Gatorade Playoff Picture
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Heading for the Domestos Plunger Bowl
Loser of Waterton Winos-Maesteg SheepSkins vs. Loser of Maryland Cookies-Dezzy Does Dallas
Circling the Toilet
Winner of Waterton Winos-Maesteg SheepSkins vs. Loser of Team Jones-Cleveland Clowns
Keeping Their Head Above Water
Winner of Maryland Cookies-Dezzy Does Dallas vs. Winner of Team Jones-Cleveland Clowns
The Consolation Game
Loser of The Super Touchdowners-Dallas Sucks vs. Loser of Shotgun Shenanigans-Orlando Rage
Making Plans for Shiva
Winner of The Super Touchdowners-Dallas Sucks vs. Winner of Shotgun Shenanigans-Orlando Rage
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Much like in the 2015 post-season, the BFL is collectively rooting against the Winos in what will be their penultimate game in the BFL. With the relocation paperwork expected to be waved through at the conclusion of the playoffs, if there is any justice, the ever improving SheepSkins should avoid playing in the Plunger Bowl in their first season in the BFL. But after playing the spoiler in the final week of the regular season, beating Dallas Sucks, do the Winos have one last act of defiance left in them to piss off the rest of the league and return the Golden Plunger?
Unfortunately, the SheepSkins could be contesting the Plunger Bowl as victims of circumstance – their two top players this season – Julio Jones and Melvin Gordon – have already been ruled out of this week’s game. Both men are hopeful to be back for next weekend’s critical game that will determine the final placing, which might be enough for them to avoid possession of the Golden Plunger, but in a perfect world, they would be healed this week so that it would not be necessary.
The Dope’s Prediction: The Winos deserve to lose due to their disregard of the league this season. The Dope refuses to believe in the Winos gaining anything out of their entry in the league and hopes they are given a good thrashing on their way out of the league.
Whilst the Dezzys have been here before, the fall from grace of the Maryland Cookies has been spectacular. After a 0-2 start, three consecutive wins were followed by just two victories in their final nine games. Despite a better points average than a lot of teams above them (for example, the Clowns’s season average was 221.9, the Cookies was slightly higher on 222.3), outside of the team’s clear MVP Ezekiel Elliott, the team’s offense has been massively disappointing and a very high attrition rate proves that, with the team starting several different combinations of RB, WR and TE alongside Zeke but to no avail. The early season trade that sent Aaron Rodgers to the Cookies failed to pay off for either the Cookies or the Shannys, as Rodgers’s early season form was horrendous and Tyrann Mathieu has bounced around many teams as a result of dealing with injuries. Not as bad as trading away Tom Brady for Andy Dalton though, but The Dope doesn’t believe in kicking a man when he is down…
A lot like their opponents in last year’s Plunger Bowl, after six weeks, standing at 5-1 it looked like it would take a miracle for the Dezzys to miss the playoffs. Risking a high draft pick on DeAngelo Williams (taken in the fourth round) looked inspired after two weeks of impressive performances, but the return of Le’Veon Bell as his team’s elite back demoted Williams and his whereabouts are currently unknown. Since that great start, the Dezzys have massively struggled at running back, with players dropping out like candidates in the Republican presidential nomination. One of the league’s biggest surprises has been the failure of Cam Newton to build on his blistering 2015 form as NFL MVP, meaning that taking him as #1 overall this year was a massive bust, despite being the highest scoring player in the BFL’s inaugural season. Missing a game with a concussion and with issues regarding his leadership coming to the fore in recent weeks, it remains to be seen whether Newton will be as highly valued in years to come.
The Dope’s Prediction: The Cookies should have enough to condemn the Dezzys to a second consecutive Plunger Bowl.
Both of these teams did what they could in week 14 to put themselves in a position to gain a playoff spot should either of the two teams above them trip up, but neither team did. So these teams meet to determine who have the advantage in the “Best of the Rest” game, and who will asking themselves, “Where did it all go wrong?”
Team Jones’s inconsistent form this season was the biggest barrier to their success – failing to win more than two games in a row meant that there was no opportunity to build momentum for a good run of games. The best revenge was to end the nine-game winning streak of the Rage. David Johnson has shown why he was so highly coveted at draft time with an outstanding season, leading the NFL in all-purpose yards from scrimmage this season. Johnson is already on his way to establishing himself as an elite back for years to come and Team Jones will be delighted with the work load he has carried all season. Although at times it looked like it could have been a bust, the trade between these two teams for T.Y. Hilton has paid off massively for Team Jones, especially in recent weeks, with consecutive 100+ yard games making Hilton a big threat to opposition Ds.
It looks like the stunning week 7 upset defeat to the SheepSkins is what has cost the Clowns a chance to successfully defend their title, and now they may possibly end the season at .500. The risk of drafting Le’Veon Bell in the second round – despite knowing that he would miss the first three games through suspension – has finally paid off, especially given his record-breaking performance in week 14. Jordy Nelson’s re-establishment as one of the league’s best wide-outs means he is a certainty for Comeback Player of the Year after his injury-enforced year out, and outside of Bell, he has been the Clowns’s top scorer this term. Marcus Mariota has shown signs of maturing into an excellent QB in years to come and looks to be getting the nod for this vital game. A big performance from Cameron Jordan would certainly help out on defense this week.
The Dope’s Prediction: In one of the closest games this weekend, the Clowns manage to edge out a victory.
The 2016 Bridgend Shiva Bowl playoffs are presented by Advance Auto Parts, the official automotive replacement parts supplier of the BFL. Service is our best part…
After their week 1 defeat and sitting bottom of the power rankings, The Super Touchdowners GM said the now infamous line: “Settle down, no body [sic] will remember week one when I’m running riot in the playoffs”. After a week 2 defeat, this statement seemed ludicrous. Then they thrashed the Rage in week 3. And now, here we are, with The Touchdowners predicted as overwhelming favourites to be in possession of the Bridgend Shiva Bowl trophy in two weeks time. How did we get here? The lethal 1-2-3 punch of Tom Brady – who is set to continue in Revenge Tour mode for the rest of the season; Shady McCoy – in the process of showing signs that he is back to his best; and Antonio Brown – the best WR in the league and a touchdown scoring machine. Add to this some of the best players at LB (Zach Orr), DE (Olivier Vernon), S (Keanu Neal) and DT (Damon Harrison); The Super Touchdowners are one of the most well-rounded teams in the league and are built to excel at exactly this time. So why even bother with this game if TST are going to walk it?
“Not so fast, my friend”. Dallas Sucks have been consistently the best team in the BFL this term, not dropping below third in the power rankings. And that doesn’t happen by sheer luck or accident. Dallas Sucks are the only team in the BFL to have multiple 300+ point games this season, the sign of a magnificently built team. Despite having a season where many pundits are questioning his status in the league, Andrew Luck is the team’s offensive leader, although Jameis Winston has been a capable replacement when required. Jarvis Landry has been the team’s best WR, and acquiring Carlos Hyde via trade has paid off in kind as he has been the team’s best RB through out the season. The Dallas Sucks D has been remarkable as well, even with the loss of Luke Kuechly in recent weeks, still feeling the effects of concussion. Alec Ogletree, Khalil Mack, Vontaze Burfict and Morgan Burnett have been sublime performers this season and it’s going to take another spectacular performance to get the team to the biggest game of them all.
The Dope’s Prediction: The 1-2-3 punch of the Touchdowners ends the great run of Dallas Sucks as one of the best two teams in the league this season.
A strange sense of deja-vu for some BFL pundits this week as the only game to repeat (so far) from the 2015 post-season sees the Shannys and Rage renew their rivalry.
All of the omens point to the Shannys at this point. Like in 2015, the Shannys spent a good portion of the season believing they were destined to be headed to the Plunger Bowl – bottom of the power rankings in week 4 and week 5. Then two consecutive wins put them within a game of .500 and the three consecutive wins heading into last week put them in total control of their own destiny – win, and they were in. And win they did, picking up only their second ever Hyundai Player of the Week award with victory over the Dezzys. The advantage of having beaten the Rage on the road in the playoffs last season has certainly effected the psychological battle between the two GMs this week, with the Rage GM admitting that he is a little nervous of having history repeat itself. DeMarco Murray has to be the steal of the 2016 BFL Draft – the thirteenth round pick has been in marvelous form and ranks among the very best RBs in the league. Doug Baldwin has been the most consistent WR for the Shannys all season, but Travis Kelce’s four consecutive 101+ yard games have pushed him to the top of many experts’s TE charts. On defense, Von Miller remains capable of doing Von Miller-like things; Kurt Coleman has proved to be a solid defensive investment and Marcell Dareus has been in great form over the past five weeks.
The Rage GM will not like the fact that they have yet to win a playoff game in the BFL, meaning their last playoff victory was in the old Brynteg League around six years ago. It would be stunning for the league’s #1 seed to fall at this stage and the team’s GM is not very confident – privately he believes that his team stand very little chance against the Shannys and that third place would be the best they can hope for. But, for the Rage to have played the Shannys in the consolation game in 2015 means they lost their first post-season game too, so there is a chance of history repeating itself there. His Holiness, Breesus, has picked completely the wrong time to go through a rough patch, as his backup, Derek Carr, was also underwhelming last week. Both men are carrying knocks and it looks like the decision of which one to play here will define the season for the Rage. Odell Beckham Jr. will carry the team’s offensive hopes this weekend, and there is some hope that the defense in general will step-up this weekend and bail out the offense if needed.
The Dope’s Prediction: The Shannys cause what may seem like an upset, but shouldn’t come as a surprise as the Rage stumble over the finish line yet again.
The Dope’s Week 14 Predictions: 4-1
The Dope’s Overall Predictions: 40-30
From the Commish’s Desk…
* Links to our other fantasy games and larks are as follows:
** Capital One Bowl Mania
** Eliminator Challenge
** Pigskin Pick’em
** Streak for the Ca$h
*** The passwords for any of the groups that require any is “BFL2016”.
* As we head towards the end of the season, and the fact that the Winos are definitely on their way out for 2017, if you can think of any suitable candidates to take over that spot, please forward them to us so that we can consider them. If we get three further people interested, an expansion of the league to 12 teams, with two divisions of six teams, can be considered. If we don’t get a replacement for Mike, we can have a nine-team league, but I’d rather not as it makes the make-up of the league extremely wonky. We have eight months to think of this though, but just putting the idea out there early.
* If people are interested in watching the Super Bowl together, a heads up to book Monday February 6, 2017 off work (the following day). If anyone is up for hosting and letting us pitch up and moan about Lady Gaga doing the Pepsi Halftime Show instead of Metallica or something, let us know.
* There will be one final Dope Sheet next week to preview the finals, and at some point in January, I will write my annual tome that is the End of Season Review – shouldn’t take me as long to do as last year as (I think) I know what I am doing this time around.
As ever, best of luck to everyone’s teams this weekend and hopefully you get the playoff final you want.