[the board]
Week 14
2004

by Bruce Henderson

Editorial
Good day, fellow gameplanners. It is my pleasure this week to be bringing together the contents of this most illustrious of publications. I do hope however, that I can do even half a good a job as our usual editor. I've also a lot of filling to do since for this week we do not have any Rammys to be filling up half of a page. I'm sure we'll get through it though regardless...

Thanks to Jon and Paul S. for their contributions.

BB (11-2, W1) @ MD (9-4, W3) Last time : wk 2, 2004 (31 - 27)
Jon : This one could well decide the division and may also decide one of the W/C places. It'll be tough for Miami but this is their chance to keep the pressure on Richard. Unfortunately I think the Bills are the better bet. Buffalo by 3
Bruce : It was a close fought thing back in week two, and it may have been a Bills win if only for their slight homefield advantage. Given the Dolphins current form, I'd have to go with them. MD by 3.
SPLATT : Buffalo by 3.

NE (5-8, W1) @ NY (7-6, L2) Last time : wk 2, 2004 (13 - 20)
Jon : The Pats are away so the Jets will play. Besides, the Jets need this badly if they're to see the post season, especially as they've got a tough wk 16 game. Jets by 7.
Bruce : The Jets need this to stay in with a slender hope of a playoff spot, and playing at home I'd have to go with them. NY by 7.
SPLATT : New England by 6.

CL (11-2, W1) @ PS (8-5, W2) Last time : wk 2, 2004 (54 - 14)
Jon : This could be a good game. The Steelers have looked revitalised under coach Dixon and are pushing hard for the last W/C, whilst the Browns have, in the main, looked like genuine contenders for a repeat. I fancy the Steelers to upset the Browns here and show that they're worth a post season berth. Steelers by 1
Bruce : A bit like the Easts' head-to-head, but given the Browns last game against the Steelers, and being AFC favourites for the Superbowl, it has to be Cleveland. CL by 14.
SPLATT : Cleveland by 11.

TT (3-10, L2) @ CI (5-8, W3) Last time : wk 2, 2004 (29 - 23 OT)
Jon : Doesn't really matter, but it's about time the Titans started to win. Tennessee by 1.
Bruce : Titans haven't had much of a season. There were many expectations given their change of coaching staff, but as yet, nothing much has come of it. Let's just call this a building season. They were lucky back in week two, but I can't see it happening on the road. CI by 7.
SPLATT : Cincinnati by 3.

DB (10-3, L1) @ KC (4-8-1, L1) Last time : wk 2, 2004 (58 - 10)
Jon : The Chiefs, as has been their wont over the last few seasons, are good at producing numbers but not the wins. The Broncos, therefore, should win this battle and stay in the hunt for homefield. Denver by 6
Bruce : There's not been much opposition for Denver in their division this season. Another walk-over. DB by 21.
SPLATT : Denver by 8.

SS (1-12, L9) @ OR (3-10, L7) Last time : wk 2, 2004 (19 - 22)
Jon : A new coach in Oakland, but the Seahawks have been so bad this year that you really have to ask if coach Tottle is still there. If he is I doubt he's happy. Raiders by 4
Bruce : After a promising start, the Raiders have kind of lost their way. Even dropping their coach for a second time has yet to prove fruitful. As for the 'hawks - bettered only by the hapless Cards in the NFC. Let's make it four for the Raiders. OR by 3.
SPLATT : Seattle by 3.

WR (11-2, W8) @ DC (3-10, L6) Last time : wk 2, 2004 (35 - 23)
Jon : The cowboys continue to show glimpses of potential, but Washington are too good to allow glimpses to lose them a game. Redskins by 10.
Bruce : I can't see the Cowboys putting up much of a fight against the formiddible force of the Redskins. WR by 14.
SPLATT : Washington by 10.

PE (10-3, W2) @ AC (0-13, L26) Last time : wk 2, 2004 (26 - 12)
Jon : I've never lost to Dean so I hope this isn't the first time after his near win in Chicago last week.
Bruce : It's a fair old losing streak the Card's currently have. Almost a record, if I didn't know better. The Eagles need to ease themselves into the playoffs, a position which isn't as certain as they probably hope it should be at this point in the season. PE by 21.
SPLATT : Philadelphia by 14.

CB (5-8, W1) @ DL (2-10-1, L1) Last time : wk 2, 2004 (34 - 6)
Jon : Neither team will be going anywhere after week 16, though both have shown at times that they could have been contenders. Unfortunately at other times they've been nothing like that (and why did they both have to be good against me?!). Lions by 1
Bruce : As usual, the Lions are at their old game of playing a stonking defense but falling apart when they have the ball. Their last few games have been very close, and it's possible they may even get three wins this season. DL by 1.
SPLATT : Detroit by 5.

MV (13-0, W15) @ TB (5-8, L1) Last time : wk 2, 2004 (36 - 10)
Jon : The Vikings continue to leave other teams slaughtered in their wake. It's going to take something special to stop them going 16-0 and they have to be favourites for the NFC crown and possibly for the Superbowl as well. Vikings by 14.
Bruce : Being the team to beat does have its advantages. But only for this season. MV by 14.
SPLATT : Minnesota by 12.

SR (9-4, L1) @ NS (3-10, W1) Last time : wk 2, 2004 (43 - 7)
Jon : The Rams have now lost 4 games, which I think is the first time for Graham at this stage of the season. All the same, they shouldn't lose this one. Rams by 9
Bruce : It's a must-win for St. Loius. And, if the matchup earlier this season is anything to go by, it should be a case of just turning up. SR by 10.
SPLATT : St Louis by 10.

SF (9-4, L1) @ AF (8-5, W3) Last time : wk 2, 2004 (7 - 13)
Jon : Game of the week for me and a must-win for Paul with his poor points differential. The difficulty for the Falcons will be scoring against a stingy 49ers D. If they can then the game is theirs for the taking. It'll be tough, but as they're at home, Falcons by 1.
Bruce : This game is pivitol for the whole of the NFC playoff contentions. Very close one to call. Atlanta are finishing strongly, and may even make it into postseason. AF by 6.
SPLATT : San Francisco by 1.

by Graham Canwell (Week 13)  
Offence New England Over 600 yards, and even the fact that they had the benefit of an extra period doesn't detract from that. Quite a few honourable mentions, including the Dolphins, Bills, Steelers and Bengals.
Defence Cleveland At lot less contenders for this but it doesn't matter because the Browns were worthy winners for their display against the Jets.
Coach Udowiczenko (NE) Finished the year with a bang (ooh-err missus) at least. A good sign for next season?
 
Offence Philadelphia Gave me a right stuffing with some beautifully balanced offence. Minnesota were of course terrific also.
Defence Washington Vikes deserve a mention but the Redskins were up against an in-form team (the Niners) and so deserve to get the gong yet again.
Coach Heath (PE) Well, I was impressed. An excellent gameplan gets its reward.
 
  The Diddley No Award Everyone who won thoroughly deserved to. Its it bit dull I know, but check it yourself.    

 

No Smiles, High in Denver

The Broncos' prospects of a homefield run in the playoffs were dealt a punishing blow in a record-setting yard-fest surprise overtime loss at home to the New England Patriots. Despite being out-gunned 601 yards to 436, an all-time offensive record of 1037 yards combined, the Broncos couldn't hold onto their seven point half-time lead, and eventually succumbed to the pressure in overtime.

Even desperate attempts by coach Carruthers (pictured) to nullify a game-turning fumble, couldn't sway the change of tide by New England after half-time. The loss also ends a 6-game winning streak for a team that's outscored their opposition by almost 17 points since week 7.
The win, by an on-off New England offense, was a much belated victory, if a little late. The offense managed to set team records in both passing yards (478) and total offensive yards (601) and made a bright spot in an otherwise uneventful 2004. Those numbers also take them to second all-time for total yards gained, and third all-time for passing. Surely the fans will be wishing that this kind of demonstration had been shown early in the season, for they'd now be looking towards the post-season, rather than a reasonable draft-pick.
There were two other overtime games this week. The Cards

produced a 4th quarter comeback to take the Bears into the extra period, but failed to come out a win, with Chicago putting up a field goal to seal it. Arizona hasn't won a game since the 3rd week of the 2003 season where they edged the Saints in overtime. Their last win in regulation came at home to Chicago in week 16 of the 2002 season.
The Falcons kicked the game-winning field goal with seven seconds left in overtime to finish off Detroit, 26-23. In-spite of the Lions punishing league-leading defense, the Atlanta offense held them off long enough to pull back a half-time deficit and rally to a final game-winning drive.
The Rams' shaky season continued with a home defeat to the 10-3 Eagles. Long gone are the highs of 2003 with their perfect record, and it is very possible that they may not even make the playoffs this year given the resurgence of their perrenial foes, the 49ers, who have already beaten them once this season. Tough schedules are to be expected after the performance of last year, although the fight may just be going out of St. Louis. Two losses in their last three games could well see an early finish for those gold and blues.
San Francisco, on the other hand have been the surprise of the NFC West this season, currently tied for the honours with the Rams at the top of the division. This weeks' 18-3 loss to the Redskins has hampered their playoff prospects, and they'll have to perform to their best abilities if they are to win any of their remaining games. However, as has been seen, there is always the opportunity to upset the big guns, and luck your way in.
The Vikings destroyed the Cowboys, 51-13, and look set to thrash many of their team records for the season, and possibly go on to match the Rams' 2003 record with another perfect season. It's certainly possible, given the strength of their last three opponents, and as things stand, they are favourites for the Superbowl.
Another big win for Cleveland, 42-10 over the Jets, keeps them set as favourites for a place in the Superbowl. The 3 rushing TDs gained against New York takes their season total to a all-time record tieing 31, and with three games still to play, it looks likely that another NFLAB record will fall this year. The run into the playoffs should be plain sailing, having outscored two of their last three opponents 92-19 already this season.

Season Overview

by Paul Spence

Week 13 and the playoff picture is almost complete.
The usual suspects are evident in the AFC (Bills, Browns, Broncos) and all look set to tie up their respective divisions in the coming weeks. Perhaps the only thing left to discover is the fate of the wildcards with the Dolphins, Jets and Steelers all in with a chance.
The NFC is a different story altogether. Minnesota seem to have tied up the division and home-field advantage, and could even go undefeated. Anyone want to bet against it? The remaining 2 divisions are still in tight contention with the surprise in the West being that Graham has lost 3 games already this season. What happened dude?
But it's no surprise that Steve has got the 49ers in with a chance. Having been on the end of several kickings from his Cowboys back when I first started in the League I can testify that the West is no place to be at the moment. I think Atlanta will have a say in the outcome of this one yet. Finally I come to the East and my Redskins perennial battle with Jon's Eagles. It's all been said before so I won't bore you all by repeating any of it. Long may our rivalry continue.
As for my predictions for the Superbowl, I reckon it'll be Cleveland vs. Minnesota and my allegiance stays with the NFC.
I wish everyone a Happy New Year and a good result in the Post Season Lottery.

 

Jon to Graham : I'm so glad my running game came together for the first time this season - at least it still gives me a chance to regain the division off the 'Skins and makes the West more exciting!

Jon to Paul M : Looks like Paul S & I did you a massive favour last week - you're still in with a chance!

Jon to Paul S : Do me a favour and lose all you're remaining games please!

Jon to All : I was looking through Bruce's AB site recently. I noticed that only 3 NFC teams have a winning record over the last 3 seasons - me, the Skins and the Rams. Scary. I also noticed that we're the only 3 teams in the NFC with a positive turnover ratio over the same period. The Rams lead the way on that by miles with 96!

Jon to Graham : I also noticed that my Eagles are the only team with a 50% or better regular season record against the Rams since Bruce's records begin! 5-5 now. All I need to do is catch up on the playoff side of things....

Jon to Tim : Well, you're in with a damn good shout of being the 2nd ever team to go 16-0 in AB. Even if you don't, your team is looking very scary.

Brucey to Tim : Isn't it strange, that the only opposition you've come up against this season (up to week 13 at least) is me ? Maybe it means I should be winning more games ? (or something)

Brucey to All : Before you ask, SPLATT and I have nothing in common. It's a mathematical formula I wrote to calculate predictions, which is why my own predictions can be different.

Coaching Profile

Name

Paul Spence
Age 29
Lives Elgin (Scotland) 200 miles from Glasgow / Edinburgh
Occupation CAD Technician. Fancy title for drawing those little green circuit boards in electrical equipment.  
Gameplan Teams Washington Redskins (NFLAB), St. Louis Rams (NFLAK)
Favourite NFL Teams St. Louis Rams. Started supporting them around 1989ish so I'm not a fair weather fan. I believed throughout the "worst team of the decade" 1990s and my faith paid off as we won the big one.
Favourite NFL-EL Team Scottish Claymores. Made it to 2 games the first season and have been a season ticket holder since.
Other Sports

Football - Glasgow Rangers supporter and occasionally get to Ibrox to see them. Have seen all the European games for the last 3 seasons which doesn't come to that many games.

Bruce got me into Formula 1 and made me a Ferrari fan too.

Interests

Computers. Started with a Commodore 64, moved on to a Commodore Amiga 1200 and now love my PC to bits. Seldom separated, we mostly play Diablo 2 and seem to have very little time for anything else, but I'm not addicted to it, I can give up any time I want, but I don't want to :)
Music - Metal. Started in 1985 with Bon Jovi / Europe and got heavier and more extreme to Slipknot / Slayer etc. Metallica is still my favourite after being my first gig at Glasgow SECC in 1992. Seem to be going to more and more gigs every year and almost all are in Glasgow.

Dislikes A9, the most boring road ever which takes forever to drive back from Glasgow. Also anyone who jumps to the conclusion that any auld firm club (Rangers or Celtic) fan must be sectarian. I like telling these people that one of my best mates is a Celtic fan.

 

And now the Time has Come...
Well, that's it for another issue.
I hope you all weren't too disappointed with the content, especially missing the Rammys. But, hopefully, you'll be getting a bumper issue of Rammy-ness in Mr Heaths' week 15 issue of the Board.
You can contact him at :
jonathan.heath@hmce.gsi.gov.uk
or by snail mail to :
(if you want his address, drop a mail to either Jon, or the site at nflab@brucey.net)



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 ?