by Jon Heath
Welcome to another edition of the Newsletter with another guest editor.
It won't have the quality of Bruce's production, I'm afraid, but hey - it's
still a newsletter. Quite a week last week for some teams. The Dolphins gave
the Bills a real run for their money in an attempt to ensure post-season action
and fell short by the narrowest of margins, a missed extra point. That has
to hurt. The Steelers kept up their good run of form and upset the defending
champions, the Browns, in the process. That result leaves the Steelers' destiny
firmly in their own hands. The only other possible W/C from the AFC, the Jets,
used strong running to dominate against the Patriots and stay in with a chance.
In the NFC the shock of the week was the Saints' win over the Rams. The
win was achieved by literally throwing caution to the wind as a string of
Hail Mary passes enabled the Saints to set what must be a league record 654
yards through the air and consign the Rams to a 3-way tie at the top of the
West. This tie came about as a result of the Falcons' last gasp 24-23
win over the 49ers. Down by 13 going into the 4th, Atlanta clawed their way
back into the match with 2 last quarter TDs to keep their hopes of a W/C very
alive. Obviously the Vikes won again and the East still looks like it could
come down the wk 16 match between the Eagles and the Redskins. Interestingly
enough the last 4 weeks of the season will have seen the 49ers, Rams, Eagles
and Redskins all play each other and the results of those games will have
had a major impact on post season seedings by the end of the regular season.
Thanks to Bruce, Graham & Mark Dixon for their input this week. It's
certainly made my life easier! It'll be back to Gerald next week, I think,
so send stuff to the magestones address.
DB (11-3, W1)
@ BB (12-2, W2)
Last time : wk 13, 2003 (24 - 14)
Jon : This could well be replayed in a few weeks
time so it's likely to be a cagey affair. As the Bills are at home, BB x 1.
SPLATT : BB x 2
SS (2-12, W1)
@ NE (5-9, L1)
Last time : wk 1, 2003 (17 - 27)
Jon : Do either of them care? A win could cost
the Pats a draft pick or two, and I think it probably will. NE x 3.
SPLATT : NE x 9
CL (11-3, L1)
@ MD (9-5, L1)
Last time : wk 9, 2003 (24 - 6)
Jon : Another good match-up and the Browns may
be eager to win this to try and tie up a home game. However the Dolphins are
no slouches and need the win badly. This gives them the edge. MD x 1.
SPLATT : CL x 9
TT (3-11, L3)
@ NY (8-6, W1)
Last time : wk 4, 2003 (24 - 10)
Jon : Well the Steelers are on a roll, whilst the
Chiefs can produce numbers but not many good results. PS x 4.
SPLATT : PS x 8
L2) @ PS (9-5, W3)
Last time : wk 9, 2003 (17 - 27)
Jon : The Titans appear to be waiting for next
season whilst the Jets must win every game to put pressure on the other W/C
contenders. NJ x 6.
SPLATT : NJ x 9
OR (3-11, L8)
@ CI (6-8, W4)
Last time : wk 9, 2003 (14 - 17)
Jon : A chance for both coaches to experiment.
CI x 3.
SPLATT : CI x 6
SR (9-5, L2)
@ WR (12-2, W9)
Last time : wk 15, 2003 (27 - 21)
Jon : Got to be one of the games of the week as
both these division leaders have their rivals breathing down their necks.
However the Rams have looked more vulnerable than usual and this is an excellent
chance for them to claim a notable scalp. WR x 1.
SPLATT : WR x 5
SF (9-5, L2)
@ PE (11-3, W3)
Last time : wk 15, 2003 (6 - 13)
Jon : I really hope I win!
SPLATT : PE x 9
CB (5-9, L1)
@ DC (3-11, L7)
Last time : wk 4, 2003 (28 - 35)
Jon : Very much a game of also-rans who could have
been expected to do a little better. CH x 4.
SPLATT : CH x 1
MV (14-0, W16)
@ AC (0-14, L27)
Last time : wk 13, 2003 (29 - 3)
Jon : The longest winning streak in the league
faces the longest losing streak. There really should be only one outcome.
AC x 3. Only joking - MV x 21.
SPLATT : MV x 22
NS (4-10, W2)
@ DL (3-10-1, W1)
Last time : wk 13, 2003 (17 - 11)
Jon : Probably something more normal from the Saints
this week, but if not it'll be interesting to see how they fare against the
heavy blitz of the league's number 1 pass D. DL x 3.
SPLATT : DL x 2
AF (9-5, W4)
@ TB (5-9, L2)
Last time : wk 1, 2003 (24 - 14)
Jon : The Falcons must win as they won't reach
the playoffs on points difference. A lot of their games recently have been
close and this will be too. AF x 2.
SPLATT : AF x 11
by Graham Canwell (Week 14)
||The usual heaps of contenders. Bills, Dolphins, Jets
and Broncos all stood out but in a close contest I usually opt for balance
and the Bengals came out top.
||Downed the Browns by means of four turnovers which
resulted in some big defensive return yardage. An easy winner this week.
||Found a way to beat the Browns and put himself in
pole position for a wildcard spot.
||Into the record books? It'll probably be talked
about for a long time (sigh). A nice welcome back from holiday for me
(as if a 30 degree temperature drop wasn't enough . . .)
||Impressive even by their high standards, and way ahead
of the pack. The Eagles and Redskins were their usual professional selves.
||OK, I didn't get time to write a new gameplan
for the game, but I've got away with that a fair few times in the
past. Troy made damned sure I'll be dreading the next time it happens
. . .
||Actually played pretty well but since the winning
margin was a missed extra point the Diddley panel (i.e. me) just couldn't
Graham to Paul M : Great comeback, and a crucial
one. Could be your title this year.
Graham to Jon/Troy : Congratulations on stuffing
me. Both well deserved. Just go easy on me next time OK!!!!
Graham to All : Help!!!!!
Jon to Dean : Unlucky. You really didn't deserve
to be shut out and that win was much harder than it looked.
by Mark Dixon
Well if you'd told me that we'd be battling for a wildcard at the end
of the season when I took the team over I would've called you nuts,
but the team has rallied round and performed well over the last few
weeks with a whole bunch of solid performances.
From 3-4 when I took control to 9-5 has been a bit of a surprise for
me to be honest, but if we can win our last two games we are in the
playoffs no matter what anyone else does. It's nice to have our destiny
in our own hands!
Last weeks result was HUGE, if a touch fortuitous. 2 big defensive
returns set up 2 short TDs and put the onus on the Browns O to beat
us, normally you would expect them to do so, but coach Horne decided
to take on our secondary, which is our strength, but was still unlucky
to come out with the loss. For our part the Gameplan worked. We played
keep ball, didn't make mistakes and got lucky at the right times. Played
to perfection :)
If the Browns go on and beat the Dolphins, which they have to do to
keep themselves in the hunt for homefield, this week then last weeks
result could be even bigger as it could mean that we have a shot at
hosting the Wildcard game rather than having to travel out to Florida.
The result does make the AFC Playoff picture interesting though; especially
with the Browns playing the Dolphins and the Broncos matching up against
the Bills. I wouldn't like to pick in winner in either of those games,
but suspect that the Browns will bounce back. The Browns will want the
Broncos to win the other big game in the AFC as that will give 1st shot
at homefield back to the Browns on Points Diff. Talking of Points Difference:
How do you get to a 9-5 with a -43 points difference? We aren't going
to win many tie breakers with that are we?
The upshot of it all is that the Bills are probably going to beat the
Broncos, which will pretty much clinch homefield for them, the Browns
take the number 2 seed after beating the Dolphins. The Broncos will
top the West and be number 3 seed. My Steelers should then host the
Dolphins in the AFC wildcard.
I'll leave the NFC Playoff picture to someone else, cos I don't care
Anyway, here's to Week 15 it should be a good one.
But I've no more room. So I hope you had a good holiday Gerald.
Please welcome him back with plenty of material, especially as the Superbowl
is going to interfere with his time to write the next issue.