A Passing Fantasy Issue 85

NFLBP Player Newsletter 2001 Preseason

ed Robert Crowther

Congratulations to John Coleman on his Superbowl victory. This issue features a full review of the superbowl and other championship games along with previews and predictions from John and myself of the 2001 season. Send your own wildly inaccurate predictions to:


2 Lily Terrace

Edinburgh

EH11 1PN


Or email at [email protected]'.


Superbowl Review


The game started well for the Bengals but a promising drive came to an end at the Carolina 13 with an interception. The Panthers took full advantage, driving 79 yards for the first score. The Bengals were unable to move the ball on their next possession but caught a break as a Panthers fumble gave Cincinnati the ball on the Carolina 13, one play was all it took to tie the score. The Panthers got the lead back with an eighty yard touchdown drive before the Bengals did their best to throw the game away. Both of Cincy's next two drives were ended by interceptions, but their defense held Carolina to just one field goal. However, when the Bengals got their chance to get back in the game with an interception at the Carolina 16, returned to the six, with 1.33 to go in the half, they blew it. Faced with gaining six yards to close the gap to three they lost 20 yards on four plays and then missed the 43 yard field goal attempt. The Panthers could sense blood and their first two drives of the second half ended in scores, a field goal followed by a touchdown. The Bengals' offense, not best suited to catchup football, struggled throughout the second half. Their longest drive was only 28 yards, and ended in a failed fourth down attempt. A fumble after another short drive gave the Panthers and easy opportunity to complete the scoring. The Carolina offense didn't do much else in the fourth quarter but the game was already won.


Carolina Panthers – Champions

John Coleman


It has a lovely sounding ring to it, Panthers are champions. Silly really as I was expecting a cut glass decanter or 100 credits to be sent from Beckenham! I am still waiting. How do you win the big one? Luck really. I was expecting to go close but needed a couple of extra players, or so I thought. Maybe this season...


Luck because; you need to play the teams not on a roll, you need your key players not to be retired or step reduced and you need luck in games. The season changed for Carolina in week 16 at the 49ers. Down by six with two plays left the percentage chance of connecting with two DL 'bombs' must be low, but that's what happened. Had either of those been dropped or intercepted then the 49ers would have been number one, in my opinion.


I do not think the Panthers are a class team as we can be turned over by moderate sides (week 15) and every week in the newsletter I am reminded about the Carolina Dodgy Defense. To reach three superbowls is excellent, well done to the Bengals. However, I feel it is harder to win the NFC West than it is to win the big one.


Championship Bowl Review


Both teams started with long drives that ended in turnovers, a fumble from the 49ers and an interception from the Raiders. The third turnover proved more conclusive as Oakland picked off the 49ers at their own twelve and two plays later they were in the lead. San Francisco were quick to reply, driving for the tying score on a 66 yard drive after the ensuing kick off. Defenses dominated for most of the second quarter but the Raiders had better field position and were able to snatch the lead with a field goal after a short drive. The third quarter was more of the same but this time the 49ers had better field position and were able to tie the score. The fourth quarter saw more turnovers, three from Oakland were offset by only one from San Francisco and, though they were unable to move the ball, the 49ers took advantage of two of the gifts to kick the winning field goals.


Divisional Bowl Review


Three turnovers quickly ended any hopes the Bucs may have had as New England got off to a fast start. The Patriots scored four first half touchdowns without having to work too hard on offense. Tampa ran the ball well, indicating they might have stood a chance in a closer game, but their passing offense was never going to be good enough to overcome the first half deficit.


Silver Bowl Review


St Louis also built a significant first half lead and the Steelers never looked like catching up. Pittsburgh were able to complete over sixty percent of their passes but at only just under eight yards per completion they weren't much of a comeback threat.


Bronze Bowl Review


In the battle of the passing games Seattle came off much better thanks, in large part, to the fact they only committed one turnover versus Cleveland's four. Neither team was able to average over three yards per run.


Message Board


Martyn Williams to all Coaches - Congratulations to John Coleman on making my pre-season prediction a reality and winning his first BP Superbowl. I obviously have a talent for this prediction lark so I hereby predict that the Rams will go 16-0 this season and will win the Superbowl 45-0.(if that prediction comes true then the drinks are on me)!


2001 Season Preview


AFC East



QB

RB

TE

OL

WR

DL

LB

DB

P/K

NE

4

4

2

12

3

5

10

9

0/0

MD

5

3

2

7

2

8

9

10

0/1

NJ

4/3

5

6

1

5

10

6

8

0/0

BB

3

8

3

5

2

10

3

8

1/0


JC – It will be the year of the Bills. Buffalo to cause upset and worry in New England and Miami. Miami to close on New England and the Jets to aim for basement football and another good draft position: 1. Patriots; 2. Dolphins; 3. Bills; 4. Jets.


RC – The Patriots are still the best all round team in this division, Miami should again push them but an inexperienced QB might cost them a few close games. Buffalo have looked a lot better for their new coach but have obvious weaknesses at LB and OL. And talking about obvious weaknesses, New York are destined for last place: 1. Patriots; 2. Dolphins; 3. Bills; 4. Jets.


AFC Central



QB

RB

TE

OL

WR

DL

LB

DB

P/K

CI

3

3

2

9

4

7

7

8

1/0

PS

2

5

2

10

3

8

7

7

0/0

CL

3/4

6

2

8

4

7

8

6

0/0

JJ

3/4

8

4

6

5

8

4

4

0/0


JC – Now on to my third pint so excuse this mad thinking. Cleveland to beat the Bengals? Yeah, why not. Steelers to melt away and the Jaguars to gather LP's: 1. Browns; 2. Bengals; 3. Steelers; 4. Jaguars.


RC – Cincinnati won this division easily last year and, while they seem to have a slight roster disadvantage, experience and wily coaching should see them repeat. I expect Cleveland to push them closer than last year, as long as their defense holds together. Pittsburgh have lacked inspiration for a couple of seasons, a new coach may turn them into contenders but, as it stands, they will not challenge. Jacksonville are seriously lacking defense: 1. Bengals; 2. Browns; 3. Steelers; 4. Jaguars.


AFC West



QB

RB

TE

OL

WR

DL

LB

DB

P/K

OA

3

2

3

12

2

9

7

9

1/1

KC

4

5

3

7

4

10

9

4

1/1

SS

3

3

2

5

4

8

8

10

1/1

DB

4

7

0

11

4

9

10

5

0/0


JC – It could be Oakland all the way this year, but Seattle for the wildcard. Chiefs to become Indians and Denver to win some but not enough: 1. Raiders; 2. Seahawks; 3. Chiefs; 4. Broncos.


RC – Seattle finally look to have sorted out their defense but, in the two seasons that took, their offense is now depleted. Kansas City have a great front seven but a vulnerable looking secondary, they may do well against the power running teams like Oakland. The Raiders have some question marks on defense, with youngsters stepping in for experienced veterans, and are probably a receiver short but will, once again, rely on their powerful OL. Denver are another team which should be able to stop the run but may struggle to contain passing teams.


NFC East



QB

RB

TE

OL

WR

DL

LB

DB

P/K

AC

3/2

4

0

11

0

9

4

10

0/0

PE

4

6

1

9

4

7

9

7

0/1

WR

4

7

0

8

5

8

7

7

0/0

DC

2/3

8

2

7

4

8

6

7

0/1


JC – Very difficult. This is open for anyone. Arizona have only themselves to blame for not going all the way last year. The Eagles have the players, the Redskins score the points and the Cowboys will be just that! Really I've no idea so: 1. Cardinals; 2. Eagles; 3. Cowboys; 4. Redskins.


RC – I think Arizona have missed their big chance, their roster this year looks very unbalanced – no receiving threat and poor linebackers will leave them back in the pack. The Eagles look to have the better squad and this division is theirs for the taking, all they have to do is not lose it. Dallas could sneak second place but are unlikely to challenge for the playoffs, while Washington may outscore a few teams but still don't have the defense to be contenders: 1. Eagles; 2. Cowboys; 3. Cardinals; 4. Redskins.


NFC Central



QB

RB

TE

OL

WR

DL

LB

DB

P/K

TB

3

6

2

10

2

9

5

6

0/1

DL

3/1

4

1

10

4

12

6

5

1/1

GB

4

4

5

9

5

10

6

6

0/1

CH

3

4

3

8

5

6

13

7

0/1


JC – I predicted the Bucs for the Central title last year and they came good. I have a hunch Tampa could be a NFC powerhouse. The Lions are erratic, excellent and poor in the same game. The Pack could be doing a Sheffield Wednesday so that leaves Chicago, 0-16, to a winning season: 1. Bucs; 2. Bears; 3. Lions; 4. Packers.


RC – Tampa seem slightly depleted on defense but their nearest challengers, Detroit, have five DL and only three spots to play them in. Both could struggle for consistency but Tampa look the better team. Green Bay have not been the same since the departure of their head coach while the Bears should, at least, pick up a few wins: 1. Bucs; 2. Lions; 3. Bears; 4. Packers.


NFC West



QB

RB

TE

OL

WR

DL

LB

DB

P/K

CA

3

5

2

9

4

8

7

7

1/1

SF

4

3

2

11

3

8

8

9

1/0

SL

3

3

3

11

3

7

7

8

1/1

NO

4

6

4

8

2

6

8

5

0/0


JC – Another toughie, depends much on how well the Saints play, especially at home against their divisional rivals. The 49ers are still capable of beating anyone with excellent gameplans, how does coach Devine do it? But it is the year of the Rams for season 2001! Having won the superbowl I may take a bow mid-season when the credits run out, but, who knows, the next Panthers coach could do even better... 1. Rams; 2. 49ers; 3. Panthers; 4. Saints.


RC – I have a sneaking suspicion the 49ers won't take losing their title too well, and will spend this season taking it out on their opponents. The Rams and Panthers are fairly evenly matched, St Louis have more weight on the offensive line while Carolina have more talent in the backfield. The NFC West will likely provide three playoff teams again. New Orleans will struggle to stop their divisional rivals scoring: 1. 49ers; 2. Rams; 3. Panthers; 4. Saints.


Playoff Predictions


JC – AFC: Dolphins; Bengals; Seahawks or Bills. NFC: 49ers; Panthers; Bears or Eagles. Superbowl: Raiders 13 Rams 21


Preseason Predictions


MW – Patriots by 21, Bengals by 14, Panthers by 6, Dolphins by 14, Lions by 7, 49ers by 10, Redskins by 20, Browns by 7, Cowboys by 3, Jaguars by 7, Saints by 3.


NFLBP Player Newsletter

-4-

ed Robert Crowther