Week 6 brings in an interesting slate of games, as only one match is between teams of a winning record. It’s still therefore all to play for, as the road to the Bridgend Shiva Bowl II: Electric Boogaloo continues.
Week 6 NFL Bye Week Teams: Minnesota, Tampa Bay
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Waterton Winos (1-4) @ Shotgun Shenanigans (1-4)
Previous Matchup: Week 1, Shenanigans 218.5 @ Winos 205.1
(Shenanigans lead overall series, 3-1)
The Dope told me that writing this sentence is more effort than the Winos have put in this year.
You know it’s been a rough week when your kicker was your highest point scorer on the team. And in an eerie coincidence, the same was said of their game in week 5 last season. No offensive player scored better than 18 points for the Shannys last week, with much of the starters in single figures. The Shannys still have some hope – Von Miller has fallen behind Lorenzo Alexander for the league lead in sacks and the Super Bowl 50 MVP will be determined to lead that statistic at season’s end. The Shannys should feel good about this week and set their sights on a grudge match against the Dezzys next week.
The Dope’s Prediction: You must not know The Dope well enough if you need it spelling out to you.
Dallas Sucks (4-1) @ Maesteg SheepSkins (1-4)
Previous Matchup: Week 1, SheepSkins 197.4 @ Sucks 304.7
The Suckies were lucky to be playing the Shannys last week, as that kind of performance against the rest of the league would have resulted in a humiliating defeat. However, you can only beat the teams put in front of you, and they remain the leaders of the chasing pack on the still undefeated Dezzys. Carlos Hyde saved the team’s bacon last week with the only standout performance – 78 rushing yards and a touchdown. Both DeAndre Hopkins and Alshon Jeffery have favourable matchups this week and should be putting some good points on the board.
The SheepSkins were bitterly unlucky not to end the winning streak of the Dezzys last week, failing right at the very last. Although Tyrell Williams was the star performer, an ailing Rob Gronkowski was still able to put up some impressive numbers. Gronk has been limited in practice this week, but as a precaution to unleash him this weekend. There is every possibility that he could be back to the Gronk of old and carry the SheepSkins in the same way he carried the Dezzys in 2015.
The Dope’s Prediction: Dallas Sucks have too much power on offense to be beaten this week, even if the one man scoring machine Rob Gronkowski is back on good form.
The Super Touchdowners (2-3) @ Dezzy Does Dallas (5-0)
Going against The Dope’s suggestion of starting Matt Ryan in week 5 made no difference to the result, but a big difference to the score. Tom Brady, in “FU” mode, commanded the offence and produced the eighth 400+ passing yards game of his Hall of Fame career. As we were warned in the power rankings, Brady is in full-on revenge tour mode and has a chip on his shoulder against the league, not just for his suspension, but for the length of it. There was a good performance from Theo Riddick as well as Shady McCoy. Antonio Brown hasn’t quite reached the heights of his dominating week 1 performance again this season, despite further trips to the end zone. Ndamukong Suh is going to need to bounce back from a disappointing performance last week for the Touchdowners to have a shot at hanging the first loss of the season on the Dezzys.
When it came down to squeaky bum time, the Dezzys were trailing for much of the contest but managed to hold on to a very very late victory and keep the undefeated streak in tact. At one point, the Dezzys GM admitted defeat and conceded – further proving that it isn’t over until the final whistle. Joe Flacco, in for the injured Cam Newton, failed to step into Superman’s shoes and with Newton looking healthy for this week, he is expected to resume QB duties. Greg Olsen was the team’s star offensive performer last week, with a superb 181 receiving yards and he should do well to get another 100+ yard game this week as well.
The Dope’s Prediction: Despite Vegas having the Touchdowners as favourites, The Dope believes the Dezzys will be carried by a returning Cam Newton and remain undefeated.
Cleveland Clowns (2-3) @ Team Jones (3-2)
It was a sign of bad things to come for the Clowns when Calais Campbell put up some great numbers, but was left on the bench and the Clowns have now lost two games on the bounce for the first time. Given the current media furore over killer clown sightings, there were none reported in Orlando last weekend. The Clowns were anaemic on both sides of the ball, but the offense struggled in particular. For all of his much vaunted prowess, Le’Veon Bell has not scored a touchdown in a calendar year – granted he has only played eight games in that span. But Bell’s lack of visits to the end zone will do nothing to quiet the fears that the Clowns’s Championship is falling out of their grasp.
To that end, these two teams completed a trade prior to press time that swapped running backs Matt Forte and Ryan Mathews, as well as Tyrone Crawford going to Team Jones for Stacy McGee and Vince Williams.
If leaving Calais Campbell on the bench was a bad sign for the Clowns, then David Johnson’s 157 yards for 2 TDs was an early sign for Team Jones that they were going to lay down a marker. And that they did, picking up Player of the Week honours for the first time. Philip Rivers, Jordan Howard, Brandon Marshall, and T.Y. Hilton scored a minimum of 22 points each. On the defensive front, Karl Joseph logged six tackles (three solo), one interception, one fumble recovery, and one pass defensed to take the IDP of the game title. The Dope believes now that Brandon Marshall has his first 100 yard game of the season under his belt, he will repeat his performance with another 100 yard game this week. Allen Robinson’s return from a bye week is at a good time to unleash an effective performance against a fellow playoff contender.
The Dope’s Prediction: Team Jones’s stronger offense puts the Clowns to the sword.
The Game of the Week is presented by Advance Auto Parts, the official automotive replacement parts supplier of the BFL. Service is our best part…
Orlando Rage (3-2) @ Maryland Cookies (3-2)
(Cookies lead overall series, 3-1)
As the only matchup between two teams with a winning record, and a rematch from the opening round of last year’s play-offs, the Birthday Bowl is this week’s game to watch.
In a stunning turn of events, the Rage continued their impressive record against the defending champions with a resounding victory that was assured long before the final whistle. The Rage will have little sympathy for the Clowns dropping Sammie Coates only for him to come back to haunt them, given Luke Kuechly’s against them in 2015. Derek Carr did exactly what he was supposed to do – hold the ship steady with Drew Brees on a bye week – but it’s unlikely given Brees’s magnificent stats this season that Carr will start once again (barring injury). The Rage’s offense outside of Carr and Coates last week was not particularly impressive and the Rage GM is hoping for a better performance this week. Aaron Donald, who was the target of a trade this week, will not gain further looks from other teams with a statline from week 5, so there is pressure for him to return to his early season form this week.
The Cookies were pipped at the post to Player of the Week honours and could be in contention again if last week’s performance is anything to go by. Big Ben Roethlisberger, Ezekiel Elliott and Kelvin Benjamin averaged 31.2 points each last week and torched the Winos. The Cookies GM remarked this week that he feels vindicated by selecting Elliott in a high round of the draft and The Dope certainly agrees with him. Elliott went into this season with some considerable Offensive Rookie of the Year hype and whilst he was overshadowed by the hot starts of the likes of Carson Wentz, Elliott leads the league in rushing attempts and more importantly, rushing yards. There is no sign that the 21 year old’s workload is overwhelming him and if he continues to show this tremendous upside, The Dope would not be surprised to hear his name in conversation for the first overall pick in the 2017 draft.
This game is celebratory in nature as both team’s GMs celebrated their birthdays within 24 hours of each other last weekend and have a good natured rivalry. But, it’s all one-way traffic – the Cookies have not lost to the Rage since the opening game of the inaugural season of the BFL and the #3 seed Cookies beat the #2 seed Rage in the playoffs to advance to the Bridgend Shiva Bowl.
The Dope’s Prediction: The Cookies continue their dominance over the Rage in a close run game.
The Dope’s Week 5 Predictions: 2-3
The Dope’s Overall Predictions: 14-11
From the Commish’s Desk…
* Your weekly Pick’em and Eliminator updates…
** The pack in the Pick’em game is spreading out a little bit. Matthew leads on 48 points, with Dai trailing by a point and Pete by a further two. The top six are still covered by only 8 points, so there is still a lot to play for!
** Both Nathan and Rhys made successful picks in the Eliminator pool, so the battle to be the last man standing continues.
* Date for your diary: this season’s trade deadline has been set at Thursday, November 24, 12PM EST (5PM UK time). No trades will allowed to be proposed, accepted or vetoed after this point.
* Just to reiterate a change made to the playoff procedure at the beginning of the season – this season’s tiebreaker to determine the seeding is the head-to-head record. Last year, the tiebreaker was total number of points scored. So, if your team beat the next best team twice, but had a lower points scored total through out the season, this year you will be seeded above them.
Thanks to everyone for their well wishes for my birthday on Monday, I’m sure Dai will extend the same thanks to everyone for Tuesday. At the conclusion of next week we will be halfway through the regular season.
Best of luck to everyone in this week’s games. Except Mike – may he spend the weekend drinking warm beer at tables with uneven legs.