Here we are, week six of the FFL is completed. Just one game to review, and then it’s time to look at all of the teams and how they’ve stacked up so far this season, along with a look into their possible playoff futures. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get cracking!*
Game One – Antwerp Diamonds 28, Limburg Shotguns 19
I admit to being rather surprised when I heard this final score. I didn’t like the match up of the Diamonds defense against the Shotguns offense, and I certainly didn’t think that the Diamonds’ minds would have been in the game after all the controversy of a few weeks ago.
However, wiser heads prevailed, and the Diamonds were able to control the Shotguns offense, picking off QB Saffo twice, and disrupting many other pass plays by batting the ball down. The possibilty exists that the Shotguns QB wasn’t at 100%, but this result was down to the Diamonds defense.
On the other side of the ball, LB Curren was brilliant, but not even he could stop QB Keymolen who tossed a touchdown to TE Verhelst (2-point conversion for RB “Sneezy” Smet) and sliced one into the endzone himself, to set the final score in stone. The Diamonds put together some more time consuming drives, the Shotguns couldn’t get it back in order to try and make a comeback, and in the end, the Diamonds won convincingly.
Only one move this week as Antwerp move up to number 3 at the expense of Bornem.
1 – West Flanders Tribes (3-0-0) : 3000
2 – Brussels Black Angels (2-1-1) : 1914
3 – Antwerp Diamonds (3-2-0) : 1816
4 – Bornem Titans (3-1-0) : 1771
5 – Brussels Bulls (1-2-1) : 1405
6 – Limburg Shotguns (1-2-0) : 865
7 – Gent Gators (1-3-0) : 358
8 – Leuven Lions (1-4-0) : 0
First half review and playoff chances
No ten thoughts this week, as I don’t have ten FFL thoughts to write down! Instead I’m going to look back on what I said about the teams at the start of the season, and compare to what’s really been going on. Also I’ll look at each team’s chances to play in the playoffs.
Leuven Lions (off : 7th, def : 7th) – “Will this team find an identity on offense?”
I pretty much answered this on Thursday. The answer, for whatever reason, is no. It’s going to take a big turnaround to get this thing up to around the .500 mark, which is what the team should be aiming for, as the playoffs are far, far away.
Gent Gators (off : 8th, def : 6th) – “Can they protect their quarterback and give him time to throw the Gators into the playoffs?”
This turned out not to be a good question, as I was thinking of Kim Jolie at quarterback. In any case, the answer has been no. The Gators offense is scoring just 7 points per game, which isn’t going to get it done, except for if your defense is impenetrable. As for their playoff chances, have you ever heard of the phrase “mathematically possible”? It means that in theory it’s still possible, but not in practice.
Limburg Shotguns (off : 3rd, def : 8th) – “Will they be able to use their experience from last year to improve?”
I would say that the answer is positive, especially on the offensive side of the ball where they play a style that has never before been seen in Belgium. I’m sure playing an offense like that isn’t easy on young players, so they’ll only get better. Standing at 1-2 as they are, going to the playoffs won’t be an easy road, especially now the Diamonds own their tiebreaker.
Brussels Bulls (off : 4th, def : 4th) – “When is their youth policy finally going to pay off?”
I would say that it hasn’t quite yet, however, perhaps a better answer is “soon”. A couple of times they held it close against a quality opponent and didn’t quite get it done. With more experience, they win those close games, and qualify for the playoffs. They still have a chance to make it to the playoffs, but they’ll virtually have to win out and hope for losses by teams above them (the Angels beating the Diamonds twice, and the Tribes beating the Titans twice would be a big help).
Bornem Titans (off : 5th, def : 3rd) – “Can they find a weapon on the outside to take the pressure off their tight end and running game?”
Easy question to answer – yes. Dorian Vermeir has been that guy. A better question might well have been – is this the year they beat the Angels or the Tribes? It had better be for the Titans, otherwise they may well just miss the playoffs. Fortunately for them, they hold the tie-breaker over Antwerp. The Titans will qualify if they take care of their own business, starting with the Bulls this weekend.
Antwerp Diamonds (off : 2nd, def : 2nd) – “Can they incorporate their young players into their system?”
Another simple one – yes. Elliott Keymolen has taken over this team on offense and the young secondary are more than holding their own. This is a team that are very close to being undefeated, and should not be underestimated by anybody. However, their run home is clearly the toughest in the FFL – Tribes, Angels, Angels. If they make it, they will have absolutely earned it.
Brussels Black Angels (off : 6th, def : 1st) – “Can they overcome their rash of injuries?”
I’d say that they were able to cover pretty well. On offense they haven’t looked like a well-oiled machine yet, but their defense has been able to hold things up while the offense get themselves sorted out. Their playoff chances are very good, but they have to be wary of Antwerp, two losses in those games mean the Angels will almost certainly miss out.
West Flanders Tribes (off : 1st, def : 5th) – “Can they make up for the loss of their left tackle and tight end and still run the football effectively?”
This has also been a – yes. The can be no questions about a Tribes offense scoring 29 points per game, it’s the defense that has been the worry, yielding 14 points per game. I don’t remember the last time a Tribes defense was this porous, and they’ll want to shore that up with a tough run to come. The Tribes playoff chances are, as usual, excellent. They have two games against Bornem and a rivalry game against Antwerp among their last five.
I’d said at the start of the year that I was looking at a Tribes v Titans Belgian Bowl. I’m not prepared to change from that yet, however, although the Titans are 3-1, they’ve yet to inspire a lot of confidence from this reporter. Incidentally, the Brussels Tigers are looking unstoppable in the Walloon conference, and that will be a tough match up for any team hoping to qualify for BB XXIV. Over the next few weeks, I’ll get more into details about exactly what each team has to do in order to qualify for the playoffs, but it’s all a bit too vague as of now.
April 3 – Anderlecht
12:00 – Limburg Shotguns (1-2-0) v Leuven Lions (1-4-0)
15:00 – Brussels Black Angels (2-1-1) v Gent Gators (1-3-0)
April 3 – Bornem
12:00 – Antwerp Diamonds (3-2-0) v West Flanders Tribes (3-0-0)
15:00 – Bornem Titans (3-1-0) v Brussels Bulls (1-2-1)
I know that this has been a shorter version than normal although I think you all understand why. Thursday we’ll be back to normal with game previews and your mailbag, so don’t forget to comment, like, share, subscribe and all the rest of it so I’ve got something to write about! Until next time.
* “Let’s get cracking” is a bit of a catchphrase from an Aussie comedy show from a few years ago. If you like your comedy silly, search for ‘Russell Coight’ on Youtube, you won’t be disappointed.