Here we are, back for yet another session of FFL Thursday mailbag. A quick shout-out goes to the Angers Yankees – don’t know how you guys found this blog but welcome aboard! This time there are four games to preview, so I won’t waste time on a long introduction – let’s get right to it.
Games this weekend
@ Leopoldsburg – 12:00 – Brussels Bulls (0-1) v Leuven Lions (1-1)
Since 2000 : Lions 2, Bulls 1
Last match : March 28, 2010 – @ Leuven – Bulls 18, Lions 13
The Bulls should be all fresh from a week off and now they’ve had time to work on their passing game to try and make an impact on the Lions’ secondary. On the other hand, the Lions are coming off a tough physical game against the Angels, and are straight back into action.
The Lions strong offensive line, led by interior linemen C Willems and G Salvaggio, will have a tough time with the physical front seven of the Bulls, and it’ll be up to QB Vanhoof (himself limping at the end of last week’s game but fit to play) to pick apart the secondary of the Bulls.
As for the Bulls’ ground game, they’ll have to deal with the Lions’ hard working defensive line, featuring DL Janssens. Whatever the Bulls gameplan is, it must involve keeping the ball away from Lions WR/CB Sakyi-Gyinae, at all costs.
@ Leopoldsburg – 15:00 – Antwerp Diamonds (1-1) v Limburg Shotguns (0-0)
Since 2000 : Diamonds 1, Shotguns 0
Last match : March 28, 2010 – @ Leuven – Diamonds 24, Shotguns 6
It’s hard to know what to expect from this one, as I’ve never really seen Limburg play before, all I know about them is that their coach is confident, and that they played well at the indoor tournament in Spijkenisse a few months ago.
I have seen Antwerp twice though, and what Limburg can expect from the Diamonds is this : it’ll be a physical game. Antwerp bring a mostly rushing offense through QB Keymolen and everything-man Vervaet. But don’t forget about the pass – their score against Bornem was in the air.
Antwerp have always had a solid defense and this years’ version is no different, led by the experience of LBs Karmidi and Borra, and yet they’ve blended in youth and speed at the back end.
I think we might end up with a close one, Antwerp are fully capable of shutting down most any offense going around, including going two seconds short of shutting out Bornem last weekend. Limburg are a bit of an unknown but I get the feeling people around the FFL are expecting a much improved team over last year.
@ Bornem – 12:00 – Brussels Black Angels (1-0) v West Flanders Tribes (0-0)
Since 2000 : Tribes 11, Angels 2, Ties 2
Last match : March 28, 2010 – @ Anderlecht – Tribes 33, Angels 7
The word on the street is that Angels QB Njufom, who never looked at 100% against the Lions, won’t be playing in this game, and it’ll be up to WR Killens to get the job done from under center. However I don’t believe that this news is of much interest to the Tribes, as they just do what they do regardless of their opponent. Also LB El Batti is certainly out for the Angels after being ejected against the Lions.
For the Tribes, the big question is how they’re going to replace their LT Vanhauwere. I don’t know what their plans are, but they had better be good as the Angels can certainly bring pressure around the outsides.
Look for a very agressive Tribes defense who won’t just sit around and wait for the game to come to them. As for the Angels offense, they’ll likely keep it on the ground perhaps more than they’d like, and they may be forced to open their bag of tricks in order to keep the Tribes strong linebacking core honest.
The Angels defense, led by LB Loquet, will have their hands full. Big things are expected from Tribes QB Vermaut, RB George and WR Gancharov, but will they get enough protection to be able to do their thing?
@ Bornem – 15:00 – Bornem Titans (1-0) v Gent Gators (0-1)
Since 2000 : Titans 4, Gators 2
Last match : March 28, 2010 – @ Anderlecht – Titans 19, Gators 6
The Gators have also had a week off since their opener to get a few things ironed out, so hopefully they’ve made the neccessary improvements. They face a Titans team coming off a last second victory last weekend, and who have a few injury concerns.
Titans QB Rochus is questionable with a back injury. The injury is not new and flared up at the end of the game last weekend. If he’s not available, TE D’Hondt will fill in for him. D’Hondt did an excellent job last weekend, leading the game winning drive in the final minute, but I’m sure the Titans would rather have him catching balls than throwing them. RB Steenackers was sore too but is expected to play. LB Lagae has a damaged MCL and meniscus and is almost certainly out for the season. Best of luck to Mathias with his recovery.
Gent’s secondary will have their hands full with WR Vermeir, so fortunately they can rely on the knowledge of S Jolie to guide them. The Gators will look to improve in all phases of the game against a Titans team who’ll be trying to do better themselves, this time in front of their home crowd.
Man vs Machine
The computer isn’t completely working yet as there are still two teams who haven’t played. Starting next week she’ll* be ready to go. As for me, I have :
Lions by 10, Diamonds by 2, Tribes by 11, Titans by 20
Kevin Van Hauwaert, Bornem
“Sorry for our bad game this sunday. Epic ending, but probably our worst game in 3 years. We will make it up to you and our fans next week.”
You don’t need to apologise to me, I was happy that I had something to write about!
Erwin Janssens, Leuven
“After more than 20 years of playing in Belgium, at last somebody takes the initiative to write about our beloved sport, it is really great. Thanks also for the comment you wrote about our Lions defensive line – you are making an old man proud that he is still playing.”
Not a problem, I am having fun doing it. As for the comment, I also had a similar one from Joshua Vanderaa (Antwerp). I call it as I see it. That means that I only publish what I really mean, I wouldn’t say that someone was playing well if I didn’t think they were.
“Nice seeing you again at the sideline, but you looked a bit stressed when we chatted briefly about your blog. Don’t be, it’s short and to the point, that’s what we like.”
Yeah, I write better than I talk, that’s why I’m into this, and not interviewing you guys for TV 😉
So for the first time this season I’ll be missing two FFL games there in Leopoldsburg. Feel free to fill me in on what I’ve missed! Everyone have a good game. Until Monday!
* Australians use “she” instead of “it” quite often for inanimate objects.