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Week 6 Preview

After taking a look at the state of the league through the first third of the season, here’s a quick rundown of the matchups around The NFL Experience as we head into Week 6:

Smokin Red Devils (-12) vs. The Replacements

With a perfect 5-0 record so far, the Red Devils have been one of the league’s biggest surprises so far. But after playing against one of the league’s easiest schedules so far, things will pick up beginning with their matchup against The Replacements – the first of four straight games against teams in the top half of the league in scoring.

If the Red Devils can make it through this stretch with two losses or less, they’ll be in strong position to claim the South Division title in their first year under new ownership.

RG3 for President (-12) vs. Temujin

After making it to the title game a year ago, RG3 is off to another terrific start this season. But they should have their hands full with Temujin, off to a rougher start than one would expect with their talent level.

With only a 12-point projected gap between the two teams, either is capable of coming away with a win, though it’s probably a much more crucial match for the underdogs given their 2-3 start to the season and not wanting to fall too far behind in the playoff chase.

Noord’s Team (-37) vs. Chef’s Menu

With the Adrian Peterson controversy fully behind them, the Menus have tried to move forward this season, but are already looking like they are playing for the future instead of the present.

That should give Noord’s Team a good opportunity to even their record at .500 for the season, and try to force themselves back into the playoff picture and out of the current logjam of teams sitting at 2-3 on the outside looking in.

Murrells Inlet Maya (-16) vs. Kamehamehaaa

The Maya currently have a 4-1 record and the first of the two wild card spots thanks to facing the easiest schedule in the league so far this season. They’ll have a chance to further cement their place in the playoffs at an early juncture in the season with a matchup against Kamehamehaaa, which come in as underdogs despite scoring more points so far this season.

But a 16-point spread is a pretty insignificant one in a league with this many scoring variables, so it’ll likely be yet another close and competitive matchup in a season full of them so far for the Maya.

Kobra Kai (-33) vs. Bizarro Al Davis

Kobra Kai has gotten off to a strong start this season, going 4-1 and leaping out to a two-game lead in the East Division. And now they head into this week with a surprisingly big advantage over Bizarro Al Davis – the highest scoring team in the entire league.

By losing this week, Davis would open the door to going from being a division leader to potentially being out of the playoffs – that’s how tough the competition out in the West Division is. This could be the most important game of the week from a playoff perspective, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise (-33) vs. Bortles Kombat

If Davis loses, The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise will be hoping to capitalize on it and move into first in the West, as they have a very winnable matchup this week against Bortles Kombat.

Under new ownership this year, the Kombat have struggled so far, but have a ton of offensive talent and could make this matchup interesting.

That’s My-Danek! (-35) vs. AP Says PIIHB

Like The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise, That’s My-Danek! is well positioned to take another step forward in the difficult West Division if Davis slips up thanks to being heavy favorites in their matchup with AP Says PIIHB this week.

My-Danek! has this advantage despite the fact Jordan Reed is currently starting for them and has a grand total of zero projected points because of his potential absence from the lineup due to a hamstring injury. So, in other words, this should be a comfortable win.

Ground ‘N’ Pound (-17) vs. Carnivorous Pigs

The Pigs are trying to be the Philadelphia 76ers of the NFL Experience, putting out a terrible team in the hopes of landing a high draft pick (presumably to draft a franchise changing quarterback) and start their rebuilding process.

But even after scoring less points than any other team in the league so far, we’ll see if the Pigs can find a way to win this week against Ground ‘N’ Pound despite their attempts to not do so.

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Where things stand through five weeks

Now that we’re one-third of the way through the season (and I have a little more time to work on these recap pieces), it’s a good chance to take a look at where the league sits through the first five weeks of the year.

The biggest surprise, without question, comes in the South Division, where Smokin Red Devils have gone a perfect 5-0 through the first five weeks of the year, and have racked up the sixth-most points in the league so far. A team that finished with one of the worst records in the league a year ago, and was projected to finish 11th in points before the season began, the Red Devils’ hot start have put them in strong position to make the playoffs and potentially even grab a bye – especially since they play in what is easily the league’s weakest division.

Perhaps the other biggest surprise so far is in that same South Division, as in Murrells Inlet Maya’s 4-1 record. Despite having the second-fewest points in the league (only ahead of the hapless Carnivorous Pigs), the Maya are 4-1 thanks to having the fewest points scored against them in the league. I don’t think anyone will be surprised to know that the team that resides in second in that category is Smokin Red Devils.

As usual, the West Division is an absolute bloodbath, with Bizarro Al Davis, The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise and That’s My-Danek! all being tied at 3-2, and having scored within 55 total points of each other so far this season. It seems exceedingly likely that these three teams will go right down to the final week of the regular season again, just like they did last year, and further proves that the biggest and most difficult rebuilding job in the entire league is going to be for Ground ‘N’ Pound, as despite having the ninth most points scored in the league through nine weeks have a very slim chance of making the playoffs.

The most impressive team in the league so far has probably been RG3 for President, which has posted a 4-1 record that includes losing by less than a half-point to The Replacements in Week 2 and knocking off both Bizarro Al Davis and The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise the past two weeks. And while RG3 for President holds a two-game lead in the North over the other three teams, Kobra Kai also holds a two-game lead in the East, and with a perfect 3-0 record in division play is going to be very difficult to beat.

Finally, the battle for the two wild card spots should be entertaining for most of the season. Through the first five games of the season, Murrells Inlet Maya holds one spot, while The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise and That’s My-Danek! are tied for the other with their matching 3-2 records. But with six more teams currently holding 2-3 records, there is a good portion of the league with a shot at making it into the playoffs by the time they roll around in December.

Week 3 in Review: Two Teams Stand Alone

We’re now three weeks into the 2014 season, and two teams stand alone atop The NFL Experience.

With victories this week, Kobra Kai and Smokin Red Devils have emerged from the first three weeks of divisional play with perfect 3-0 records, allowing them to sit atop the East and South Divisions, respectively. Kobra Kai blew out Bortles Kombat this week to maintain their perfect record, while Smokin Red Devils came away with a fairly close victory over Murrells Inlet Maya in a battle of undefeateds for first place in the South.

At the other end of the spectrum, a pair of teams – Carnivorous Pigs and Chef’s Menu – remained winless after dropping games to AP Says PIIHB and Temujin, respectively. While the Pigs were clearly projected to be the worst team in the league prior to the season, Chef’s Menu has been in the news for entirely different reasons recently – owner Aaron Nelson’s decision to dispense with Adrian Peterson.

In other notable results around The NFL Experience:

— Bizarro Al Davis recovered from their shocking defeat in Week 1 to post back-to-back wins over the two stronger opponents in their division, including beating The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise – and hand them their first loss of the season – in Week 3.
— The other undefeated team entering the week, Noord’s Team, also lost its first game, getting rocked by RG3 for President, which was powered to the win by huge performances from Nick Foles offensively and J.J. Watt defensively.
— Despite seemingly playing for next year by giving up a ton of salary this week, Kamehamehaaa managed to squeak out a win over The Replacements – who have yet to get a single double-digit scoring performance from a running back this season.

We’ll be back later in the week with a comprehensive preview of the Week 4 slate – the first week featuring action outside the divisions.

 

Week 3 Preview

Here’s a look at The NFL Experience heading into the start of Week 3 action Thursday night:

Kamehamehaaa (-10) vs. The Replacements

Despite the fact that Kamehamehaaa dealt away three talented veteran defensive players – Kam Chancellor, D’Qwell Jackson and Lamarr Houston – to The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise in a cost-cutting move Thursday morning, the franchise is still favored to get its first victory of the season against The Replacements, who have had a stout defense through the first two weeks but arguably the worst offense in the entire league.

RG3 for President (-4) vs. Noord’s Team

RG3 was extremely close to making this an undefeated showdown for first place in the North Division but came up less than half a point short of beating The Replacements last week, as we detailed in the Week in Review post. But RG3 is favored to come away with the win this week against 2-0 Noord’s Team – although it’s really a toss-up as to who will win. Noord’s Team gets an unexpected boost from having Wes Welker back in the lineup earlier than expected – we’ll see if it makes a difference.

Temujin (-4) vs. Chef’s Menu

Chef’s Menu has been the talk of the league this week for its decision to immediately part ways with Adrian Peterson in the wake of the allegations of child abuse against him. Owner Aaron Nelson acted decisively, opening up a 24-hour window for negotiations to then move Peterson to Bortles Kombat for Benny Cunningham, Terrance Williams and a late-round rookie pick.

Cunningham and Williams both immediately went into the starting lineup for the Menus, and will try to get them out of their winless start against a surprisingly slow-starting Temujin squad that, one year after winning the division, can’t seem to get out of its own way out of the gate.

Smokin Red Devils (-4) vs. Murrells Inlet Maya

Perhaps the most surprising team in the league this year is Smokin Red Devils, which entered the season 11th in the projected points standings but, behind the strength of what has been the league’s best defense through the first two weeks of the season, they have surged out to a 2-0 start and have the league’s highest point total through the opening two weeks.

Still, they aren’t projected to blowout their division rivals Murrells Inlet Maya, despite the fact that through the first two weeks the Devils have outscored the Maya by almost 120 points.

Bortles Kombat (-24) vs. Kobra Kai

Kobra Kai might be the only undefeated team in the East Division, but Bortles Kombat – even with Peterson cooling his heels on his bench after recently being acquired – comes into this week’s matchup heavily favored to come away with the win. The Kombat’s strength and depth across its offense is the main reason for its significant advantage in the projections, and we’ll see if it comes through that way.

AP Says PIIHB (-34) vs. Carnivorous Pigs

Another week, another massive deficit in the projections for the Pigs, though this week’s is smaller than it was previously. Still, it’s been a surprising start overall for them, having scored more points than three teams and within 20 points of five others. We’ll see what happens this week, when they go up against division rival AP Says, who despite a low projected point total is still a heavy favorite.

The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise (-24) vs. Bizarro Al Davis

The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise – after coming close each of the first two years but falling short to Bizarro Al Davis each year – clearly is going for it. Today’s trade with Kamehamehaaa that was mentioned earlier say them take on more than $20 in future salary, and pushing them up close to $20 dollars in luxury taxes.

But after squeaking out a win over Ground ‘N’ Pound last week, The Franchise will take on the two-time defending champs this week, who bounced back from their shocking opening week loss to post the league’s high score in Week 2.

That’s My-Danek! (-52) vs. Ground ‘N’ Pound

It’s been a disappointing start for My-Danek!, a strong team that’s gotten off to a sluggish start. But after losses to both The Franchise and Al Davis in the first two weeks, they desperately need a win in Week 3 against Ground ‘N’ Pound in order to try and keep pace in the ultra-competitive West Division.

Ground ‘N’ Pound did well again in Week 2, however, holding up well against The Franchise in defeat after their stunning upset of Al Davis in Week 1. It’ll be interesting to see if they can keep it up this week.

Week in Review: The Replacements hold on for narrow win

It’s hard to finish closer than The Replacements and RG3 for President did in Week 2.

After all of the scoring adjustments were inputted, The Replacements managed to squeak out the narrowest of wins, coming away with a 256.65 to 256.25 victory over RG3 for President – a result that likely will be the closest game of the season in The NFL Experience, as it’s hard to imagine there will be ties again this season like there were last year.

By holding off RG3, The Replacements kept themselves in the division race in the once again ultra-competitive North Division, where all four teams are separated by less than 40 total points over two weeks, and prevented an undefeated showdown between Noord’s Team and RG3 for President in Week 3.

Speaking of Noord’s Team, it survived another close North Division showdown against Kamehamehaaa, pulling out a 227.5-225.9 victory to become one of five undefeated teams in the league through the first two weeks of the season. The others? Smokin Red Devils and Murrells Inlet Maya from the South Division – which will face off against each other this week – as well as The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise and Kobra Kai. We’ll see how many of those teams are still undefeated at the end of Week 3.

Week 2 Preview

We’re a little late with this – given that the week began Thursday night – but here’s a quick look at the landscape of The NFL Experience heading into Week 2:

RG3 for President (-8) vs. The Replacements

The North Division sees a pair of matchups with one winner and one loser from Week 1 – meaning that one of the deepest divisions in the league last year could have a pair of teams atop it with matching 2-0 records by the end of play Monday. Two teams built around balanced attacks on both sides of the ball, the difference in this matchup could come down to which players coming in carrying injuries – Alshon Jeffrey for RG3 for President, Eddie Lacy and Toby Gerhart for The Replacements – are able to play and produce on Sunday.

Kamehamehaaa (-8) vs. Noord’s Team

After losing to his brother last week in a close one, Kamehamehaaa is off to a great start, getting 19 points from Daryl Smith Thursday night while Torrey Smith and Justin Tucker combined for 16 for Noord’s Team. That should give Kamehamehaaa an even bigger edge than the 8-point projected win for them heading into the rest of this week’s games.

Smokin Red Devils (-20) vs. Temujin

In the South, Smokin Red Devils headed into the week with what looked like a comfortable edge over 0-1 Temujin, but North’s squad got off to a strong start with good performances from free agent pickup Justin Forsett and stud wideout Antonio Brown. He’ll need more of that if he wants to get his first win of the season this week, as the Red Devils appear to have the inside track on a win – at least from a projections standpoint.

Murrells Inlet Maya (-36) vs. Chef’s Menu

This looks like it will be a walk in the park for Murrells Inlet Maya, who are on their way to a 2-0 record after Chef’s Menu combined for just 7.5 points among three players Thursday night – and that was before Adrian Peterson was lost for Sunday’s game after his indictment Friday night. Already beginning to look like a repeat of 2013 for the Menus.

AP Says PIIHB (-8) vs. Kobra Kai

The final two divisions feature matchups of the two teams that won last week, including this one. AP Says already looks like the significant front runner in this one after getting over 48 points from three four players Thursday, compared to Kobra Kai getting 24 from three – including just eight from Ben Roethlisberger. Looks like AP Says is well on its way to a 2-0 start.

Bortles Kombat (-89) over Carnivorous Pigs

The Pigs made a lopsided matchup competitive last week, but it’s hard to see that happening this week. They got a decent start with 10 points from Cameron Heyward Thursday night, but it shouldn’t be enough to change the eventual outcome.

Bizarro Al Davis (-16) over That’s My-Danek!

After the two-time defending champions suffered a stunning loss in Week 1, Bizarro Al Davis is now down after Thursday, when My-Danek! jumped out to a 17-6 lead, though they did have an extra player in action. The champs are favored to come away with the win, however, and it will be interesting to see if they can manage to hold off a very difficult opponent to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole.

The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise (-26) over Ground ‘N’ Pound

After Ground ‘N’ Pound pulled off the upset last week, they came out and outscored Sean Taylor 13-5 on Thursday, giving themselves a good start and another chance to pull a massive upset this week. It still seems likely, however, that Sean Taylor will emerge victorious and take an early lead in what was the best division in the league last season.

Best of luck to everyone this week.

Ground ‘N’ Pound upset shocks league in Week 1

There’s a reason they play the games.

If you needed any further proof of that, look no further than Week 1 of the 2014 NFL Experience season, which saw Bizarro Al Davis – the two-time defending champion in this league, and who entered this season with a startling 22-4 record in regular season games – taking on Ground ‘N’ Pound, the cellar-dwellars by miles in the league’s most difficult division last year, and a 70-point underdog heading into Week 1.

But thanks to over 70 points from his three wide receivers and an insane 44 points from Gerald McCoy, new owner Colin Saunders might have pulled off the upset of the season in its opening week as Ground ‘N’ Pound beat Bizarro Al Davis to stun the league and headline the Week 1 action. Bizarro Al Davis now has more trouble as Doug Martin went down with an injury in Week 1, and could be questionable moving forward, though Neil does have Darren Sproles behind him on the bench.

Things won’t get any easier for Colin this week, however, as he now has to go up against The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise, which came away with a resounding victory over That’s My-Danek! in what was the heavyweight matchup heading into Week 1. Even with sub-par performance from their tight ends and Philip Rivers, Aaron and Patrick came away with a big victory thanks to a balanced offensive attack that saw all six running backs, receivers and flex spots score over 15 points.

Injuries to Jonathan Cyprien and Jordan Reed and ineffective play from Zac Stacy – a concern moving forward – ensured Ben would go down to defeat in Week 1, and sets up a fascinating showdown between a pair of strong winless teams in Week 2.

The theme across the rest of the league was close match ups, with two games – RG3 for President beating Kamehamehaaa and Smokin Red Devils beating Chef’s Menu – finishing with wins of less than five points, while Noord’s Team, Kobra Kai, AP Says, Murrells Inlet Maya also had victories.

Divisional matchups will continue this week, including two – The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise vs. Ground ‘N’ Pound and Kobra Kai vs. AP Says PIIHB – that will end with someone taking the division lead.

More on those later in the week, though. For now, congratulations to Colin for a great and stunning way to start off his first season in the league, and congrats to Austin for picking up $10 dollars for winning top scoring honors for the week.