So here we are. It’s been a long, cold winter FFL fans. The players have been training, the coaches have been scheming, the officials have been doing whatever officials do, and we’ve all been waiting for the opening kickoff in the 2013 FFL season. Well it’s only six sleeps away, and the action will be going down at Titans Stadium in Puurs.
I’m curious to see the improvements that have been made there, but I’m more curious to see the improvements that have been made on the field, by all the teams and players. The best part about this time of year is that nobody knows who is going to stand out this season, and that all of our theories and predictions will go out the window and be replaced by reality.
Early weather prediction for Sunday
2°C, possibility of light rain. Hopefully everything is fine with the field because if games have to be played another time, the whole schedule will be up the creek*.
@ Puurs, 12:00 : Antwerp Diamonds (0-0) v Brussels Bulls (0-0)
Last 5 years : Diamonds 6 – Bulls 1
Last matchup : May 27, 2012, Molenbeek – Diamonds 12, Bulls 9
A most interesting matchup to begin the season – the FFL’s representative to last year’s Belgian Bowl against the reigning FFL Champions. The question is going to be can the Diamonds continue doing what they do, or will the Bulls be able to control the flow of the game with their running plays.
It looks like being a cold day, and I guess on those days we tend to think that passing might be difficult and it’ll be just down to toughness to see who will leave with the W. I don’t know if I really believe that, but I’m still leaning towards the Bulls on this one.
I just think that they’ll be able to crank out a few more yards and a few more first downs than the Diamonds, which will lead to better field position and more possibilities to score points. Also they have a dynamic return game, so look for the quick players of the Bulls to outrun the Diamonds in space and set up their offense nicely.
Having said that, I do think that the Diamonds will be able to keep it close and give the Bulls a scare, but I have to give the edge to Brussels to start their title defense with an important win.
It’s important to note that because all teams play each other just once, that every game is a tie-breaker in itself.
Prediction : I like the Bulls, but the Diamonds sure know how to beat them. I’m thinking a fairly low scoring game – Bulls 17, Diamonds 9
@ Puurs, 15:00 : Leuven Lions (0-0) v Puurs Titans (0-0)
Last 5 years : Titans 5 – Lions 0 – Ties 1
Last matchup : March 18, 2012, Korbeek-Lo – Lions 8, Titans 8
Many people are expecting the Lions to take a big step forward this year, and what better way to do that than to beat the Titans on their home field.
Last year’s game was a dour affair, the teams combined passing was 10-35 for 159 yards, 0 td and 5 int, and the standout player (to nobodies surprise) was the eventual defensive MVP, Ken Meersmans.
I expect to see more points scored in this game than in the first one on Sunday, although this is slightly dependant on how the Titans’ new field holds up. The Lions were a dangerously fast team last year, and the Titans would be wise to keep those little guys in the middle of the field rather than to the outside where they have more room.
I think the Titans just need some more consistency, and a lot less turnovers. If it is cold, and a little wet, the ball can tend to slip out at rather annoying times, so ball protection will be vital to them.
I must admit to rather looking forward to this game – the winner of this game will have their first victory in the FFL since 2011!
Prediction : I think I’m going to take the away team, just a little too much speed and a little too much stability, but I expect a much improved Titans team as well – Lions 27, Titans 23
Meanwhile, in Wallonia
The most important news is that the Brussels Tigers opened up their season with a win.
Brussels Tigers 30 – Andenne Bears 7
Liege Monarchs 36 – Luxembourg Steelers 0
|LLN Fighting Turtles||1||0||0||26||0||+26|
|Charleroi Coal Miners||0||1||0||0||26||-26|
12:00 – #3 LLN Fighting Turtles (1-0) vs #6 Wapi Phoenix (0-1)
15:00 – #7 Charleroi Coal Miners (0-1) vs #4 Waterloo Warriors (1-0)
To paraphrase The Rock : Finally, football has come back to the FFL! It’s about time, I might add. I encourage you all to get to Puurs to watch the games, which will still hopefully be the site of some sort of All-Star game at the end of the season. I wonder what’s going to be on the menu this year, as the Titans are known for doing something rather different than the usual burgers.
Thursday will be the mailbag as usual, and on Sunday before the games, providing the weather agrees (or if we go indoors, I suppose), you might just see something approximating FFL Gameday! (Either that, or it could just be me and Klaas talking football while sitting around a table and grabbing random people as they walk past to ask who their Impact Player of the week is). Until then
* ‘Up the creek’ is short for ‘Up shit creek without a paddle’, meaning screwed, or, to use another Aussie word, buggered.