0325 – Apr 26

I’d normally apologise for being a day late, but I did warn you, it was Anzac Day yesterday and I take it very seriously. Anyway, the other thing that that day reminds of me is the fact that it’s exactly one week until my birthday! So I’ll try to get something out by Thursday next week, but I’m not guaranteeing anything.

Mailbag

On Monday, I said : “The entire FFL has combined for 4 902 yards of total offense this season. Calculated per game, this is about 13% less than last season.”

Bart Killens, Wetteren : “Is this because defenses got better? Because the passing game is almost non existant this year except Gators and some Bulls and Angels passing game?
Or cold first few weeks of the season?”

This is a very good question. It’s hard to say if defenses have gotten better, I don’t notice a large change in the quality. Yards per pass have actually increased leaguewide this year, from 4.2 to 4.6 yards per attempt.
But what has changed is that teams are throwing the ball a lot less. Pass completion percentage has dropped slightly (36.6% to 35.3%), but in 2012, the average was 18.2 pass attempts per team per game. In 2013 it’s dropped to just 12.7. Taking pass completion percentage into account, the average game has 7 less incompletions than last year, meaning that the clock isn’t stopped as much. (And yes, I hear people shouting that the shorter games had something to do with it, well, I guess you’re right, although that is a very minor effect over the course of a whole season)
The other factor that I believe has something to do with it (although this is harder to prove with numbers) is that a few guys by the names of Benedict Vermaut, Andy Brutyn, Bas Laleman, Vital Goncharov etc aren’t playing this season.

Kevin van Hauwaert, Bornem : “Hey Dale, great job once again. On the sideline we were unanimous in our c’mon man of the week. Number 59 (Left defensive end) of the Leuven Lions took the cake with his unique rushing skill.”

I heard the Titans cheering for him, but I was too busy looking at the ball to see what all the fuss was about!

Game previews

Antwerp Diamonds (0-3-0) vs Gent Gators (1-2-1)

Last 5 seasons : Antwerp 3, Gent 3
Last match : March 18, 2012 in Gent – Antwerp 10, Gent 7

Gent come into this game with a lot of positive energy after their come from behind win over Izegem, while Antwerp haven’t played in three weeks. I think I say this every time that the Diamonds play, but hopefully this time off has allowed them to regain their backfield players from injury.

But it’s the Diamonds secondary who will be tested in this one. The Gators lead the league in passing, and will surely take to the air to try and move the chains. Gent’s obvious weak point is their running game. They’re the only team to average less than 100 yards on the ground, which is also holding them back to just 23% on third down conversions. Antwerp rank third in total defense, so it won’t be easy for Gent.

On the other side of the ball, Antwerp’s run offense is third and they’re second in third down conversions. Add that to the fact that Gent’s defense ranks last in run defense and second last in third down conversions, and we could see a number of long drives by the Diamonds.
But the Diamonds must be aware of turnovers. They currently stand at -5 in turnover differential, which is clearly worst in the league, in fact, Antwerp have forced just two turnovers in their three games.

Computer says : Gators by 5
I say : Key for Antwerp is getting pressure on the quarterback – he can’t throw if he’s lying on his back. But I still think that the Gators will be too quick around the edges. Gators by 9

Brussels Black Angels (3-1-0) vs Izegem Tribes (0-4-0)

Last 5 seasons : Tribes 8, Black Angels 0
Last match : February 26, 2012 in Puurs – Tribes 13, Black Angels 6

This promises to be a tough one for the Tribes. As usual, the Black Angels lead the league in total defense, pass defense, run defense and third down conversions, making it difficult to get anything done on offense. Izegem’s playmakers will find space very hard to come by, and they must use it if and when they get a chance (a couple of big plays on special teams or turnovers would be very welcome). Both teams are in the middle as far as penalties go, but the Tribes can’t afford giving yards away in this one.

The Black Angels run a nicely balanced offense, which could prove hard for the Tribes last ranked defense to deal with. The Angels hogs are now ranked second in the league after winning their previous game 16-0 against the Lions, and it’ll be up to them again to make room for their backs.

Computer says : Black Angels by 24
I say : Unfortunately I think this one has the potential to get ugly. I don’t mean violent, I mean on the scoreboard. The Tribes are already eliminated from playoff contention, meanwhile the Black Angels still have playoffs and seeding to play for, plus they’re at home. Black Angels by 28

FFL Fantasy Challenge

I believe that Klaas and I are tied at 3-3 with only a few games to go, so this weekend is crucial.

Team Dale :

QB : Killens (GNT – 2)
RB : Bangamuabo (BBA – 8)
TE : Verhelst (ANT – 4)
DEF : Van Marcke (IZE – 6)

Team Klaas :

QB : Huysman (IZE – 3)
HB : Banza (BBA – 1)
WR : Lezy (GNT – 5)
DEF : De Groef (ANT – 7)

FFL Playoff scenarios

What we know already : The Bulls are the number one seed. The Tribes and Lions are out of playoff contention.

It’s actually pretty simple this weekend
– The loser of Gent vs Antwerp is eliminated from playoff contention.
– If the Black Angels win, they are in the playoffs, though they could end up second or third

Although, to make it more complicated
– If Gent vs Antwerp is a tie, then both teams are eliminated from playoff contention, and both Puurs and Brussels Black Angels qualify, though the seeding is not final as they must still face each other.

Outro

Looks like our good fortune with the weather might run out Sunday. No matter, it’s still football, and as my Dad would say : “Any weather is football weather”. Until then

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