Welcome gentlemen to the first installment of Best Damn Sports League Period. The show will be a round table discussion from our esteemed panel of experts here in the TMFL. As we enter the midway point of the season, we will take a look at a few story lines around the league, and look ahead. The show will run once a month throughout the season, and we will occasionally have guest panelists. Our Panel of Experts: Matt Keller, Buffalo Rumblings Keller Shaun Mason, WaitingForNextYear.com Shaun Mason Matt Wood, Stampede Blue fuzzyl0gic Michael Timpe, The Arch Rival Timpegoose Daniel Finch, Seattle Trollies Danthraxxx Jesse Rockwell (Host), The Black and Yellow Beat PAgamer07 Good afternoon guys. Welcome to our first episode of Best Damn League Period. We are currently at the midway point in the season, and division races are starting to solidify themselves. Right now, at this point of the season who do you think is the best team in the TMFL? MW- Gotta go with the lone undefeated team in the league, the Kansas City Chiefs and Baron. It's hard to argue against that when everyone else has at least one loss. They beat the Falcons, Saints, Ravens, and the Raiders. Those are some impressive wins over quality opponents. JR- I pretty much agree here as well, they have a +121 Point Differential which is tops in the league. The win over the Saints and Raiders were both huge. Of note though is the points allowed. Through the same amount of games, the Saints are #1 in the league. Yes the Saints and capp34, only allowing 91 pts through 7 games. MT- Agreed with Matt and Jesse. Can't really argue with the best point differential and best record in the league. Don't sleep on that sawemoff Cowboys team though. They've rolled through some pretty talented opponents this year, and their only loss is a sim @ Baltimore. MK- Cowboys for me. At the end of the day its still early in the season so we kind of have to think about how the previous season went down, even if it was in the old file. And in that file, Cowboys were the best team. You don't pick against the champs, a perfect record despite their sim loss proves it. Further, the Chiefs just lost Jamaal Charles, and thats a factor for me. I'm also surprised no one has mentioned the Patriots or Saints. All of these are very good teams so like I said, if you're asking me I go back to last years performance. All these teams were in the hunt previously, any team could really win it all IMO. Still though, the Cowboys are the champs until someone knocks them off. Also if I could take a shot at HovaTheGodMC and the Detroit Lions, they're a 6-1 team but no one is taking them seriously. They're consistently a hot team throughout the season but never make any noise in the post season because they don't run the ball like a good playoff team and they're back 7 is one of the weakest in the league. DF- I think the Lions are pretty over-rated. The Chiefs are a very good team, and the Saints shut us down more than any other opponent. SM- Saints all the way. When you combine great defense with a great rushing team you get championships. Unlike many run oriented teams, they aren't running because they HAVE to, they choose to. Drew Brees will light you up if he has to. Ivory is having a great year, and they are DEEP at halfback. JR- Excellent choices here. I honestly agree with Keller on this one. Dallas just recently beat a very good Giants team. Although the Saints have an amazing defense, Im not sure if they are on the level of the Cowboys right now. Moving along... As we are currently at the midpoint of the season, what team has been the biggest disappointment? DF- I would say JohnnyClutch San Fran squad , with that roster most coaches would be dominating that division. Maybe the Giants too after the run in the prior file. SM- Definitely the Giants MT- Its a toss up between the Falcons and Giants for me. Two of the top teams talent-wise in the NFC, and they're a combined 5-10. I'd have to lean toward antcap24 and the Falcons though. Fun fact about the Giants, despite being 3-5, they have a +9 point differential. A couple more breaks fall coach I Peench's way, and they're right in the hunt for the playoffs. The Falcons on the other hand have been awful defensively, and haven't been able to put up the points that coach AntCap is typically capable of to make up for it. JR- Yeah, the Giants point differential leads me to believe they have had some bad luck and will rebound soon. For me it's a toss-up. The Buffalo Bills team has too much talent to be 1-6. Especially on the defensive side of the ball. On paper it's a lot better than the Dolphins at 6-2. But yet the team is under-performing like crazy. Could they be in tank mode Mr. Keller? My other choice is San Francisco. This team should be running away with this division, but the coach is just destroying this team. If we ever went to a hot-seat system, this guy would be first on the list. MK- Falcons for me. Giants are obviously in the discussion as well but knowing Antcap and his success over a very long period of time (I've played with him for 3 cycles now) I think where he is at right now is a huge disappointment. I'm sure there are a lot of factors that go into it but with that type of offense, they should be sitting better than 2-5. I don't expect either the Giants or Falcons to be down for long though, both Steve and Anthony can really coach. Everyone likes to imply that the Bills are in tank mode but they couldn't cut it with Fitzpatrick so they cut his ass early. That being the case, they were left with TJax astheir QB and even worse the Commissioner has made a ton of slider changes since S1 of last file. The end result is that their poor QB situation has been exacerbated, especially during the game where TJax went down early and had to roll with Tyler Thigpen. Vince Young is now back in the fold but he's no better, especially since despite their best efforts they never seem to scramble even when it makes sense to do so.... its just not their game. Anyway, the Bills are just not where they used to be. They have A LOT of holes, including QB, that they are going to have to address before they can be competitive. Everyone can say they're tanking but honestly they're trying to right the ship, its just a lot different of a situation than we were in, in the last file.... on a lot of fronts. They're offensive line stinks now too, particularly at the tackle position. They just aren't very good, plain and simple. We'll see if they can put something together this week vs Cheez. JR- You've always coached great defensive teams. The Steelers only played you once, and defensively The Bills were one of the toughest teams they faced. Have they attempted to play the field position and time of possession game? With that game plan you only need your QB to manage the game. Not win the game. MK- Jackson & Spiller have both been out for various long periods of time already this season. This weeks game is the first time The Bills have both of them since week 1. There was a week where they ended up starting Brandon Jackson. The Bills want to play time of possession and field position. Ask Baron/Shaun who were commenting about their decision to run the ball every single 3rd and long. They keep the game out of the QBs hands as much as possible. Some games it works some games it doesn't. Its difficult to do when your defense isn't very good and your offensive line isn't good enough to blow people off the ball. SM- If you run the ball well, you shouldn't BE in 3rd and long often. MK- I already said their offensive line isn't very good. JR- Hahaha. Did I just hear some shots fired? Anyhow, this brings up an interesting question. Right now what do you feel is the best rivalry in the TMFL? vvv DF- I think the best rivalry is Saints-Falcons , I know antcap is struggling this year a bit but they seem to go at it and really enjoy playing each other. Cheez/ Baron is a fun verbal rivalry but Baron seems to own Cheez record wise. MW- I think you gotta go with legacy, Falcons vs Saints. No matter the Falcons' record, they still always find a way to beat the Saints once a year. Those two always have epic battles, it's rarely a lopsided victory SM- Best rivalry? I think it is Giants/Cowboys. It might be relatively "new", but those games are close and tough every time they play MK- Definitely Saints/Falcons. Those guys have been hammering each other for the better part of 3 cycles now.... I don't think there's anyone else that can say that JR- I definitely think Cowboys/Giants is an up and coming rivalry. Those two will always be in it. I have to go with the Steelers and bawvu97 Ravens rivalry though. Yeah I know.. Homer pick. Both of us are huge fans of the teams, and our passion flows into our games. Each year we have split the series. But there has also been some behind the scenes accusations which were not caught on tape. So from my perspective... it's a HUGE rivalry. SM- Eric's a shady bastard. Cleveland still needs to figure out how to stop the jumbo I twins off tackle cheese. MT- Our biggest struggle was stopping the short stuff over the middle.Saints/Falcons has the most history without a doubt. Like everyone else said, it's always a close game and the banter back and forth between the two adds even more to it. Cowboys/Giants is another rivalry that will continue to grow. 2 good teams with good coaches. It should be a fun rivalry to watch for years to come. JR- Next question... The Bucs are currently 0-7 on the season and have only scored 81 points. That's just under 12 points per game. How do they fix it and will they win a game this year? SM- Get a new coach and maybe they will win a sim. JR- That's pretty harsh. In his college coaching days was Coach Bond this bad? SM- He went 0-12 two years in a row with Georgia Tech... MT- If the Bucs could only play the first half of every game, I think we'd e talking about the Bucs as a middle of the pack team. Unfortunately Coach Bond has a bad habit of falling apart in the 2nd half. Fix that, and they could be competitive MW- I think the Bucs will end up with two wins. Bondz obviously needs to step up the cheddar on offense JR- What seems to be the problem with the offense? DF- I think Coach bond uses his assistant coaches too much for playcalling. They do not always give good plays for down & distance , and likewise on defense. MK- I think they can eek one out here or there. The times we've played Bond they've been fine, its usually just a thing with consistency. His teams always seem to fall off in the 4th quarter or 2nd half or something along those lines. JR- Great stuff, and we can only hope he gets this thing turned around. All these losses cannot be fun. Next question which is something Keller touched on a few posts ago... What team is the most overrated in the TMFL? SM- Chiefs. We've seen it two seasons in a row. They destroy people during the regular season, runs into a team with more talent in the playoffs and gets run out of the building. JR- I'm going with Detroit as Keller mentioned earlier. They do so well in the regular season, but when the playoffs come never get very far. MK- Detroit. DF- Lions are easily most over-rated IMO, usually puts up big numbers but gets knocked out of the playoffs easy. Two trick pony with Megatron & Suh , if they are not doing anything I would suspect its a loss. MW- The Lions. They fold under pressure, especially against a good pass defense. MT- Definitely the Lions. They're the most beatable of the 1 loss/undefeated teams JR- Great answers guys, and I am sure they will stir up a bit of controversy around the league. Final Question... Across the league are there any gameplay issues which stand out to you? Personally? I feel that teams' passing games are pretty dominant right now. We currently have 13 guys with passer ratings over 100, and about the same amount with 60%+ completion MT- I think passing is at a good level. You can feel a difference between a good quarterback and a bad one, which isn't always the case. Id be curious to see how many real life QB's complete over 60% of their passes. My one pet peeve in the passing game is how precision passing can be used to completely change a route. Overall we have a great group of guys and I can't say I've left a game feeling like I got cheesed to death. SM- Agreed with Jesse. I am hearing word out of the commissioner's office, that there will be some changes. JR- Care to ellaborate? SM- From what I am hearing, the league wants QBs to be able to make throws, but wantd to speed up THEIR decision making (which will make it harder). Basically trying to avoid creating coverage sacks. JR- Interesting... I hope it has the desired affect. DF- I think increasing the pass rush as Shaun said may help. I think throwing the deep ball is hard unless you have a good QB or a really good WR to go and get the ball. MW- I still think running outside the tackles is too overpowered. In our game against Miami, they claim "only 50% of their runs were to the outside". We don't have footage so we can't go back and count. We've tried to keep our outside runs to maybe 25% or so, but what is an acceptable level? Against Miami, the first play of the game was a stretch to the left. Second run, stretch to the right. A read option keeper on third and 15+, Some teams are going to be at a disadvantage if some guys push the limits with outside runs. I also hate how much some coaches use man press 80% of the game. MK- If Buffalo ran "outside runs" 50% of the time, they'd break the rushing record with Spiller. IMO stretch plays are that over powered. Buffalo limits themselves to about 2, 3 tops per game, sometimes none just depends. Off tackles they run more often but really its just a zone run that ends up going off tackle. They only have 1 or 2 counters that end up off tackle and sweeps in general are pretty terrible for us. JR- The great thing about TMFL compared to other leagues we are in is that the Commissioner has the speed threshold at a solid level to keep this in check. These same outside runs in other leagues go for 20. Here.. 4-8. MK- The only thing that has really wow'd me lately was people's use of play maker. I just had no idea that people used that as a strategy when they were in the pocket - I can understand if you're out of the pocket scrambling and you want a back or TE or something like that to make a cut away from the sideline to try and break open. Taking it a step further and doing it from the pocket though to beat man coverage? I was just stunned that people could use it effectively in that manner. JR- Hate the feature in a sim league. It doesn't feel or look realistic. That's all the time we have for today. See you week 13.