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Sunday 6pm Preview: Kevin Stefanski Returns To Minnesota In Prove It Game For Browns & Vikings

All eyes will be on Kevin Stefanski as he returns to his employer of over a decade as his Cleveland Browns travel to US Bank Stadium to take on the in-form Minnesota Vikings.

Stefanski held seven roles at the Purple and Gold between 2006 and 2019, making a name of himself most notably as offensive co-ordinator during Minnesota’s most recent playoff season before being named as Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Last year, the two sides had contrasting luck as Stefanski guided the Browns to their first playoff berth since 2002, while the Minnesota Vikings slumped to 7-9 and third in the NFC North.

This will be the first time Stefanski has gone up against the Vikings since the move, and it comes at a pivotal moment in the season for both the Browns and the Vikings alike.

Strong Starts

This game sees both sides come into the game with their tails up. The Browns having cruised to their second win in a row, taking down the Bears quite literally with nine sacks the main feature of the afternoon.

Meanwhile the Minnesota Vikings got their first win of the season in great style, overwhelming the Seattle Seahawks in the second half to come back from a 14 point deficit after narrowing losing to the Arizona Cardinals the week before.

Both will feel that they come into the game with great confidence and the ability to go toe-to-toe with anyone that comes across their path, which should make for an exciting game.

Offensive powerhouses of the same kin

Points mean prizes, and that’s definitely the viewpoint of these two quite explosive offenses. The Vikings and Browns are 8th and 9th in the league respectively scoring 29 and 28.7 points per game, while the NFC North side boasts the three greatest yards haul so far at 425 a game. Cleveland isn’t too far behind in 7th (410).

As you can expect, Kevin Stefanski took his blueprint of offensive style he developed at Minnesota and installed it at Cleveland to great effect: using multiple TE sets and strong offensive line and running back play to assist the passing game and move the sticks.

Both offenses have had a similar start too. Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield’s stats are practically identical when it comes to passer rating and completion percentage. The Browns have been able to use the ground game more to their advantage thanks to their explosive one-two punch of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt (2nd best in league with 174.7 yards per game on the ground) while Minnesota have been forced into shootouts the last couple of weeks and made to turn to Alexander Mattison who sparkled in deputising Dalvin Cook who went off injured against Seattle.

Dalvin Cook is questionable for Sunday’s matchup, and may prove a key piece in Minnesota’s gameplan.

Better defenses

Mike Zimmer last year called out his defense as the worst he’s ever had, but this year looks much happier with his set up as Dalvin Tomlinson, Michael Pierce, Patrick Peterson and Xavier Woods joined the side.

While we’ve not seen the results of this just yet with an average of 26 points a game conceded, a lot can be said of the teams played so far (particularly in Seattle and Arizona) as excusable points, and that the defense will gel as time goes on.

The visitors are buoyed by the nine sacks they delivered on Bears’ QB Justin Fields in his debut start last week, and the one net passing yard allowed in that performance as the team looks to show that the unit is starting to gel after the unit was entirely overhauled in the offseason.

The Browns currently lie 3rd in yards conceded (248.7) and 7th in points conceded (20). The Browns are currently also the fifth most efficient in limiting yards in the air and the ground.

Minnesota’s offense will provide a much more challenging prospect than the Texans and Bears however, and we’re likely to be in a shootout where any defensive stops will be gold dust.

Predictions

If there is a person outside the building who knows what the Vikings are likely to throw up against the Browns, it’s the Head Coach of the Cleveland Browns, and that should help enormously.

Questions over Cook’s availability, as well as the Browns’ proficiency in stopping the run this season will force Kirk Cousins into throwing situations which may or may not be to the benefit of the Vikings.

Minnesota on the other hand, have allowed around 120 yards on the ground so far this year, something that Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will look to exploit, providing an easier task for Baker Mayfield to deliver on key passing downs at what should be a loud and intimidating atmosphere at US Bank Stadium.

It should be a close fought game, and homefield advantage will make things more interesting as these two sides look quite closely matched. However, I do believe that the trenches will swing this game for Cleveland unless the Vikings rushing defense can provide stops.

Cleveland 30, Minnesota 24

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Britball: Week 14 results

As the curtain draws on the 2021 for pretty much everyone but Scotland, I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you to every single one of you that have read 1,2 or all 14 of my weekly previews and recaps. It’s been a scramble to try and provide anything more than the results and the context of the divisions. Hopefully it’s been an interesting read, I’ll hopefully increase more interviews/podcasts to fill in the void and will also try and do a division in review for each of the divisions.

If you want to help with this by providing me with any stats for players on any team or some quotes if you are a head coach or co-ordinator, that would be much appreciated. Similarly, if you want to represent your team and get a bit of air time, please get in touch on Twitter (@F10YBritball), Instagram (@Full10yards) or our Facebook page and we’ll get an interview recorded.


Let’s get the sneaky fixture out of the way, where Tamworth and London Blitz played a secret exhibition game. Low scoring game but the Blitz take it. A marker laid down ahead of 2022.

In the known, scheduled fixtures, some really strange results showing up on the results sheet.

The most surprising result probably comes in Scotland where the Clyde Valley Blackhawks snatch a win against the Dumfries Hunters. Dumfries looked to be streaking ahead in the Saltire division and Clyde Valley have not given much indication thus far that a victory was incoming. Home comforts and some stout defence gets them their first win of the year and potentially opens up the division a little.

In the White Rose, the results swung the way of the gods in enabling us to absolutely without a shadow of a doubt be able to congratulate the Yorkshire Rams and 1st year Head Coach Jason Shaw on the undefeated season and the division win. It needed a win from them, which they did by a solitary point. The Giants were driving inside the 2 minute warning but Tyler Broad said “NOT ON MY WATCH” with the game clinching interception for the Rams. Conor Moran with the crucial 2pt successful try midway through the 4th quarter the decisive and solitary point deciding the fixture. This was despite a penalty being enforced on the 2pt try.

In the shock result of the division, the Knottingley Raiders out of absolutely nowhere defeat the Humber Warhawks. The Humber Warhawks have been one of the more impressive teams this year with their results posted prior to this game. I was unable to find anything on socials from either side apart from the touchdown scorers for the Raiders – Alex Woffenden, Andy Lund, Johnny Smith and Stu Kain. With the dust settling on the White Rose division, the Rams loss column remains unchanged and they take the division. The games played column looks messier than a 3 year old’s bedroom, however.

Continuing with the surprise result theme, it was an eyerbrow raising result in the Thames Valley which saw the London Hornets smash the Blitz B 34-6. That was just the Hornets’ second win which condemns Blitz B to a losing record in 2021 at 3-4-1 and only scoring single digit figures in their last 2 games to end the season. Elsewhere in the division, the Stallions got over their division deciding loss to the Cheetahs by getting the job done up in Oxford. Oxford started the season off with 2 close defeats but from then on, losing margins of between in the 20-30pt area means they have a few things to conjour up on the drawing board in the offseason. This game was close until the 4th quarter, where Stallions defence grabbed two interceptions, returning both back to the house. It seemed to be a theme in the game as there were a total of 4 pick sixes and the added cherry on the top was a punt return score too. Dan Symons seemingly the only scorer on the offence for either side, which takes some doing.

The Essex Spartans gained more retribution for their game 2 defeat against the East Essex Sabres, which was their only blemish on their 2021 record. It would have been a shutout if it were not for the last play of the game in which the Sabres score. Alex McLachan with a score for the Spartans making it 40-0 at the time and was also previously successful for a 2pt try. A promising season for the Sabres all things considered and will look to build upon this in the SFC 2 East in 2022.

They’ll likely be joined there again by the East Kent Mavericks and they signed off their season with a comprehensive victory over the South East Squadron. Scorers were 4 TD’s for Tyrrell Bovelle, 1 for Lewis James, Andrew Johnson and a pick 6 for Nick Mayer.

Staying East, the Norwich Devils sign off with 3 straight wins as they improved to 4-4 on the season and rescued themselves from a losing record. A slight surprise they were able to defeat and even more so, shutout, the Colchester Gladiators. Norwich just had 1 defeat at home to runaway division winners Cambridgeshire and will have to work on their away performances for 2022.

Heading due west, the Birmingham Bulls and Swindon Storm played out a 30-30 draw. The Bulls took an age to get going in this one, having a deficit of 17 pts to overcome and even had to go 94 yards on their final drive to tie it up in the 4th.

The Bristol Apache kept the Somerset offence out of their endzone but their offence gave up the 2pts for the first points in the game but were comfortable in their 26-2 win in the South West. The Wyverns though, have their first winning season in the national league so plenty of positives to take in to next year Torbay possibly enjoyed their last game, putting up 30 points. Cornwall put up 50 of their own however and the Trojans’ horrid season can now have a line drawn through it after giving up almost 350 points on defence.

In the Central East, I predicted a tie in the game between the Bombers and the Lightning for the 5 fixture prediction competition, I was far away! A low scorer was predicable and it turned out that way. The Bombers. Ryan Wakeling with all the points for the Bombers. Thank you to the Bombers social team for their light hearted fun on Socials during game days.

Talking of fun twitter accounts, The Nottingham Caesers complete their undefeated season but were made to work hard for it by Northants Knights. The Caesers were stout to the very last minute, keeping out Northants when they had 1st and goal from the 1 deep inside two minute warning, which may have been a more crucial stand had the knights not missed an earlier field goal. They also report that their O-line have not given up a single sack in 2021, so kudos to the guys in the trenches. Also, best wishes to the Caesers defender that was taken in the ambulance.

Another team achieving their unbeaten season, which they would have expected to do, was the Manchester Titans. Another battering of another team saw them win 54-6 against the Merseyside Nighthawks. Business as usual for Sam Bloomfield and co. Sam joined the Britballing Vodcast if you want to get his thoughts on the season. Their social media team say they have some exciting news to divulge in a few weeks on Twitter, so eyes peeled!

In a closer game, the Darlington Steam extracted revenge on the Gateshead Senators for their earlier season defeat as they squeeze out a victory at home. The Senators were driving with the final possession and took a batted pass down to seal the victory. Rob Carey with the credit for the batted down pass. The Steam leapfrog Gateshead into 2nd place at the finish line in the division.

In the game I had the pleasure of watching, well, after my meltdown and turning up to the wrong venue initially, saw the Solent Thrashers beat the Rushmoor Knights. More turnovers in this one than a Greggs at a services stop. Rushmoor ran the ball very well but Solent were quite plucky and took the opportunities presented to them. Plenty of missed Extra points and a few plays here or there and this one would have been a bit closer. Head over to our Twitter for some of the plays and live tweeting on the gameflow. Shout out to QB Coach Gibbs for the Thrashers who looked straight through me when i went over to say hi!

Rounding us off, two teams that have huffed and puffed without blowing the house down played in a cross divisional game. The Crewe Railroaders secure the victory and I’m delighted to report that our sponsored player for the year Hus Roberts, scored his first touchdown and secured his first taste of the endzone in this one. He’s had 4 previous TDs called back for penalty so I wouldn’t be surprised if he waited a few seconds before celebrating. Congrats pal.

Predictions – This week saw my worst effort with only 9 correct predictions from 17 matches. 165/209 on the season takes me just under 80% where i’ve been all season. Waiting to hear if I have won the 5 fixture prediction competition, keep an eye on socials for that!


Photographer of the week: Chris Bradley

Chris went to see the entertaining game between Nottingham and Northants and came up with some cracking pictures.

Thanks again for reading, that’s pretty much it for the majority of the Britball world and attention for some will revert to Uniball. If there is anyone out there that wants to help cover American Football in this country, please let me know! We’ll be making more announcements regarding our Flying the Flag scheme and getting more of you qualified in coach or officiating.

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Britball: Week 14 Preview

Here are, pretty much the final week (Scotland apart) of Britball action and i suppose it should be commended that we have 17 fixtures to play.

If you are heading to the Rushmoor game, I will be heading down too to get my taste of Britball action. Come say hello! If not, i’ll try and post drive updates and some highlights when teams are in the Redzone.

Let’s get to the games then and technically, this is a division decider between Manchester Titans (5-0) and Merseyside Nighthawks (4-1). The previous fixture ended up 42-10 to the Titans and the Titans have a huge point difference advantage. It’s been an absolute pleasure sponsoring the Nighthawks so far this year so we’ll be rooting for them to pull off a huge upset. Titans with a win confirm a perfect season.

Talking of perfect season, Solent have taken on all comers this year, whether it be in the Wessex division or the London division and they finish off with a trip up the M3 to face Rushmoor. have to anticipate another victory for the Thrashers and have been one of the standout teams this year. Looking forward to going to watch this one between two decent outfits. Maybe I’ll win photographer of the week :).

The top two teams in the South East do battle and from what I can see in the standings, this also could be a division decider. A win for East Essex would make them 6-2, making Essex 5-2 and East Essex would have 2 wins over Essex’s 1 in the direct head to head but also a better win percentage, purely based on the fact that there would be a difference in games played. It would help if BAFA’s standing and results were totally up to date and using my mind is never a reliable source of information.

Elsewhere in the division, South East Squadron will look to pull off another upset as they face the East Kent Mavericks. Squadron beat the East Essex Sabres in their last match by a 9-8 scoreline. Both the Squadron’s wins have come at home and this week they are travelling to try and score victory on the road.

The Wyverns, one of the more impressive teams this year travel to Bristol to face the Apache, they’ll be taking their good form in to this one hoping to cause an upset. 28-6 scoreline in the corresponding fixture in favour of the Apache so could be a close one. Apache looking to complete their perfect season.

The Cornwall Monarchs will remain in 3rd place no matter the result this week and they face Torbay, who’ll be looking to add to their 16 points scored in 2021 at the very least. The Monarchs are currently -11 in points difference, so there is a small carrot dangling there to make that a positive come the final whistle.

Staying in the west, the Birmingham Bulls travel to Swindon to face the Storm. Birmingham ran the Leicester Falcons close last week in a cross divisional game and the corresponding fixture resulted in a 10pt win for the Bulls last time out.

We have a tasty clash in the White Rose as the Sheffield Giants travel to face the Yorkshire Rams. Sheffield have spent about as much time on the field as I have spent in the gym (very little), with 4 cancelled games and the previous fixtures against the Rams abandoned, consequently, the Giants on have 2 wins from their 2 finished games, even with one of those being against a Red Rose opponent in the Nighthawks. Yorkshire themselves are also unbeaten in 4 games. A win for Yorkshire would see them ascend to the top of the division, supplanting Humber Warhawks if they lose to the Knottingley Raiders. Whichever way you look at it the table is a bit of a mess. 2021 Britball in a nutshell. Humber have been another team that have impressed this season, with their only loss coming to Yorkshire.

Wembley will be looking to put their divisional loss and their first loss of the season last week against the Cheetahs behind them as they finish off with a trip to Oxford. Can the Saints capitalise on a Stallions team potentially licking their wounds or will they get trampled on? Saints looking for that elusive win in 2021. Last fixture finished 23-0 to the Stallions.

Staying in the Thames Valley, the London Hornets travel to face the Blitz B. The Hornets were stung themselves last time these two faced off and were unable to penetrate the endzone, losing 24-0 but the Hornets’ games this year have been fairly competitive and their 1-4-1 record perhaps undersells their efforts in 2021 27 and 24 on two occasions the highest amounts of points they have allowed this year. If you like your symmetry, the Blitz B are 1-1-1 at home and 2-2 away. OCD fans, don’t look at their standings on Monday.

Let’s move to the Central East division, where Nottingham (5-0) have the division all sewn up, at least i think they do. They host the impressive Northants Knights (5-2) in the final game as its a 1st vs 2nd place clash. A win for Northants would give them more wins (6), but the Caesers would have a better win pct. Ahh who knows anymore. Let’s hope Nottingham win for the ease of reporting on that come Tuesday.

The Lincolnshire Bombers play their first game for a month as they face off against the South Lincolnshire Lightning, a game that finished 7-0 last time out. Could be another one for the purists as the curtain comes down on both of these 1-4 teams. Losers takes the wooden spoon here in a division that has had some decent scraps and a lot of defence.

In the Hadrians, Gateshead will look to confirm superiority over the Darlington Steam after defeating the Steam 28-6 last time out. A win for Darlington should leapfrog them over Gateshead into 2nd place in the division too, again with different games played. There’s a theme here, isn’t there.

An exception rather than the rule division-wise is the East Anglia division where the fixture between the Norwich Devils and Colchester Gladiators sees one of the rare occurrences where all fixtures have been completed. All 5 teams have played 8 games, so hats off to you guys! At least we’ll have one division where all games played are equal. both teams will stay exactly where they are regardless of the result, unless Colchester win by about 100. But even then, it might come down to H2H rather than points differential, becuase if you hadnt have guessed by now, I don’t bloody know the tiebreaker order.

Crewe Railroaders and Leigh Miners would have been waiting all season for this game as the winner here gets their first win of the season in this post season game. Leigh have had a rough set of fixtures well out of their depth in the Red Rose and hopefully this game here presents a more competitive outcome. Like Merseyside, been a joy to sponsor Crewe this year as they have had a baptism of fire in the Mercia, let’s hope both teams score a decent amount of points and end on a positive note as they head in to the offseason.

Finishing off in Scotland, Dumfries have a chance to give themselves further daylight in the Saltire division. They travel to the Blackhawks, who have not pulled up many trees so far this year. Dumfries would have a 2 game lead with a win after all teams in the division have played 4 games.

Predictions below for the final week of games for if not all of England and Wales. I hope you have enjoyed the previews and results recap posts. I’ll continue to do what I can when the Scottish leagues take over. though with only a few games each week and little information to go off, i’ll play it by ear. I’ll continue to get teams on the podcast, looking back over the season. If you or your team want to come on, please give us a shout on the socials (@F10YBritball).

  • Bristol to beat Somerset
  • Gateshead to beat Darlington
  • Essex to beat East Essex
  • East Kent to beat Squadron
  • Sheffield to beat Yorkshire
  • Dumfries to beat Clyde Valley
  • Blitz B to beat Hornets
  • Manchester to beat Merseyside
  • Colchester to beat Norwich
  • Nottingham to beat Northants
  • Solent to beat Rushmoor
  • South Lincs to beat Lincolnshire
  • Wembley to beat Oxford
  • Humber to beat Knottingley
  • Cornwall to beat Torbay
  • Birmingham to beat Swindon
  • Crewe to beat Leigh
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Britball: Week 13 results

With the season winding down, we have some teams that have played their last fixture this weekend and we have a division or two which has crowned their champion. Cant quite decide if the state of Britball is/was to be expected taking in to account the state of some divisions and teams, I guess it was inevitable to get the state of play that we have.

If you would like to see our podcast this week with the Bournemouth Bobcats, arguable one of the teams of the season (I’ll do an awards post at some point, perhaps), you can find it here:


A debacle in East Kent it seems as an officiating issue caused their game with the Essex Spartans to be cancelled.

The other fixture was able to go ahead and that saw the East Essex Sabres return to winning ways as they get the job done against the Sussex Thunderbolts. Sabres indicated on their Facebook post they were low on numbers so hats off to those potentially going ironman for that game. They are now 5-2 as they head into their last game in week 14 against Essex.

In the Wessex division, Bournemouth finish their positive season at 5-3 and will sit 2nd when the dust settles in the division due to their Head to Head record over Rushmoor…and the fact Rushmoor wont play the same number of games. For Solent, their quest for the unbeaten season travels up the M3 to Farnham to play Rushmoor in week 14. Congratulations to Solent for clinching the division with a game to spare.

Further congratulations go to the Hertfordshire Cheetahs as they defeated the Wembley Stallions in a back and forth game to determine the Thames Valley division champions. Extracting revenge for week 1’s opening defeat sees Wembley suffer their first and only defeat of the season in heartbreaking fashion. 69% (nice) of you voted correctly in our twitter poll so well done to you too, though you have to think it’s perhaps Coach Barnes and all his burner accounts :). From what I gather, they’ll return to SFC 1 Central (assuming divisions revert back to 2019) and they’ll look to push on for a Prem South place in 2022. Wembley did hold a 20-14 lead in this one but just couldn’t see it out.

Staying near the nation’s capital, we saw all teams in action in the London division. The London Warriors eeked out a close victory against the London Blitz. Have no idea of numbers or game flow because….well you know why. What i do know is Blitz held a 12-0 lead in the early goings in that one. The other fixture saw the Kent Exiles finally get over the line and win their first game of the season and battered the London O’s deserved victory considering the toughness Kent have played by and shown this year. Exiles were in the lead early and in cruise control throughout. they were 21-0 up within the first 5 minutes after TDs from their defence on a muffed punt, a James Cook TD and a TD from short field after recovering a fumble. Olympians not able to recover from some key injuries throughout and everything fell right for Kent for once this year.

In East Anglia, Congratulations to the Cambridgeshire Cats who secured their undefeated season and the division Crown as they beat the Ipswich Cardinals in comprehensive fashion. Cats opened up with two rushing scores before QB Mark Rivett grabbed the spotlight with (count them!) at least 6 TD passes, a couple hauled in by Ryan Smith in the 2nd half. A Rivett-ing performance. I bet that isn’t the first time Mark has heard that.

Cambridgeshire seemingly getting stronger as the weeks went on increasing their average points scored in the last few weeks. Worth noting as well that only on one occasion did a team post more than 12 points on the Cats’ defence and had 5 out of 8 games where they either posted a shutout or single digits points given up. On the Ipswich side, I’m glad I could end their season on a correct, albeit comfortable prediction.

The other fixture in the division saw the Colchester Gladiators show no mercy to the Ouse Valley Eagles, who will probably be happy to see the end of the 2021 season. Last few weeks in the lead up saw the Eaagles score some points, but not to be as the curtain draws on a goose egg. Let’s hope they can regroup and go again in 2022.

Business as usual in the Central East as wins for Northants Knights and Nottingham Caesers over the Lincs Lightning and Scunthorpe Alphas respectively. The two best teams in an intriguing division coming on strong for the majority of these season and the Caesers will look to achieve perfection in their final game against Northant. Congrats to Coach Lawless and the guys in Nottingham who caught the eye this year and will be looking forward to seeing them do battle again in 2022 with some strong opposition potentially in the NFC 1 South. For the two defeated teams, there are definitely some positives to take away from 2021 and they’ll be fully fledged outfits come the divisional alignment next year and likely facing off against one another next year.

Moving up to the Hadrians division, and the Yorkshire Rams put up 69 (nice!) on offence and their defence put up an even better number posting a shutout against a fiesty Doncaster team this season. Tyler Broad with a kick return back to the house as well as a score on offence in a good day for him. Same comments apply to Connor Moran who also had a couple of scores through the air. The signs were great out of the gate with Rio Irvine going the distance on the Rams’ first play from scrimmage, 75 yards.

Darlington Steam put up just under half the points of the Rams in their game against DC Presidents and also posting the shutout. It’s been a difficult season for the Presidents but fair paly to them, they’ve kept going. They’ve finished with just the 6 points scored in their 5 games as they sign off 2021. Steam’s offensive MVP had to revert to Center after an ejection and by the looks of it did a pretty good job. Steam had a couple of defensive scores on fumble recoveries (Rob Dowson and Alex Coatsworth) and a kick return TD too from Mikey Healey.

In the Mercia, a close game was anticipated between the Shropshire Revolution and the Sandwell Steelers, but Shropshire have fared pretty well outside of their games with Tamworth and that continued to be the case here. Sandwell. The Steelers finish at 2-5 and Coach Andrew, Coach Butler and co will be putting in the work this offseason as they now prepare for the heavyweights of Britball in the Prem North for 2022 as they try and redirect the train in the same direction it was heading in back in 2019 after a fair amount of tumult in 2021. Shropshire should find themselves in the NFC 1 South along with some other decent teams and certainly looks to be an intriguing division should that division return in 2022 in the way it’s supposed to.

In the cross divisional fixture involving a Mercia team, the Birmingham Bulls nearly put the cats amongst the Falcons (see what I did there) as they threatened to score an upset victory. They took a 13-0 lead in this one and were only 2 points behind going into the 4th before the Leicester Falcons pulled away. Kudos to the Bulls there against stronger opposition on short notice. Matt Dutton scoring a few TDs for the Bulls in a good day personally for him and shout out to the Bulls Twitter as they were playing a game of Chinese whispers whilst they were working. A shout out too for Falcons player Aland Kasraw who recently found out he’ll be going to the NFL Academy.

To the Rose divisions now, where there was only 1 fixture between them. In the Red version, the Lancashire Wolverines did what was expected against the Leigh Miners. This one was 44-0 at the half and that’s all I could find. The few games Leigh have played, I have seen the other teams give them a round of applause of sorts on how they went about their business so we’ll see what Leigh give us in 2022 when they tackle teams at their level. Two games against the Chester Romans and a game against the Wolverines wouldn’t have been easy for most teams and whilst the scorelines had wide margins, hopefully the Miners wont find themselves in that much of a hole next year, though considering their name, that’s what they’d be accustomed to.

The final fixture in England for week 13 saw the Aztecs hammer the Swindon storm in the Severn division, with the other 2 fixtures cancelled due to the withdrawals of Hereford and Worcestershire. Coach Pwles and the Aztecs giving no let up as they have a week or two wait now before they finish off with a game against the South Wales Warriors as they look certain to go the year unbeaten.

It was the turn of the Caledonia division in Scotland and a repeat of the fixtures saw a repeat of the winning teams as East Kilbride travelled to the Tigetrs and beat Glasgow 35-0, though they were made to work hard by Glasgow as this was only 7-0 at the half. The Pirates post their 3rd shutout in their 4 games. Pirates are back guys, if you didnt know. Some TD scorers for the Pirates were Dougie Meechan, Fraser McDonald, David Fallon and Ssarien Liddell, who got his first taste of the endzone with a receiving touchdown.

The other fixture confirmed Edinburgh’s dominance over the Inverclyde Goliaths. 57-12 scoreline continues Edinburghs good form after their week 1 defeat. Not able to give much more than that I am afraid.

Predictions time and I went 16/17 on the predictions, with only only the Olympians denying me for a full house! 156/192 on the season.


Photographer of the week: Tony Small

Well, we didnt get a live stream but i guess the next best thing in terms of visuals is photographs, right? Here is some snaps of the crunch game in the Thames Valley division from Tony Small. Some great action pictures here. For the deficiency in Live streaming that we have in Britball it’s been nice to see it’s been made up in bundles by the photography this year.

Bonus Snap – Spot the Ball Competition.

Saw a great photo in one of the groups I am in, Shout out to Duncan Gray. So here you go, spot the ball. Follow us on Twitter for the answer!

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TNF Preview: Giants weapons looking to breach Washington’s defences

It’s an all-NFC East matchup for Thursday Night Football as the New York Giants visit a Washington Football Team smarting after an opening day loss to the LA Chargers in which starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, was knocked onto IR with a hip subluxation.

As a result Taylor Heinicke once more enters the fray to start for the first time since last year’s play-off loss against the Buccaneers, in which he impressed many with his rugged determination and never say die attitude.

Under centre for the Giants will still be Daniel Jones (for now). The sixth overall pick from 2019 struggling in the opening day defeat to the Denver Broncos, in which his 40th career turnover put the game out of reach of recovery.

As recent memory has taught many NFL fans, this NFC East tie might just come down to which QB makes lass mistakes rather than who excels beyond their expectations. 

Horses in the back

With air yards looking like they could be limited, it could instead be the ground game that decides the direction of this tie – with work horse running backs in both stables.

Washington’s Antonio Gibson bolted on opening weekend, with a 90-yard rushing performance that averaged 4.5 yards a carry, and reconfirmed to many that the second year back has nothing but a bright future ahead of him.

By comparison, Giants’ starlet Saquon Barkley stayed very much at a gentle trot in their opener, managing just 26 yards on 10 carries, and making little progress against the Broncos’ defence.

Eruption from either of these two could be enough to swing the game – and don’t forget the running prowess of both quarterbacks, who both have the ability to break things open with their legs (if not through the air).

Young and hungry

Defensively, it’s hard not to worry about what Chase Young could end up doing to the Giants offensive line, who had trouble making space for Barkley, and had issues with keeping Von Miller off Daniel Jones.

Young had a surprisingly quiet game to open the season, compared to his very high rookie season standards, and was even taunted by Keenan Allen in the immediate seconds before the game winning throw and catch, so expect Young to be fully up for this one.

The pass-rusher works with terrific energy and seeing this fumble-heavy quarterback could be the blood in the water to this defensive shark.

Oh, and if that wasn’t bad enough, the Washington line also possesses Montez Sweat, Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen – nothing too much for the Giants O-line then…

Battle of the new boys

One match-up it may be a good idea to keep an eye on will be new Giants’ receiver Kenny Golladay up against Washington’s big off-season purchase at corner-back, William Jackson.

Both showed some of what made them such desirable purchases in their respective openers, Golladay snatching 64 yards through the air off four balls, while Jackson popped up with his first interception in burgundy colours with a smart snag on a deep out.

These two could be a nice battle all game long and with air yards potentially hard to come by; Golladay winning his individual battle on the outside could be huge.

Predictions

Overall, then, I think I can only see a Washington win here. Despite four of Daniel Jones’ wins coming against the Football Team, I don’t think they have enough to withhold this defensive line.

Taylor Heinicke might not be an A-grade QB, but number four has a certain swag about him that seems to energise the team and he did himself no harm by going 11/15 and a touchdown for 122 yards once he had replaced Fitzpatrick. 

I expect this to be an enjoyable tie with two teams looking not to fall too far behind in their division. It’s hard to say whether either of the opening day losses were true representations of the team’s ability – but I think the Giants still have far more questions than answers.

Giants 10, Washington 21

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Power Rankings: Week 1 – Looking For Calm After Shocking Sunday

There were some serious shocks to kick off the season and with that, I’m in a somewhat perilous position in that the role of the power rankings author is to try and balance what you’ve seen in front of you alongside the fact that it is only Week 1 and weird stuff always happens in Week 1 as some teams start out the blocks quicker than others.

I’ve tried to strike a balance by rewarding those who maybe we just got wrong as they pulled off great performances and got the W (see New Orleans, Cincinnati), holding fire on some promotions where I thought the winners of the shock may have just knocked off the rust for their victims (see Pittsburgh as the prime example) and I’ve been more likely to move the losers down in those scenarios than move teams up. But those teams won’t have to wait long if it’s indicative of a pattern!

With that said and done, let’s get into it:

Front Runners

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2. Kansas City Chiefs

Both of these teams won, and against good teams in Dallas and Cleveland. However neither team made it easy, both having to fight their way back at home to get the win. Therefore, the two stay atop the rest, but the gap to the bubble is narrowing.

On The Bubble

3. Cleveland Browns (UP 2)
4. Los Angeles Rams (UP 3)
5. Seattle Seahawks (UP 3)
6. Buffalo Bills (DOWN 3)
7. Baltimore Ravens (DOWN 1)
8. Green Bay Packers (DOWN 4)

Now I warned you in last week’s rankings that this group is likely to be one of the most volatile on a weekly basis and it’s proving so early doors. If it wasn’t for two uncharacteristic errors from the Browns in Nick Chubb’s fumble and Jamie Gillan’s handling of a long snap, they probably would’ve beaten Kansas City at Arrowhead. No small feat and a real statement of intent.

The Rams made pretty easy work of Chicago’s defense and barely broke a sweat to restrict their offense in making their intentions known for the season while Seattle looked in mid-season form against the Colts. The Bills and Packers both had dreadful starts against teams who on paper they should’ve beaten and who have had issues in the offseason in the Steelers and Saints. The Ravens were down one due to others moving around before kick-off with potential to climb a few spots, but the Raiders coming back to get them on Monday night inspires little confidence after a horrendous camp for Baltimore.

Could be all change next week again. Main thing is to be in this group if you can.

Playoff Calibre

9. San Francisco 49ers
10. Dallas Cowboys (UP 5)
11. Los Angeles Chargers (UP 1)
12. Tennessee Titans (DOWN 2)
13. Indianapolis Colts (DOWN 2)
14. Miami Dolphins (DOWN 1)
15. New England Patriots (DOWN 1)

The Cowboys really showed up when others didn’t expect them to on Thursday night and have proved that they are worth the hype some are giving them. Tennessee really failed to deliver any hope in their loss to Arizona and the Colts were muted against Seattle. The 49ers could’ve ran off to a massive win against Detroit but turned off the jets towards the end. The Fins scraped by the Patriots but neither seemed too hot.

Not foreseeing any promotions to the bubble yet, but some switch outs with those in the hunt is very possible next week.

In The Hunt

16. New Orleans Saints (UP 3)
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (DOWN 1)
18. Arizona Cardinals
19. Washington Football Team (DOWN 2)

This is the section that might annoy the most. Pittsburgh end up with an excellent win at Buffalo and yet go down a spot? The Cards thrash Tennessee in Nashville and don’t move? However the Saints deserve to be top of this pack after an incredible win over the Packers, and Washington fall through the others performing and the Football Team now losing Ryan Fitzpatrick for at least multiple weeks despite keeping it close against the Chargers.

If these trends continue, then we could be big promotions really quickly. There are still plenty of questions with all of these teams and despite the Steelers and the Cardinals coming up with excellent wins, a lot could be said of how bad the Bills and Titans were out the gates. If they can back it up again, I’d have no issues with finding room further up!

On The Sidelines

20. Las Vegas Raiders (UP 2)
21. Chicago Bears
22. Philadelphia Eagles (UP 1)
23. Cincinnati Bengals (UP 6)
24. Minnesota Vikings (DOWN 4)
25. Denver Broncos
26. New York Giants
27. Atlanta Falcons

Well a couple of teams here really put to bed some questions with great performances on Sunday. I did include a caveat that the Bengals could soar the table early with a good performance against the Vikings and an overtime victory did just that. The Vikings’ defense remains woeful, but the Bengals really outperformed the chatter throughout the summer. The Eagles also surprised with a resounding performance so good that almost demoted the Falcons to the draft watchers division.

The Raiders looked lost at times on Monday night but somehow got the win in a chaotic game. They were going to move up as a result of changes elsewhere but for that are worthy of the movement in their own right.

The results for Chicago, Denver and New York weren’t much of a surprise so no changes there.

Draft Watchers

28. Carolina Panthers
29. New York Jets
30. Houston Texans (UP 2)
31. Detroit Lions
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (DOWN 2)

Detroit showed some moxie against San Francisco but really the result was a foregone conclusion and a lot of those points scored were padding. The Panthers and Jets game was close but with the expected outcome. The Texans tore up the Jags, though, which to me was quite a shock but it does show that the Texans have something about them and that Tyrod Taylor is an NFL calibre starter, for now at least. The Jags however were really poor to the point where there seems to be no real change from last year at all.

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Britball: GB Lions Trials

For those of you playing in the Britball game, you may have caught wind of the announcement(s) regarding the Great britain Men’s team Open Trials!

Anyone thinking of trying to reach the pinnacle of the sport her ein this country and play for the GB Lions, GO AND HAVE A GO!

HC Jason Scott joined us to talk more about it here:

Coach Scott is looking for a massive turnout to push the national team and game on from where it currently is. He’s installed his coaching staff and team to help facilitate his future plans to help the GB team compete with the likes of France, Germany, Austria and the like but is under no illusions of the battle and slog that is ahead of him and his team.

Further details below:

Location – David Ross Sports Village, Beeston Lane, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RJ

Date – 23rd October

Open to all registered BAFA players with insurance, etc. further info on the YouTube Channel.

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Sunday 6pm Preview: Playoff Teams Do Battle In Week 1

They say week 1 sets the tone for the rest of the season. As the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to face the Buffalo Bills, both franchises who were playoff competitors last season, have a chance to lay down an early marker.

The Steelers will look to repeat the blistering opening that they got off to in the 2020 season. The final remaining undefeated team after starting 11-0. The wheels fell off somewhat after that with only 1 win coming in the next 6 games including a first round playoff exit.

Buffalo on the other hand grew into the season and were one of the hottest hands going into the playoffs. They will be looking to take the next step to overcome the powerhouses of the AFC and this opening contest will be a good measuring stick as to how good they might be.

Quarterbacks at the opposite end of the scales

Both sides have undoubted “franchise” quarterbacks at the helm. The significant difference is that whilst 1 tries to prove he is worthy of a huge new contract, the other is trying to defeat father time.

There can be no denying that Josh Allen was a revelation last season. Rarely do we see such growth from a player between year 2 and year 3. Passing completions were up from 59% to 69%, despite throwing significantly more passes in the 2020 campaign. Touchdowns were also up from 20 to 37, all whilst maintaining the threat on the ground where he scampered home for a further 8 touchdowns. The question now is can he repeat with the pressure of a huge investment weighing on his shoulders?

Big Ben is now the lone survivor from the stellar 2004 quarterback class that also produced Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers. Where as the other 2 have bowed to father time, Ben wants one more crack at it all before he hangs up the cleats himself. Statistically he is still a very good quarterback but the offence will surely need to adapt and move away from an average of 40 passing attempts per game. With that said though he needs just over 3,000 yards on the season to move into the top 5 NFL passers by yardage of all time.

It may be stating the obvious but the play of the quarterbacks for both of these sides will be crucial, not just on the day, but throughout the entire campaign if they have desires on holding the Lombardi trophy.

Can Harris get the ground game going?

If the Steelers are to rely less on Ben’s arm then the shining new toy at running back may well be their best hope. Najee Harris joins the backfield via Alabama fresh of 1,900 all purpose yards and 30 touchdowns in his senior year.

The first running back selected in the 2021 NFL draft will look to propel a running game that averaged a measly 3.6 yards per carry last season. Unsurprisingly this ranked dead last in the league, as did their overall yardage number of 1351 on the season. With James Conner moved on, this now becomes the issue they hope Harris can solve.

A new look offensive line to run behind does raise some concerns. Retirements and releases of established names such as DeCastro and Pouncey leave some big shoes to fill. Kevin Dotson played well in pre season, whilst 2 rookies in Dan Moore jr and Kendrick Green are set to make their professional debuts.

Vaccine distraction?

A lot of the off season talk around the Bills has focussed on the Covid-19 vaccine, and the outspoken nature of some in their objections to it. Cole Beasley is of course the main focus here after saying he would rather retire than take the jab and having many a twitter fight (including against his own team mates) with those who disagree.

Beasley quietly put together his best season of his long career to date last time out and paired with Stefon Diggs formed a great 1-2 punch. Diggs shone in his debut Bills campaign and will look to cement himself as one of the games best at the position. Emmanuel Sanders brings further depth and experience to the room, whilst at tight end Dawson Knox seemingly is always threatening to break out.

Similar to Pittsburgh, questions come in the ground game where leading rusher Devin Singletary could only muster 156 carries a year ago. This is clearly a passing offence.

Predictions

The Bills undoubtedly open up as favourites for this one but history should tell you to never write of the Steelers. Buffalo being 6.5 points favourite feels probably about right however I would suggest.

Both teams play excellent defence and the field position battle will be an important one. It just feels as though there are a few more question marks surrounding Pittsburgh than there is against the home side.

I wouldn’t expect a huge ammount of points but I think the Bills will take it by a touchdown.

Steelers 13, Bills 20

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Sunday 9.25pm Preview: Iron sharpens iron in Chiefs/Browns Divisional round rematch

The Kansas City Chiefs will welcome the Cleveland Browns back to Arrowhead as part of NFL Kickoff in one of the most eye-catching and potentially massively important games on Sunday night.

For the Chiefs, they will be looking to show that they’ve not skipped a beat despite their 31-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV and to preserve their sixteen game winning streak in September under Andy Reid.

The Browns will be out for revenge after the Divisional Round matchup in January at Arrowhead saw the AFC West side halt all momentum and grind out a 22-17 win with Chad Henne getting the save after a fourth down pass to Tyreek Hill iced the game for good.

Improvements on both sides

Both sides will say that their core objectives have been met behind the scenes throughout the long spring and summer months.

The Chiefs bolstered their offensive line with additions including Orlando Brown Jr at right tackle, Kyle Long and Joe Thuney at guard. Vital moves when you consider their issues at the line in February, and more so as Mitchell Schwartz, Austin Reiter and Eric Fisher departed.

For the Browns the brief was pretty simple: overhaul the defense. Their first two draft picks saw the completion of that brief in cornerback Greg Newsome II and WILL linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, but more so were the acquisitions of safety John Johnson III, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, and corner Troy Hill to name but a few.

Both sides will feel that their rosters are at their maximum potential going into the new season, and iron will sharpen iron for both of these teams.

Air threat potent for KC

With the Browns’ defense still bedding in and a number of players being eased into the system over camp thanks to injuries, COVID, or other reasons, the passing threat of Patrick Mahomes will remain as potent as ever.

The starting linebacker trio of Mack Wilson Sr., Anthony Walker, and Shone Takitaki will have to step up to minimise the space around the likes of Travis Kelce in the short and medium game, while Greg Newsome will likely be faced with an opening salvo against Mecole Hardman.

The Browns will feel happier than in January with their secondary as the difference in quality will feel night and day. However, against almost unarguably the best quarterback in football it will take a monumental opening day for many new pieces to align quickly to blunt the Chiefs most potent blade.

Linebacker issues open up 1-2 punch for Cleveland

The run game for Cleveland was vital last year as Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt shared the load for the third highest rushing yards per game last year at over 148. Behind one of the, if not the, premier offensive line of 2020 with no changes going into the new season it’s obvious that we’re likely to see more of the same going into 2021.

Combine this with the news that Willie Gay Jr. is on injured reserve with a toe injury, and that the Browns need to steal clock from the big arm of Patrick Mahomes and all of a sudden things seem a lot rosier for Kevin Stefanski when he calls up a running play.

Expect both Chubb and Hunt to get plenty of opportunities this Sunday as the Browns look to charge down the field in a deliberate but decisive manner.

Predictions

This game is a lot harder to call than many might think. The oddsmakers have the Chiefs at a six point swing, but we didn’t see that in January and with the Browns arguably being the most improved team in football with effectively a brand new defense, it’s difficult not to see a close game now.

It could come down to who has the ball last, much like the Browns/Ravens Monday Night Football game last year. Either way, it’ll provide an excellent opportunity to both sides to go up against a Super Bowl challenger and see how they stack up for the month’s ahead.

It’s too close to call, but this being written by a realist Browns fan that’s been hurt too often, I’m going to give the fairytale ending to Patrick Mahomes. But only just.

Browns 23, Chiefs 27

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Power Rankings: Week 1 to Kick Off with some minor tweaks

It’s finally here. Football is back! I cannot wait, and to celebrate I have the distinct honour of providing an update on the Power Rankings for Week 1. Slightly different format but one I hope you all enjoy!

Front Runners

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2. Kansas City Chiefs

Tampa Bay and Kansas City remain the creme of the crop early doors until someone can tell us otherwise. There are opportunities early for both to slip up, especially in Missouri as the Chiefs face the Browns, Ravens and Chargers out the gate. The Bucs shouldn’t slip to Dallas but face a tough trip to LA to face the Rams in Week 3 and then a double whammy with the Dolphins and Patriots thereafter.

On The Bubble

3. Buffalo Bills
4. Green Bay Packers
5. Cleveland Browns
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. Los Angeles Rams (UP 1)
8. Seattle Seahawks (UP 1)

There’s nothing from pre-season that would make you think any of these teams will struggle through the season, however questions are definitely there for teams 5-8. Are the Browns really for real? Was the Ravens’ camp too disruptive? Is Stafford the piece that elevates the Rams? Will Russ cook and will he be the chef Seattle needs?

Expect this list to remain constant in terms of who’s in it, but for the order to change often.

Playoff Calibre

9. San Francisco 49ers (DOWN 2)
10. Tennessee Titans
11. Indianapolis Colts (UP 2)
12. Los Angeles Chargers (DOWN 1)
13. Miami Dolphins (DOWN 1)
14. New England Patriots
15. Dallas Cowboys (UP 1)

The indecision surrounding the QB1 question in San Francisco gives me some slight unease. That and I wasn’t blown away by Trey Lance in the pre-season which could be the make or break to San Francisco even making it to the post-season. The Colts will be buoyed by Carson Wentz and Quentin Nelson both returning from foot injuries far quicker than first thought and as such they now have a fighting chance with their tough start.

The Patriots are the real ones to watch though. Mac Jones impressed so much that he beat out Cam Newton in Foxborough to the extent that Newton is no longer in the building. The Patriots have a sneaky-strong team now; the main question for them however is whether the pieces will gel as quick as they need to get a good start. Their game against the Dolphins first up will be instructive to a degree, and definitely intriguing!

In The Hunt

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (DOWN 1)
17. Washington Football Team
18. Arizona Cardinals
19. New Orleans Saints (UP 2)

Each of these teams I would say are not fancied to win their divisions and rightly so. Questions at quarterback for all of them; incomplete rosters with key skill positions down in each franchise on this list. As much as I like the move to make Jameis Winston the QB1 in New Orleans, and that’s the main reason of moving them up a couple of spots, other issues stemming seemingly from the front office has seen friction with Michael Thomas and Latavious Murray cut after being unwilling to take a pay-cut (and rightly so!).

On The Sidelines

20. Minnesota Vikings (DOWN 1)
21. Chicago Bears (DOWN 1)
22. Las Vegas Raiders
23. Philadelphia Eagles
24. Denver Broncos
25. New York Giants
26. Atlanta Falcons

There’s not much to say about this group right now, I imagine to the chagrin of the fans of those clubs. However there are opportunities to be proved wrong and rise the ranks. The Raiders hosting the Ravens at the Death Star in front of fans for the first time would be a tasty way to rise the ranks. The Bears sticking with Andy Dalton does not inspire confidence but they are a good side and that shouldn’t be discounted. Teddy Bridgewater as Denver’s QB1 makes me think they’re happy slowly progressing this year.

Draft Watchers

27. Carolina Panthers
28. New York Jets
29. Cincinnati Bengals
30. Jacksonville Jaguars
31. Detroit Lions
32. Houston Texans

It’s official. Deshaun Watson will not play for the Houston Texans as his position on the 53 man depth chart is slated as ‘Other’. The Panthers/Jets game will be a fun one to get into as the two teams seem quite well matched. Zach Wilson’s pre-season gives me confidence that the Jets could pull off some encouraging performances, if not stack up wins immediately.

Cincinnati still needs to prove that their talent isn’t all on paper and that they can put it out there on the field. Their camp was not something Bengals’ fans would’ve wanted by all accounts. However the Vikings and Bears are two teams that they can match up against and maybe even win. They do that, then they will rise up out of this group towards the heights where I’ve been told they should be.