First and Eight

Bobby Sansone, Senior Writer

November 13, 2003

It’s round 2 of intra-divisional play and with all 16 teams still mathematically alive for a playoff spot, each game is of significance...

First - Chickens at Beans

If the Chickens have any post-season aspirations then this game is truly a “must-win”. Highly heralded as the “Dream Team” this past off-season, the Chickens have stumbled in games that have mattered most. Jerry Rice has zero TDs this year and Ricky Williams has struggled of late. While McNabb has picked up his game of late, Christian Fauria and Ryan Longwell have disappeared. This team’s backbone is clearly Tomlinson and Lewis. Both had big games last week but can they do it two weeks in a row? The Beans, two weeks removed from the second-most devastating loss in team history (’98 Playoffs vs. Eaters and Gary Anderson) seem to have veered back on course with the ultimate destination being the Super Bowl. While newly acquired WRs Donald Driver and Plaxico Burress have been mere enigmas, Tony Gonzalez and Johnnie Morton have been superb. Trent Green is the unsung hero on the team and is quietly making waves in the MVP race. If Green can lead this team to another win this weekend, voters will definitely start to notice. Clinton Portis, Travis Henry and Marcel Ship must neutralize the dynamic Chickens RB trio if the Beans have any plans to win this key NFC West battle.

Chickens 58 Beans 55

And Seven - Gooks at Poop

There hasn’t been truly a marquee game in the forgotten AFC East all season but the re-emergence of Jon Kinsman to the YFFL truly makes this week’s Gooks-Poop match-up a must-see. The Poop haven’t played a big game in weeks now and will definitely be “up” for this game between Bottom’s Up baseball legends. The Poop will turn to their horses of Steve McNair, Chad Johnson, Santana Moss and Tyrone Calico to carry them from here on out. The Gooks, riding a 3-game winning streak in which they have scored 148 points now believe they can win the wild card. Byron Leftwich continues to do just enough to win games while Mike Vanderjagt just might be the team’s MVP. Laveraneus Coles seems to be rejuvenated since coming to the Gooks via trade. Eddie George is holding onto his starting RB job with 1-yard TD runs. All eyes will be on the Titans vs. Jaguars game…thankfully for Direct TV, both owners could be watching.

Gooks 44 Poop 39

Six - Huskers at Brothers

Chad Pennington’s return has given hope to the Huskers but at 6-4 they likely need to win their remaining 3 games in order to make the playoffs as the NFC Wild Card. While not impossible, it will be tough considering how unproductive the team has been of late. Take away Holmes, Pennington and Hines Ward and there is not another player who can step-up on any given Sunday. For the Huskers to win this game, there has to be an X-factor. The Brothers continue their 2002 Huskers-like ride with an improbable 9 game winning streak. They have tripled last year’s win total and are one-win away from qualifying for the playoffs; hard to fathom considering this team LOST the Stupor Bowl last year. Brad Johnson to Keenan McCardell has been devastating to most opponents. Stephen Davis and William Green will be back after both missed last week. I like the Brothers luck to continue.

Brothers 51 Huskers 47

Five - Buddies at Thugs

The Thugs can clinch at least a tie of the AFC West Division Title with a win and Merry Men loss this weekend. It would be their fourth such title in the division five years of existence. Ahman Green’s career year continued last week as he scored 18 points on Monday night to seal an upset victory over the Chickens. The Thugs are one of the deepest teams in the league, which gives them options down the stretch. Boldin, Boston and Smith continue to vie for the two starting WR slots while Moe Williams and Charlie Garner have battled for the UT position. Jeff Blake will get his third straight start in place of the injured Jeff Garcia. The Buddies will play their last game without a starting QB this week, as Michael Vick appears ready to play next week. If the Buddies can somehow upset the Thugs, they might be in a solid position to win the division with Cory Dillon likely returning next week along with Vick. Torry Holt, Randy Moss and Warrick Dunn have been terrific and usually save their best games for the Thugs.

Thugs 37 Buddies 33

Four - Dragons at White Guys

It’s hard to get excited for this NFC East battle but the fact remains this game will likely determine who will advance to the playoffs. The Dragons are going nowhere fast and field a team of players having career-worst years, beginning with Marshall Faulk and Eric Moulds. Rod Smith hasn’t failed to disappoint while Trung Canidate, Garrison Hearst and Darrell Jackson have fallen off the face of the earth. The White Guys are hanging on by a thread, or by Fred Taylor’s groin, I should say. Aaron Brooks should be able to pick apart the Falcons secondary on his way to a big day.

White Guys 36 Dragons 26

Three - Eaters vs. Merry Men

In one of the more intriguing match-ups of the weekend, Chris “out of luck” Davidson will try to play the role of spoiler as the Eaters take on the Merry Men. This game has all the makes of a blowout. The Eaters have underachieved all year. Koren Robinson has been a huge disappointment. What ever happened to Emmitt and Amos in the backfield? Marvin Harrison is questionable with a strained hamstring. The Merry Men meanwhile are coming off a 77-point performance, which naturally has Steve and his .500 Merry Men talking Super Bowl. They have found the UT player they have coveted all season, Bengals RB Rudi Johnson, who is competing for Acquisition of the Year honors with Dominack Davis of the Gooks. Jerry Porter is back but questions about his production remain because of the Raiders QB situation.

Merry Men 45 Eaters 27

Two - Refugees at Llamas

If the Poop beat the Gooks, the Thugs beat the Buddies the Eaters beat the Merry Men and the Llamas beat the Refugees, the expansion Llamas would control their own destiny for the AFC Wild Card. Granted the Llamas haven’t won since Week 7 but they have been competitive. Andre Johnson has been quiet and Wayne Chrebet is out for the year so the Llamas will have to have bench players step up. The Refugees are playing the classic spoiler role and are just looking to develop young players.

Refugees 31 Llamas 29

One - Boys at Mallards

In many ways it’s sad to see arguably the greatest player in the history of the YFFL, Brett Favre, winding down his career for a 2-6-1 team. The Boys have failed to surround Favre with talent. The Boys last three first round picks (Bennett, Shockey, Boller) are injured or coming off of injuries, which hasn’t helped the rebuilding process. The Mallards are scrappy and are always a Shawn Bryson TD away from winning.

Mallards 21 Boys 16