by Gerald Udowiczenko
Well it's week 6, so that can only mean the usually battle of the Conferences
and again this year it's the AFC mainly offence dominated teams against
the NFC defensives. Last season, the AFC won it 7 - 5 in the first clash,
but thanks to a very strong performance in week 12, the NFC won it overall
13 - 11.
So hopefully this year with the likes of the Bills, Fish, Browns Titans,
Steelers (even with half a brain), Raiders, possibly the Chargers (who should
be doing better) and dare I say it?
. the Patriots, looking
like strong teams. Perhaps the AFC can wipe the floor with the sorry excuse
this is the NFC? :o)
As always thanks to those who sent in something for the Newsletter, Graham,
Jon, Mark, Paul, Brucey & Rob.
BB (4-1, L1)
@ MV (3-2, W2)
Last time : wk 6, 2002 (9 - 15)
Gerald : The Vikes seem to have found some form
from last season, but it's not that devastating yet and the Bills lost their
first game last week. Tough one to call, but I thing the Bills just have the
edge. Bills by 3.
Jon : A tough one to call as both teams are very
good. This one will probably go to the wire. Bills by 1.
SPLATT : Minnesota by 4.
TB (0-5, L6)
@ MD (4-1, W2)
Last time : wk 6, 2002 (14 - 20)
Gerald : I really can't see the Buccs upsetting
the formbook here. Fish by 10.
Jon : The Buccs are struggling at present whilst
the Dolphins are coming off a good win over Buffalo. Miami by 10.
SPLATT : Miami by 5
NY (2-3, L1)
@ CB (4-1, W3)
Last time : wk 6, 2003 (17 - 34)
Gerald : A loss here for the Jets could be disastrous
and the Bears are looking hot at present. Bears by 3.
Jon : The Bears look like one of the NFC's teams
to beat, so I think they'll be too much for the Jets. Bears by 9.
SPLATT : New York by 5.
DL (4-1, L1)
@ NE (3-2, W1)
Last time : wk 6, 2003 (10 - 17)
Gerald : No comment.
Jon : The Lions' bubble burst quite heavily last
week. Can they recover in time for the Pats? Possibly, but I'll go for the
home team. New England by 1.
SPLATT : New England by 2.
CL (4-1, L1)
@ SR (1-4, L3)
Last time : wk 6, 2004 (13 - 30)
Gerald : Well last time, the Browns got a slapping.
But this time around the Rams are really struggling and even though they lost
last week, the Browns look the stronger team. Browns by 7.
Jon : The Browns are riding high, despite last
week's loss. The Rams are really in the doldrums. It's time that changed.
Rams by 3.
SPLATT : St Louis by 2.
SF (3-2, W2)
@ PS (3-2, W2)
Last time : wk 6, 2003 (34 - 19)
Gerald : Should be a close game and I'm not going
to bet against the AFC. Steelers by 5.
Jon : The 49ers still have the Saints in sight,
but for how long? Maybe not much longer after this, as I feel the Steelers
may surprise them. Pittsburgh by 2.
SPLATT : San Francisco by 3.
CI (1-4, L2)
@ AF (2-3, L2)
Last time : wk 6, 2004 (34 - 28)
Gerald : Both teams are still struggling and both
need the win. The Falcons look slightly better able to cope. Falcons by 3.
Jon : The Falcons have had some tough games in
the last 2 weeks so this may come as some relief to them if they can find
their early season form. Falcons by 6.
SPLATT : Atlanta by 3.
NS (5-0, W9)
@ TT (4-1, W4)
Last time : wk 6, 2003 (24 - 27)
Gerald : Well can the last remaining unbeaten team
stay that way? The Titans should give them a good run for their money and
I think they can just sneak it. Titans by 1.
Jon : Can anybody stop the Saints? Certainly the
Titans have done well so far and this is a real test of their credentials,
but I think the Saints will be a bit too good. Saints by 1.
SPLATT : Tennessee by 3.
SD (2-3, W1)
@ PE (3-2, L1)
Last time : wk 6, 2000 (31 - 38)
Gerald : Well Randall is still struggling, but
fortunately he's not the whole team. The Chargers still seem to be suffering
from moving house to San Diego. Eagles by 10.
Jon : One day Randall will remember how to get
a completion rate above 50%. If not, I hope the defence keep me in it.
SPLATT : Philadelphia by 5.
WR (3-2, W1)
@ KC (1-4, L3)
Last time : wk 12, 2001 (17 - 38)
Gerald : A good win last week for the Skins, while
the Chiefs seemed to do everything right, but score more points. The same
gain this week I fear for the Chiefs. Skins by 10.
Jon : The Redskins came back well last week and
should know how to handle the Chiefs. Washington by 7.
SPLATT : Washington by 3.
SS (0-5, L6)
@ DC (2-3, W1)
Last time : N/A.
Gerald : Can they break their duck? Not this week.
Boyz by 10.
Jon : The way the Seahawks are going at present
this should be an easy win for the Cowboys. Dallas by 14.
SPLATT : Dallas by 3.
AC (0-5, L34)
@ OR (2-3, W1)
Last time : wk 6, 2004 (14 - 17 OT)
Gerald : Another team that looks unlikely to break
their duck. Raiders by 10.
Jon : The Raiders will stay top of the West unless
the Cards suddenly find some unexpected form. Mind you, they are overdue a
win. Raiders by 10.
SPLATT : Oakland by 2.
by Graham Canwell (Week 5)
||No doubt about this. Not only a magnificent balanced
performance but against the previously perfect Bills. No-one else came
||A strong case could be made for the Pats but (sorry
Gerald) I (just) went for the Steelers, who achieved the rare feat of
holding the (also previously perfect) Browns to just 14 points
||An almost impossible job to pick between Stuart and
Mark but it seemed a bit of a wimp-out to give a joint award to I plumped
for Stuart for reasons I can't explain (ah, there's the wimp-out!).
Call it a sixth sense (only without the dead people).
||The Saints and 49ers were there again this week but
were just edged out on the rails by the Bears, who were playing a team
in rather better form (the Lions, to be precise).
||When your own offense is flailing about like Minnesota's
was this week it takes a remarkable defensive effort to notch up a 33-6
win, and the Vike's D duly came up with one.
||You need to have beaten a previously 100% team to
get a coaching award this week and in the NFC that meant Paul was the
cream of the crop.
||Try as I might I couldn't dish this one out.
All the winners thoroughly deserved it. I dare anyone to suggest otherwise.
Gerald to Graham : OK I dare (re: wk.5 Rammys).
What about the Chargers?
Gerald to Brucey : Hummm. So what happened? Didn't
you get the 4 hour train journey to write a winning gameplan?
Gerald to Mark D : Well done, but I still can
still see Brucey give you a hard time.
Gerald to Jon : Randall is looking÷÷.. Hummm,
how can I be polite? Shite!!
Gerald to Graham : Well you're getting closer
to your ways of old, but perhaps this could be the end of an era? 4 games
behind is going to be hard to overcome.
Gerald to Brucey : It looks like our 'D's will
be the deciding factor. Or perhaps which of our two-year old QBs has the better
day? It's lucky you have no 'O' to speak of, as you might just be dangerous
Gerald to Mark Dixon : Watch it my son, I noticed
the reference to the Worst ∆ in your report. And you should know that that
has been ∆ to myself, unless you want to buy a licence?
Jon to Paul S : I thought I had you at half time
as it was looking reasonably comfortable. Good comeback. Git! :o(
Jon to All : I am getting seriously worried about
Randall's loss of form. At least, so far, he's not throwing many interceptions.
I just wish he'd throw more completions as well.
Jon to Stuart : Good win last week.
Jon to All : Has anybody thought of putting a
contract out on Troy?
Jon to Bruce : Well, I suppose it had to end
Jon to Graham : What's happened?
|by Paul Gorner
Yippee!! Finally, a win for my Chargers!!
Maybe my win against the Chiefs was expected, but still my offence
sucks! Anyway, just another week of Special Team training and it will
be at full strength, and then I can concentrate on training some of
my offensive plays.
What the hell happened to my run defence? I didn't see that coming,
I was just lucky he didn't get near the red zone too often or the score
would have been so different. It's usually my defence which has been
keeping me in games, but they certainly failed to turn up against the
If I can continue to scrape wins together for a few more weeks, and
with the division being very close, then maybe I can give the Playoffs
a go. I've more or less finished sorting my squad out and the Losing
Points have vanished, so it's now training which has been letting me
down. Like I've said, another week and I can concentrate on my offence
training and start putting some yards onto my stats.
|by Rob Crowther
After three full weeks at the helm I'm very happy with the way things
have gone. Two very comfortable wins have been the bread of a narrow
defeat sandwich, and I can swallow that. We were able to take
the Jets by surprise, the game was basically over by halftime. Next
up, the Dolphins. They were much better prepared and were able
to thwart our offense for most of the game, we were happy to keep it
close against playoff quality opposition. Last week the Seahawks
provided little opposition, I gave the defense some new plays for the
first time and they really paid off, Seattle struggled to move the ball
on us and really only scored as many as they did thanks to offensive
Everything is still not in place offensively, we've played well in
patches but have made too many mistakes. We expect to improve
as the season goes on and we build up training in the plays we're using.
The defense has done well but I think we need to improve there
as well if we want to make the playoffs. We're lucky to be in
a week looking division - 2-3 wouldn't be good enough for third place
in most divisions in the league but here we are in pole position. I
don't expect we can achieve anything much better than 9-7 this season,
but it looks like that may be good enough to win the AFC West. I
expect the Chargers to improve over the course of the season and our
games in weeks eight and ten could be crucial.
Next week we have a visit from the 0-5 Cardinals, on the face of it
a very good opportunity to cement our place at the top of the division.
We won't be taking anything for granted, however, players are
still unfamiliar with the offensive playbook and we will be giving a
few teams some easy opportunities to beat us over the coming weeks.
|by Graham Canwell
Well, some (OK, nearly everyone) would say that it's taken far
too long, but the Rams have finally opened up a clear margin at the
bottom of the NFC West. So what's gone wrong? The answer, to be honest,
is not that much really. The retirement of veteran all-world blah blah
blah Chris Miller from the QB position was always likely to lead to
a period of transition in St. Louis. Furthermore, given that the changeover
coincided with the arrival of a refreshing new surge of stellar coaching
talent into the league the general feeling in the Rams camp was that
this campaign was always likely to be an uphill struggle.
So it has proved, although the team has performed better than expected
although the team is 1-4 it has actually come within a whisker of being
4-1. In three of the four losses the team have led inside the two-minute
warning, only for the opposing offence to step up at the death and pull
the game out of the fire. It would be tempting to blame the defence
for allowing this to happen but that would be unfair as the unit lacks
the strength of personnel to carry the team - it never has done in living
memory and it isn't likely to start now!
We'd be the first to admit we've had our share of good breaks in the
past and we're due a few of the other kind so we aren't complaining.
Even in our other loss we managed to outgain the Vikings in yardage
and only committed one more turnover, so to lose 31-13 was a bit of
a kick in the teeth. Given the presence of a new young QB the offence
has done admirably and although, with our usual hideous interconference
schedule, our season is already almost doomed, spirits are still high
and we are taking a lot of positives from the games. We might need to
switch to a more gambling style of defence to try and make a few more
big plays, and future coaching is likely to be concentrated in that
area. Maybe it will come right in spectacular fashion and maybe (probably!!)
it won't. But at least it looks like it'll never be dull . . . .
||Week 5 - AFC Review
|by Mark Dixon
Welcome back to the erratic AFC review. I've just realised that I only
do this when I win (not deliberate I promise) so if you like this feature
and want to see it more often can I suggest that you lose to Pittsburgh
when you play them as it looks like that will get the round up produced
that week :o)
Anyway... On with the show:
The AFC (apart from the West, but I'll get to that) is looking pretty
nicely poised after week 5, both of the unbeaten teams from week 4 aren't
any more and two of the divisions are already looking like they are
going to be very tight this year. (well all 3 look tight, but the West
looks tight cos they are all dire, whereas the East and Central look
tight due to teams actually winning the odd game).
Divisional weeks always throw up big games, this week was certainly
no exception as in the East the Bills travelled to Miami and in the
Central the Browns were in Pittsburgh. We'll look at the Bills game
At 4-0 coming into this game Coach Ogg must've been pretty confident
against a Miami team that's been winning, but hasn't looked that good
doing it. Well they looked good this week as they rallied from a 28-16
half time deficit to win 31-38. Great second half D and a stella punt
return keyed the Dolphins fight back, which leaves them second in the
East on points difference. The Bills had no answer to the 'phish's clock
munching ground game giving up 4.6 a carry and 34! first downs.
In the other game involving East teams the Patriots crept past the Jets
in a game that may have decided both teams fates in the East this year.
With the win the Patriots move to 3-2 and are a game behind the leaders,
the Jets fall to 2-3 and even this early in the year it looks a long
way back due to the quality of coaching talent elsewhere in the East.
It was a tough game for either team to lose really, but the Pats made
fewer mistakes and in the end just did enough.
Moving on to the Central's big game: Cleveland visited Pittsburgh in
a game that the Steelers needed to win to keep their season alive. And
they did! Pittsburgh didn't even need any of the luck that saw them
scrape past the Browns last year. A solid running game and a couple
of great defensive plays kept the Steelers in with a shout despite going
14-7 down early.
By the half the deficit was one point and the second half was all
Pittsburgh. The 4th quarter was a tense affair with Cleveland always
threatening to pull a TD back, but the 'Steel Curtain' held firm to
give the steel town boys a winning record and leave them one game behind
the leaders in the Division.
In the Central's other game the Titans showed once again that the week
one loss was an aberration as they proved way too good for the Bengals,
with a smothering defensive performance. The Bengals put up token resistance,
but did mange to salvage their pride a little with a 4th quarter TD
to avoid the shutout. Weeks 8 and 10 should be pretty interesting in
the Central when the Browns and Titans match-up. I think that those
2 games will decide the division. The Browns still look pretty good,
but they have to be worried by the form being shown by Tennessee at
the moment. The Bengals? Well it looks like their season is over before
it got started. Coming back from 1-4, whist possible, is a big ask and
they haven't shown anything to suggest that they can do it.
And now we come to the Worst, sorry West. The Division no one wants
The Raiders are starting to look the pick of the bunch here, but they
need to be able to win some big games before anyone is going to worry
about them too much. They did a nice job on the Seahawks though, but
with no disrespect intended; that hasn't been to hard to do this year
(cue Pittsburgh losing that game). The other team that I think might
be able to muster a challenge is the Chargers, but scraping past the
previously woeful Chiefs isn't really the way to impress people is it?
Here the Chiefs had the Lions share of the possession and yardage, but
2 picks proved to be their undoing as San Diego squeaked it.
The AFC is probably going to come down to a battle between the 4 teams
that are currently 4-1. The guys on 3-2 are going to have their work
cut out to get a wildcard and will probably need help from other teams
(like the ones above them losing silly games). I expect the Bills to
win the East, with the 'Fins taking the WC. I'm going to go with the
Titans to win the Central with the Browns picking up the WC. Who's gonna
win the West? My gut feeling is that the Raiders will, but I don't expect
them to last too long in the Playoffs.
||Last Man Standing
|by Bruce Henderson
As the waters of defeat rise there comes a point when there's only
one team still breathing in a good dose of victory. As of week five,
the last team to remain undefeated are the resurgent Saints, guided
by their master at arms, Troy Dilworth. Are we seeing a possible perfect
season already? They've certainly looked like they have what it takes
to do the business, and possibly make that final step and become the
champions of the NFLAB.
The Eagles' good run of fortune ended this week as they strode into
the capitol with the Playoffs in their sights. Unfortunately for the
Philadelphia side the Redskins had other ideas, who, although going
behind early, rallied in the second half to take a well-deserved 14-10
win, and tie for the top-spot in the East. For both teams, their defenses
played well, keeping the game tight, right to the end, but throughout,
the Redskins looked to have the game under control, especially in the
air, with 234 yards and no interceptions. Washington will expect to
perform ably against the struggling Chiefs in the first of this seasons'
inter conference match ups, with the possibility of going clear of their
divisional rivals on the cards. The Eagles really need to do well on
their return to Veterans' Stadium where they take on the AFC West Chargers.
Worst case, a loss could see them in a three-way tie for the East.
There isn't much in the way of hope in Arizona at the moment, with
speculation regarding the long-standing coach's position in the team
in all the local papers. The continuing run of losses isn't helping
matters, and a 31-0 home-loss to division rivals Dallas in week five
only rubs salt into the gaping wounds. The Cardinals were unable to
offer much in the way of an offense against the Dallas powerhouse that
has developed since the arrival of new play-caller, coach Appleby, and
gained a measly 5 first downs, and only 136 yards of total offense.
On the other hand, the Cowboys showed that on their day they are a force
to be wary of, putting up a lot of impressive figures, and the all-important
shut-out. But the on-off nature of their game could spoil the party,
and a week six defeat against the appalling Seahawks might not be out
of the question. Arizona's chances of a win in the near future look
doomed, with a trip to this years' surprise AFC West front-runners Oakland
unlikely to raise their sunken hopes.
Minnesota cruised to an easy 33-6 win over the Buccaneers despite only
posting 190 total offensive yards. Tampa Bay seemed more than willing
to give the Vikings the ball anywhere they desired, giving the visitors
great field position for much of the day. However, the win probably
won't fill the Vikings with too much confidence as they'd hoped to show
a little more offense that has definitely been lacking this season.
Currently only third in a division they strolled through undefeated
last year, a visit from AFC top-dogs Buffalo could see them go 3-3 with
the real possibility of not making the playoffs. It looks like the Buccaneers'
dreams have ended for this year. 0-5 and one of the most generous defenses
in the league, it's doubtful a trip to nearby Miami will cause much
of a splash.
The Lions perfect season came to an end with a decisive 30-7 home defeat
to Chicago. During the mauling, the Lions gave up a season-high 5 turnovers,
allowing the Bears easy access to good field position and lots of scoring
opportunities. The only high-spot for Detroit was an 82 yard kickoff
return for a touchdown, their second of the season. The Bears punished
their opponents' mistakes and controlled the ball for most of the game,
looking like they were going to win early on. The Lions need to rethink
their strategies if they are to build on what has been their best start
to the season since before the 1995 season. A trip to the big-scoring
Patriots will see if their defense is really as good as its record suggests.
The Bears will be out to prove that they have the right to call themselves
the best in the Central, taking on the unknown quantity that the Jets
have been seen to be this year.
The Rams' once dominant place in the West has officially ended. Now
1-4, and a game behind the rest of the division they will need to consolidate
what's left of their season and try and regroup for 2006. The closely
fought battle against the 49ers that ended in a 24-27 defeat was the
last nail in their seasons' coffin. San Francisco on the other-hand
must be elated with both their victory and their new coach, as he appears
to have worked a minor miracle and turned them into a force to be reckoned
with. With 317 yards in the air, and another 158 rushing, the 49ers
simply ground the Rams into defeat. Although their defense crumbled
in the end, the St Louis offense fought hard enough to stay within sight
of a win right up until the end, but as this season has shown, it just
wasn't to be. It's likely that the Rams would like to go away and lick
their wounds, but with a visit from the mighty Browns looming, they
may as well wait another week and clear up the mess then. The run of
good fortune could take the 49ers past a difficult trip to Pittsburgh,
but the Steelers will be looking to build on a surprise win over their
nemesis Browns this week, so a slug-fest looks promising.
The Saints go from strength to strength as the season progresses. They
won easily over the Falcons 41-13, producing a performance that was
truly outstanding. Future opponents beware. Again, the New Orleans passing
attack was awesome, completing the game with 363 yards and four touchdowns,
with Atlanta totally at a loss as to how to defend against it. The Falcons'
own offense wasn't exactly shabby itself, but with your opponents striding
up the field as easily as New Orleans did, they were simply outshone.
The Saints next travel to Tennessee to take on AFC Central joint-leaders
the Titans, in what should be an intense meeting, with the Titans hungry
for a place in the playoffs in a very tough division. Atlanta should
have an easier time taking on the poorly performing Bengals, and hopefully
retaining some hope of a place in the playoffs.
Newsletter of the
Dave (he of www.endzone1.co.uk
fame) has collected a number of very impressive newsletters from around the
country. Among them is BttDB, so if you like to vote for BttDB as the best
newsletter out there and why wouldn't you? Check out the links below.
If you don't have access to the web, drop me a line and I'll vote
I think the voting is going to run for all of July, but I'm not certain
about that. So if you do intend to vote, probably best to do it ASAP. And
remember vote for the best, Vote BttDB!!
To view Results
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Well not much left for me ramblings. So I'll leave it short. COME ON