A Passing Fantasy Issue 94

NFLBP Player Newsletter 2001 Season Week Nine

ed Robert Crowther

Once again big thanks to Martyn Williams for providing most for this issue (where are the rest of you?!). He has this week provided me with a full list of offensive and defensive rankings, the top eight in each category are in the newsletter, the full lists are available on my website. The address for comments and contributions is:


79 Petworth Road

Finchley

London

N12 9HE


Or email to '[email protected]'.


Week Eight Review


The Patriots continued the domination of their AFC East rivals by thrashing the visiting Bills. Buffalo managed to get some offensive momentum in the second half but it too late to have any bearing on the result. Miami maintained their distant second place with a comfortable win over the Jets despite gaining only six first downs. Cincinnati were unlikely to be troubled by the lowly Jaguars and three first quarter touchdowns allowed them to sit back and coast. Cleveland had a bit tougher time of it in Pittsburgh but two third quarter touchdowns gave them the winning edge and kept them within reach of the rampant Bengals. The Seahawks blew by the KC defense three times in the first quarter and the lacklustre Chiefs offense was always struggling after that. Seattle didn't add to their score until the fourth quarter, and they didn't need to even then. In Oakland it was a tail of two quarterbacks under pressure – the Denver QB went down seven times while the Raider's more mobile QB was able to move around and make plays to keep drives alive.


Arizona couldn't even manage two hundred yards of offense against the visiting Cowboys. The Dallas offense was far more successful, if a little inconsistent. The Washington defense managed to contain their opponents to less than three hundred yards, a rare occurrence, but as the Eagles scored forty points anyway it seems the offense deserves some of the credit for giving Philly the ball in great field position. Tampa had to go to overtime to defeat the Bears, and maybe Chicago actually deserved their second win on the trot. Detroit were no match for the resurgent Pack, both were able to move the ball in the first half but Green Bay's defense adjusted to the Lions' long ball attack in the second half. The 49ers gave themselves what could turn out to be a crucial edge in the NFC West race by defeating their nearest rivals, St Louis. The Rams struggled to run the ball on the San Francisco defense, and their QB was unable to make up for that. The Panthers got back to winning ways, despite only gaining 12 first downs to the Saints' 28. New Orleans will be ruing their three turnovers.


Offensive performance of the week goes to Oakland for a great game under pressure from their QB (and you should know by now, I'm always impressed when we manage 300 yards through the air). Defensive performance of the week goes to San Francisco for shutting down the highly rated Rams offense in a crucial game. Special teams performance of the week goes to Miami.


Predictions Standings

Darren Birtchnell


Martyn Williams

13.38

(8)

Rob Crowther

13.14

(7)

Darren Birtchnell

11.86

(7)

Martin Devine

10.50

(2)



ST LOUIS POST-DESPATCH

Martyn Williams


NFLBP Review of Weeks 5 to 8

 

AFC East

 

Four straight wins, including victories in Miami and against Buffalo have put the Patriots well in control of the Division. They have a balanced offence and a great defence and it is unlikely they can be caught now, the week 11 game in Cincinnati could decide homefield for the playoffs. Miami have struggled to 4-4 and need to beat the Browns week 9 to get their wildcard hopes back on track, but currently look a shadow of last years team and seem destined for a disappointing 8-8 finish. The Jets are actually having a good season by their low standards but with no easy games for the next month things should return to normal. Buffalo’s defence has performed exceptionally so far this season but has been consistently let down by the offence to lose a number of close games, and with the Raiders and Patriots coming up next a debut winning season for Coach Williams looks unlikely.

 

AFC Central

 

Cincinnati are way out in front and look like a good bet for a third Superbowl appearance, they really don’t have any weaknesses. They have already trashed the Raiders, Panthers and Browns, but to the Browns credit they are still hanging on to the Bengals tails and look very good for their first home playoff game in many years. After a promising start Pittsburgh have imploded in a big way, and Jacksonville must still be wondering just how they managed to beat the Saints.

 

AFC West

 

Despite being 6-2 Oakland must be feeling a little disappointed. Once again the Bengals have proved their superiority and a loss in Arizona just isn’t right. But they have bounced back well and will only have concerns over the visit of Cleveland over the next month. At last Seattle have got through the first half of the season without a losing record, and if they can continue their late season form of the last two seasons they should find themselves in the Wild Card game. In Kansas things aren’t going to plan and it looks like the Arrowhead faithful may have to sit out the post season party this year. The Broncos don’t figure in the race for the West title for yet another season.

 

NFC East

 

Philadelphia look as good as home and dry, they may struggle come the play offs but they are by far the best in the East this season. Their week 9 game against Green Bay is very important. Dallas have disappointed so far but have the opportunity to turn things around over the next month, with games against other mid-table NFC teams. Arizona must be wondering what happened to last seasons all conquering team, while the Redskins still haven’t found a defence and look like they have also lost their offence. They are the current favourites for the no.1 pick.

 

NFC Central

 

After a horrendous season following the retirement of Coach Baird, Green Bay have regrouped and are approaching the form that took them to three straight Superbowls. With a four game lead in the Central they should win the division, but their schedule is getting tougher and Detriot failed from the same position last year. The Lions are a more balanced team than last year but seem to be struggling – their next three games are tough and some good results are necessary to keep their season alive. The disappearance of Tampa Bay’s defence is the biggest shock of the BP season so far, and with a poor offence they look unlikely to retain the Central Division title. The Bears have improved significantly over last year, and have even won a game! They won’t win many more but are definitely heading in the right direction.

 

NFC West

 

The 49ers are the best the NFC has to offer this season, and I for one can’t see anyone stopping them from returning to the Superbowl for the first time since Season 1 (though I still intend to give it my best shot!). If they can win in St Louis week 10 then they will be able to win the division and NFC homefield on cruise control. The Rams are a better team than last year but still struggle against the 49ers and Panthers. They simply must win that week 10 match up and all their remaining games and hope the 49ers slip up somewhere along the line, otherwise it will be another Wild Card game for St Louis. Carolina are not playing like Superbowl Champions at present and look like scrapping with the much improved Saints for the final wildcard place, if Coach Coleman’s threatened retirement occurs then the Saints should sneak it.




Message Board


Darren Birtchnell to John Coleman – And it's all gone quiet over there...


STATS CORNER

Martyn Williams


Rushing Offense

Team

Att

Yards

AvgR

TD

Fm

Rating

Bengals

205

1023

4.99

12

5

83.67

Rams

266

924

3.47

15

3

81.79

Packers

241

941

3.90

10

3

77.40

Patriots

286

1286

4.50

7

6

69.28

Bucs

246

780

3.17

6

2

69.04

Eagles

252

1001

3.97

6

4

68.95

Saints

351

1029

2.93

12

5

68.71

49ers

247

983

3.98

4

4

65.78

 

Passing Offense

Team

Cmp

Att

Pct

Yds

TD

In

Sk

Rating

Packers

118

174

67.82

1937

17

4

22

127.97

Panthers

98

154

63.64

1248

15

2

16

115.94

Saints

130

191

68.06

1869

14

5

8

113.10

Patriots

149

227

65.64

1594

16

3

14

104.03

49ers

185

291

63.57

2054

25

8

24

101.65

Bengals

166

258

64.34

2057

15

6

25

98.61

Broncos

164

264

62.12

2210

12

5

41

95.99

Raiders

156

255

61.18

1933

20

10

18

94.45

 

Rushing Defense

Team

Att

Yards

AvgR

TD

Fm

Rating

Eagles

228

455

2.00

4

11

40.37

Bills

245

807

3.29

2

9

48.87

Patriots

163

511

3.13

3

7

49.06

Chiefs

209

598

2.86

1

6

49.37

Seahawks

214

629

2.94

2

6

51.92

Rams

243

588

2.42

1

4

53.01

Bengals

241

788

3.27

1

5

55.13

Raiders

217

626

2.88

3

4

58.24

 

Passing Defense

Team

Cmp

Att

Pct

Yds

TD

In

Sk

Rating

Patriots

182

339

53.69

2141

7

9

30

68.96

Bengals

147

262

56.11

1642

9

10

27

70.50

Browns

121

222

54.50

1569

7

8

20

72.45

Raiders

133

240

55.42

1422

5

4

31

72.95

Dolphins

154

285

54.04

2041

11

11

25

73.74

Broncos

169

314

53.82

2208

11

10

35

74.64

Bills

176

294

59.86

1942

11

12

18

74.96

Cardinals

115

195

58.97

1435

5

7

19

75.48


Week Nine Preview


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


Jaguars at Patriots – With the respective form of the two teams over the last three seasons, Jacksonville getting anywhere close to winning would be a major shock. Patriots by 14


Browns at Dolphins – Miami were looking to challenge the Pats this season but it hasn't worked out for them as their offense has collapsed in recent weeks. Cleveland find themselves in a strong position for the playoffs thanks to solid defense and a 'good enough' offense. Browns by 7


Chiefs at Jets – KC have been struggling to put points on the board this year and it is a game like this where it could cost them dearly. New York are obviously an inferior team but are more than capable of springing a couple of big plays on the Chiefs. Jets by 1


Raiders at Bills – The bottom ranked defense (by yardage) takes on the top offense. Should be one-sided, but I still remember embarrassment in Arizona...


Broncos at Bengals – Cincinnati are halfway to a perfect season, and Denver are not going to be the team to stop them. Bengals by 14


Seahawks at Steelers – Seattle will be looking for their traditional second half of the season surge to propel them into a playoff spot. Disappointing Pittsburgh are unlikely to put up too much of a fight. Seahawks by 7


Bears at Cardinals – The Bears are playing well at the minute, but are still losing games they ought to win. Arizona have a half decent defense but I think Chicago can score on it. Bears by 3


Packers at Eagles – Green Bay are 7-1, but without having beaten any of the NFC contenders. This is their big chance to prove themselves, but I think they'll find it hard work moving the ball on the Philly defense. Eagles by 3


49ers at Redskins – Washington are definitely the worst team in the league, San Francisco might be the best. 49ers by 14


Panthers at Cowboys – Carolina may not be playing like superbowl champions at the moment but they're still good enough to see off Dallas. Panthers by 7


Saints at Bucs – Tampa have had a torrid time of it so far but they still have a chance to turn it all around, only a game off the wildcard pace. New Orleans tend to fade in the second half of the year. Bucs by 3


Rams at Lions – St Louis will take out all their frustration on Detroit, they may not be able to beat their divisional rivals but the Rams are quite capable of beating up everyone else. Rams by 10


MW – Patriots by 21, Browns by 7, Chiefs by 10, Raiders by 17, Bengals by 17, Seahawks by 10 (Shootout), Cardinals by 7 (Slugfest), Eagles by 3, 49ers by 28 (Lock, Blowout), Panthers by 10 (Shock – Cowboys), Saints by 7.


DB – Patriots by 20 (Blowout), Dolphins by 1 (Shock, Slugfest) , Chiefs by 10, Raiders by 14, Seahawks by 7, Cardinals by 3, Eagles by 3 (Shootout), 49ers by 20 (Lock), Panthers by 6, Saints by 3, Rams by 10.


RC – Lock: 49ers, Shock: Jets, Blowout: Patriots, Shootout: Panthers at Cowboys, Slugfest: Browns at Dolphins.

NFLBP Player Newsletter

-4-

ed Robert Crowther