We’re back on board for the drive to the playoffs, which looks like going all the way until the final games of the season at the beginning of May, which is exactly as it should be! Teams who want to make it into the playoffs had better start winning now. Unfortunately for Leuven, it’s too late, as they have been eliminated from playoff contention. Limburg, Bornem, Brussels Angels and West Flanders are in the best position, as they all control their own destiny – if they win out, they will qualify. Brussels Bulls, Antwerp and Gent all need help, even if they win out, it won’t guarantee them a playoff spot. Things will certainly change after this weekend, so let’s look forward to the upcoming games.
Games this weekend
@ St. Agatha – 12:00 – Antwerp Diamonds v Brussels Black Angels
Since 2000 : Diamonds 7, Black Angels 7
Last match : February 21, 2010 – @ Gent – Black Angels 20, Diamonds 12
Antwerp are faced with the task of playing the Angels, who are coming off their best performance of the year, a 49-0 whitewash of Gent. Meanwhile, the Diamonds lost 0-35 to the Tribes, although for this game they’ll gain their Quarterback, who didn’t play last week. Adding to the difficulties for Antwerp will be the fact that two of their offensive linemen got ejected last week and are therefore ineligible to play this weekend.
The Angels scored in a whole variety of ways last weekend, on the ground, in the air, and on defense, and will look to continue the trend in this game. Antwerp’s offense will hope to put together some long, time consuming drives to try and reduce the number of times the Angels get the ball and limit the damage that they can do. The Diamonds’ defense are going to have to find a way to stop the most complete backfield in the FFL, which is something that hasn’t happened often this year, even if it means leaving their cornerbacks on their own against the Angels receivers, they’ll just have to take their chances.
Antwerp are also predominantly a ground based attack, but they’ve got enough variation with their passing game to keep any defense honest. It should be a tough match-up, both teams’ defense are capable of dishing out the big hits.
@ St. Agatha – 15:00 – Brussels Bulls v Gent Gators
Since 2000 : Gators 2, Bulls 1
Last match : February 21, 2010 – @ Gent – Gators 19, Bulls 0
The Bulls played a very complete game against the Titans last week, dominant rushing combined with a suffocating defense makes this a difficult match for the Gators. Gent could be another team playing an extra body in the box and leaving their cornerbacks isolated in order to try and stop the running game of their opponents.
The Gators offense will want to get the ball out of their quarterback’s hands as quickly as possible, luckily they played a similar sort of defensive team last week in the Angels, so they should be ready for what they’ll see on Sunday. They’ll need to execute very well with clean blocking and good hands as the Bulls will be putting pressure on them all day long.
As for the Bulls, more of what they brought last week would be just fine. Lots of variation in their running game and the occassional deep pass are the order of the day. It will be a busy day for Gent’s linebackers, they’re going to want to wrap up the Bulls’ runners quickly and efficiently.
@ Leuven – 12:00 – Bornem Titans v Limburg Shotguns
Since 2000 : Titans 1, Shotguns 0
Last match : February 21, 2010 – @ Leopoldsburg – Titans 36, Shotguns 12
This promises to be a most interesting matchup, possibly the game of the week. How will the Titans handle the Shotguns spread offense? They’ll certainly want to get pressure on the Shotguns quarterback without using their linebackers, so they can have them play contain or drop into zone coverage to disrupt the Shotguns’ receivers’ pass patterns.
The spotlight then falls on the Titans offense. They didn’t manage much last week, so they’ve got to find a way to get the ball to their playmakers and let them work their magic. They should find more space against the Shotguns than they found against the Bulls, so it should be just a matter of using it.
The Shotguns will be looking to exploit the Titans’ pass defense with their version of the Air Raid, which means it’s all about pass blocking for the big boys up front – picking up any blitzers will be key for them.
@ Leuven – 15:00 – Leuven Lions v West Flanders Tribes
Since 2000 : Tribes 7, Lions 1, Tied 1
Last match : February 21, 2010 – @ Leopoldsburg – Tribes 38, Lions 0
Leuven were the last team to play the Tribes and not lose to them (a 6-6 tie way back in week 1 of 2007), so what is it going to take for a repeat performance? Flawless execution and discipline. The Tribes are a heavily penalised team, and the Lions can’t afford to be giving yards away. Leuven will have to tackle like never before, as one missed tackle against the wrong player of the Tribes is equal to 6 points against them. They can expect to face a balanced offense, the boys from West Flanders will rush and pass roughly half of the time each.
On offense Leuven will have to execute with precision and timing. They can’t afford missed blocks or dropped balls, and one or two big plays on special teams would only help. The Tribes defense will want to play with more poise than they did last week so they can get on top early and control the game from there. On offense, West Flanders will spread the ball around, both in the air and on the ground, making it impossible for their opponents to focus on any one area and try to take it away. That’s why they’re so good, my loyal readers, they can win games in many different ways.
Man v Machine
I nailed all four games last week, giving me 7 correct. The computer only got three right, giving it 5 right for the season.
I have Angels by 14, Bulls by 27, Titans by 6, Tribes by 34.
The computer has Angels by 6, Bulls by 29, Shotguns by 1, Tribes by 30.
There has been a lot of talk about the various unpleasantnesses* in last weeks’ games, and everybody had the same opinion. As far as this reporter is concerned, it’s now all in the past. We all have to look forward and get back to playing football. I’m all for talking football during the week but let’s hope we can talk about the great plays made on the weekend rather than ejections and fights.
“I know that you rely on someone else concerning the Angels game vs the Gators, therefore the mistake isn’t yours. I only had 2 picks (not 3) and 1 of them for TD. Redoine El Batti (LB #09) made the 3rd pick. Don’t change anything, it makes me look good!”
Well, these things happen, I suppose. Either 2 or 3 picks is still pretty good, I reckon. My thanks go out to all those who’ve contributed to this blog this year, as I can’t do it all by myself.
The playoff picture is bound to get a lot clearer after this weekend. Hard to believe that some teams are almost finished their regular season! Anyway, have a good game, wherever you are. I’ll be in Brussels, gotta love the view from upstairs!
* I don’t think “unpleasantnesses” is a real word, but I’m sure you all know what I mean.