FA Vase Final Report

Morpeth Town fought back from 1-0 down as they silenced the legions of Hereford fans winning 4-1 in the 2015/2016 FA Vase trophy final with goals from Chris Swailes, Luke Carr, Sean Taylor and Shaun Bell.

Hereford had the perfect start when Rob Purdie had acres of space in the middle of the park and unleashed a 25 yard screamer into the bottom corner. And they nearly doubled the lead the next minute but a good save by Karl Dryden kept out Sirdic Grant.

It was all Hereford then on for the first 15, as Haysam and Tumelty all forced chances but were well saved by Dryden. Morpeth Town appeared to be hanging on, before Sean Taylor attempted a curling effort, but Martin Horsell was equal to it.

Once Morpeth Town had a footing they quickly established some good play down the wings, consistently using the counter attack to good measure without finding a clinical finish. The game started to become end to end and Grant nearly made it two for Hereford but his thunderous left footed shot smacked off the bar.

Sean Taylor was again causing issues, finding space between the midfield and defence, he drove a shot just over the bar.

Morpeth had the momentum and they were level when Horsell miss judged a corner and failed to claim leaving Chris Swalies to bundle into an empty net, the 3’500 travelling Town fans had come alive.

With both teams potentially happy at half time, Morpeth Town showed Hereford they can score early goals too. As Luke Carr glanced a lovely finish from close range after good work from Sean Taylor.

And things refused to go to script when Morpeth Town took a shocking 3-1 lead as Sean Taylor the man who run the game from midfield for the highway men, slotted a lovely finish into the near post and sent the Morpeth fans into pandemonium, while the Hereford legions could only watch in shock.

Hereford brought the cavalry with John Mills coming off the bench with 20 minutes to go, the inform man had scored a mind boggling 53 goals this season for the bulls. Mustapha Bundu who came off the bench and looked dangerous as he tried to whip a curling effort wide.

The game was sealed by a fourth and final goal for the highway men as Shaun Bell was steaming through on goal and his shot deflected in off Hereford defender Joel Edwards who tried to make the last ditch tackle, but helped the ball into his own net.

It is the first FA Vase trophy for the side from Northumbria and it was an extremely convincing way to get it.

Hereford manager Peter Beadle criticised his team’s lack of clinical finishing “We’ve been through a lot this year and theres a lot of things we’ve spoke about one, and one of the games after we won the league, it’s been a bug bearer of mine that we haven’t been able to finish teams off as late,

“We’ve always been one up or one down and we’ve down the same today, and was a set piece again today and it wasn’t really anything they did today, more what we’ve done, we huffed and puffed in the second half, we wasn’t good enough and we haven’t been able to how good we are and that’s why it hurts more”

This has put Hereford and Hereford FC back on the football map, and the support we’ve had throughout the season has been fantastic so we’ve definitely put Hereford back on the map. We’ve sold all the shirts from the shops and the cities brought into it, the runs we’ve had through the league program and the cups while continuing the support we’ve had is massive, but it won’t count for nothing if we don’t continue this momentum next season”.

 

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Week 1 Recap by David and Sebastian

The NFL exploded back onto our TV screens Thursday night at 1am, yes 1am America that’s our loyalty, and it didn’t disappoint with multiple talking points and pointless offseason narratives being propelled to the side-line. We finally got to see Winston and Mariota go at it, enjoy the new look Eagles and all ride the Ameer Abdullah hype train.

New England Patriots 28 – Pittsburgh Steelers 21

Starting in New England and Tom Brady was back to lead from the helm of his offense. With one of the messiest off seasons ever behind them, Rob Gronkowski reminded us why the Patriots won the Superbowl last year with some eye popping plays from the league’s best tight end nabbing three touchdowns, one on a busted coverage which summed up the Steelers troubles on defence.

There is the possibility that Pittsburgh could have kept pace with the Patriots if they had last year’s best running back Le’veon Bell available, but Deangelo Williams looked very handy in his stead finishing with 127 yards running with pace and making players miss.

It’s very hard to keep Antonio Brown down but Malcolm Butler may be repaying Belichick’s faith as he played well breaking up several passes, only time will tell if he can keep it up. Hands up if you thought Dion Lewis was going to be a key cog in the Patriot’s offense? Don’t lie, should we of ever doubted this team.

Buffalo Bills 27 – Indianapolis Colts 14

Yes the Colts scored 14 points, but they were absolutely smothered by a swarming Bills defence that had all the fingerprints of Rex Ryan. I would have loved to have been at his press conference, man the guy pumps his guys up. Tyrod Taylor looked good, not great, but good, evading pressure smartly, standing in the pocket and delivering balls with some accuracy.

The Colts have consistently struggled against teams people would consider a contender and today was no exception. Frank Gore couldn’t get anything going, TY Hilton was kept quiet for stretches, Johnson never got open and the o-line was overwhelmed, but against this D-line I’m really not surprised.

I wasn’t someone who believed in the Bills hype before this game, but now I feel sucked in. The QB situation was arguably the only thing holding this team back, so if Tyler can keep this momentum going then Bills are playoff bound, but I still expect him to struggle once teams get enough game tape.

Green Bay Packers 31 – Chicago Bears 23

The Jordy Nelson effect in my opinion was felt somewhat by this offense, although Rodgers still played like the MVP from last year, in key 3rd down situations when he would look for Nelson, his replacement was found wanting. Eddie Lacy still looks good; although Cobb will like to return to 100% after dealing with a shoulder niggle. James Jones anyone? Where did he come from hauling in two touchdowns.

Jay Cutler will still remain Jay Cutler and nothing during this game suggests that it will change anytime soon, but the rest of his team mates put up a decent fight as they were able to hold the Packers down at one point even maintaining the lead for a good period.

Little bit of history for the Packers as this win was the 700th win of all time for the Packers franchise, not bad for a team that’s had 3 hall of fame quarterbacks, not many teams can come close to that sort of success.

Kansas City Chiefs 27 – Houston Texans 20

You shouldn’t let the score line gloss over the woeful performance of the Texans quarterbacks in this game, their counterpart Alex Smith on the other hand was throwing the ball further then 15 yards, something we didn’t see all last year! Travis Kelce looks like his ready to break out and become a top tier tight end, Maclin fit right in, whether you think his overpaid or not, his going to help this offense.

The Texans were awful on offense and not that much better on defence, outside of JJ Watt who had 2 sacks, 5 tackles for a loss and 2 pass defended by the 3rd quarter, defensively struggled to hold the Chiefs until they appeared to take their foot of the pedal.

Ryan Mallet should start in Week 2 for the Texans, he came in with 6 minutes left in the game and led the Texans on a couple of touchdown drives late on. Deandre Hopkins is looking very good and the perfect replacement for Johnson, any wide receiver that can make awful QB play look alright is worth keeping.

Carolina Panthers 20 – Jacksonville Jaguars 9

Sometimes it looks so obvious that the offense is struggling to replace its number one receiver it can be painful. Kelvin Benjamin’s loss is hurting Newton who finished with 18 for 31 for 175 yards and 1 touchdown. Newton found Cotchery for his lone touchdown as the Panthers failed to impress, even Jonathan Stewart with his preseason hype looked mediocre.

Blake Bortles looked far more comfortable in this offense, but having the kind of game he did against one of the best defences in the league in the past 3 years is not a bad thing, I still expect the Jags to take a step this forward and the Panthers to go in the opposite direction. TY Yeldon looks like a good pick up by Jags at running back, but anything is better than Toby Gerhart.

New York Jets 31 – Cleveland Browns 10

Johnny Manziel threw a glorious deep ball early on, had some good scrambling plays pulled back because of holding calls and silly penalties before eventually reverting back to the standard Browns QB play fumbling twice after coming on for Josh McCown who left with an injury. The Browns just look like the Browns once again.

But the Jets on the other hand look like they could pull off a few upsets this year, with Fitzpatrick looking very handy in the Chan Gailey offense that got him a $60 million contract. Chris Ivory blew up with some hard hitting runs gaining 90 yards on 20 runs, with Marshall and Decker providing some sizzle on the outside.

Antonio Cromatie left the field with a towel over his head, which is normally a sign for the worst case scenario. I was never a fan of them giving him such a large contract after his year in Arizona and if his out for the year, maybe the Jets will regret it to.

St Louis Rams 34 – Seattle Seahawks 31

Are the Seahawks a better team this time around compared to last year? Tyler Lockett came up big during the game, Jimmy Graham looked like the redzone machine that we’ve seen for the past few years in New Orleans, but at least they ran it this time on 4th and 1.

Kam Chancellor must be happy with the way Nick Foles was able to move the ball at times, considering the safety they brought in to replace him while he holds out was awful. The Foles trade was something that was a focal point of many articles over the off season and he looks like he can regain his 2013 form.

Was this result a surprise to many fans when you consider that the Rams have a habit of beating the Seahawks at home, all they need to do now is now how to beat other teams then just the ones they aren’t supposed to beat and this team should be a playoff contender. Aaron Donald is just a beast, after his rookie season he started this season with the exact same disruptive play that he ended last season with.

Miami Dolphins 17 – Washington Redskins 10

Jarvis Landry saved the Dolphins blushes after they struggled to get going on offense with a highlight reel punt return with 10 minutes left in the game. Ryan Tannehill, who has just signed his franchise quarterback value contract, missed on multiple plays failing to hit Kenny Stills deep, but finding an early connection with Jordan Cameron.

Kirk Cousins didn’t fall flat on his face this time after being intercepted like he did at times last year and clearly was able to move the offense better than RG3. Jordan Reed is someone who looks good and could help Cousins develop alongside Pierre Garcon, but some worrying moments for Desean Jackson who was limping off the field had some point in the game.

By David Ironmonger

Lions 28 – Chargers 33

The Lions started the game fast right out the gate. Matt Stafford looked calmer then last season. Their young running back Amer Abdullah scored a Touchdown after a long run pretty much on his first carry. After a slow start where the Lions D dominated the Chargers, Phillip Rivers orchestrated a great comeback win, where they scored 30 straight points to beat the Lions 33-28.

The big question fort he Lions after this loss is their consistency surrounding both their offense and defence. Both are filled with star players and are maybe better then before at least on paper. They should make the playoffs but it will be tough to win their Division.

The Chargers showed up when it counted and they have a dynamic running back trio in Gordon, Woodhead and Oliver, but they had to pay a hard price for the win, Right Tackle D.J Fluker suffered an ankle injury and could miss considerable time. It will be hard to replace him going forward.

Saints 19 – Cardinals 31

Drew Brees and the Saints had a lot of promising drives against the Cardinals but had to settle for too many field goals, Brees couldn’t connect with his receivers as much as he wanted to Ingram had the most receiving Yards for the Saints, which says a lot. Carson Palmer threw the ball for over 300 yards in his first start after his torn ACL, but it was not all good news for the Cards. Andre Ellington suffered a PCL strain and will be out 2-3 weeks. He rushed for 69 yards and scored 1 TD.

The Saints defence who were terrible during preseason where not as bad as expected they are still missing some players through to injury, which could return soon, this should give them hope. The NFC South is for anyone’s taking, it will be important to win the divisional games.

The Cardinals have to see how Ellington’s injury will impact their running game and will have to battle it out all year in a strong NFC West.

Ravens 13 – Broncos 19

What a battle of the defence this was. Neither Payton Manning nor Joe Flacco had any time in the pocket to throw the ball accurately to their receivers. Both QB’s were hurried and sacked multiple times. They both scored their points with Field Goals early on and then both got a pick six returned for a TD.  Flacco had the chance to win the game on a last drive but he threw another interception. Ronnie Hillman got a lot of carries for the Broncos more then CJ Anderson who was supposed to be their number one Running Back.

The most important storyline however from this game is the devastating injury to Terrell Suggs, the ravens heart and soul on defence. He torn his Achilles and will miss the rest of the season. This and a relatively weak offence will hurt the Ravens to contend in the AFC North, Flacco simply has not enough weapons to put up points.

Payton Manning looked shaky all game and you have to wonder if it was the right decision to play another year. The huge positive for the Broncos is their defence. Miller and Ware are two of the best in going after the opposing QB and with Talib and Harris they have two shutdown corners. If the O-Line can give Peyton more time the Broncos can win the Division.

Bengals 33 – Raiders 13

New year same story, the Oakland Raiders will have a though time competing in the AFC West, they have some talent on the defensive side of the ball and added a veteran receiver with Crabtree but they couldn’t stop the Bengals from putting up 33 points and only scored in the fourth quarter.

The raiders couldn’t stop Hill the Bengals second year RB out of LSU and did not pressure Dalton nearly enough to make it a competitive game. Raiders QB Derek Carr injured his hand and had to leave the game, but the team reported he just has a bruised thumb and might play in the next game against the Ravens.

The Bengals have another great team maybe even better then last year and should make it into the playoffs again, and maybe Dalton finally gets a Playoff win. The Raiders will try to compete and could scare some with their defence but in the end will be hoping for 5 wins.

Titans 42 – Buccaneers 14

Maybe the most anticipated game of Week 1, two Heisman winning QB’s and the first pick of the draft against the second. Mariota finished his first drive with a TD after some quick and accurate passes. Jameis Winston on the other hand threw an interception on his first throw; the only other QB who did this was Brett Favre, which was returned for a TD.

Mariota impressed while he was out there he threw for 209 yards with four touchdowns, before the Titans took him out and brought on Mettenburger. He was calm and accurate all game long and the Titan’s good running game helped him out. Winston however panicked a few times and ended up with two TD’s and two interceptions for 210 yards but was not nearly as impressive and accurate as Mariota.

Winston will learn from his mistakes down the road this season but more worrying for the Buccaneers should be their defence, which could not handle the Titan’s offense and simply got blown out. The only bright spot for them was their newly drafted TE Seferian Jenkins who scored two TD’s. The Titans sit atop of their Division at least for one week and we will have to wait and see what they are capable of doing against better defences.

Giants 26 – Cowboys 27

Last time these two teams met Odell Beckham Junior made the unbelievable one handed catch of the year. This game however he was pretty much a non-factor just like the rest off the Giants offense. The Cowboys controlled the game had a huge advantage in total yards and time of possession but had three strange turnovers, one fumble and Tony Romo threw two interceptions, which both were tipped by cowboys players and then landed in the hands of giants defenders.

The Giants scored almost all there points from the Cowboys turnovers and the key play off the game was the last Giant’s drive where they failed to get a TD and to run down as much of the clock as possible. Tony Romo who was solid all game had one last drive with the chance to win it and the Giants defence completely crumbled and Romo connected with Witten for a game winning TD.

The biggest concern for the Cowboys is the injury to Dez Bryant, which he suffered midway through the game. He has a broken bone in his foot and will miss about 3-6 weeks. Other then that there are lot of positives the O-Line is still probably the best in football and the running game still works even without Murray, who they meet for the first time next week for an important game against the Eagles. The Giants on the other hand have to get over this game, where they could have won without playing their best; they will have a tough time competing this season with their defence, which could be without JPP for most of the season.

Eagles 24 –Falcons 26

The head-coaching debut for Atlanta’s Dan Quinn ended in a win. Atlanta’s defence came out strong in the first half and limited the Eagles to just 3 points. You could clearly see Quinn’s influence on a defence that was one of the worst last season. The Falcons should half lead with more then 20 points but Matt Ryan threw two interceptions.

The Eagles and their new QB Bradford had a nervous start with a lot of imprecise throws and they couldn’t get their running game going. It was a tale of two halfs as the Eagles found their rhythm and the key against the Atlanta defence who seemed to get tired. The Eagles were on a comeback with the help of Darren Sproles in as RB not last years rushing leader DeMarco Murray. But it all ended as Sam Bradford threw an interception to Allen in their last drive.

The Falcons still have to figure out their Pass Rush first round pick Vic Beasley certainly did not play as good as they expect him to perform. Their luck is that they play in a division where there is no overpowering team where almost every year another team wins the division. Another positive is the good link up between Ryan and Julio Jones is already back at such an early part of the Season.

The Eagles have to play consistent defence for a whole game and will have a huge test in next week’s home opener against the Cowboys. Especially their big free agent acquisition at cornerback Maxwell has to perform much better he was too easily beaten by Julio Jones again and again.

Vikings 3 – 49ers 20

Everything new for the 49ers so many players gone and a new head coach, so not that much was expected oft hem before the start oft he game. The defence did not look weaker then in the last years with a healthy Navarro Bowman they dominated the Vikings and did not let Adrian Peterson run over them. He ended up with just 31 yards.

On the offence Colin Kaepernick seemed like a new QB he made no stupid throws did run the ball when he had to but most of all gave the ball as much as possible to the man of the game 49ers RB Carlos Hyde, the second year man out of Ohio State, he carried the niners to victory with 168 yards and 2TD’s. The Vikings where a disappointment in this first game, their defence couldn’t stop the 49ners running game, the only positive was a blocked FG and a Fumble recovery after a punt. They will have to figure out their offense and give Peterson the ball more if they want to compete for the division title with Green Bay. It will be interesting to see if the defence of the 49ers can perform like this for the whole season the same applies also to Kaepernick.

And for all the Rugby fans Jarryd Hayne fumbled the ball on his first punt return but then settled in and got some carries and ended up with 13 yards.

By Sebastian Liggenstorfer

Swimming Reports Day 2 and 3

Day 1 no UEL Students took part in the events.

Day 2 Report:

It was a successful day in the pool for UEL on Saturday as all 3 swimmers made it to the finals of their respected events. Aimee Willmott, Michael Gunning and Hannah Travell all progressed to the final stages of the day.
Although there was only one medal, a gold courtesy of Aimee Willmott in the 400m individual medley, UEL can be proud of themselves as Gunning made it to the 100m butterfly final even though it isn’t his strongest event and Travell was a resevre in the 50m backstroke again even though that wasn’t her strongest event.
The day started with Hannah Travell coming 3rd in her heat in the time of 31.25, which was around her predicted time but was well of the pace of Elizabeth Simmonds, a guest swimmer who recorded a time of 28.55. But speaking to Hannah after the event she explained how she was happy with the results.
“It went better then i expected if i’m honest, i’ve had an injury this week in my arm so yeah it was a good swim, but i try not to think about the injury and how it could of affected me, i’ll need to add speed for the next event”.
Michael Gunning was up later in the day in the 100m butterfly, an event which he openly admits isn’t his strongest and it didn’t help he was in the same heat as lasts runner up Ryan Bennett.
We spoke before the race as he said his strength would be the final stages “the final 50 is my strongest point, i’m really good coming back faster, I’m not seeded though as high in this event because i have the 200m tomorrow but i should do well in my heat. I don’t have a preferred finish but it’s just important to make it to the final tonight”.
Michael excelled in his heat finishing second with a 55.52, running Benett close who had a 55.50. Adam Barett from Loughborough last years winner would await both in the final who looked mightily impressive with a 54.7.
After the race Michael was very happy with his performence saying ” I’m really pleased with that swim, to be in the final is a great thing, I’m not aiming for anything in particular but i think i can finish in the top half, i’ll need to improve my first 50m”.
Later in the final Michael came a disspointing seventh as Adam Barett last years champion smashed the BUCS record to set a new fasted time of 53.6. Michael had done though what he planned by going faster in the first 50 in 26.05 but was then slower in the final 50 only going 29.44 giving him a time of 55.49.
Aftrwards Michael was in slightly reflective mood saying to me “i’m a little bit gutted but i tried my best and i’m happy with that , i got left behind at the start and once i lost ground it was very hard to make back up again”.
Aimee Willmott was the final UEL student with a final to win and she made easy work of it in the womens 400m individual medley. Finishing with a time of 4:27 she blitzed the competetion out of the water winning by at least 25m giving UEL their first swimming gold of the weekend.

Day 3 report:

Day three of the swimming has once again got of to a flying start as Hannah Travell, Aimee Willmott and Michael Gunning continue their hunt for success. The day got off to a great start when Hannah Travell posted a 1:06.6 in the 100m backstroke to make it through to the final. The time was 0.1 off her personal best. After the race I spoke to Hannah about the time who told me that “the injury which i’ve had din’t bother me as much on that swim and i am really pleased with it so i hope later i can beat my personal best”.
Michael Gunning then continued his fine form by winning bronze in the 400m freestyle with a time of 4:00.28. He hung on with the leaders Max Litchfield from Sheffield Hallam and Jay Lellott from Bath for as long as he could but they pulled away leaving Gunning a comfortable third. His pace did get slower so maybe the distance was a little bit to much for someone who prefers 200m. But it isn’t a bad result as he came behind last years winner and third place.
Michael was then extremely unlikely in the 200m butterfly losing out by 0.02 on another bronze medal to Matthew Johnson of Bath. The top four though looked unlikely during the second and third leg but he powered his way to near contention with a storming fourth leg that even shocked me so much i started shouting and cheering.
Aimee Willmott won her second gold of these BUCS nationals in the 200m butterfly to go along with her individual medley gold. Willmott smashed the BUCS record with a 2:10.42 time that owes alot of itself to the final 4th leg, which Aimee undertered by any tiredness eased through with speed.
She then captured a third medal in the 400m freestyle. Aimee who is a two time commenwealth sliver medalist turns up to events like because “i like being part of a team, i enjoyed about the commenwealth games is that i was part of the english team, but i enjoy being part of the UEL team just as much, i do more distance in the pool when it comes to training then Michael, but its good that we train together.
“British swimming is alot stronger then it has been for a while, alot of 19-20 year olds are storming through, especially in the male team, so i hope that some of these swimmers can come through and represent team GB”.
Hannah sadly didnt beat her personal best time in the final of the 100m backstroke but she hit the dive well and was doing well keeping to a length behind the leaders. But she can take great heart and empphsise onto her next swimming competition. I’m also sure that can learn under Aimee to progress into a dominate swimmer

UEL boxing at BUCS Nationals

It was a mix bag of fortunes for the two UEL boxers who competed in the BUCS nationals finals. Although bigger dissapointment loomed large for our other two boxers who made the trip Mohammed Gharib and Chris Mbwakongo, as neither had the opportunity to box due to what i was told a “technical mistake”.
Putting that irritation behind them the two UEL boxers who would compete were Steph Ware in in the novice 57-60 KG bout and Luke Batstone in the 75-81KG bout. Both had reason for optimism as Steph was coming off a second round TKO win and Luke had still to be put down by an opponent.
Fighting Steph was Silke Riesle out of Cambridge who was slightly shorter and had a smaller reach. Riesle came out with a game plan to hinder Ware’s natural back foot boxing style and attempted on many occasions to get in the UEL boxers face and turn this into a brawl.
It worked in the first round as Ware had to adapt her own gameplan to stop this from becoming an ugly looking fight. At times it seemed her opponent was just swinging for the heavans and hoping that something hit the target.
In her unnatural boxing position Ware struggles contined into the second round but she said to me after the fight “I’m very much a back foot boxer and she didn’t give me the time of day to do that, and i got dragged into that style of brawl and i shouldn’t but thats just part of gaining experiance, i need to work on that for the future”.
In the third round things evened out as Steph started landing some heavy body shots, but it wasn’t enough as she had already lost the opening two rounds meaning that the only way to win was with a stoppage.
Steph admitted after the fight that as a one two boxer she should of “let the opponent come to me and i should been quick one two and then out but I stayed there far to long and got caught in a brawl”.
The second UEL boxer to fight was Luke Batstone who was fighting Ashley Vanzie out of Leeds Beckett. The challenge was always going to present itself as Luke was going up against last years defending champion and GB hopful Vanzie who showed some power and class early on landing two huge right hooks.
It was clear early on that although Luke is very talented as a boxer Vanzie was just in his own class and his coach threw the towel in one minute before the end of the first round. Although from my vantage point it would appear a frustrating move, Luke told me after the fight he understood and isn’t a sore loser.
“i wasn’t aware that he was the defending champion but my coach said that I can have a look at him on youtube, but i didnt because you can easily overthink these things and I’ve fought people with reputations before and i’m never worried about, might watch a round or two to get used to the style.
“i didnt know coach threw in the towel, i thought it was the referee, and i went over to my corner and coach said we’ll talk about this later so i was just thinking ok thats fine, i’m not a sore loser. i was a little bit confused before before ive had opponents who have charged me and landed some big hits and i’ve just got on with it.
“I didn’t get a count from the referee so i thought id just adjust, because i thought i was just establishing my range and getting comfortable. These things happens”. Both boxers told home a silver for UEL and can take some good points onto further fights.

Week 10 Picks and Thoughts

A little less emphasis will be put on the game picks this week as intend to break down some of the major plot points of the season and give you my thoughts on the end of year awards. Plus how can I not react to the awesome news that the Wembley games next year will feature a divisional game!

Yes the Jets Vs Dolphins game isn’t maybe the sexist divisional game that could be played, 49ers Seahawks, Packers Bears and Ravens Steelers would all be more intriguing, but it doesn’t sidetrack from the major point here, a divisional game!

These games can always have huge implications on playoff standings and divisional rankings, but the rivalry and bragging rights always mean more to fans. And I hope that many Jets and Dolphins fans turn up to the game and make it an intense atmosphere with booing, shouting, singing and everything else that can be brought on by rivalry.

Also playing back to back games is a real step towards a team in London, but I like many more people still have problems with a team in London, but I absolutely cannot wait until next year. For now though let’s focus on this season and whose stood out.

2014 MVP: Andrew Luck and it isn’t even close. Yes Brady, Manning and the usual suspects can put up a very impressive resume I’m going with Andrew Luck. His offense has exploded this year and yes it is his offense, make shift O-line and a useless run game have forced Pep Hamilton to realise “hey I got a great QB here”.

Offensive Player of the year: Demarco Murray. This man has been exceptional in every game apart from the Cardinals game, were he had Weeden under centre. Golden Tate crossed my mind because his filled in a great void in Detroit but Murray is unstoppable. Antonio Brown gets a mention to.

Defensive Player of the year: JJ Watt and Von Miller tied. I think Watt has dominated this year and has looked like the best NFL player, but Millers come back from ACL surgery and his own dominance has forced him into the conversation and I think they both deserve it.

Coach of the year: Bruce Arians. Anyone remember when we all thought the Cardinals would fall apart due to injury and suspensions. Well even if they finish 12-4 or 11-5 Arians deserves this title for the 2nd time in 3 years.

Now to the Games:

San Francisco 49ers 20 @ New Orleans Saints 23:

Teams who are desperate for the win are always very dangerous and I would caution that even though the Saints are great at home a win is anything but certain. But I think they will win but it’s going to be one hell of a watch.

Atlanta Falcons 30 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10:

This is going to be one hell of a drab game, but if the Falcons win and the Saints lose just remember they will only one game back. Josh McCown won’t make the team any better and if Lovie Smith is there next year I’ll be shocked, because I wouldn’t want him bringing through my next young QB.

Dallas Cowboys 24 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 21:

Wembley may not get the opportunity to see Tony Romo play but the run game should be able to help the Cowboys over the line against the Jags, but they seem to be becoming a frisky team and may just be able to pull out a win.

Pittsburgh Steelers 35 @ New York Jets 17:

The Jets have severely struggled to punch the ball in once they reach the red zone, unlike the very in form opponents. Big Ben and Brown could have another big week and I would definitely start them in your fantasy team.

Tennessee Titans 13 @ Baltimore Ravens 27:

The Titans are doing the right thing by given their rookies as much playing time as they can, a move the Raiders should do as well. But the Ravens need to desperately bounce back in the most competitive division in football. The loss of CB Jimmy Smith is going to hurt for a long time.

Kansas City Chiefs 20 @ Buffalo Bills 17:

Whoever loses this is most likely not going to be one of the AFC Wildcard teams. The pass rush ability of both teams is going to dictate the game, and Buffalo is going to struggle to win if Sammy Watkins isn’t on the field. I think Kansas has more offensively and wins.

Miami Dolphins 20 @ Detroit Lions 23:

A very underrated game this week, and it features two of the bets D-lines in the NFL. Wake is a beast and Vernon is emerging instead of Dion Jordon. But the Lions are at home which I think gives them the slight edge but the form the Dolphins are in I wouldn’t but it past them.

Denver Broncos 42 @ Oakland Raiders 13:

The Raiders could not be playing the Broncos at a shoddier time, the Broncos are going to play angry, fast and powerful, Miller is going to be hunting and Manning will be slinging. The Raiders have looked so much better recently and might not finish 0-16 but not this week.

St Louis Rams 17 @ Arizona Cardinals 27:

The Rams as mentioned in previous posts are so frisky when playing in division and they have to find a way to win outside it and they can be competitive. But Arizona just keep winning and I love it for so many reasons, and I truly believe they could have won with Palmer in Denver.

New York Giants 12 @ Seattle Seahawks 30:

The Giants aren’t going to score a Touchdown this week, Seattle needs to keep up the pressure on the Cardinals but they looked so inept last week on offense and it has to worry so many fans especially if they have to win on the road in the playoffs.

Chicago Bears 24 @ Green Bay Packers 38:

I do love these games when they come around because Packer fans are so creative in their abuse of the Bears. Important to watch Rodgers hamstring in this game as they can take a while to feel 100% again, but the pass rush of the Bears is so bad I expect him to not do much running.

Carolina Panthers 17 @ Philadelphia Eagles 23:

Sanchez is back and I think his going to do ok because the Panthers can’t stop the run and all he has to do is feed it to McCoy and he should be golden. Like the Falcons the Panthers might expect New Orleans to lose so they’ll still be within a shout of the division.