[the board]
Week 5

by Gerald Udowiczenko

Well a great show from Jon and Darren last week with their predictions, as both got a prefect score, getting 11 out of 11 (both didn't have the courage to predict their own games. But there's nothing wrong with that now is there :o).

Unfortunately after a couple of bumper filled issues over the past couple of weeks, this weeks effort is a little lite. But hay, at least it's a newsletter. So if you want more to read, send something in.

As always thanks to Brucey, Darren & Paul.

Week 4
Name Correct /
Total Pct
Jon 11/11 11/11 100
Darren 11/11 19/22 86
SPLATT 10/12 35/48 73
Gerald 6/11 29/44 66

BB (4-0, W8) @ MD (3-1, W1) Last time : wk 14, 2004 (28 - 27)
Gerald : Well they're looking quite unstoppable at present and I really can't see the Fish being able to slow down that Bills offence. So it's going to come down to who can score more and that's a tough call, as both team are equally capable. Bills by 3.
Darren : Bills by 3.
SPLATT : Buffalo by 3.

NY (2-2, W1) @ NE (2-2, L1) Last time : wk 14, 2004 (28 - 9)
Gerald : No Comment.
Darren : Patriots by 4.
SPLATT : New York by 4.

CL (4-0, W5) @ PS (2-2, W1) Last time : wk 14, 2004 (21 - 27)
Gerald : A game both team need to win, unfortunately I really can't see the Steelers pulling it off like they did last season. Browns by 10.
Darren : Browns by 7.
SPLATT : Cleveland by 11.

CI (1-3, L1) @ TT (3-1, W3) Last time : wk 14, 2004 (31 - 7)
Gerald : The Bengals have shown some signs of brilliance, but they still seem a little inconsistent. Whereas the Titans seem to be on a nice roll at present. Titans by 9.
Darren : No Comment.
SPLATT : Cincinnati by 2.

SD (1-3, L2) @ KC (1-3, L2) Last time : wk 14, 2004 (31 - 28)
Gerald : Both teams need the win to climb to the top of a division, that at present looks set to be the weakest in the AFC. The Chargers have the stronger squad, but I've a feeling that Ian, might just pull something out of the bag. Chiefs by 1.
Darren : Chargers by 3.
SPLATT : San Diego by 6.

SS (0-4, L5) @ OR (1-3, L1) Last time : wk 14, 2004 (26 - 23 OT)
Gerald : Even though they lost last week, the Raiders are still atop the West and a win here would give them a good platform to ensure they stay there. The Hawks still don't seem to be firing on all cylinders and I can't see them breaking their duck this week. Raiders by 3.
Darren : Raiders by 10.
Oakland by 4.

PE (3-1, W3) @ WR (2-2, L1) Last time : wk 16, 2004 (17 - 6)
Gerald : Well what can you say? These two teams play each other habitually (both in the regular season and post), that they both know what the other is capable of. So the game here is to surprise the other and I think it's about time the Skins did the surprising. Washington by 2.
Darren : Eagles by 1.
SPLATT : Washington by 5.

DC (1-3, L3) @ AC (0-4, L33) Last time : wk 16, 2004 (28 - 17)
Gerald : The losing streak just looks unbreakable at present for the Cards. But maybe this week they have a chance, as the Cowboys haven't yet found their feet? Tough one to call, as either team could win, but unfortunately I just can't see the Cards winning it. Boyz by 3.
Darren : Cowboys by 17.
Dallas by 4.

MV (2-2, W1) @ TB (0-4, L5) Last time : wk 14, 2004 (30 - 14)
Gerald : The Buccs are another team that seem destined to keep their losing streak alive, as they play host to the Vikings. Who after a few early stumbles, seem to have found their feet and could be back to their devastating from of last season. Vikes by 14.
Darren : Vikings by 10.
SPLATT : Minnesota by 10.

CB (3-1, W2) @ DL (4-0, W5) Last time : wk 14, 2004 (7 - 24)
Gerald : Well neither team really has a potent Offence, but they sure do make up for it on the other side of the ball. The Lions really do seem to have come out of hibernation (which I though was more a Bearish thing? :o) as they seem to have found a way to win games and keep that terrorising D going (which was their failing over the past couple of seasons). This really could be a good year for them and this week will be another good test, as they play host to a Bears team, that also has a potent D. Tough one to call, but at present everything seems to be going the way of Detroit and I see no reason for that to stop. Lions by 3.
Darren : Bears by 1.
SPLATT : Detroit by 10.

SR (1-3, L2) @ SF (2-2, W1) Last time : wk 16, 2004 (33 - 3)
Gerald : A must win for the Rams, as a loss here will probably spell the end of their dreams to retain the Divisional Crown. They really do seem to struggling defensively of late and must find a cure if they're to be play-off bound. If the 49ers can produce the same sort of yardage as last week, then I fear that they could very easily wipe the floor with the Rams. I don't think that will be the case, but I thing the Rams era could be over. 49ers by 10.
Darren : Rams by 1.
SPLATT : San Francisco by 5.

AF (2-2, L1) @ NS (4-0, W8) Last time : wk 16, 2004 (17 - 49)
Gerald : The Falcons really struggled last week with keeping the ball and unless they can cut out all mistakes, then they will get punished by a Saints team that is on fire. Saints by 10.
Darren : Saints by 10.
SPLATT : New Orleans by 5.

by Graham Canwell (Week 4)  
Offence Pittsburgh AFC offence a bit more erratic than usual this week. The Steelers get the gong for a dominating performance, with closest rivals being Buffalo, Miami (too many turnovers though) and the Jets.
Defence New York This was a toughie - a lot of the better defensive efforts weren't quite good enough. This is probably a Rammy first, mind you, as I suspect it's the first time anyone has won a defensive award while giving up well over 200 rushing yards!!!!!!
Coach Birtchnell (TN) The AFC week went pretty much according to form, so the Titans' win over the Pats on the road stood out as the performance which most caught my eye.
Offence New Orleans There were a couple of sensational AFC offensive performances, but the Saints 500+ yard effort on the road against the World Champions was the best of the bunch. But plaudits are also due to the 49ers for a display which would probably normally have been good enough to top the list.
Defence Chicago Tough competition for this too, with the Bears' efforts against the 'Boys just edging out another typically great showing by the Eagles (Atlanta
were their victims this week).
Coach Dilworth (NS) Still perfect and still destroying everyone in their path. An easy award to give this week.
  The Diddley Cleveland Considered the Titans but the importance of that big interception return yardage swung me towards the Browns. And I'm not sure if Julian has had a Diddley before so its always nice to see a new name on the trophy.  


Gerald to All : So did anyone turn up to the pub meet?

Gerald to Paul S. : Perhaps you should stop celebrating your Superbowl victory and concentrate on this season? As you could be turning into Brucey at rate.

Gerald to Brucey : What's happened? With a win this week you'll overtake last seasons total. Are you trying to get a winning season or something?

View from the Capital
Week 4, and all's not well
Report by John Smith
Sportswriter (Washington Times)

The champs are struggling a bit this season. Could this be a result of the influx of new coaches to the league? Is everyone just trying that bit harder to beat the champs or has coach Spence become jaded? That's the question on the lips of every sportsfan in DC.
I went to the source for coach Spence's opinion on the teams lack of form at the starts of this campaign. "Crisis! What crisis? We're one game behind the Eagles and all I'm concentrating on is our game this week against them. "When pressed about the 2 defeats he replied "I admit the Lions caught me by surprise. Where'd that offense come from. And as for the Saints ... well we just plain sucked and I take full responsibility for that."

Many have come to embrace the coach's straight talking attitude, but lately the squad has looked sloppy and unfocused. When the team stops performing on the field of play questions must be answered and even the most loyal fan can turn sour. We asked some people on the street and here are some of their replies;

"Maybe it's time for the coach to move on and make way for new blood. He's had his moment of glory. We need someone new."

"I reckon we should stick by him 'cause he's got us to the playoffs nearly every season. Hell, we wouldn't have won the Superbowl without him. People oughta get off his back."
"Even back in preseason you could see something was wrong. He admitted himself he doesn't value preseason as meaningful at all. What kinda attitude is that?"

It seems opinion is divided and may be for some time yet. For my ten cents worth I believe it's too early to comment as at 2-2 a repeat is not out of the question and coach Spence had pulled the iron out of the fire before. Let's give him some more time people ... and we'll crucify him later!


A Change of Fortune
by Bruce Henderson

This time last season there were still two unbeaten teams in the NFC, each from the Central and West divisions. This year however things are a little different. The two teams that were last in each of those divisions last season, the Lions with a record of 0-4, and the Saints, who were 1-3, are now in charge, both currently undefeated. So, what's caused such a sudden change of fortune?

Well, for New Orleans, the arrival of ex-Steelers coach Troy Dilworth, has effectively turned the team from perennial barrel scrapers to a force to be reckoned with. He was in charge of the Pittsburgh franchise over a five-year period from 1997 through to 2001, taking them into the playoffs with a 10-5-1 record in his first full season in 1998, but was unable to continue the early form, and was dropped for the last game of the 2001 season. Not since the mid 90's have the Saints been a force in the NFC, but with the arrival of this old hand a revival may be about to take place.

As for the Lions, it's not at all clear where their success has come from. After a less than impressive couple of seasons at Chicago, Bruce Henderson returned to the league with divisional rivals Detroit, but has failed to win more than six games in any season. The only constant with the Lions, apart from the undesirable record has been the defense, consistently one of the stingiest in the league.

The Eagles again performed their power football for the Veteran's Stadium regulars by annihilating Atlanta 43-3. Four turnovers and a safety from the visiting side certainly didn't help themselves, giving the Eagles excellent field position far too often. Philadelphia wrapped up the game early, scoring an easy 17 points in the first period alone. By the half, with a 26-0 deficit, the Falcons fell into disarray, and did as much as they could to slow the bleeding. It's unlikely that a week will be enough time for their wounds to heal, especially as a visit to New Orleans is next on the cards. Say, gory. The Eagles are flying high atop the East and must be eager to see off their only challengers, the Redskins, while their team is playing so well.

Washington weren't having so much success when the Saints came to town. On the back of a 3-0 start for the Saints, it wasn't looking good even before the game kicked off, and once they got going, the New Orleans air attack blew the Redskins away. In the end, it would be difficult for any team to do anything about 457 passing yards and 4 touchdowns, and as such, a 38-7 win for the visitors was the outcome. Washington remain in contention for the East despite the shaky start, although facing the Eagles in week 5 isn't going help the defense of their title. The Saints go marching home to Louisiana top of the West, ready to make the run to the playoffs, and taking on an Atlanta side still picking up the pieces.

The Dallas yardage machine finally ran out of fuel when the Bears came to town, putting up their third consecutive loss for 2005, with a 3-21 score line. With four interceptions from the Cowboys, one returned for a touchdown, it was left to their usually dependable ground attack.

However, Chicago held fast throughout, allowing just a single field goal in the third, by which time, the Bears were looking comfortably in charge. Surprisingly, the 353 yards gained by the Bears wasn't their most productive of the season, but it was more than enough to put in an early blow to the Cowboys' playoff chances.

The Bears stay on the road for their week 5 meeting with the Lions, an important game for the Central, and one, which may provide an indication as to the final standings. After stepping onto the slippery slope, Dallas has moved with easy into the murky depths of despair, but a visit to Tempe in week 5 may yet rekindle whatever confidence they have left.

The Lions appeared a little shaky when they jetted into the mid-west for their week 4 game against the struggling Cardinals. Despite the 14-0 shutout, they allowed Arizona to post a season high 281 offensive yards. However, the defense held their ground when they had to, and denied the Cardinals of any point-scoring opportunities, the first time since their 22-0 defeat at the hands Philadelphia in week 13 of 2004. The Lions need to find the form of their first three games if they want a chance at staying unbeaten this season, but it's apparent that Chicago are going to be the toughest challenge yet. The Cardinals look doubtful of ending their 33 game losing streak any time soon, and a visit from Dallas next week isn't going to help.

The Vikings dragged themselves back up to .500 with strong showing against the out of form Rams. The 31-13 victory was well deserved, although both teams struggled at times. Turnovers by the usually stingy Rams helped Minnesota gain valuable field position, enabling the air game some space to account for 28 of the 31 points. St Louis need something remarkable to turn themselves around before the playoffs are out of reach, this being their worst start since 1996, where they went 2-2 before posting an 8-7-1 season. But maybe their dominance of the West has finally ended, a fact that will be made more obvious if they fail to beat divisional rivals San Francisco next. The win takes the Vikings to within a game of second-place Chicago, and the likelihood of another success when they travel to Tampa.

The new staff in San Francisco have obviously helped the team make that move out of the pit of winlessness that's plagued them in recent times. A decisive 38-13 win over the hapless Buccaneers was the shining light, and maybe the start of something bigger. Tampa was never in the game, despite scoring early, only able to muster a total of 214 yards over the 49ers' 459. The 49ers offense had the look of them all day, and were allowed to move the ball freely, finishing the game with a season high 71% in completions and 104.7 passer rating. The Buccaneers are one of three teams still to post a win in 2005, and with play like that it's not difficult to see why. Hosting the Vikings in week 5 won't help matters either, and it seems that they are already looking towards 2006 for a regroup. If they want to continue to improve, the 49ers will have to show that they have what it takes to beat St Louis on a regular basis, having only come away victorious once in their last 14 meetings.


A Fishy Tale?
(Or History of NFL Team Nicknames)
It appears that the history I printed last week, for the Cardinals was not quite correct. Many thanks to APPLE for information and I've redone the history to include this new information.

After Miami was awarded an AFL expansion franchise in 1965, a contest was held to determine the name. A dozen names were forwarded to a seven-member screening committee of local media and Dolphins was the runaway winner. Although 622 entrants submitted Dolphins, Mrs. Robert Swanson of Miami won the two lifetime passes to Dolphins games. The tiebreaker was picking the winner and score of a 1965 tilt between Notre Dame and the University of Miami. The game ended in a scoreless tie.
The NFL's Frankford Yellowjackets were awarded to a syndicate headed by Bert Bell and Lud Wray in 1933. Bell named the new Philadelphia team Eagles in honour of the symbol of the New Deal's National Recovery Act.

Pub Meet !!!

Well that was a total _ _ _ _ _ _ _ disaster. Fortunately Rob Hallett (from NFLB) turned up, otherwise I would have been all on my lonesome. But then if it that had been the case I could have pissed off home a lot sooner and saved some money.

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Well that's all for this week, if you've got anything to say, you know how to say it. Either by post, e-mail, or in some cases via the phone. So you've no excuse for not having a voice, other than being too lazy.

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 ?