[the board]
Week 16
2003

by Gerald Udowiczenko

Firstly many apologies to Paul Gregory, for leaving his message out of last weeks issue. Sorry Paul, but I must have over looked it while going though my in-box. D'OH! But I've included it this week.

You will also notice that the Predictors table is back. It took many hours of blood sweat and tears for me to give in and see if anyone else could (would?) do it. So I contacted the Oracle of AB (Brucey) and low and behold got an Excel program with all the results in it. Thanks to Brucey, I should (that's assume I input the figures) be able to keep on top of things from now on. Oh wait, its week 16 and the numbers of games reduce afterwards. Oh well I'll just have to use it next season.

Last weeks results cleared up a few things, congratulations to Richard Ogg and Julian Horne on wining their divisions. But it's still down to the wire in both the NFC East and NFC Central. But more so in the East, as first and second place, play each other with the divisional crown at stake. The big disappointment was the Skins failing to break the Rams unbeaten record (nothing personal Graham). With their last opponents current form (the 49ers), not too inspirational it looks like they will probably go 16-0. But if ever there was an incentive, (not that they need one) then stopping the Rams one game short of a perfect season is a brilliant one.

As the photocopy standards seem to be worsening. Don't forget you can always read the newsletter on Bruceys web site at http://brucey.net/nflab/. The newsletter goes live usually the same day I send it to Brucey, which in most cases is the Monday before the deadline.

As always many thanks to Graham, Paul Spence, Paul Gregory, Brucey, Richard, Julian & Jon for their many contribution this week, which has resulted in another four page newsletter. As always I am lost without them.

Week 15
Name Correct /
Predicted
Total Pct
Graham 9/11 118/154 76.6
Jon 8/11 46/65 70.8
Gerald 6/11 90/143 62.9
Dave   50/83 60.2
SPLATT 8/12 8/12 66.7
Richard   11/25 44.0
Julian   3/6 50.0

BB (13-2, W1) @ MD (6-9, W3) Last time : wk 5, 2003 (30 - 19)
Gerald : The Fish have looked very convincing the last couple of weeks. Especially last weeks win over the Broncos. Can they keep their form going into the Con Bowl? Well the Bills have stumbled over the past few weeks and the Fish are at home. But I still think Buffalo will be a little too strong. Bills by 3.
Graham : Miami in good form, but the Bills will probably finish on a high note. BB 6.
Jon : The Bills have homefield, but Miami will still make them fight for a 14-2 record. BB x 3.
SPLATT : Buffalo by 4.
Richard : Fish by 14.

NE (11-3-1, W2) @ NY (4-11, L2) Last time : wk 5, 2003 (30 - 20)
Gerald : No comment.
Graham : Jets need some defensive help, even against the Pats. NE 7.
Jon : Pats warm up for next week. NE x 7.
SPLATT : New England by 11.
Richard : Pats by 3.

PS (7-7-1, L5) @ CI (4-11, W1) Last time : wk 5, 2003 (28 - 21)
Gerald : Last time these two teams played each other, Paul wasn't in charge. It was a close game then and it will probably be again. But this time Cincinnati will get revenge, which unfortunately won't do their draft pick any good, but may give them more LPs. Bengals by 3.
Graham : Steelers have faded away badly and could well finish with another defeat. CI 7.
Jon : It's all over bar the shouting for the Steelers after their late season slump. CI x 1.
SPLATT : Pittsburgh by 5.
Richard : Steelers by 7.

CL (10-4-1, W9) @ TT (8-6-1, W4) Last time : wk 5, 2003 (17 - 3)
Gerald : The Browns have the best wining streak in the AFC and are hard to beat. The Titans have shown they can do it when needed. They've probably got the second wildcard place even if they lose, but a win here will guarantee it. This is probably the Game of the Week in the AFC. Tough one to call, but I can't see the Browns losing their unbeaten record. Browns by 10.
Graham : Titans can almost certainly afford to lose. Which is probably just as well. CL 14.
Jon : W/C v Champ. Champ x 6 (that's the Browns to everyone else. Ed).
SPLATT : Cleveland by 6.
Richard : Browns by 3.

OR (4-11, L1) @ KC (5-10, L3) Last time : wk 5, 2003 (20 - 19)
Gerald : Both teams will be looking to the draft, but Chiefs 'O' will win it for them. Chiefs by 7.
Graham : Chiefs ability to waste offensive yardage continues to astound. But a win is due. KC 7.
Jon : KC x 3.
SPLATT : Kansas City by 2.
Richard : Chiefs by 3.

SS (6-9, L3) @ DB (11-4, L1) Last time : wk 5, 2003 (21 - 17)
Gerald : The Broncos will want to bounce back after last weeks surprise loss to the Fish. The Hawks aren't the team of old, but they did beat the Broncos back in week 5. So could they do the double? Tough one to call, but I've a feeling the Hawks will surprise us all. Hawks by 1.
Graham : Denver need to win to secure a home divisional game, and should get one. DB 10.
Jon : End of a disappointing season for the Seahawks. DB x 9.
SPLATT : Denver by 13.
Richard : Broncos by 10.

PE (14-1, W2) @ WR (13-2, L1) Last time : wk 5, 2003 (23 - 0)
Gerald : Game of the Week in the NFC and Game of the Season. Whoever wins gets the division. What more could you ask for? Last time they met, the Eagles gameplan worked perfectly shutting out one of the leagues best offensive units. I can't see the same happening again. I think revenge is in the air. Skins by 3.
Graham : Game of the Season. with the title inevitably on the line. I just can't bet against Jon now. PE 1.
Jon : Huge. Fingers severely crossed!
SPLATT : Washington by 1.
Richard : Eagles by 3.

AC (1-14, L12) @ DC (3-12, L10) Last time : wk 5, 2003 (17 - 23)
Gerald : Good to see that Dean is still with us (which is assuming that the computer doesn't pick FA and wavier players?). The Cards will not be worried about the draft, as they have the No.1 pick. So it could be time to play-up and hopefully kick start their season into the Con Bowl. They came close last week to winning as did they, in week 5 against the Boyz. I've always been a sucker for the underdog. So Cards by 3.
Graham : Both in no form whatsoever. Cowboys maybe, but who knows? DC 3.
Jon : Cowboys by 6.
SPLATT : Dallas by 1.
Richard : Cards by 3.

TB (3-12, W1) @ MV (8-7, W1) Last time : wk 5, 2003 (7 - 28)
Gerald : The Viking need the win, as if they don't they could lose out on both the division and wildcard. If they win, it will guarantee they post season action. But whether is as a divisional Champion or as the second wildcard will depend on others. Even though the Buccs won last week, the Vikes at home should be too strong for them to handle. Vikes by 10.
Graham : Vikings still have shot at retaining title so should be fired up for this one. MV 10.
Jon : With so much on this I can't see the Vikes losing. MV x 9.
SPLATT : Minnesota by 15.
Richard : Vikings by 3.

DL (6-9, W2) @ CB (8-6-1, W3) Last time : wk 5, 2003 (14 - 41)
Gerald : The Lions have no chance of the play-offs, but they are a lot better than their record suggests. The Bears need the win to win guarantee the division, but even a loss could still mean they're crown divisional winners. But that will depend on other results and lots of maths, so I'll leave that to the computer to calculate. A tough last game of the season for the Bears, but I think they'll do the double over the Lions, though nowhere as convincing as week 5. Bears by 7.
Graham : Lions present a stiffer test than record suggests, but surely Bears won't falter now. CH 10
Jon : Barring a nightmare the Bears are in the playoffs but they'll want the Division. It'll be close. CH x 1.
SPLATT : Detroit by 1.
Richard : Bears by 7.

AF (5-10, L1) @ NS (5-10, L2) Last time : wk 5, 2003 (31 - 3)
Gerald : Another poor season for the Falcons, who must be wondering what they've got to do to get a winning season. The Saints would probably fair a lot better in another division. Both will be looking to the draft so not much effort put in from either team. Homefield should just see the Saints home, but only just. Saints by 5.
Graham : Wooden spoon awaits the loser, and its tough to predict. I'll go with homefield. NS 3 Jon : AF x 3.
SPLATT : New Orleans by 1.
Richard : Saints by 3.

SF (7-7-1, L6) @ SR (15-0, W17) Last time : wk 5, 2003 (10 - 44)
Gerald : Looks like a perfect season for the Rams. But the 49ers need the win if they've any chance of getting a wildcard. The last time it was a bit of a blowout and their current form (lost 6 in a row) doesn't inspire confidence. Rams by 16.
Graham : No comment.
Jon : Can the 49ers disrupt the first 16-0 season ever in the league? Not on current form. SR x 10.
SPLATT : St Louis by 15.
Richard : Rams by 1.

by Graham Canwell (Week 15)  
AFC
Offence Cincinnati Jets and Chiefs were good too but both managed to lose while the Bengals got the job done.
Defence Miami The Dolphins have finally woken up and are showing some of last year's form. Too late for this year but maybe next year they'll be back . . .
Coach Guard (MD) Put an end to the Broncos' terrific run.
NFC
Offence Minnesota Put one foot into the playoffs with an excellent performance. An honourable offensive mention this week to the Lions (yes, the Lions!!!)
Defence Philadelphia Both Philly and the Niners put on terrific defensive displays, but the Eagles eventually came out on top.
Coach Parratt (CH) Just one win away from a division title after a convincing win over the tough Saints.
 
The Diddley Tennessee Managed not only to be outgained by over 100 yards but also to lose the turnover battle 5-1. And yet incredibly they still sneaked a late win. Masterful!

 

From Numnutz (Paul G) to All : Hello out there Well TT you were lucky as I have decided to go for as high a draft pick as I can, and to preserve my LP's for the draft and mini-camp. Next season when the Bengals will be up to full speed, all you minions better watch out. Cos the Bengals claws will be out to rip you all to pieces, and you better believe we 'aint vegetarians.

Gerald to Paul G. : So why didn't you use that plan when you played us? We could have had a shot at the division if it wasn't for you. And what about last weeks win against the Raiders?

Gerald to Graham : Hope you enjoyed Paris? No little questions were asked were they??

Gerald to Brucey : So SPLATT got your game wrong. Humm. Still not convinced that its not use just using the computer as an alias. I guess you're now going to clam that the computer program has been writing your gameplans as well? :o)

Gerald to Richard : Congratulations on wining the division. It was close though.

Gerald to Julian : Well done on getting the divisional crown. It's going to be a tough post season for us all.

Gerald to Paul S : Good luck with the post season. I wonder which one of us will break their duck?

Paul Spence to Graham : I never forget that I am a Rams fan and I never shy away from letting everyone know that. But I'd still like to have kicked your ass. Lets all say it again. Maybe next year!

Paul Spence to Jon : Thanks for the good luck message last week. I still failed but I just realised that I can win the division if I beat you this week. I'll wish you luck but I really want MY division back again :-)

Paul Spence to Gerald : I'm hoping to beat Jon this week so I can miss the wildcard week as it seems to be the only way I can stay in the playoffs. Sad but True.

Graham to Paul S : Good scrap! Felt almost like a playoff game, even though there wasn't much (homefield possibly?) at stake.

Graham to All : Good luck to everyone in the reduction/retirement lottery. I suspect like me you'll be opening your reports with a fair bit of trepidation.

Graham to Gerald : There certainly will be playoff Diddleys. And they probably ought to count double!

Gerald to Graham : Well if they'll count as double I'll do me best. Like I've a choice.

Richard to Gerald : I agree with your analysis of our game. You certainly did deserve to win bur perhaps not by as many points as you did.

Richard to Gerald : The benchmark test was not totally unexpected as the Bills offence can stall. I blame the coach!

Gerald to Richard : Which coach are you blaming? The offensive or headcoach?

Richard to Graham : I don't think the 49ers will be push overs.

Richard to Jon & Paul S : Cliff-hanger, what a battle over the season.

Richard to Julian : You are not my choice for first post season opponent.

Jon to Paul S : Expect something different...

Jon to Graham : If you've gone 16-0, well done. But I hope to see somebody else in the Superbowl!

Jon to Paul S : Great effort v the Rams last week.

Jon to Gerald : Great chance to win a playoff game next week!

 

BROWNS

Cleveland Browns Press Release No 3 of 2003

Browns confirmed as division champions: real tests await

Cleveland was finally confirmed as division champion after this week's 38-14 victory over the Raiders, but as their coach suggested at a news conference Friday, the real tests are yet to come. Waiting for them in the playoffs are three teams they have already failed to beat this season, and most if not all of their postseason will be spent away from Cleveland Stadium.
Buffalo and Denver already have their divisions secure, and both are likely to finish with a better record than the Browns, giving them homefield advantage. Both teams also defeated Cleveland in the course of the Browns' 0-3 start. Since then, the Browns have lost only once, to Atlanta, and the win against Oakland was their ninth in a row. Coach Horne commended his players for that achievement, but advised caution.
"I think you'd have to say we're one of the form teams in the AFC at the moment, but all that can change come the playoffs. In the course of the last ten games we've not faced anyone else who's going to feature in postseason play, so winning nine of them is what you'd expect from a team in our position. Obviously I'm pleased with the results and I think we've shown against the poorer teams that we can play great football. But the real challenges lie on the road, in Denver and Buffalo, and New England is in great form as well. If we give a good account of ourselves I'll be happy: this is a young team and we're going to be a force for some time to come."
The Browns close out the regular season in Tennessee for a repeat of the match-up which gave them their first win of the year back in Week 5. Asked if the team would be holding anything back now the division was won, and with the Titans also looking likely to make the playoffs, quarterback Tim Couch said no. "I don't think we'll be seeing them again after this week".

The Titans would play New England in the wild card week, and victory there would be rewarded with a trip to snowy Buffalo.
"Actually, I don't think we'll be seeing the Patriots again either", Couch added. New England tied with the Browns in Week 4 but a postseason meeting between the two is relatively unlikely. The Patriots will almost certainly face Tennessee in the wild card game: if they win that, archaic rules about the divisional round would see them travel to Denver while the Browns go to Buffalo. Only if both teams pull off sensational road victories would they then meet in the AFC Championship game.
Couch has led the Browns' revival with 25 touchdown passes and only 12 interceptions. Wide receiver Kevin Johnson already has 1,000 yards on the season, and Dennis Northcutt could also reach that mark this week - he currently averages over 20 yards per reception. Rookie RB Travis Prentice has shown he can carry the load with an even 400 carries to date, and the defence has been stingy against the run and opportunist against the pass. All will need to be at their best

 

Hopefully you'll all be able to read this week newsletter, as I've had to reduce the font size a little in some places to fit everything in? It was great putting faces to names, on Friday at Pub Meet. As far as my memory goes (which was a little impaired by alcohol) the only ABers were Jon, Julian & myself. Great seeing you Julian and all the best for the playoffs. As for you Jon, I think you're going to need it even more. As the NFC looks bloody tough this year.

Well I'm running out of space, so I'm going to have to cut this short and wish even one all the best for the end of session lottery. Lets see how much the computer hates us all.



The Editor can be contacted at magestones@yahoo.co.uk, or for mails with attachments, magestones@aol.com

The NFLAB website takes no responsibility for any errors in the newsletter, spelling or otherwise. Any problems, feel free to get in touch with the editor, who will be happy to help. Right Gerald ?