17 – FFL week 06

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.

Computer rankings

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.

Upcoming

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)

Outro

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.

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7 Responses to 17 – FFL week 06

  1. PJ Brady says:

    Hey Dale, thanks for taking the time to do this. Its fun to read. I dont understand the computer’s rankings. Shouldn’t it go by winning percentages? The Titans would be in 2nd at 3-1 over the 2-1-1 Angels despite the Angels with the heads-up win. And I will predict that the 3rd playoff spot is going to go to the winner of the Bulls Titans game this weekend.

    • dalehousden says:

      Not a problem, my man. The computer takes other things into account, like strength of schedule, points scored and conceeded and so on, so it’s not just as simple as winning percentage. You might just be right with your prediction though.

  2. Dorian says:

    Do I hear a challenge there by Brady?

    as for the Titans, indeed, we have not been ourselves this year in terms of production on offense. Although we have put together solid drives and yardage, we need to be more consistent and, most important, finish it off. But you did miss our best display so far against Leuven.. Against the Black Angels we lacked in inspiration and on defense I think we missed more meat up the middle with Ludwig (Tackle) and Mathias (MLB) out of the game to counter the power running.

    And is it me or have their been more injuries throughout the league this season? We have (had) more than our share so far.

    Also, I have found watching rugby not to be the best pre-gameday activity. I followed the Six Nations rugby, and although Ireland-England was a good watch it did not help watching it for the game the next day. Still, another great sport though.

    • dalehousden says:

      Every game is a challenge, Dorian 🙂
      Look on the bright side, you guys haven’t been quite so impressive but you’re still 3-1. The Tribes haven’t exactly been imposing either but they still find a way to get it done. That’s why I haven’t changed by BB prediction (yet) but this weekend will be a good indication of if that was a good choice or not. By the way, I will be there on Sunday 😉
      Not sure if there have been more injuries or if people are just more aware of the ones that have occured.
      Ireland-England was a good one, I agree (I just love watching England lose). I always thought I might like to try rugby – that goal kicking must be dead simple with nobody trying to block the kick!

      • Bram Wydooghe says:

        LOL I’m not so sure about the ease of kicks in rugby, Dale. The distances but especially the angles they have to kick at, are crazy at times. What I love about that sport, is how they move around like a team, and even more the tackling technique of the players!! No shoulder pads or helmets, and yet you almost never see a missed tackle… Watching rugby could be a good education programme for young DL’s and LB’s. Or maybe practicing tackles without a helmet. I’m sure no one will think about going in head first then.
        And yes, you’re right: England are not the most popular rugby union side in Europe… That one counts as a huge understatement.

    • PJ Brady says:

      Absolutely Dorian! I am still pissed you beat us with 8 seconds left in the last game of the 2009 season. 🙂 And that was to go to the playoffs! Its always a good game between our teams and no doubt we are in for another on Sunday. See you on the field!

      • Dorian Vermeir says:

        It seems we have developed a knack for that type of game situations. Good thing you remember because it could happen all over again 🙂

        see you out there!

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