After another exciting week in the BFL, there appears to be two divisions within the league, with three teams on two wins, and three teams with one victory a piece. Uniquely, each of this week’s match ups will see a two win team face a one win team – will this further establish some teams as real play-off contenders? Will others turn around a stuttering start, or will others attempt to fend off the dreaded Golden Plunger? The Dope returns to make his picks for this week’s matches…
Winos @ Cookies
The Waterton faithful appeared to be getting cocky last week, after zero tinkering with the team, they were alone atop of the standings. And at one point last week, that remarkable run looked to continue, especially after great performances from, as usual, QB Aaron Rodgers, whilst an outstanding performance from CB Tyrann Mathieu helped the defense out tremendously. However, the game was settled late on Monday and the Winos fell to their first defeat. The Winos are unaffected by this week’s byes, but will this methodology of not tinkering with the team at all stand them in good stead to win this week?
Maryland vindicated the Dope’s prediction last week, finally getting a 1 in the win column in some style, smashing the injury hit Dezzys to score the highest weekly points total in the BFL so far, winning their first Hyundai Player of the Week award. It was a frankly magnificent performance, highlighted by the superb game that WR A.J. Green had, outscoring the usual high scoring candidates in a talented offense. The big question for the Cookies will be whether last week’s performance was a sign that their season was finally up and running, or whether the tremendous scoring of last week will regress to the mean. The Dope anticipates that whilst the scoring levels this week won’t be the same as last, the Cookies will still be in good form.
The Dope’s Prediction: The Cookies offense proves last week was not a fluke and evens up to 2-2.
Rage @ Morgan
The Rage’s decision to bench QB Drew Brees after his injury concerns hanged over their week 3 match up and whilst that particular decision was justified by Cam Newton’s performance, the bout still went down to the wire last week and the fans of the Rage would have had their hearts in their mouths at times. The free agent pick up of Larry Fitzgerald finally appeared to give the team’s much maligned wide receiving core a lift, as did the very late acquisition of S Glover Quin. Yet again, this weekend’s game looks to be a close one, and despite Brees looking good in practice this week, it looks to be a game time decision as to whether Brees returns to the fold, or whether Newton continues as the hot hand at QB. Such decisions are what can make or break a team’s season, and despite a veteran GM at the helm, the uncertainty will not help the team.
Poor Team Morgan can’t seem to catch a break. After making a popular decision to try Ben Roethlisberger at QB after some inconsistent performances from Peyton Manning, fans would have been cursing their luck as Roethlisberger went down injured. Manning showed signs of returning to his old self last week, and the team already looks to have returned Peyton back to the starting line up at Ben’s expense. It was a disappointing performance from the offense in particular last week, as the defence scored around the league average, a particularly terrible performance from RB DeMarco Murray must be giving the team cause for concern, and The Dope would not be surprised to see the team attempt a trade for a RB, or clean house of it’s disappointing RBs if they fail to live up to expectation by week 5.
The Dope’s Prediction: Another heartbreaking performance from Team Morgan as the Rage improves to 3-1.
Clowns @ Dezzys
All credit to the Clowns, they continue showing signs of just how to win. Although there were some performers in the team who did not pull their weight, it was a comprehensive performance from top to bottom last week as the CBs made up for the lack of offensive production with some splendid performances. With QB Tom Brady on his bye week, the Clowns again showed the superb nuance that has led them to be tipped as potential Bridgend Bowl winners by picking up free agent Carson Palmer, who will start this week in Brady’s place. Given Palmer’s start thus far, don’t be at all surprised if after a strong performance this week, he becomes highly in demand later in the season, giving the Clowns a magnificent bargaining chip in any trade discussions.
At this point, the Dezzys might as well replace the team coach with an ambulance. One noted Twitter account stated that they have never seen a team hit quite so badly by injury. As if the injuries were not bad enough, with some players on bye weeks, the Dezzys will need nearly superhuman performances from those players that are still active to be in with a shout of making it somewhat respectable against a Clowns team that will look at this opportunity to lay down a marker to the rest of the league. A favourable game for QB Andrew Luck is the only bright spot for the team at present, and The Dope would not be surprised if like Team Morgan, the Dezzys are in trade discussions this time next week, or considering a big shift in team strategy.
The Dope’s Prediction: Clowns take advantage of a banged-up and bye-week wrecked Dallas to remain in equal first of the BFL.
The Dope’s Week 3 Predictions: 2-1
The Dope’s Overall Predictions: 4-5
From the Commish’s Desk
* The first three weeks were easy. Now comes the difficult part of the league and seeing just how strong a team you have actually crafted with bye weeks from now until week 12. This week has two teams on a bye, and keep in mind that the teams you see in London always have the following weekend off. It is now doubly important that you check your teams each week to manage who on your roster is not playing and managing which players are so important to your team that you don’t drop them for a week, then watch as someone else in the league picks them up after a bye and gets into the playoffs before you.
* There has been a minor tweak to the scoring – previously QBs were given 0.3 of a point for each sack, now they are deducted that same amount for the play.
* I did expand the league to 14 weeks then realised that it messed up the schedule, so I went back to a 13 week schedule and then found that some teams played each other three weeks straight and other teams did not play each other at all. So I spent a few hours on Wednesday night/Thursday morning trying to create a balanced schedule where we each play each other home and away from weeks 1-10, whilst from weeks 11-13, playing three randomly selected opponents at randomly chosen venues I picked using a random number generator. Please let me know if there was an oversight. I’d like to think a good commish is seen and not heard (take note Goodell/Bettman).
For those of you heading to Wembley this Sunday, hope you have safe journeys there and back. I don’t know how many of you have been to Wembley before (I know a few have), but if you haven’t, the view as you get to the top of Wembley Park station and can see down Wembley Way up to the arch is awesome. Waiting to get out of the stadium was always a tremendous pain in the arse, but maybe now the games will finish earlier it won’t be so bad. If you get crap reception, remember to check your teams before you head to the game and take heed of any injury reports in your line ups. I never used to get phone reception in the stadium itself (take note those of you on Tesco/O2).
In future weeks, I will be compiling the Dope Sheet on Wednesdays to take account of waiver claims and such. As always, good luck in week 4 and I’ll be back in week 5 for more dope-ish-ness.