I remember reading Ray’s articles in the APBA Journal and marveling at his knowledge and expertise of APBA Football. I can still remember sitting at my dining room table for three consecutive evenings penning his “Match-Up System” onto index cards, my goodness I got a lot of mileage and enjoyment out of it. Ray and I have since became good friends and both got inducted into the Hall of Fame together. Hopefully you are staying safe and find the time to roll a few games today. Happy Birthday!
I have just completed all of the prep work for my tournament. And, as with anyone embarking on a replay, the prep work was extensive! It takes about an hour and a half per team to get my quota forumla set for this tournament . . . and I have been working on this almost daily since the APBA Convention ended last month!
But, all that hard work is about to pay off, because I will start playing games this weekend!
I do a tournament with each team seeded in their own conference based on their 2018 W-L record. The #16 seed plays the #1 seed, etc. At the end of round one I will have sixteen winners and sixteen losers. All the winners play each other in round two as do all the losing teams. When Round two is done, I will have eight teams with 2-0 records, sixteen teams with 1-1 records and eight teams with 0-2 records. The teams with two losses will be eliminated.
Round three will pit the unbeatens against one another, and the 1-1 teams will face off against each other. At the end of this round, I will have four teams with 3-0 records, twelve teams with 2-1 records and eight teams with 1-2 records. Again, those eight teams with two losses will be done.
This will leave 16 teams who will then continue in a single-elimination format, eventually getting to our Super Bowl.
This will be a total of 59 games, about two games a week until February, which works out perfectly for me.
Here are the first round matchups . . . . .
1: Oakland at Kansas City
2: Arizona at New Orleans
3: NY Jets at LA Chargers
4: San Francisco at LA Rams
5: Jacksonville at New England
6: Tampa Bay at Chicago
7: Buffalo at Houston
8: NY Giants at Dallas
9: Cincinnati at Baltimore
10: Detroit at Seattle
11: Denver at Indianapolis
12: Green Bay at Philadelphia
13: Miami at Pittsburgh
14: Carolina at Minnesota
15: Cleveland at Tennessee
16: Washington at Atlanta
My 55th and final game of the 2017 NFL Tournament was a fantastic contest between the Atlanta Falcons and the Jacksonville jaguars. Atlanta won the coin toss and elected to defer. Right off the bat, it looked as if they may have made a mistake as the Jags marched right down the field, helped by two Falcon pass interference penalties . . . but, the drive stalled at the Atlanta 25 yard line and Jacksonville place-kicker, Josh Lambo pulled his 45 yard attempt and the Jaguars missed an opportunity to strike first.
The Falcons, on the other hand, were able to move the ball into Jacksonville territory on their first two offensive drives, with their kicker, Matt Bryant, nailing 34 and 53 yard field goals to give Atlanta a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Falcons added to their lead halfway through the second quarter as the remarkable Devonta Freeman ran one in from 14 yards out to give Atlanta a 13-0 lead.
But, Jacksonville had an answer, as they drove 75 yards in four minutes, culminating in Leonard Fournette’s one-yard touchdown run, an we went to halftime with Atlanta up 13-7.
The Falcons were impressive on their initial possession of the second half, driving from their 24 to the Jaguars’ 35, where Bryant once again drilled a 53 yard field goal, allowing Atlanta to up their lead to 16-7. And that’s the way the fourth quarter started.
Jacksonville, however, started the final period with Lambo splitting the uprights from 27 yards, cutting the Falcon lead to 16-10.
And, here is where it got fun. On Atlanta’s next possession after the Lambo field goal, Falcon’s quarterback, Matt Ryan was picked off by All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey. Then, Blake Bortles, Jacksonville’s quarterback, led the Jags down the field, eventually scrambling for 14 yards to the Atlanta four yard line.
So, here it was, first and goal, down by only six points, and staring their first lead of the game right in the face!
But, a holding penalty, followed by an offensive pass interference penalty took Jacksonville all the way back to the 24 yard line, where, with 7:30 to play in the game, settled for another Lambo field goal, this one from 38 yards, to cut Atlanta’s lead to three, 16-13. But, it certainly felt like a successful stop by the Falcons defense.
But, what happened next really threw a wrench into Jacksonville’s comeback, when Ryan led them 75 yards in nine plays and Freeman, once again, scored a rushing touchdown – this time from three yards out. There was only 3:30 left in the contest, and Atlanta held a 23-13 lead.
Bortles, however, wasn’t done. He drove the Jaguars all the way to the Falcons’ nine yard line in only 2:22, with Lambo connecting on his third three-pointer of the game. Now, down by seven with only 1:08 to play, down by seven points, Jacksonville attempted an on-sides kick, and, amazingly, it was successful, with reserve defensive back, Jarrod Wilson, recovering the ball at the Jags’ 46 yard line!
But, Bortles had run out of magic, and, after a 19-yard completion to Keelan Cole, the drive stalled, and a fourth-down sack by Vic Beasley ended the contest. Final score: Atlanta 23 – Jacksonville 16.
Still, this game had a little bit of everything! Nine injuries, eleven punts, 352 yards rushing, five defensive pass interference penalties on Atlanta and only two turnovers.
Hard to believe, but we’re done for this year . . . . . . can’t wait to do it again next year!!
Ryan 16-33 225 yards 1 int
Freeman 14 rushes 82 yards / T. Coleman 8 rushes 51 yards
Jones 8 catches 124 yards / Sanu 2 catches 45 yards / Freeman 2 catches 16 yards
Bortles 17-37 168 yards
Fournette 20 rushes 60 yards / Ivory 5 rushes 50 yards / Yeldon 5 rushes 35 yards
Cole 4 catches 95 yards / Westbrook 3 catches 24 yards / Fournette 4 catches 13 yds
OK, it’s not the Eagles and the Patriots, but I have to be honest, I’m really looking forward to this Super Bowl game between Atlanta and Jacksonville. The Falcons won my Super Bowl last year (the 2016 NFL season) by destroying the New England Patriots, so they are in a position to repeat! And, contrary to what some of you may think, even though I live in Atlanta, I am NOT a Falcons’ fan – I’m a Cowboys’ fan, which comes with it’s own load of baggage!!
So, this Sunday, Atlanta and Jacksonville will face-off, and they are two teams that have unique strengths that they’ll be showcasing. Atlanta marched through the playoffs with a 5-1 record (they lost to Detroit 27-20), while Jacksonville is unbeaten at 5-0.
Atlanta has done it with a pretty evenly balanced offensive attack. They have averaged 149 yards per game on the ground (4.6 yards per rush) behind Devonta Freeman’s remarkable post-season – he’s scored 10 touchdowns in the six games! But, they have also had success in the air behind Matt Ryan, completing 64% of their passes, averaging 253 passing yards a game.
The Jags have featured a monster rushing attack, averaging a remarkable 180 yards a game on the ground (5.3 yards per carry), with Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yelton leading the way. Quarterback Blake Bortles has been consistent, if not spectacular, with Jacksonville averaging 203 yards per game via the air, and Bortles connecting on 58% of his tosses.
Defensively, however, both teams have played well. Atlanta has held their six opponents to an average of only 268 yards of offense per game! Meanwhile, the Jaguars have recorded 19 sacks and forced 11 turnovers in just those five games.
And with both teams at just about full-strength – each of them will be without the services of a starting offensive lineman – we’re expecting a great game!
Here’s the injury list:
Atlanta – Andy Levitre (OG), Adrian Clayborn (DE)
Jacksonville – Allen Hurns (WR), Jeremy Parnell (OT), Allen Robinson (WR), Aaron Colvin (CB)
So, stay tuned. This will be the 55th and final game of my tournament that has honestly been the most fun I have ever had playing the football game solo. I’m expecting no less in this final contest!!
After 52 games, I have whittled down the list of 2017 NFL teams from 32 to the final 4! And, they are four teams I would NEVER have predicted would be here at this juncture in my tournament. But, upsets are part of football and, therefore, part of APBA Football!
So, here we go:
AFC Championship: Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Both of these teams are undefeated (4-0) in this post-season tournament, and they’ve each done it by playing exceptional defense! Jacksonville QB, Blake Bortles, has been spotty at best. He has completed 61-102 for 902 yards, but he’s only thrown 1 TD while suffering 6 interceptions! His counterpart for the Ravens, Joe Flacco, has hit on 80-120 for 731 yards, 3 TD’s and 3 picks. The Jaguars have enjoyed a terrific running game behind Leonard Fournette (302 yards on 60 carries with 6 TD’s) and Chris Ivory (34-209-2 TD’s). Unfortunately for the Jags, Ivory is hurt and will miss this game. Here is a list of everyone on the DL who will not be playing in this AFC Title Game:
Baltimore: Matt Skura (OG), Marshal Yanda (OG), Patrick Onwuasor (LB), Marion Humphrey (CB), Jimmy Smith (CB), Carl Davis (DE).
Jacksonville: Chris Ivory (RB), Allen Hurns (WR), Allen Robinson (WR), Aaron Colvin (CB)
NFC Championship: Seattle Seahawks vs. Atlanta Falcons
Each of these teams lost one game on their way to the NFC Championship. The Seahawks lost to the Arizona Cardinals in their first game of the tournament and have run off four consecutive victories to get here. Meanwhile, the Falcons lost to the Lions by 7 in the second round of the tournament, but both teams come to this championship game 4-1. And, unlike the AFC title game, these teams have done it with offense. Now, Seattle lives and dies with Russell Wilson, and he has not disappointed. He has thrown for 1,298 yards, completing 89-164 with 3 TD’s. He has, however, tossed 5 interceptions. But, he has also rushed for 234 yards on 39 carries and has found pay-dirt four times. His favorite receiver, Doug Baldwin, has caught 24 passes for 398 yards and one score. For the Falcons, Matt Ryan has completed 105 out of 166 attempts for 1,253 yards and four scores. But, he, too, has been susceptible to the turnover, with 5 picks. Devonta Freeman has been terrific, though, rushing for 434 yards on 79 carries and a remarkable 8 TD’s! And, the incomparable Julio Jones has been remarkably steady, hauling in 31 passes for 502 yards and 2 touchdowns. But, injuries may play a big role in this game, as Seattle kind of limps in to this championship game, with four starting defensive players on the shelf. Here is the list of everyone on the Disabled List:
Seattle: Eddie Lacy (RB), Oday Aboushi (OG), Rees Odhiambo (OT), Jarran Reed (DT), Cliff Avril (DE), KJ Wright (LB), Richard Sherman (CB), Kam Chancellor (S)
Atlanta: Ricardo Allen (S), Adrian Clayborn (DE), Vic Beasley (LB), Terron Ward (RB)