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30 Jan 2014

CHAMPIONS 23 Dec 2013

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SAFL FINALS 16 Dec 2013






PREDICTIONS- Playoffs Round 1 6 Dec 2013

Game 1
#2 Browns vs. #7 Bandits

The Browns beat the Bandits in week 3, 56-32.  The score was not indicative of how close the game was as the Browns had finally put the game out of reach at around the 2 minute warning.  The rookie Browns started the season 0-2 looking lost on offense and defense.  The Browns caught the Bandits at a good time as the Bandits were still adjusting their roster on a weekly basis looking for that rhythm they would find a week later.  The Browns took the victory over the Bandits as a launching pad to ascend the SAFL rankings and settled at year end among the elite.  The Bandits started the season 0-4, but showed resolve winning the next four to even their record, putting the league on notice that the veteran group was just biding its time looking for the optimal mix of players to show up on a regular basis.  Something happened in the last four weeks that left league observers scratching their heads.  The Bandits lost their next four to drop to 7th place.  Upon a closer look, we can see two 2 point losses that could've gone either way and a one score defeat.  This tells us that the Bandits can expect some assistance from regression to the mean and start to see some things go their way.  This should be an entertaining matchup pitting the athleticism of the Bandits vs. the guile of the Browns.  A closer game than the first meeting, Browns eke out a 37-31 win.

Browns 37 Bandits 31

Game 2
#1 Warriors vs #8 Panthers

The Warriors trounced the Panthers in week 5, 38-6.  The Warriors led the league in scoring at 32.9 ppg.  The Panthers were 8th in defense allowing 32.8 ppg.  The Warriors allowed 17.7 ppg while the Panthers scored 19.7 ppg.  This is a mismatch on paper.  The Warriors cruised through their season, but a sound defeat to the Browns will want them to right their ship as they eye a deep run in the playoffs all the way to the SAFL trophy.  The Panthers are the perfect tonic.  The Panthers will have to rely on slowing down the game and working the ball underneath to sustain drives to keep the hands out of QB Aldo Ortiz.  That's easier said than done.  The Warriors have the ability to score in myriad ways.  They have an opportunistic defense that will capitalize on any Panthers' mistake.  In the end the Warriors have played too well for too long to experience a hiccup this early in the playoffs.  Warriors win convincingly 38-18. 

Warriors 38 Panthers 18

Game 3
#3 Savages vs. #6 PSR

The Savages allowed 12.8 ppg while scoring 27.8 ppg.  P.S.R. scored 19.3 ppg and allowed 27.9 ppg.  In some respects this could be the biggest snoozer of the day as the Savages should win comfortably.  The Savages walked over P.S.R. 39-7 in week 5.  P.S.R. had 3 quality wins, Savages 8.  But games aren't played on paper.  They're played between the lines by athletes that determine the outcome through their efforts.  And this is why P.S.R. has a chance in this game.  They have very good athleticism to keep the Savages passing attack under control.  They have the speed to stretch the Savages' defense.  There is no series to win here, just one game.  And P.S.R. has the potential to turn back the clock and get their act together just in time to pull off an upset.  Unfortunately for P.S.R., the Savages are just as athletic and can rely on their sustained high level of play to pull this one out.  The Savages’ eyes are on the prize this year and they will remain focused to bring the crown home.  Final score 28-13 Savages.

Savages 28 PSR 13

Game 4
#4 Decepticons vs. #5 Stop n Go

The Decepticons are a hard team to gauge.  They are probably the most athletic team in the league.  They scored 395 points and outscored their opponents by a solid 130 points.  It’s a wonder they would ever lose a game let alone 5.  They demolished Stop n Go in week 4, 34-14.  But a closer look at the Decepticons' record reveals some warts.  They had "only" 5 quality wins.  Their run differential is inflated with a 56-0 win over the Panthers and 39-0 win over the Bengals.  Against the upper echelon teams, their record is under .500.  Stop n Go is the two time defending champs.  Although three-peats are hard in sports, they do occur and usually in the third year the champs don't look as strong (think of the 3rd year teams of the 2 Chicago Bulls three-peat teams).  Qualitatively the same team as the Decepticons, but Stop n Go ruined the Warriors' run to a perfect season.  Stop n Go looks beatable but they're anything but, winning the past two championships when they were an afterthought.  Experience in big games as well as their knack for playing big when it matters tips the scales in Stop n Go's favor.  Final score 32-25.

Stop n Go 32 Decepts 25


Playoff Times 4 Dec 2013




Power Rankings 20 Nov 2013


RECAP 19 Nov 2013


SCOREBOARD- Week 10 18 Nov 2013


SCHEDULE- WEEK 10 14 Nov 2013


SCOREBOARD 12 Nov 2013



Empire vs Decepticons

Going into the season Empire was optimistic they could bounce back from a tough season but things have gone really south as they haven’t been able to pull out the close games and are getting blown out all the other times. Last week they were barely able to field a team. Its hard to imagine Empire just throwing the towel in but unless they can turn it around fast its only going to snowball even more.

Decepticons definitely aren't playing up to their talent. Against the Browns last week they made multiple mistakes and a troubling sign was they were getting on each other which doesn't help team chemistry. It was a real close game last week but they just couldn't pull it out in the end.

Unless Empire calls in the troops in which case they could almost match player for player, it should be an easy win for Decepiticons once they get rolling.

Decepticons 34 Empire 7

Savages vs Browns

After a heart breaking the previous week the Savages got back to their dominating ways as they totally dominated the helpless Panthers to the tune of a 44-0 shut out as Pankaj did his best Nick Foles impression throwing 7 TD’s as the backup QB. Do they ride the hot hand or go back to Zulfikar?

Browns are showing they are a team to be reckoned with as they used their years of experience playing together to good use as they were able to pull out a well deserved win vs the Decepticons last week.

Looks like the forecast for the Browns is another chippy physical game. The matchup to watch is the precision run and gun offense of the Browns vs the ball hawking aggressive athletic Savages defenders. The Browns can give up some big plays, but their bend but don’t break defense has fueled their recent winning streak

Savages 33 Browns 27

Bandits vs PSR

Bandits are coming off of a solid hard fought win vs a scrappy Bengals team fighting for their playoff lives. Looks like the Bandits offense has found their leader in Ken and their defense is living to what everyone thought they would be going into the season.

PSR was one of the surprising teams going into the year as they barely were able to form a team, but they are surprising again as they haven’t been very good for the past month. Attendance of their key players is definitely hurting but they have lost the confidence they gained from early in the year. Is this the week they can get it back?

We know the Bandits will show up in full force but who will show up for PSR? Knowing that their season may be slipping will PSR have all hands on deck to right the ship?

Bandits 34 PSR 20

Bengals vs Panthers 

Bengals coming off a huge win to keep their playoff hopes alive vs Empire went into a natural rivalry game vs the Bandits. They played well for the most part, but they weren’t able to capitalize on mistakes and couldn’t make the plays they needed to put them on top.

Panthers can’t seem to be doing much right these days. Forget about scoring, just trying to string some completions together is a challenge. The defense which was at least keeping them in games has cracked as well. Its going to be hard for Razi and company to turn it around, but there is still time.

This is an elimination game for the Panthers. If they lose they will be 2.5 games behind the number 8 seeded Bengals as they would own the tiebreaker. If they could pull out the win they would jump into the 8 seed. With that in mind can Razi muster up one last stand by the Panthers to keep their season alive? The Bengals knowing this would love the chance to get their 3rd win and potentially move up further in the  standings. With a hobbled Abir it may an uphill battle though.

Bengals 26 Panthers 13

Warriors vs Stop N Go

Warriors have had this circled on their calendars for about 11 months after losing in the title game last season. Warriors have been on a mission this year as they are showing they are the best team. They can win a shootout, or a defensive battle. They have playmakers on offense and defense. They are the total package and the cream of the crop

Stop N Go had a real rough patch in the middle of the season as their attendance has been spotty. They have gotten away with it in the past as they had so much depth, but with the increase in overall talent in the league it seems to have finally caught up with them. With a full team though they are as talented as any and with their attendance improving and an easy win last week vs Empire they are looking to make a stretch run.

Should be a great game, both teams have defensive playmakers who attack the ball and are looking to score once they have the ball in their hands. Each team’s offense will have to take some chances as both defenses are fundamentally sound and usually make the other team earn it by not giving up the big play

Warriors 34 Stop N Go 28




RECAP 4 Nov 2013


SCOREBOARD- Week 8 4 Nov 2013



Decepticons vs. Browns

Browns proved last week they are the real deal pulling off a great comeback vs the defending champs as they overcame a 25 point lead. Their offense just torched Stop N Go in the 2nd  half and their defense was forcing turnover like they were going out of style. This is a team that is trying to take its place among the elite.

Decepticons after a sluggish week vs the Savages responded very nicely taking care of business vs a depleted PSR squad. Deceptions are very Jekel and Hyde. At times they look unstoppable while others they are left scratching their heads.

Should be a great game. Decepitcons clearly have an advantage athletically, but at times their chemistry with each other is lacking. The Browns aren’t the most athletic team, but they got some firepower and their chemistry makes them very potent on the offensive end. Whoever can win the match up of brains vs brawns will pull it out.

Decepticons 33 Browns 27

P.S.R vs. Warriors

PSR, after a fast start this season, is in a rut now. Again the Decepticons they were short handed and it got ugly fast as they were having trouble just completing any passes. If they show up full loaded they can play with any team, if they don’t it gets ugly.

Warriors were in a dogfight with the Savages last week as both teams went back and forth in an epic game that went down to the last play. The Warriors showed that no matter what kind of game it turns into they can squeeze it out. Their offense struggled, but their defense got 4 INT’s until the offense was able to take the lead for good.

Which PSR guys will show up this week, that’s the question. If they got their full complement of guys they can make a game of this and put a scare into the Warriors. If not the Warriors should be able to continue their winning ways as their defense is playing top notch while they try to work out some kinks on offense

Warriors 34 PSR 13

Bandits vs. Bengals

In a must win game, the Bengals were able to take control in the 2nd half as they scored 3 unanswered TD’s to get a must needed needed win vs Empire. They had plenty of opportunities to take control of the game earlier as they dropped multiple passes and INT’s in the process.

No new QB, no problems as the Bandits lead by Burhan early on just kept the offense rolling en route to a easy victory vs the Panthers. Their defense got the shut out only allowing 1 first down. Bandits are definitely the hottest team in the league and no one wants to get in their way.

Abir, the former Bandit, is leading his new team against his former squad, how sweet it would be to get the best of them. Although he may be the best player on the field, it’s a team game and Bandits have talent up and down their roster and are confident which is a dangerous combination. Unless the Bengals can haul in some INT’s it shouldn't be too close a game

Bandits 34 Bengals 19

Stop n Go vs Empire

Stop N Go is left scratching their heads after blowing a unthinkable 25 point lead. The wheels fell off as they didn’t know what hit them. This season they have been consistently inconsistent which isn’t typical of them. They may have to go back to the drawing board but playing Empire this week should help

Empire is being pillaged and burned by any and every team they are playing this year. They look so good at times on each side of the ball but it seems like whenever something goes bad it gets out of hand. Empire has been playing better as of late in stretches and unless they can string together a full game of it, its going to get ugly as both teams don’t like eachother

Stop N Go 40 Empire 20

Savages vs Panthers

Savages played the undefeated Warriors last week in a very entertaining game that came down to the last play, but they were unable to pull it out. Despite turning the ball over 4 times they were still in the game until the end. Their defense is championship quality but can their offense be consistent enough to put the ball in the endzone? They should be able to this week.

Panthers like Empire is in total shambles. Panthers were embarrassed last week as the Bandits dissected their defense and made their offense look anemic as they got one 1st down the whole game. Unless Cam Newton is suiting up for the Panthers it should be a frustrating day on offense

Savages 33 Panthers 6




A key characteristic of a championship SAFL team is a solid defense. This week’s edition of Coaches Corner will analyze the different type of defenses, how to read each defense and how to disguise it. 

Cover 1:  No team really plays this type of coverage in our league but it is worth mentioning.  Essentially this zone has 1 safety up top with 5 defenders underneath. 

Why use this defense:  If the QB does not have the arm talent to throw the deep ball and your team has an “Ed Reed type” safety this defense will be perfect.  This will really congest the underneath patterns and the QB will really have a hard time finding an open receiver less than 20 yards. 

How to beat this zone:  If the QB scans the field and sees only one safety up top and zone underneath, he should send both outside receivers on a deep pattern and the TE on a seam pattern.  He should also manipulate the safety with his eyes.  Essentially looking at the safety to freeze him then look away from the intended receiver to create some space between the intended receiver and the safety. 

How to disguise this defense:  This can come in a variety of ways.  The defense can show man, cover 2 or cover 3.  By showing one defense and then playing another defense will confuse any offense. 

Cover 2:  This defense seems to be the choice of SAFL teams.  This defense has 2 safeties up top with 3 defenders underneath and the lineman to put some pressure on the QB. 

Why use this defense:  To avoid giving up big plays and increase chances of a turnover.  With 2 safeties up top, the defense has better chance of a turnover-especially if you have 2 great athletes to play both safety positions. 

How to beat this zone:  If the QB scans the field and sees only two safeties up top and zone underneath, he should pick a zone and flood it with multiple receivers.  Easy pitch and catch!  Again, he should also manipulate both safeties with his eyes.

How to disguise this defense:  The defense can show man, cover 1 or cover 3.  By showing man, the defense is daring the QB to go deep and with 2 good safeties that should be an easy interception.  But showing cover 1 you trick the QB thinking he has one side open but once the ball is thrown to the perceived open side, another easy turnover.  With cover 3 disguise, the QB thinks he has an open zone underneath but really one of the 3 safeties up top is jumping the underneath route.  This should be an interception that turns into points for the defense. 

Cover 3:  Another popular defense in the SAFL.  Similar to Cover 1 and Cover 2 but this has 3 safeties up top with 3 defenders underneath. 

Why use this defense:  To avoid giving up big plays and TE seams.  With 3 safeties up top all three routes are covered.  Great for long distance situations. 

How to beat this zone:  Once you determine the defense is playing 3 safeties up top, the QB essentially has the entire underneath to play with.  If the offense has playmakers a short bubble screen, 12 yd ins and outs and curls may lead to significant YAC’s (Yards After Catch). 

How to disguise this defense:  The defense can show man, cover 1 or cover 2. See cover 2 defense for man disguise or and cover 1 disguise. 
With Cover 2 disguise, the QB thinks the middle is open for business.  But middle LB shows underneath coverage but come back to the middle safety position to take away the deep seam. 

Man D:  Defender’s dream defense.  IF you have 6 skilled athletes this could be the defense your team plays.  Zone defenses are predicated on a significant pass rush.  With the current rules of 4 Mississippi rush, a good/great QB with 4 seconds will torch any team.  With Man defense, your objective is to shut down the man in front of you for 5 to 7 seconds a play.  This defense is very effective but be warned of teams that have big play capabilities. 

Why use this defense:  To completely shut down the other team especially if the QB is not accurate.    

How to beat man:  If QB sees man defense there are 3 choices
1). Pick the possible mis-match and exploit it. 
2). Create natural picks underneath by criss-crossing 2-3 receivers.  One of those receivers should be open. 
3). Double moves against a gambling defender with a fake pump.  This typically leads to points or long plays. 

How to disguise this defense:  Pick any zone defense to disguise.  Easiest zone to disguise man is Cover 1. 

At the end of the day your team really should play variations and multiples defenses described above.  With the amount of great QB play in this league the defenses really need to avoid doing the same thing over and over again.  As you see above, every defense has a weakness and it’s the defenses job to disguise it and play each situation and each team differently. 


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