, might not have made up the difference. Detroit slumped to another defeat, their fourth straight. The Redskins were able to match their offensive output and six turnovers cost the Lions scoring opportunities. St Louis comfortably despatched Chicago to keep their playoff hopes alive. Tampa, rather uncharacteristically, got involved in a shoot out against New Orleans. However, after four first quarter touchdowns there was never much doubt about the final result.


Offensive performance of the week goes to Cleveland who are going to be scoring a lot of points when they work out how to be as effective on third down as they are on the first two. Defensive performance of the week goes to Miami for out-Bengalling the Bengals. Special teams performance of the week goes to Tampa Bay for a kick return touchdown and perfect place kicking.


Predictions Standings

Darren Birtchnell


This table is currently lacking a set of predictions from Martin Devine for week fourteen, I seem to have mislaid my week fourteen results – I'll add the predictions as soon as I find them (hopefully before the final standings next week...).


Darren Birtchnell

15.69

(13)

John Coleman

15.00

(13)

Jon Cullen

14.00

(1)

Martin Devine

13.33

(3)

Quentin Jenkinson

12.60

(5)

Rob Crowther

12.33

(15)

Martyn Williams

12.10

(10)


Week Sixteen Preview


Predictions and commentary from Martyn Williams, other predictions from Darren Birtchnell and John Coleman.


Bills at Patriots

MW - Many people predicted that this would be a disappointing season for Buffalo, but no one expected their decline to be so complete. Still, only one more humiliation to endure before the season can be forgotten. For the Patriots, an easy victory to ensure homefield advantage as far as the Superbowl. Patriots by 21


DB – Patriots by 14

JC – PATRIOTS BY 28


Jets at Dolphins

MW - Last weeks stunning victory over the Bengals coupled with an easy victory over the Jets should be enough for Miami to host the AFC wildcard game against the slumping Chiefs. The Dolphins defence should be able to put enough pressure on the Jets QB to give New York's scouts a big enough clue as to where they need to concentrate in this years draft. Dolphins by 14


DB – DOLPHINS BY 10

JC – DOLPHINS BY 21


Steelers at Bengals

MW - The Bengals will be angry after last weeks shock loss in Miami all but ended any hopes of homefield advantage for the reigning Superbowl Champions, which is bad news for Pittsburgh. But at least an easy victory against the relatively weak Steelers will give the Bengals some momentum back heading into the playoffs. Bengals by 17


JC – BENGALS BY 14


Jaguars at Browns

MW - Two teams that haven't had too much to cheer about this season, but the Browns performances have definitely improved since their 0-7 start. I've a feeling that the Browns will sneak this one and with a good draft and free agency should challenge for the division number two spot next year. Browns by 3


DB – browns BY 1

JC – BROWNS BY 10


Broncos at Seahawks

MW - After a 2-8 start the Seahawks have won 5 straight and shown the form many thought they were capable of before the season kicked off, but unfortunately it's all too late. For the Broncos the opposite is true and a season that looked full of promise has disappeared as quickly as their new coach did. The Seahawks should get the win, and you can bet there will be at least one or two AFC teams glad they won't be meeting them in the playoffs. Seahawks by 14


DB – SEAHAWKS BY 3

JC – SEAHAWKS BY 21


Raiders at Chiefs

MW - The Raiders are the form team in the NFL, having won the past 11 straight, and will be many peoples favourites to once again be the AFC Superbowl representatives. The Chiefs meanwhile have run the Raiders close all season until losing to Seattle two weeks back. The Chiefs need the win to guarantee playing the wildcard game at home, but I just don't think they are good enough to beat a team of the Raiders calibre. Raiders by 10


DB – RAIDERS BY 7

JC – CHIEFS BY 3


Cowboys at Eagles

MW - The Cowboys showed with last week's win over the Panthers that they could well be fighting for a playoff spot next season, and a victory in Philadelphia will be a preview to the changes that will take place in the NFC East next year. Cowboys by 7


DB – EAGLES BY 3

JC – EAGLES BY 7


Redskins at Cardinals

MW - The Redskins have showed some promise in recent weeks, but a victory against the Cardinals is asking far too much. The Cardinals will get the win to finish with the leagues best record and become the bookies Superbowl favourites. Cardinals by 14


DB – CARDINALS BY 20

JC – CARDINALS BY 10


Lions at Packers

MW - How has it come to this for the Lions - a must win game to guarantee a playoff spot after four straight defeats. After the last one against the Redskins the Lions must be a demoralised team, but they should still be good enough to beat the Packers. But Green Bay showed signs of the team they were last season last week, only losing at Sun Devil Stadium by one point. One thing is for sure - the whole of St Louis will be behind the Packers! Lions by 7



DB – LIONS BY 6

JC – LIONS BY 3


Buccaneers at Bears

MW - The Bears last chance for that elusive victory, but against the Bucs defence it is highly unlikely, especially when the win will give Tampa the Central Division title. But once again, the Bears will have all of St Louis behind them. Buccaneers by 10


DB – BUCS BY 7

JC – BUCS BY 10


Saints at Rams

MW - The Transworld Dome may well be empty for this game, with many Rams fans going to local bars to watch the outcome of the NFC Central games! Since Coach Williams took over last season the Rams haven't lost to the Saints, having won 2 and tied 1, but all games have been close. The Rams defence is finally beginning to keep the opposition in check, having conceded only 19 points in the last 3 games and the home team will be the favourites to get the victory. But at the end of the day the Rams will most likely miss the playoffs, ruing missed opportunities in games against their other divisional rivals.


DB – RAMS BY 10

JC – RAMS BY 21


Panthers at 49ers

MW - From seemingly out of no where the 49ers can hold on to the NFC West title and get a first round bye in the playoffs with a win, albeit thanks to the Cowboys victory over the Panthers last week. The Panthers convincingly beat the 49ers in Carolina way back in week 5 but I expect this game to be much closer - and the 49ers seem to be experts at winning the close games against their divisional rivals. I'll go with the team with homefield advantage. 49ers by 3.


DB – 49ERS BY 1

JC – 49ERS BY 17


MW : Lock – Patriots; Shock - Bears; Blowout – Patriots; Shootout - Lions at Packers; Slugfest - Panthers at 49ers.


DB : Lock – Patriots; Shock – Browns; Blowout – Cardinals; Shootout – Lions at Packers; Slugfest – Panthers at 49ers.


JC : Lock – Patriots; Shock – Chiefs; Blowout – Dolphins; Shootout – Broncos at Seahawks; Slugfest – Bucs at Bears.


NFLBP Player Newsletter

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ed Robert Crowther