Time to get cracking on another Thursday edition of the FFL Blog.
Weather prediction for Sunday
Mostly sunny and 12°C
Izegem Tribes (0-3-0) vs Puurs Titans (2-1-0)
Last 5 years : Tribes 6, Titans 0
Last match : April 22, 2012 in St Agatha – Tribes 47, Titans 14
Both teams are coming off losses last weekend where they thought they deserved better. The Tribes led for most of the game against Gent only to lose in the last minute, and the Titans went yard-for-yard with the Bulls but had a really bad few minutes in the third quarter which cost them dearly.
What we know about the Titans is that they’re going to jam the ball right down your throat. The defensive hogs and middle linebackers of the Tribes are going to have a very busy day chasing the Titans running backs around – the Titans are averaging 5.0 yards per rush this season, which is best in the league.
But on the other side, the Titans passing game is ranked last, so it’ll be up to the Tribes to try and get the Titans in third and long situations. Easier said than done, I suppose.
Both teams actually average exactly the same number of yards per play on offense – 4.3, and it’ll be the team that can maintain that average that will win the game. I think that the Titans are more consistent, they rarely have negative plays. On the other hand, the Tribes offensive line have given up a grand total of 0 sacks this season, and they also lead the league with 50% conversions on third down (which also explains why Izegem are leading the Offensive Hog Rating with an outstanding 0.740).
The Titans special teams have an advantage over the Tribes, and this will be a big difference in the game. Puurs will be hungry, and I think their ground and pound style suits them very well.
Computer says : Titans by 17
I say : I find it very hard to disagree with the computer on this one, so I won’t. Titans by 17
Brussels Bulls (4-0-0) vs Leuven Lions (2-2-1)
Last 5 years : Bulls 3, Lions 2
Last match : March 11, 2012 in St Agatha – Bulls 21, Lions 6
This is Leuven’s last game of the regular season, and if they lose, it will almost certainly be their final game of the season too, as 2.5 wins is extremely unlikely to be enough to qualify for the playoffs. And it’s a tough task that they do have, facing the only undefeated team in the FFL, the Brussels Bulls.
The Lions defense played well against the Black Angels, only giving up one offensive touchdown. But their offense struggled to just 40 yards and 3 first downs, and are going to have to find a way to turn it up on Sunday against a Bulls defense that ranks second both in run defense and overall defense. They’ve really missed RB Delmeiren the games he hasn’t played, so hopefully he’ll be back this weekend and give his team a much needed boost.
It’s funny that the Bulls run offense is only ranked sixth in the league (90 yards per game), but nobody actually believes that that’s where they’re supposed to be ranked. Their passing attack leads the league in yards per catch – they have a couple of guys in WR Roudebush and WR Leroy who are capable of making any catch and taking it to the house, just ask the Titans defense about that. But the Lions pass defense has been a real strength this year too, as they’re behind only the Black Angels in yards allowed per catch, and DBs T’Jonck and Geerts are tied for the league lead in passes defended.
Lions LB Caelenberghe leads the league in tackles, and he’ll have another busy day dealing with last year’s Offensive MVP, Bulls RB Acheson, who hit some good form against the Titans. The Lions defensive hogs must step it up and play the game of their lives if they’re to win this one.
Computer says : Bulls by 24
I say : I like the Bulls to win although I don’t think it’ll be by as much as the computer thinks. The Lions defense played really well last week and they’ll do enough to keep it reasonably close. Bulls by 14
FFL Fantasy Challenge
Here are the picks for this week, and I have a feeling that it’s going to be a close one!
QB Huysman (IZE – 5)
RB Acheson (BB – 1)
WR Van Camp (LEU – 7)
DEF Lagae (PUU – 3)
QB Baete (LEU – 4)
RB Steenackers (PUU – 6)
WR Roudebush (BB – 2)
DEF Van Marcke (IZE – 8)
Meanwhile, in Wallonia
The LFFAB regular season has just two games left, including a game between two teams who are still undefeated, the Brussels Tigers and the LLN Fighting Turtles.
Next weekend is more important though, when they play their Final Four. The Tigers and Turtles will meet again, with the winner getting the number 1 seed and a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The loser of that game will be the number 2 seed and face the third ranked team from the FFL.
Also, the Liege Monarchs will play the Charleroi Coal Miners, where the winner of that will be the number three seed in the LFFAB, and play against the second ranked team in the FFL in the playoffs.
FFL playoff scenarios
I’m not going to go into too much detail at the moment, but a Titans win combined with a Lions loss would officially eliminate both the Tribes and Lions from the playoffs, and make it very hard for the Diamonds or Gators to make it either.
Also, a win by the Bulls guarantees them the number one seed, and would also mean their second Flemish Championship in a row.
No matter what happens on Sunday, the playoff picture will become a lot clearer, so hopefully that brings out the best in all four teams and we can expect some good football. Until then.