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
|Week 1 (2005
||8 / 11
||8 / 11
||8 / 12
||8 / 12
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.
SPLATT : 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)
||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.
||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.
||Had a very disappointing campaign last time around
but things look like they could be better this time. Big test this week
||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.
||Tend to win this award quite a lot, even if frequently
in a doomed cause. But maybe not this year . . .
||Made sure the Vikings quest for another 16-0 season
was ended at the first hurdle by staging a dramatic comeback.
||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
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
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
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
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.
|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
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.
|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
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
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.
(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.
Don't forget to visit the following sites :
(Though please note that you now need a Yahoo! ID to assess this, as it
is now in Groups and not Clubs)
dum de dum de dum...