In our eighth Head to Head of the season Defensive MVP Gareth “Tish” Pullen took on Chairman and Offensive Coordinator Neale McMaster. Here’s how they got on…
Browns 10 Bengals 31
PULLEN: Bengals to romp home to victory and remain undefeated. As the only team with the same 53 men on the roster since September’s cuts, the Bengals are winning the right way.
Result: Cincy romped to victory alright. 1-0.
MCMASTER: This shouldn’t be a tough decision, with the undefeated Bengals taking on the 2-6 Brownies, but I have a niggling feeling this game could be close. All it takes is Johnny Football to have screamer and it’s all in Andy Dalton’s hands, and I still don’t trust him yet. Of course, Johnny hasn’t done that since his A&M days, so it’s over to the Red Rifle himself. Bengals by 2 scores, but I just have feeling the bubble is about to burst here for Cincinnati.
Result: If you weren’t sure who Nellie thought would win this the first time you read it through, you weren’t the only one. 1-0.
Dolphins 17 Bills 33
PULLEN: Miami have had quite a resurgence and although they lost last week I feel they will still take the injury-riddled Bills.
Result: FAIL. And this week, where our Scotsmen have only predicted three games differently, this could already come back to haunt Tish. 1-1.
MCMASTER: This is a brutal game to call, looking at the newly resurgent Dolphins vs the Bills, who have been treading water waiting for Tyrod Taylor to come back. I’m taking the home field advantage here, and taking the Bills. That’s about it, hoping Tyrod brings enough of a boost from the distinct averageness that is EJ Manuel, Bills by a score.
Result: If in doubt, go for home field advantage. 60% of the time, it works every time. 2-0.
Packers 29 Panthers 37
PULLEN: My head says Green Bay who will be looking to bounce back from the Denver loss but my defensive heart backs Luke Kuechly and the vaunted Panthers D. Panthers will sneak it with a field goal.
Result: Tish and his defensive heart are back in the game, and now it’s all eyes on the Giants at Tampa Bay. 2-1.
MCMASTER: Another undefeated tries to defend it’s record here, and I think it may well do that. It’s going to come down to Packers passing attack against the Panthers secondary. I fancy the secondary here. Everything in my being tells me to go with Packers, but I’m ignoring that, and going with Carolina. Panthers by a score.
Result: Bang on. No messing. 3-0.
Rams 18 Vikings 21
PULLEN: St. Louis are going to run all over the Vikings, Gurley is going to go OFF on that D. Vikings are a good side but the Rams are on their way up.
Result: So close and yet so far for Tish. 2-2.
MCMASTER: This could be a great game, watching Adrian Peterson go up against the next great back in Todd Gurley. I think Gurley wins that battle, and that leads to the win. The Rams defense is awesome, and I think that could well be the difference. Nick Foles is shaky at best, but I still think Rams by two scores.
Result: It’s the first trip up for the big man. Fortunately for him though he’s not alone. 3-1.
Redskins 10 Patriots 27
PULLEN: Redskins? They still playing? I expect this game to be over at the end of the 1st quarter. Patriots to treat Washington the same way Dan Snyder (Washington Owner) treats those protesting his team’s name, with no respect whatsoever and whip them by 35+ points.
Result: They didn’t win by 35+ points but you’d say it was over as a contest by the end of the first. 3-2.
MCMASTER: The only game being played here is how quickly the Pats can get to 40 points, and will they bother to get the 50 Burger. Pats by a mile. YOU LIKE THAT Kirk Cousins?!
Result: The Pats the very definition of winning without needing to get out of second gear. Nellie goes to 4-1.
Titans 34 Saints 28
PULLEN: Saints riding high after an Offensive masterclass last week will roll over a floundering Titans who sacked their Head Coach this week and are in disarray. Saints put this one to bed early.
Result: Saints put it to bed early? How about the Titans win it in overtime? 3-3.
MCMASTER: So Ken Whisenhunt is gone, no word on if Mariota is back playing this week, and in general the 1-6 Titans are in turmoil. On the other hand they are going up against a defense that conceded nearly 50 points last week (only saved by Tish’s Giants being even more woeful). I think Drew Brees wins this game for the Saints, and they take the match-up by three scores.
Result: He predicted a big win for the hosts, and got it wrong big time. 4-2.
Jaguars 23 Jets 28
PULLEN: A bouncing back Jax will be feeling confident after seeing an embarrassing Jets performance last week, the problem, the Jets had a great D who will have been soundly reprimanded by their defensive coaching staff and will be Jaguar hunting. Jets win.
Result: They threatened to make it interesting for a while but the Jags eventually remembered that they’re the Jags, and that’s enough to take Tish to 4-3.
MCMASTER: I must admit, I’m developing a bit of a fondness for the Jags. Don’t get me wrong, they’re useless, but their push to grow the sport over hear endears them to me. On the other side of things, the Jets will have got the biggest rollicking of their lives after getting destroyed by the mighty Raiders last week, and will be looking to take it on someone. Jets win by a score.
Result: The Jags do what the Jags do. 5-2.
Raiders 35 Steelers 38
PULLEN: Pittsburgh reeling after the gruesome injury to poor Le’veon Bell and a Raiders side no longer the joke that they were, Silver and Black attack and beat the Steelers.
Result: The Steelers get the job done even without Big Ben, largely thanks to DeAngelo Williams. 4-4.
MCMASTER: As a die-hard Raiders fan it killed me to pick against them the first time we did these articles, and I’ll be honest I’m concerned about going away to Pittsburgh this week. Our away form isn’t great, but the Steelers looked poor last week, and we did just destroy the #2 defense in the nation last week. Hello bandwagon, give me a second, I’m jumping on. Raiders win by 2 scores. #jinxed.
Result: Jinxed indeed Mr McMaster, jinxed indeed. 5-3.
Falcons 16 49ers 17
PULLEN: Falcons/49ers? Toilet Bowl anyone? Falcons to scrape a meaningless win being battled between two meaningless teams. Plus 49ers cut Hynes and put him on practice squad, they don’t get the love at the moment.
Result: Tish got everything right apart from who’d actually win, which is quite important in this game. 4-5.
MCMASTER: Atlanta get to enjoy a little trip out to the West Coast this week, beast San Fran, then head home, it’s essentially a long weekend away. Blaine Gabbert isn’t gonna put up a fight. Falcons by four scores.
Result: Shall we just gloss over this and move on? Yes, let’s do that. 5-4.
Giants 32 Buccaneers 18
PULLEN: My Giants, my gallant, fantastic, NFC East leading Giants. Cruelly cheated by a very lucky Saints side who snuck the win in the last five seconds. Not this week, Eli rallies the troops and the D put on their big boy pants and dominate a Bucs side who just turn up and bumble along each Sunday. Giants win, GO BIG BLUE!!!
Result: As much as I wish it wasn’t the case, Tish calls it and he’s back to .500. 5-5.
MCMASTER: These teams are only separated by one game, yet New York tops their division, whilst Tampa is bottom of theirs. Believe when I say this speaks more for how bad the Giants’ division is than anything else. Last week’s lost will have hurt New York, and Tampa’s win last week behind a decent Jameis Winston will have buoyed them. It’s the kind of game Eli should win, but I think last week took too much out them. Tampa wins in the last quarter by a score.
Result: Nellie gets his third result wrong in a row to allow Tish to draw level. 5-5.
Broncos 24 Colts 27
PULLEN: Although Peyton “God-damn” Manning has struggled this year, the addition of Vernon Davies will give the Forehead a great target in the redzone. Colts, again, are a team in turmoil who haven’t lit it up of late. Peyton the the Donkeys with the win off the back of a very strong D.
Result: Not entirely sure where it came from, but somehow the Colts got it done. Tish drops to 5-6.
MCMASTER: Peyton coming home, Broncos D is Hall of Fame good, Colts struggling badly see’s this only go one way. Broncos by two scores.
Result: Nellie is in absolute free fall here. He’s having a mare. 5-6.
Eagles 33 Cowboys 27
PULLEN: Eagles-Cowboys? Can they both lose please? The Eagles experiment is still a season from fruition and having now seen what La’el Collins can do (you see the double block against the Seahawks?) I can see McFadden rumbling along behind that human bulldozer for strong yardage. Cowgirls grab the W.
Result: It doesn’t matter what the Cowboys do, they always find a way to lose. In a way it’s an impressive trait, if you think about it. 5-7.
MCMASTER: No-one is a winner in this game, they are both brutal to watch, although La’el Collins is a personal favourite. Dallas are at home, so I think they win. Don’t watch this game if you like football!
Result: McMaster manages to drop his fifth straight game. 5-7, and it’s all down to Monday Night Football…
Bears 22 Chargers 19
PULLEN: Only the 13 games this week? Wow, better make this one count. In the battle of the most hated QBs in the league (both talk trash and have THAT look about them) I am giving the edge to Cutler’s Bears. Alshon Jeffrey went off last week and in no small part to some great passes thrown by Jay. I haven’t seen the same from Rivers who has struggled with a poor supporting cast who are getting more and more damaged and banged up. Bears take it.
Result: The Bears sneak it and double agent Tish claims the win on behalf of the players with a final score of 6-7.
MCMASTER: SD have placed half their skill position on IR this week, which in the most obvious statement ever, isn’t going to help their situation. It’s bottom of the AFC West (not the Raiders woohoo!!!) against the 2-5 Bears. Jay Cutler is gonna do what he does (play brilliant in spells, plays brutal in other), and that’ll keep the Chargers in the game. Go for it, Bolts by a score, I’ve talked myself into it.
Result: He talked himself into it and talked himself out of the game with, wait for it, a sixth wrong prediction in a row. Unbelievable Jeff. McMaster can only McMastermind a 5-8 defeat on this occasion.
As a result of this week’s scores the Players have edged into the lead against the Coaches and Staff by 67-49 to 66-50. Be sure to check back on Thursday for this week’s predictions.
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Wide Receiver Chris Cowley 6-10 vs Offensive Coordinator Neale McMaster 6-10
Tight End Jack Judge 11-5 vs Head Coach Will White 13-3
Offensive Lineman Danny Cousins 8-7 vs Vice Chairman Mark Chilton 9-6
Running Back Matt Duffin 10-4 vs Running Back Coach Neil Duffy 10-4
Wide Receiver Jack Davis-Fletcher 6-8 vs Treasurer Michael Dilley 8-6
Offensive Lineman Jon Amokah 11-3 vs Youth Team Head Coach Nick Benning 8-6
Offensive Lineman John Rudgard 9-5 vs Special Teams Coordinator Gary Villiers 77