[the board]
Week 2

by Gerald Udowiczenko

Well no a bad start to the season for us, Tom had a reasonably good game. Still threw an interception, but at lest his QB rating was nice and high (3rd best for the week - Nice addition to the website Brucey). So with luck those bad days of Drew are behind us?

It looks like the AFC and especially the East is going to post some good offensive yardage this season. So again it looks like the AFC is going to be offensive, while the NFC looks unpredictable with Eagles, Skins, Rams & Vikings all losing their opening games.

Thanks as always to Brucey, Graham Mark, Jon & Darren. As always guys, many thanks for your contributions.

Well I've finally counted up and I'm happy to supply the final standings for last years Top Tipster (however I've only included those predictions for the play-off games and not the Con Bowls - That's why you got 0% Mark :o)

Top Tipster for 2004
Name Correct /
Total Pct
Richard 76 94 81
Graham 117 148 79
Gerald 120 163 74
Jon 49 69 71
SPLATT 142 201 71
Brucey 8 12 67
Mark D 0 1 0

Week 1 (2005
Name Correct /
Total Pct
Gerald 8 / 11 8 / 11 73
SPLATT 8 / 12 8 / 12 67


NY (1-0, W4) @ BB (1-0, W5) Last time : wk 10, 2004 (17 - 24)
Gerald : Well both teams were able to score freely last week, which should ensure a high scoring game. So it will be down to which 'D' can get the break though. Jet by 3.
SPLATT : New York by 3.
Darren : Bills by 10

NE (1-0, W1) @ MD (1-0, W1) Last time : wk 10, 2004 (19 - 10)
Gerald : No Comment.
Miami by 11.
Darren : Dolphins by 7

CI (0-1, L1) @ CL (1-0, W2) Last time : wk 10, 2004 (17 - 24)
Gerald : It doesn't get any easier for the Bengals this week, as they play the inform (well as inform as you get after one game) Browns. I can't see it being as close as last time. Browns by 10.
SPLATT : Cleveland by 9.
Darren : Browns by 14

TT (0-1, L6) @ PS (1-0, W1) Last time : wk 10, 2004 (20 - 26)
Gerald : Well the Titans just lost last week, mainly due to turnovers. While the Steelers won thanks to turnovers. This should be close and if the Titans can reduce their mistakes, then they should be in with a chance. Titans by 1.
SPLATT : Pittsburgh by 7.
Darren : No Comment.

SS (0-1, L2) @ SD (0-1, L1) Last time : wk 16, 2004 (19 - 21)
Gerald : Bad start to the season for both teams last week and I don't see it getting any better for the Hawks, as the Chargers bounce back. Chargers by 10.
SPLATT : San Diego by 9.
Darren : Chargers by 4

OR (0-1, L11) @ KC (0-1, L1) Last time : wk 16, 2004 (3 - 45)
Gerald : I can't see it being as one-sided as last time, but it should be the same result. Chiefs by 10.
SPLATT : Kansas City by 5.
Darren : Raiders by 3

DC (1-0, W2) @ PE (0-1, L1) Last time : wk 10, 2004 (10 - 17)
Gerald : What a great start to the season for the Boyz. But I think the dream will be over especially as the Eagles will want to avenge last weeks result. But only if Randall wakes up. Eagles by 10.
SPLATT : Philadelphia by 12.
Darren : Cowboys by 1

AC (0-1, L30) @ WR (0-1, L3) Last time : wk 10, 2004 (0 - 39)
Gerald : Well they are obviously still hung over from the Superbowl party. But it should be business as usual for the Champs, as the Cards seem still shell shocked from last season. Skins by 17.
SPLATT : Washington by 15.
Darren : Redskins by 20

CB (1-0, W1) @ MV (0-1, L1) Last time : wk 16, 2004 (3 - 10)
Gerald : Both teams had very close games last week and after the shock of losing I think the Vikes will be out for revenge. But I've a feeling that this season will not be as easy for them and they will loss more of the close games that they won last year. But saying that, I think they'll be able to sneak it this week. Vikes by 3.
SPLATT : Minnesota by 15.
Darren : Bears by 1

DL (1-0, W2) @ TB (0-1, L2) Last time : wk 16, 2004 (20 - 17)
Gerald : Well the Lions seem to have found how to win (against the Champs no less) and if they can keep it going then they could become another powerhouse in the NFC in the same mould as the Skins. But they will have to improve their 'O' to keep it going. While the Buccs still don't seem to be firing on all cylinders Lions by 6.
SPLATT : Detroit by 1.
Darren : Lions by 3

AF (1-0, W1) @ SR (0-1, L1) Last time : wk 10, 2004 (19 - 33)
Gerald : Great start for the Falcons last week and if they can keep it going then they could have a real chance of post-season action. This week they've got their old adversary the Rams who narrowly lost it in overtime last week. These games are usually close and I can't see it being any different this time. Falcons by 2.
SPLATT : St Louis by 6.
Darren : Rams by 7

NS (1-0, W5) @ SF (1-0, W1) Last time : wk 10, 2004 (15 - 17)
Gerald : Tough one to call this early on, as both teams can be very hot and cold in their first couple of games. So I'll go with homefield. 49ers by 3.
SPLATT : New Orleans by 3.
Darren : Saints by 6

by Graham Canwell (Week 1)  
Offence New York Tough competition from the Bills and Pats (clearly an AFC East bonanza!). Jets just edged it because the Bills were less balanced and the Pats were playing KC, who've had a tendency to collapse defensively in recent years.
Defence Cleveland And without the aid of a ball-control safety net too, a fact which squeaked them past the Jets (isn't one award enough!) to grab the gong.
Coach Udowiczenko (NE) Had a very disappointing campaign last time around but things look like they could be better this time. Big test this week in Miami.
Offence Dallas OK, I know my defence isn't the world's greatest, but we did get pulled apart rather and, this being the NFC, other stellar offensive performances were hard to find.
Defence Detroit Tend to win this award quite a lot, even if frequently in a doomed cause. But maybe not this year . . .
Coach Meskill (AF) Made sure the Vikings quest for another 16-0 season was ended at the first hurdle by staging a dramatic comeback.
  The Diddley Atlanta Would have been us if we'd prevailed in overtime but we blew it and allowed the Falcs to snatch it from us. Of course even a Diddley win against the Vikes is a good one, but it is still a Diddley.  


Gerald to AFC West : Well it looks like we all have some offence, this could be a real shot-out for the Rammys and the division.

Gerald to Jon : Well Randall looked very old last week. Perhaps he's had his day?

Gerald to Brucey : Well done. But can you keep it up?

Gerald to Paul Spence : The season has started, perhaps you should stop celebrating? Or is this a cunning plan to fool us all and come back towards the end of the season, while picking up those all important LPs?

Gerald to Paul Meskill : Well done, could this be the year of the 'Dirty Birds'?

Graham to Richard A. : Well played. Don't know how we managed to take it into overtime but justice was done in the end.

Graham to Bruce : Maybe this year!!!!!!!!!!

Graham to Paul S : (Very) belated congratulations on your Superbowl win. Worth all those playoff traumas in the end, wasn't it?

Brucey to Mark D : I'm sure you'd go further if the Browns relocated ;-)

Brucey to Paul S : Hope you don't end the Cards' 30-game losing streak !

Brucey to Dean : Go Cards !!!! Hope your pre-season preparations went as planned. You certainly appear to be scoring more freely these days than you have on occasion in the past, though I don't think you've any records left to break.

Brucey to Gerald : I'm looking forward to our matchup later this season. Hopefully I'll have developed some kind of strategy by then. Currently my aim is to gain at least 12 first downs per game.

Brucey to Tampa : You are my arch rivals. You MUST be vanquished. Please ?????

Darren to Stuart : I think you were a bit lucky last week, if not for those 3 big TD's I'd probably have beaten you. But seeing as I've won all our meetings in NFLBF I suppose you owed me one!

Darren to All coaches : So my Titans are favourites to finish last in the AFC Central? That's fine by me, if there are no expectations then the pressures off.

Capitol Spill
by the Roving Reporter

It was possibly one of the least likely outcomes in the first week of the new 2005 season. Washington, the reigning SuperBowl champions were travelling to the nations' auto capital, Detroit, in what was expected to be simply a matter of turning up. Unfortunately for the champs, it appears that the Lions have been working very hard throughout the off-season to turn their usually lacklustre offence around.
From first impressions, it seems to be working. We managed to corner Lions owner William Clay Ford, a man who isn't often lost for words, and asked him how he felt about the win. "Great. Yeah. Thanks".
With a little prompting about the team as a whole, he commented, "We decided there had to be a change of direction at the end of 2004. It's not good for anyone, not the fans, not the players, and definitely not for me, to finish near the bottom of the league. Our problem in recent years has been the Offence, so we went out with a mission to find some of the best assistants we could persuade to join us in Detroit.
"With the back office in order, there had to be some big changes on the field too. I think coach (Henderson) did a great job of acquiring the players we needed in all the positions we felt required attention. Unfortunately, it was inevitable that we had to let some people go, but that is the price of progress".
Indeed, the Lions have a new arm in Scott Dreisbach this season, one of several players snapped up through free agency, something the Lions haven't been known for utilising. "The three-round draft system just isn't a help when you want to undertake a rebuilding program on the scale we wanted", the head coach of the Lions stated at a press conference held on the Monday after their win. "So we invested a lot of time and effort finding players by other means. I'd say we are quite happy with the current squad".
When pushed to comment if it was true that a curfew had been enforced in the weeks leading up to the game against the 'skins, coach Henderson replied, "We felt it was better for the guys to concentrate on the game, which is why we introduced a new training regime for 3 weeks, something that ended last Thursday. There were no complaints from the players, as they knew what was required of them. We had such a lot of work to get through".

The curfew was lifted last week, but we were told they will still be working very hard for the next few weeks at least. If the performance against Washington is anything to go by, this new work ethic is evidently productive. However, with all the attention focused on these new-look Lions, wouldn't it be dangerous for them to become complacent
Veteran receiver Herman Moore doesn't think so, "There's a heck of a lot of experience in our team. We know what it's like to be at the bottom of the barrel, so I think we'll manage to keep our heads out of our asses". Wise words indeed. Dreisbach was very enthusiastic about his first win for his new team, "Awesome, man. Just awesome. To come out and win your first game, and against the current champs too. This is almost as good as the time me and Betty-Sue were c...". Unfortunately at that point, he was ushered out of the press conference and we were unable to ask him any more questions.
Taking a look at the league standings, it all looks decidedly different to what's been the norm for the last few seasons. Last years 16-0 Vikings fell to an in-form Atlanta side with eyes for a return to those age old days of SuperBowl Sunday. In fact, of all the NFC playoff contenders of last season, only the 49ers won their first game of 2005, albeit against the lowly Cardinals, a team currently in the process of stretching its record of 30 consecutive losses. The AFC West fared no better, as the entire division managed to be outscored 131-58, and look to pick up the pieces before they venture into the second week of confrontations. The rest of the AFC performed to the standard as was expected, with the usual suspects of the Bills and Browns showing why they are perennial championship contenders.
Looking ahead, Detroit are facing divisional rivals Tampa Bay next weekend, an always hard-fought meeting that tends towards the home side. Unfortunately for the Lions, they won't be playing in the Motor City.
That was the week that was.


The Eagles
by Jon Heath

Interesting first week, with a certain upsetting of the old order in the NFC. My game was a complete 'mare against the Bears. For some reason the Bears are a bit of a bogey team for me anyway. I didn't deserve to win the game, but the manner of losing was horrible! Having done absolutely nothing in the first 3 quarters it all came down to the 4th.

The only reason I was still in the game was turnovers and 3 missed 2nd qtr FGs from the Bears (45, 45 and 53). The team looked hungover, badly. Couldn't stop the run, couldn't stop the pass. At least there was a blitz. No rushing attack to speak of and Randall hadn't completed a single pass going into the 4th. 0-15, and a reasonable proportion of those were against run defences!

Then he suddenly found some rhythm and went 10-14 for over 100 yards. Inside the 2 min warning we were suddenly ahead by more than 3. The Bears start to drive, but run into trouble inside FG range. Next thing I know, they're facing 4th & 7. Oh. Drops back to pass, dumps it off, and breaks out for a TD. Still time to win, only down by 3. Reach midfield and then the WR fumbles and the Bears recover. That's me 0-1.

Excellent wins for the new look Cowboys, revamped Lions and most of the NFC West. Especial congratulations to Paul Meskill for his win over the Vikings. Maybe the Falcons will actually make the playoffs this season? At least the Redskins looked like they haven't recovered from that Superbowl win yet! The Cards should at least give them a chance to rediscover some form. Oh yes, and can anybody explain to me why my best form was OPS? I was something like 10-25 on short passing. I would have thought my DBZ was better, at least.


Against the Odds
by Bruce Henderson

How the mighty have fallen. In a single week, all of the top teams in the NFC were brought down to Earth with a bang, as some unlikely results were posted. It's become immediately apparent that the influx of new coaches during the off-season has already had a huge effect on the balance of the league. So much so, that it has been well and truly tipped. The Bears' new play-caller Paul Macguire, edged out long-time coach, and current career leader in wins, coach Jon Heath's Eagles, in an 18-17 thriller at Soldier Field. The Bears' defence were allowed to run riot all day, holding a rather surprised Philadelphia to a paltry 179 of total yards. Their defence fared little better, with the Bears roaming freely throughout, ending the game with almost 400 yards for the day.
In the seasons' first overtime battle, the usual dominant Rams lost the nail-biter by a field goal to another new coach in Richard Appleby. With St. Louis' ground game neutralised, they were forced to rely on a passing game barely strong enough to keep them in the contest. Fourteen unanswered points by Dallas had the Rams on the back-foot from the outset, and if their defence can't sort out the problems soon, they'll be lucky to be fighting for a wild card spot come week 16. The Cowboys are showing a lot of promise already, despite the shake-ups in the squad that were required to make them effective, and are likely to see a rise in their standings by the end of the season.
The Vikings' run of 18 consecutive wins ended in Atlanta, despite a 13-0 lead going into the second half. The Falcons regrouped after the break, scraping into the lead in the fourth and the much sought after opening win, 20-18.

Although the Falcons had trouble moving the ball on the ground, their determination to win, and the fanatical support from the Georgia Dome stands turned the tables on an all but assured Minnesota dominated game. The Vikings will be looking to next weeks' home game against Chicago to improve their fortunes, but that may turn out to be harder than the preseason forecasters predicted. Tampa Bay began their campaign with a loss away to the Saints. The Buccaneers struggled all day to venture deep into New Orleans' territory, managing only a single rushing touchdown as their opponents racked up 24 points. The Buccs held the Saints ground attack to 27 yards, but an impressive air game allowed New Orleans to set an NFC high of 355 yards.
San Francisco hosted a Cardinals team trying to pull themselves out of a recession that has seen them lose 29 straight regular season games, an NFLAB record. Unfortunately, the 49ers came out fighting, and the Cardinals could do little but hang on for the ride, with the final score 34-10 in favour of the home side. The Arizona QB was feeling the pressure all day, and without a running game to keep the 49ers defence off-balance, was hurried and sacked a league high 5 times.
The Cardinals next face travelling to Washington to play a team completely surprised by their week 1 upset in Detroit. Unusually for the Redskins, they were down 16-0 after the first half, their defence struggling to contain a Lions offence up to the challenge. Being effectively shut-down from the start by the aggressive Detroit defence, an 8 point rally in the 3rd was flattened as the Lions returned the ensuing kickoff all the way to the endzone.


The Road win week
by Mark Dixon

What an odd week. There were those of us that thought that home wins where much easier to get early in the season due to the special teams bonuses, but week 1 in the AFC turned that theory on it's head with all 6 games going to the road team.
In Cincinnati the Bengals got a mauling at the hands of the Bills despite posting pretty reasonable numbers the Bengals lost fumbles which probably lost them the game, throw in a safety and a missed 4th down attempt and that's all she wrote on that one. The Bills look good to be contenders again this year following that performance. The Bengals look like they have a long season ahead, but I don't expect them to be squabbling over 1st Draft pick. In Tennessee the Titans did everything right, but still managed to end up on the wrong side of a 28-25 scoreline. Coach Birtchnell will be cursing those 3 lost fumbles, which look to have sealed the Titans fate.
The Dolphins get 1 in the W column, but will need better performances than last week to push for the AFC East crown. The Titans will be better than last year (not that that is hard), but I have a feeling that they'll really need to sort out those silly mistakes before they trouble the Steelers and Browns for the Division. The Jets Steamrollered the Chargers and look well on course to push for the East crown this year. Coach Gorner must be wondering what hit him. Bear in mind that he has what was last years Broncos and the Jets just took them apart. Could be a long year in San Diego, but equally it could be a real warning shot from the Jets, who may have decided that they don't want a wild card into the playoffs this year...?

Out to Kansas now and the Patriots seem to have put last years woes behind them, for week one at least, with a reasonably convincing win over the Chiefs. KC will be glad to have seen the rest of the Division lose, as this has left them top of the West, but surely one team in there has to wake up and smell the coffee? New England will be glad of the win, though as a testament to how tough the East is going to be this year the win only leaves them 3rd in the Division with a tough Divisional game next week. The AFC East could well be the toughest Division in the League this year!
The Browns showed that they mean business this year by 'twonking' Seattle, who never really managed to get anything going on a tough Brown D. Coach Horne was still not hugely impressed with his team though. As they completely failed to light the field up with yards, but at the end of the day it's the score that matters and if they can win by 30 while playing 'badly' then God help the rest of us. The Browns have to be my tip to repeat as Central Champs, but I'm hoping Pittsburgh will have their say in that. Talking of whom...
Finally my Steelers travelled out to Oakland and left with a win. It wasn't the most convincing of performances to be honest and the 'college' Gameplan really didn't work at all well, but the Raiders made one too many mistakes and we capitalised on that. The Raiders will win a few this year though of that I'm sure. I expect them to be near the top of the West come seasons end.
In summary: The East goes 4-0 the West (do we start with the 'worst' jokes yet?) goes 0-4. All the read teams win. What an odd week.


Brown Nosing
(Or History of NFL Team Nicknames)

Cleveland's All-American Football Conference entry was founded in 1946. Paul Brown was named the team's first coach and general manager. The Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996, but the team's history remained, paving the way for the Browns to be resurrected as an expansion team in 1999.
This name defeated more than 400 entries in a radio-sponsored competition, held one month after Tampa was awarded the first of two expansion franchises on April 24, 1974. Buccaneers was the winner, beating out such noble competitors as Buzzards, Sea Horses and (yes) Mafia.


Web Sites

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dum de dum de dum...

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 ?