[the board]
Week 3
2005

by Gerald Udowiczenko

Well that was a real shoot out with the Dolphins last week, just a shame we turned over the ball way too often and the Fish were able to get 14 points from returns. I just hate special teams. But the sliver lining is that I now have the points to train up one of my LBs. So it's not all bad, I guess?

Many thanks to Stuart, Brucey, Graham, & Rob. As always guys, thanks for the contributions.

Week 2
Name Correct /
Predicted
Total Pct
SPLATT 10/12 18/24 75
Gerald 8/11 16/22 73
Darren 8/11 8/11 73

PS (1-1, L1) @ BB (2-0, W6) Last time : wk 1, 2004 (13 - 20)
Gerald : The Steelers will need to be on the top of their game this week against the Bills. If they turn in another under-par performance then they will suffer, as the Bills 'O' at present looks very impressive. Bills by 7.
SPLATT :
Buffalo by 11.

CL (2-0, W3) @ MD (2-0, W2) Last time : wk 15, 2004 (21 - 42)
Gerald : Game of the Week, in the AFC. Only one of these teams is going to leave with a winning record and history does suggest that it will be the Dolphins. However, they have given up a lot of yardage and points in their first two games, but that 'D' of theirs has come up with key turnovers. The Browns will need to stay error free if they're to have a chance and I don't think that will be the case. Fish by 3.
SPLATT : Cleveland by 10.

OR (0-2, L12) @ NY (1-1, L1) Last time : wk 11, 2004 (17 - 31)
Gerald : The Raiders still seem to be finding their feet and know they have another new coach. I can't see them breaking their duck this week against a Jets team hungry for a win, as the East looks to be shaping up to be one hell of a battle. Jets by 10.
SPLATT : New York by 16.

SS (0-2, L3) @ NE (1-1, L1) Last time : wk 15, 2004 (12 - 10)
Gerald : No comment.
SPLATT :
New England by 7.

KC (1-1, W1) @ CI (0-2, L2) Last time : wk 13, 2004 (20 - 27)
Gerald : The Bengals only seemed to come alive late in the game last week and will need to have a better start if they're to have their first win of the season. The Chiefs don't seem to be firing on all cylinders at present, but I think they will do enough to win the game. Chiefs by 3.
SPLATT :
Cincinnati by 4.

SD (1-1, W1) @ TT (1-1, W1) Last time : wk 7, 2004 (17 - 9)
Gerald : Good wins for both teams last week, which broke their ducks and worried the rest of the teams in their respective divisions, especially the Central, as the Titans kept their opponents to 12 first downs and one FG. They will both want to carry on that form, unfortunately one of them has to loss and I think it will be the newer coach. Titans by 3.
SPLATT : San Diego by 8.

TB (0-2, L3) @ PE (1-1, W1) Last time : wk 1, 2004 (15 - 40)
Gerald : A surprisingly close game last week for the Eagles. But at least, it seems that Randall has woken up. It might not have been a stellar performance, but he got some reasonable yardage. The Buccs on the other hand had a game they'd rather forget as the Lions 'D' ripped though them. Though the Eagles 'D' will be not as effective, I think the Buccs will be on a hiding to nothing, though I don't think history will repeat itself. Eagles by 10.
SPLATT : Philadelphia by 12.

MV (1-1, W1) @ WR (1-1, W1) Last time : wk 3, 2004 (23 - 7)
Gerald : This is probably the game of the week in the NFC, thought the Rams Lions game does come very, very close. Both teams were back to their best last week, though yardage wise, the Skins were a little lite. But they made up for that with the scoreline. The Vikes on the other hand had good yardage, but left it very late to score. History suggests that the Vikes have the edge, but I still feel they are not quite back to their devastating form of last season. Skins by 3.
SPLATT : Minnesota by 3.

NS (2-0, W6) @ DC (1-1, L1) Last time : wk 11, 2004 (31 - 27)
Gerald : Another impressive game from the Saints last week, keeps them on top of the division. The big question is whether their 'D' can be this miserly all season long? If they can, then they could surprise a lot of us. The Cowboys came within a whisker of upsetting the Eagles last week and have shown that they are almost a team to fear. But not quite yet. Saints by 10.
SPLATT : New Orleans by 8.

AF (1-1, L1) @ AC (0-2, L31) Last time : wk 11, 2004 (20 - 11)
Gerald : Turnover cost the Falcons last week, which shouldn't really be a problem this week against the Cards, as they still look very unlikely to win a game. Falcons by 14.
SPLATT : Atlanta by 10.

SF (1-1, L1) @ CB (1-1, L1) Last time : wk 7, 2004 (5 - 17)
Gerald : The 49ers will want to forget last weeks game, as everything went wrong. As will the Bears, who had the game won until they fell apart in the 4th. Tough game to call, but I think the 49ers will just edge it, but only just. As this game looks destined to have a lot of turnovers. 49ers by 2.
SPLATT : San Francisco by 7.

SR (1-1, W1) @ DL (2-0, W3) Last time : wk 11, 2004 (24 - 10)
Gerald : If this had been the Rams of old, then this would have been Game of the Week. As it is the Lions look frightening defensively and the Rams seem a little off their game, especially on offence. Though you won't think so looking at last weeks result, though I think the scoreline had more to do with turnovers then anything else. This should be close, but I've a feeling that the Lions will stay unbeaten for a while yet. Lions by 3.
SPLATT : St Louis by 6.

by Graham Canwell (Week 2)  
Offence Buffalo Wasn't as much AFC offence as usual. This was a tough one - the Pats racked up the biggest yardage but too many turnovers and sacks meant they got beaten. The Titans ball-control was magnificent, too, so they were probably runners-up. In the end I gave it to the Bills, who came up with the goods when it mattered in the final quarter.
Defence Tennessee This was another tricky one - I eventually plumped for the Titans, although its worth noting they were much assisted by a tremendous display of ball-control offence. So maybe they should have got the offensive Rammy instead? Aaaaargh!
Coach Birtchnell (TN) Unlucky to lose in week 1, but made up for it with a supremely professional performance this time up.
 
Offence New Orleans It could be a long season for the chasing pack in the NFC West I this is anything to go by. Loads of yards and no turnovers. The Vikes offence still looks a lot like last years terrific model too, even if it had to wait until a sensational final quarter.
Defence Detroit Another week, another defensive Rammy for the Lions. Detroit's offence might not usually set the world alight but with D like this they won't care!!! Saints D also made sure their offense didn't get all the plaudits.
Coach Dilworth (NS) Because as performances go it was pretty flawless. Nice displays to make up for week one disappointment by Messrs. Heath and Whitfield too. And Bruce deserves a worthy mention for being a couple of games ahead of his usual 0-2 at this point.
 
  The Diddley Philadelphia Only just shaded in yardage terms but also lost the turnover battle 4-1. But got the points that make prizes and often, as in this case, Diddleys.  

 

Gerald to Brucey : Haven't changed a thing, this time. So any mistakes are yours and yours alone. :o)

Gerald to Stuart : Humm. Yes, no surprise about the number of blitzes you called. Just wondering why I even bother bonusing OQB.

Gerald to Jon : Well Randy seems to be playing again, but still not very convincing. Perhaps there is an age when players should retire? :o)

Gerald to Brucey : After that defensive performance, you must be a bit gutted that the Bucss scored twice?

Gerald to Paul Meskill : Bit of a mare I gather? Well you can always get revenge when the Rams come to the Georgia Dome.

Gerald to AFC : So is anyone going to be mad, sorry kind enough to regularly do the AFC review?

Gerald to Graham : Racking up the yards is nice (so getting rid of drew was a wise choice it seems? (). I just don't want to fall into the same trap as the Chiefs did a couple of seasons ago and not win the bloody games. But it is a bit worrying that we've given up the fourth most points so far. I thought my 'D' was better than that.

Graham to Gerald : Very un-Patriots like. Don't think you'll get many Diddleys this year if you're going to keep racking up yardage like that.

Graham to Bruce : I'd quite like you to return to normality this week.

Graham to Paul S/Jon : Old guard fighting back this week!

Tim to Paul : This is no easy league. You've got to be able to run the football

Tim to Brucey : Deserved success after all your struggles. Lions will be tough to beat.

Tim to Graham : How did you do that? I can't work those Falcons out. I only beat them on the last play of the game last season and then lost this time.

Tim to Mark G : No better with the 49ers it seems. Try the Cardinals next.

Tim to Jon : Are all your games going to be this close?

Tim to Paul S : I'm going to get you back for the play offs. If not this week then come week 18.

Tim to Stuart : Looking forward to Week 7 in BT.

The Dolphins
by Stuart Guard

Well we're 2-0 and we can't ask for more than that, but boy is the league getting tougher all the time. The defence is really struggling on the yardage front at the moment, and is giving up some big gains. In fairness though it has helped us to generate 7 takeaways so far in the 2 games played, along with recording 14 sacks, so we can't complain too much. We'd prefer to be keeping the yardage down as well of course though. On the other side of the ball the offence is working quite well all in all, and Marino is showing some solid form at QB at the moment which is of course key to the way the team operates.

This week we face the Browns, whose defence really is a tight nut to crack , and also gives their team great field position. My best guess is that the game will be down to turnovers or special teams as two slog it out to keep their unbeaten record this week. Any wins we can pick up are a bonus as the AFC East really is a tough division this season. All four teams look like staying in the playoff hunt for a long time to come, and let's just hope we don't end up tripping one another up too much along the way.

Good to see more new coaches in the league, and both are great coaches as most of us probably know by now. Will be interesting to see how their teams get on this season as they build for the playoff chase. Well off to plan for out visit of the Browns now. Good luck to all in the league, and keep those contributions coming in to Gerald to help continue the great newsletter.

 

The Raiders
by Rob Crowther

The Raiders' new coach was introduced to the Oakland public at a press conference earlier today.

How do you feel to be taking over one of the traditional AB whipping boys?
"I'm very happy to be given the opportunity to turn this franchise around. I watched last week's game and was impressed by the commitment the team showed, especially on defense. With all the high draft picks over recent years there is a lot of talent to work with and I'm confident we can improve on past performances and maybe even pick up a few wins."

It came as something of a shock that Coach Thorn left after only two games, do you have any light to shed?
"I believe Coach Thorn had some personal issues to resolve outside of football and felt the franchise deserved a coach who could give them his full attention. I am grateful to Coach Thorn for all the work he put in during the off season, he's left the squad in good shape."

You're not planning major changes then?
"We've got a good group of players, I doubt we'll be messing around too much with the roster. The defense has also been doing fine so wholesale changes are not required, though obviously there'll be some tweaking going on in coming weeks. The offense will see some big changes, however, to try and take better advantage of the personnel we've got. I've given them a whole new playbook this week so we'll see how they cope with that - I expect some mistakes will be made, as I've only had a week to work with the guys in training, but we'll keep trying new things until we find a combination that everyone is comfortable with."

 

The Usual Suspects
by Bruce Henderson

This week saw a return to form of teams used to winning ways, although in some cases it was a matter of crossing their fingers and hoping for the final whistle.

In particular, the Eagles barely managed to hold off an in-form Dallas squad determined to prove themselves in what is looking to become a three-way tussle in the East. Offensive mistakes from Philadelphia, including three fumbles, kept the Cowboys in with a shout throughout the game. But for two missed field goals from Dallas, they surely would have been going into week three with a perfect record. The Cowboys' air attack was spectacular and consistent, finishing with a week-high rating of 128.3. The Eagles will be happy to have left the game 23-20, knowing that it could easily have gone the other way. They next host the winless Buccaneers, which should be a far less torrid affair, and might allow themselves time to re-group after what has been a difficult opening to the new season.

In the capitol, the Redskins finally started the defense of their title as they dominated an Arizona side still looking to break their record streak, which now stands at 31 consecutive losses. The 41-10 win lifts them to the top of the division on points difference, although the final score hides what was more of an average day on the field. The passing game saw no signs of taking off, and instead the Redskins pounded it out on the ground, amassing 213 yards and a team record 5 touchdowns. Relying solely on one part of their offense is certainly not going to help them retain their title, and a re-think will be in order as they host the mighty defense of Minnesota in week three. Arizona return to Tempe wondering what hit them, and hope for a little more luck against the currently under-performing Falcons.

Another team to recover from the week one curse were the Vikings, who hosted Chicago. This strong divisional rivalry meant this would be a battle from the kick-off, and it was the surprise Bears who drew first blood, cruising into half-time with a 13-3 lead. With no scoring from either side in the third, it was looking like another loss for a team that only last year posted the leagues' second ever "perfect" season, with an unbeaten 16-0 record. But with the help of a noisy Metrodome crowd, the Vikings turned themselves about to engineer a twenty-one-point comeback to end the game, 24-13. Despite feeling the pressure all day, the Minnesota passer gained 243 yards and three touchdowns.

They now travel to the capitol as favourites of the two sides to take their tally to 3-1. Chicago, on the other hand, return to Soldier Field battered and bruised, but having seen signs of the promise that may yet materialize over the course of the season.

The Buccaneers continued to struggle to find form, as they stayed home to a visiting Detroit side fresh from their week one upset of the reigning champions. Unfortunately for the Tampa fans, it seemed much of the Buccs' offense had stayed home too, and lost 21-14. Although going ahead early in the first quarter, both from Lions' mistakes, a poor pass and a fumble, they spent much of the day helping their quarterback onto his feet. The Detroit line were punishing throughout, recording 5 sacks and allowing only 152 total yards. On the other side of the ball, the Lions are continuing to show improvement from last season, and will be hoping to carry this home to Ford Field where they face the Rams in week three.

San Francisco's decision to change coaching direction earlier this week was given a hammering by the Saints, with the visitors leaving their mark, 41-3. Although coach Gamble would have been unlikely to have influenced the gameplan significantly, it might take a bit of work to get his side in order. New Orleans held the 49ers to only 39 yards on the ground, and they were never in the game. The 49ers defense couldn't cope with the onslaught, allowing 419 yards and conceding 5 touchdowns. New Orleans are looking to maintain their run with a visit to Dallas next week, although given the Cowboys current form, the result could go either way.

The Rams were happy to return to winning form with a visit from divisional rivals Atlanta. A quick start from the home side, racking up 14 points in the first quarter, meant the Falcons were always on the defensive. But, with the Rams scoring at will, the Falcons disintegrated, ending the contest 38-7 in favour of the home team. St Louis will be buoyed up by the resurgence in form, and should be positive as they travel to Detroit next week, although a struggling ground game may cause some headaches. With a road-trip to Arizona in week three, the Falcons should find little resistance against a side setting league records, left, right, and center.

 

A Bird in the Hand is Worth...
(Or History of NFL Team Nicknames)

A football club on the southwest side of Chicago was formed in 1898. The team was known as the Normals until 1901, when founder Chris O'Brien secured some hand-me-down jerseys from the University of Chicago. The jerseys were actually maroon, but the colour had faded, striking O'Brien as more of a cardinal tint. The team became the Racine Cardinals, keeping the nickname as the club moved from Chicago (1922) to St. Louis (1960) and, finally, to Phoenix (1988).
The Los Angeles AFL franchise held a contest in 1960. Hollywood resident Gerald Courtney was awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to Mexico City and Acapulco after submitting Chargers. Three reasons for choosing Chargers have been offered - it sounded dynamic; the club's new stationary featured a horse; and owner Baron Hilton had recently instituted the Carte Blanche card. The team kept the name when it moved to San Diego the following year.

 

Pub Meet !!!

Yes its back, so get all the gossip straight from the horses mouth (not sure which horse yet, but I'll keep you all informed :o). Or just turn up and after we've all drunk too much and make it all up. I'll be more than happy to publish it in Newsletter.

Friday 14th June at the Shakespear's Head (a Witherspoons Pub), Central London. Come out of Holborn tube (Piccadilly Line), turn left out of the main exit onto Kingsway and walk about 75 yards (69 meters) and you should see it on your left.

Not sure of the exact time that people will be arriving (but check out Yahoo! Groups for more details closer to the date). But I should be able to get there for about 7pm (ish). Anyway put the date in your diary and more details next week.

If you don't have access to the web (or can't use it, ay Richard :o), you can always call me closer to the date and I'll give you an update.

Web Sites

Don't forget to visit the following sites :
http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/gameplan
(Though please note that you now need a Yahoo! ID to assess this, as it is now in Groups and not Clubs)
www.endzone1.co.uk
brucey.net/nflab/

Well that's all for this week and here's hoping we have a good World Cup, though at present the England team does look a little light in mid-field. But hopefully Golden-Balls will be back in time for the Argentina game, if not sooner.

Poland also seem to have quite a good squad, as did Ireland, until Psycho, threw a strop and walked out. So for a change, I can follow a couple of teams and with luck at least 2 or them will make it though the qualifying stage :o)

Don't forget about the Pub Meet on the 14th of June, hopefully a larger crowd will turn up this time? As I believe there were only four for the last one, but they did drink for 10, so it wasn't all bad. Very kind of them to have our hangovers. :o)



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 ?