0321 – Apr 11

Welcome everyone to the Thursday edition of the FFL Blog. With the changes to the schedule we’ve got a hat-trick of football games on Sunday, and what better place to have it than at Titan Stadium? It’s going to be brilliant.

Mailbag

Frederik George, Ostend : “If you only take the QB’s who have 10 attempts (so exclude the red ones), then the top 3 QB’s in completions % are all (ex-) Black Angels. So Dale, in BB 2008 the Black Angels had 3 QB’s on the field and we didn’t see that ??”

That certainly explains why we (the Tribes, that would be) had like 6 roughing the passer penalties in that game!

Early weather prediction for Sunday

Sunny and 20°C! What actually happened to spring, because I think I missed it.

Game previews

Gent Gators (0-2-1) vs Izegem Tribes (0-2-0)

Last 5 years : Tribes 5, Gators 0
Last match : May 6, 2012 in Ostend – Tribes 41, Gators 13

So I previewed this game a couple of weeks ago, as this is one of the games that was lost when the games were cancelled in Antwerp.
My points then were :

– The Tribes secondary got carved up by the Lions passing game, although they did better against the Bulls.
– The Tribes will be a couple of players down out of the heart of their defense, which should help the Gators struggling running game.
– The Gators defensive line is having a good season but so are the Tribes offensive line.
– The Tribes rookie quarterback is doing a solid job.

All of those points still apply for this game, but I’ll add the obvious fact that the Gators have two serious passing threats in WR Lezy and TE Dufour, although that doesn’t mean that they’re the only two guys who can catch a ball. The Tribes have by far the most yards per pass attempt against in the league.

On defense, the Gators have lost some linebackers which weakens them against the run, but the health of Tribes RB Atwood is in doubt so it remains to be seen if they can take advantage of possible extra room in the Gators defense.
One other thing to note. It has been a long time since the Tribes played. Will they be able to get off to a fast start or is it going to take a little while for them to get back in form?

Computer says : Tribes by 2
I say : This is a tricky one, and I can definitely see it going either way. Both teams will be hungry for their first victory this season. If Gators QB Killens is able to avoid Tribes CB Carlos “The Island” Pype (unlike last year), then I think Gent will win. Gators by 4

Brussels Black Angels (2-1-0) vs Leuven Lions (2-1-1)

Last 5 years : Black Angels 6, Lions 0
Last match : April 3, 2012 in Anderlecht – Black Angels 2, Lions 0

I certainly remember this game last year, it was perhaps the weirdest game I’ve ever seen, but it was also a sign that the Lions were on the improve. And they’ve kept on getting better, already with 2.5 wins this season. A win against the Black Angels, and you’d have to say that the Lions have officially arrived.

But victories against the Angels are generally about as rare as hen’s teeth*, so how are the Lions going to go about getting one? Well, I expect that they’ll just try to do what they normally do – try to keep their opponent’s defense off balance with fakes, bootlegs, reverses and the occasional long pass. Leuven’s offense is unique in the FFL, making them a little harder to prepare for than other teams.

The Black Angels defense just does what the Black Angels defense does. However they did give up quite a few yards against the Diamonds last weekend, but they held up and forced turnovers when it was required. They pick their spots and take full advantage when they get a chance to make a play. Keep your eyes on LB Dosunmu – he’s the man in the middle, a very hygienic player (he always cleans up).

Leuven’s biggest problem has been their run defense, ranked last in the league in yards per rush against. This is not a problem that you want to have when facing the Angels, who can consistently pound out 3, 4 and 5 yard runs. Oh, and good luck stopping HB Banza around the goal line – his 6 rushing touchdowns are double the second in the league.

Computer says : Black Angels by 17
I say : I like the Black Angels to be able to control the flow of the game, especially on offense, and I certainly expect them to win and win well. Black Angels by 23

Brussels Bulls (3-0-0) vs Puurs Titans (2-0-0)

Last 5 years : Bulls 3, Titans 3
Last match : April 15, 2012 in Puurs – Bulls 44, Titans 7

So here we have the main event of the day, and what a good one it should be. The last two undefeated teams in the FFL face off. This should be a great one, and I’m very curious to see what Puurs bring to the table against a playoff quality opposition.

So far, the Bulls have the top ranked total defense, pass defense, and rush defense, so Puurs are going to have to work hard for every single yard. I think that the Titans are going to have to throw the ball some, and the question is if they are able to or not. The Titans’ highly rated offensive hogs come up against the Bulls top ranked defensive hog unit, in what will be the most important battle on the field.

I always say that field position is important in close games, and this is a strength of both teams here too. Titans P/K Lagae is second in the league in kickoff average and first in punt average, while Bulls P/K Stalmans is first in kickoff average and fourth in punt average, so perhaps those two will cancel each other out. On the other side of the football, we’ve got two of the most dangerous return men in the FFL too, with Bruyndonckx for the Titans and De Caluwe for the Bulls.

Brussels has a very balanced offense, which is just what you need to keep the Titans linebackers guessing.

Computer says : Bulls by 12
I say : These Titans are a very good team and if you let them play how they want, you’ll struggle to beat them. But that’s not how the Bulls play. They’ll take away what you’re best at and make you win another way. Bulls by 8

FFL Fantasy Football Challenge

So this is week 5 of the Fantasy Challenge and the score is tied 2-2. Of course there are 6 teams playing on Sunday, but we’re going to stick to picking just four players. Klaas had the number one pick this week, so let’s see what he did with it.

Team Klaas

QB – Wout Huysman (IZE – 7)
RB – Rashidi Banza (BBA – 1)
WR – Michael Roudebush (BB – 3)
DEF – Ken Meersmans (PUU – 5)

Team Dale

QB – Bart Killens (GNT – 2)
RB – Nico Steenackers (PUU – 8)
WR – Thomas Bouron (BBA – 6)
DEF – Wim Vanmarcke (IZE – 4)

Outro

I don’t think anyone should need much motivation from me to get out to Puurs on Sunday. Three games of football under the glorious sun, cold beer, warm burgers, good company. What more could anyone ask for? Until then

* “As rare as hen’s teeth” is probably not an Aussie phrase, but clearly means “not common at all”. Aussies are, however, awesome at using the sentence structure ‘as …. as…..’, and that should be about as obvious as a badger in a mailbox.

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