Welcome to the Thursday edition of the FFL Blog. I’m actually writing this offline, as either my modem is busted, or the power cable leading to the modem is busted. Which isn’t all that important, except for the fact that I can’t read any of the comments that you sent in, hence we don’t have a true mailbag. However, there are one or two things that I’m going to comment on anyway, they just won’t be quoted properly like usual. I’m sure you understand! Anyway, here we go.
Antwerp Diamonds (0-1) v Brussels Black Angels (0-0)
Last 5 years : Angels 6, Diamonds 0
Last match : April 15, 2012 in Gent : Angels 15, Diamonds 5
The Diamonds have got just one week to regroup after their opening week loss to the Bulls. The Swamp in Gent has traditionally been the lowest scoring field in the FFL, and I don’t really see any signs that this game will be much different. Antwerp’s offense managed just 80 yards against the Bulls tough front seven, but their defense held up rather well, conceeding just 112. It will have to do just as good a job on Sunday against the power game of the Angels.
As for Brussels, 2013 is a fresh start for them in more ways than one. They’ve got the chance to erase the disappointment of last season, but they’ll have to do it without a few of their more well-known players who have moved on from the team. So it’ll be interesting to see if ‘Angels football’ will have changed any with a new quarterback and some new faces up the middle.
Whether the Angels will change the way they play is still up in the air, but the way the Diamonds play is not. They’re going to come at you in their I and Wishbone formations and try to jam the ball down your throat.
Last year’s Angels had the most fearsome defense the league has seen in quite some time. Can this year’s version duplicate the success of the 2012 defense? Probably a better question is can the Angels score some more points and take the pressure off their D, after all, during the 2008-2011 seasons, Brussels scored 27.4 points per game in FFL play. Last year they averaged just 12.8 points per game.
Prediction : I have to believe that the Angels have enough to win the game, but I expect a mighty struggle with neither team giving anything away easily. Black Angels 13, Diamonds 6
Gent Gators (0-0) v Puurs Titans (1-0)
Last 5 years : Gators 3, Titans 3
Last match : March 11, 2012 in St Agatha : Gators 41, Titans 0
The Titans have shown that they’ve taken a big step forward from last season, and a perfect 2-0 start would put them right in the middle of the playoff hunt, just one year removed from finishing last. The Gators linebackers are going to be the busiest group of players on the field, and they’re going to have to be the best group of players on the field as well if they want to take the bikkies* in this game, because they have to deal with the Titans four-headed monster at runningback.
The Gators are also going to need to move the ball efficiently on offense. Every first down that they make is another two minutes that they keep the ball away from the Titans. Last season the Titans ranked dead last against the pass, and they weren’t really tested by the Lions last week, so look for Gent to take to the air and give the Puurs defensive backs plenty to think about.
I still maintain that the Titans have to take better care of the football in order to be more successful. Looks like it’s going to be another gameday hovering somewhere around freezing, so keeping a firm grip on the ball isn’t always easy. A couple of turnovers at awkward positions on the field can be deadly – just ask Antwerp.
Prediction : I think we’ll see more points in this game than in the first one, but it seems like conditions will make it tricky for playing smooth football. Titans 26, Gators 17
Meanwhile, in Wallonia
I’ve been informed by the Turtles Steven Corijn (thankyou) that the way I’ve been showing the LFFAB standings isn’t correct. I’ll be sure it’s fixed on Monday.
This little blog has just reached a milestone. A total of 50 000 page views! When I started this about 25 months ago, I wouldn’t have even dared to dream of a number that big – I think I was hoping to get 2 000 in the first season (The record for most views in one day was 650. That is, until Monday, when there were 888!) As is customary at times like this, here’s a list of the top ten views by country.
1 – Belgium
2 – United States
3 – Netherlands
4 – France
5 – United Kingdom
6 – Germany
7 – Luxembourg
8 – Iceland
9 – Italy
So wherever you’re from, thanks for reading! And by the way, Australia ranks at a dismal #17!
Lots of people were somewhat blown away by the stats that were posted last week. It’s funny, because those Game Reports are almost exactly the same as what I sent to the coaches last season, I guess they just chose not to pass the information on to you, which is fine, it was their call what they did with the it.
So why publish them this year? Well that’s easy. The way I see it, we all want football to go forward in this country. You players should all be trying to get better, whether it’s hitting the gym, studying film, going to training or whatever. You coaches should be trying to making your players better by teaching, by learning new drills and new methods, by talking to other coaches. And this is my way to make you all better too. I figure that maybe just knowing that someone is watching and writing down everything that happens might just give you that bit of extra motivation to play better.
Oh, and by the way, this version of the stats machine is only temporary. Last Friday I had a sneak preview of the AFSP (American Football Stats Project, thanks to Gator Benoit Lagae). It’s not completed yet, and it’s likely that it won’t be fully operational until next season, but bloody hell, it’s going to be unbelievable. Kind of like upgrading from a Toyota to a Ferrari. Let’s just hope that the football will be unbelievable too. Having said that, there’s no reason for you guys to wait until next year, awesome football is always appreciated!
FFL Fantasy Football Challenge
This is the last week that Klaas and I will be able to check out the talent on the field before we start on our Fantasy Football Challenge. I’ll be watching from the stands in Gent (although quite possibly invading the sidelines at some point, I’m sure you don’t mind), while Klaas will have a better view anyway as he’ll be standing on the field itself as the back judge. So be careful not to take him out when you’re on the field!
That’s just about all we have time for this week. I hope to see you all in Gent – I think The Swamp is the best field in the league as far as viewing lines for the spectators goes, so I can only encourage everyone to get out there! Until then
* “Bikkie” is an Aussie word, meaning cookie (or biscuit). “To take the bikkies” is an Aussie phrase, in this case meaning “to win the game”