NFL Experience Update through three weeks

Hey guys,

Now that we’re through the first three weeks of the regular season – meaning the first round of divisional games is in the books – I thought I’d take a trip around the league and see how things have played out to this point.

We’ll start in the North Division, where Kamehamehaaa, RG3 for President and The Replacements all are 2-1 so far, after each split their matchups with the other two teams and all beat Noord’s Team. The Replacements were the closest to going 3-0, losing to RG3 for President by 1.45 points in Week 1.

As of now, Kamehamehaaa looks like the strongest team after scoring over 300 points last in demolishing RG3 for President, and has the fourth most points in the league through three weeks.

In the East Division, Bortles Kombat and AP Says PIIHB lead the way with 2-1 records, while Kobra Kai and Carnivorous Pigs are both 1-2. Bortles Kombat opened up with wins over AP Says and Kobra Kai, which seemingly had it on the way to 3-0 – only to be surprisingly knocked off by the Pigs, which are much more competitive than they were last year, when they were bottoming out in pursuit of the top pick.

Bortles Kombat’s win over AP Says in Week 1 could prove to be crucial, as the two teams both have scored over 800 points so far and look like strong contenders to take home both the division and a wild card spot this year.

It’s a similar story in the South, with Chef’s Menu one of the two 3-0 teams with the third highest scoring team in the league so far. Want to take a minute here to give Aaron some props here; over the four years in the league his team has improved each season, and now looks on the verge of making his first playoff berth this season.

Murrells Inlet Maya looks ready to try and make a push to get back in the postseason for the third year out of four, with 846 points through three weeks so far. North’s plan to bottom out is working, as Temujin is now 0-3.

Finally, in the West, it once again looks like a bear of a division, with Bizarro Al Davis out in front at 3-0 and with the highest point total in the league through three weeks – but with The Sean Taylor Memorial Franchise less than 10 points behind and 2-1 after four weeks.

You also can’t count out That’s My-Danek! yet, as Ben’s team has consistently been in the playoff chase right down to the final week of the season, and he’ll undoubtedly rack up some wins when not having to face his in-division rivals. You can, however, count out Ground ‘N’ Pound, which seems well on its way to fighting North for the worst record in the league this season.

Weekly High Scorers:

Week 1: Kamehamehaaa
Week 2: Bizarro Al Davis
Week 3: Murrells Inlet Maya

Spotlight Matchup of Week 4: RG3 for President vs. Murrells Inlet Maya

There are a few possibilities for this week, but we’ll go with this one, a rematch of last year’s championship game that saw RG3 for President come away with the title, leaving MIM to finish in second place for the second time in three years. Both teams come into the game at 2-1, and this could be the type of matchup that looms large in a few weeks for playoff purposes.

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Season in Review

After a couple of initial seasons of transition and adjustment to our new league and its format, this season, the third in the history of The NFL Experience, hopefully marks the beginning of the “modern era” of our league – one that ushered in a permanent salary cap system, luxury tax code and, if it works properly, what should be a level of stability we haven’t had through the first two years of the league’s existence.

It also marked the crowning of a new champion for the first time, as RG3 for President cruised through a pair of playoff victories over Kobra Kai and Murrells Inlet Maya to claim its first championship, and dethrone Bizarro Al Davis – the two-time defending champions and the league’s highest-scoring team for a third-straight season by a wide-margin – which was upset by division rival That’s My-Danek! in the first round of the playoffs.

RG3 was led by the amazing J.J. Watt, who not only should be named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player this season, but is the runaway winner for the award in The NFL Experience, as well. Watt was an absurd 50 points better than any defensive player, and an even more absurd 80 points better than the second-best defensive lineman – averaging out to five points per week better than anyone at his position over the course of the season, and that doesn’t even count his touchdown production as a part-time tight end for the Texans.

At the other end of the standings, Carnivorous Pigs succeeded in their goal to be abominable this season, finishing with the second-lowest scoring total in league history and the league’s worst record, which will put them in position to have the top pick in the 2015 Rookie and Reserve Drafts, with Ground ‘N’ Pound finishing 3-10 to claim the second pick. A full list of draft orders will be available later today, as will a complete listing of the monetary issues outstanding from the end of the season, including winnings and luxury taxes owed.

Thanks to all for a fun season, and what will hopefully be the first of many to come. I’ll be sending out more notes in the coming days about our offseason schedule. However, there won’t be anything happening until March, so enjoy the next few weeks of the playoffs, and we’ll reconvene then to get into draft preparation and free agency.

Week 13 Preview and Playoff Forecast

Sorry for the lack of posts here; life has gotten in the way the past few weeks. But, that being said, we’re back for a look at the league heading into Week 13 – the final week of the regular season – and how things look heading into the playoffs.

Here’s the current playoff picture with one regular season week remaining:

1. RG3 for President
2. Murrells Inlet Maya

These two spots are locked in, with only thing left to be determined is who finishes first and who finishes second. If RG3 wins next week, they’ll clinch the top seed because of having more points. If they lose and Murrells wins, Murrells will get the top seed. Both are locked into byes into the semifinals.

3. Bizarro Al Davis
4. Kobra Kai

These two spots are just like Nos. 1 and 2. Both teams have clinched their respective divisions, and only need to determine which is the higher seed heading into the first round of the playoffs. Bizarro won the head-to-head meeting this season, claiming a 318.4-260.1 victory in Week 6, so if Bizarro wins its final regular season game it will clinch the third seed. If they lose and Kobra wins, Kobra gets No. 3.

5. Smokin Red Devils
6. Chef’s Menu
7. Kamehamehaaa
8. The Replacements
9. That’s My-Danek!

This is where things get complicated. There are five teams fighting for the two wild card spots, with Chef’s Menu, Smokin Red Devils and Kamehamehaaa all tied at 7-5, and The Replacements and That’s My-Danek! tied at 6-6.

Let’s start with the simplest scenario: all three 7-5 teams win this week. If that’s the case, Smokin Red Devils will claim the first spot because they have the far superior division record to Chef’s Menu. But who would get the second? It would come down to who has more points between Menu and Kamehamehaaa, with Menu currently holding a 19-point lead entering the final week of action.

If – and it’s possible – that all five teams finish with identical 7-6 records – here is how it would shake out:

Smokin Red Devils would win tiebreak over Chef’s Menu because of better division record
The Replacements would win tiebreak over Kamehamehaaa because of better division record

That leaves Smokin Red Devils, The Replacements and That’s My-Danek! as three teams going for two spots. That’s My-Danek would get the No. 5 seed, because they have wins over both Smokin Red Devils and The Replacements during the regular season. The Replacements would then get the second playoff spot because of their regular season win over Smokin Red Devils.

If Kamehamehaaa is the only 8-5 team and claim the first playoff spot, That’s My-Danek! would be first in line for the second spot if they win their last game, with Smokin Red Devils second. In this scenario, Chef’s Menu would be eliminated from the playoffs with a loss. If That’s My-Danek! loses, Smokin Red Devils would get the spot by virtue of their better division record over Chef’s Menu.

If Smokin Red Devils is the only 8-5 team and claim the first playoff spot, That’s My-Danek! would be first in line for the second spot if they win their last game, assuming they aren’t outscored by 45 points by Chef’s Menu. In this scenario, both The Replacements and Kamehamehaaa would not be able to make the playoffs (Replacements win inter-division tie-break, then lose tie-break to My-Danek!). If That’s My-Danek! loses, though, Chef’s Menu would get the spot unless they are outscored by The Replacements by 71 points in the final week.

If Chef’s Menu is the only 8-5 team and claim the first playoff spot, That’s My-Danek! would be first in line for the second spot if they win their last game. If That’s My-Danek! loses, The Replacements would get the spot by virtue of their regular season win over The Replacements.

If anyone has any questions about these, don’t hesitate to ask. Otherwise, best of luck to everyone in the final week of the season, and there will be a full playoff preview next Tuesday.

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.

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.