PFSL Week 3 - Baboons vs Empire: The Birth of A Blood-Feud
Season 1 of the Pro Football Simulation League was the perfect result for the Bronx Baboons. The black & red team began the season as underdogs to the trash-talking Dangville Demons, and quickly became overlooked as a result.
By season's end however, the Baboons rode the offensive firepower of running back BoJangles Jackson (1,600 yards, 40 rushing tds; offensive player of the year) and wide receiver Josh Ho (151 receptions, 2,100 yards and 10 tds; league MVP) to compliment their top rated defense.
This defensive lineup featured top stars, including shutdown cornerback Chaz "Showtime" Michaels (40 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 5 interceptions; defensive player of the year, PFSL Championship Game MVP) and middle linebacker Shane Cole (40 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 3 interceptions and a defensive touchdown; voted league best middle linebacker).
Little did we know, a brand new rivalry was nearly underway...
After some changes occurred with the ownership of the Demons (and a brief stint as the Houston Fury), the Boston Empire was born. At this point however, this new club had to dive into the S2 rookie class to fill out the majority of its roster. Very few veteran players remained, namely cornerback-turned free safety Kerryon "KJ" King (48 tackles, 3 sacks, 11 passes defended).
The beginning of S2 is where it gets really good. The Empire is now rocking a rookie quarterback (Tyson Cooper) with two rookie wide receivers (Andrew Schiffer and Travis Phillips) to lead their offense.
The trash talk really started to heat up this week. While I won't get into exact details of what was said, it was enough to make rookie wide receiver Abraham Dendrood want out of the Empire organization, as he demanded a trade. This came to fruition, as Dendrood was dealt to the San Antonio Herd in exchange for a 2nd round pick.
Another deal happened when this same team traded for Tyson's brother, wide receiver Vincent Cooper.
Exact quotes won't be repeated, but there's always been bad blood between Baboons' cornerback Chaz Michaels and Empire's free safety KJ King. Showtime sees himself as the league's top defensive back (and all the stats have backed him up), while KJ wants to put himself in that tier as well. Michaels always goes back to the one statistic that has eluded King his entire career: interceptions. The safety has not had a single pick in his career, while Showtime already has two defensive scores... IN TWO GAMES.
It has also been getting intense between King and Baboons' running back BoJangles Jackson. Again, no exact details will enter this article, but just know there isn't any love lost between these two players either. Luckily for the fans, with the way Blankman has been running, there will be plenty of opportunities for himself and KJ to physically go head to head multiple times in this game.
Now that we've discussed the bad blood between these two teams, let's preview their upcoming matchup, shall we?
Matchups To Watch
Empire Rb DeJuan Jennings vs Baboons Mlb Shane Cole
Maybe not a matchup most people are looking at, but I think this will be huge for the outcome of this game. Rookie Tyson Cooper has had an up and down start to the year (3:3 touchdown to interception ratio), and needs to rely on the running game to keep the Baboons' defense off balance. Rookie running back Jennings has been solid thus far (4.3 yards per carry with 3 touchdowns) and should be a major part of Boston's gameplan this week.
On the other side of the field, we have Shane Cole. Unlike teammates such as Showtime and Josh Ho, the middle linebacker doesn't trash talk. He goes out of his way to make sure his play does all the talking. After his great rookie season that featured the award for best middle linebacker of the year, he has started this year on a roll with 10 tackles and two picks. Cole locking up the running game will go a long way to forcing the Empire to pass, leading to a key player we'll get to in a bit...
Baboons De Gage Bodine vs The World
Gage Bodine was the quarterback for the Herd when they made it to the title game last year as the Sidewinders. After letting up that comeback to the Baboons and starting off the season with some struggles, San Antonio decided to release the quarterback in very controversial fashion.
Bodine was picked up by the Baboons and switched to defensive end on November 22nd. Since that day, Bodine has seemed more motivated than ever to prove himself. He will be getting the start, so it will be exciting to see how the new pickup transitions from avoiding the pass rush to becoming the pass rush.
Empire Fs KJ King vs Baboons Cb Chaz Michaels
You were probably expected Showtime vs Tyson Cooper, huh? Well I'm taking a different angle on this one. Remember that feud between these two that I mentioned earlier? Well that will be key in this game. This will be the chance for KJ King to step up and outperform his rival. If King can get his first takeaway (or two), then that will greatly increase his team's odds of winning this game.
However, Chaz Michaels has made a living off of getting the football in his hands. 5 interceptions last year, followed up with 9 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery (both returned to the house) in this season's first two games is by far the most impressive defensive stat line in the league right now. Whichever defender makes more plays will be a huge boost to helping their team to victory this week.
Bronx's Jax Jones vs Boston's Tyson Cooper
As for the quarterbacks, not much has been said about Jax Jones. That's because he hasn't put up eye-popping stats so far. Jones has completed 71% of his passes for 395 yards with a pair of touchdowns to one interception. Jones has always been a safe passer, especially since he has such great playmakers around him. BoJangles Jackson however, has been on such a tear this year (over 400 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns) that the Baboons don't need him to take unnecessary risks. The team motto has always been "get the ball to your playmakers, and let them take care of business".
Tyson Cooper (like I said earlier) has been up and down. There have been flashes of potential greatness, while he also shows signs of being a rookie. You need to put up a lot of points to beat this Baboons team (who's scored an average of 43.5 points in their first two games), so this might be a high risk, high reward kind of game, if DeJuan Jennings can't get going. If Cooper ends the day with 350 yards, 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, that could be give the Bronx their first loss.
Who wins this game?
In the end, I believe the veteran team can get it done here. They have too many elite playmakers scattered around the team, and momentum is clearly on their side. The Bronx have a consistent, steady offense and shutdown defense who can put up points themselves. I believe the wildcard for the Baboons is newly acquired defensive end Gage Bodine. The determination he shows to get into the face of Tyson Cooper could force a few mistakes that you can't afford to make against this team.
On the other hand, Boston has home field advantage and anything can happen in the PFSL. We've seen many upsets and incredible comebacks, so you can't out anyone until you see 0:00 on the clock.
However, I don't think this will be one of those games.
League Based Projected Outcome (average of all predicted scores):
Baboons 35, Empire 21
Baboons 42, Empire 24
- Empire Fs KJ King:
"The Baboons are overall a great team, don't get me wrong. But eventually someone has to take them down. And we're looking to be the first to do it."
- Empire Wr Travis Phillips:
"We're the best, fuck the rest"
- Empire Rb DeJuan Jennings:
“Our defense needs to get their ass together if we want to win this game. Our offense is doing everything we can. If we want to win it’s going to have to be an all around effort from both sides”
- Empire Qb Tyson Cooper:
"Always bet on the underdog. They've got ambition and nothing to lose"
- Baboons Wr Brett Miller:
“I don’t really think we can consider this a game, more of a combined practice. Y’all got any more of them real teams for us?”
- Baboons Mlb Shane Cole:
"WE LOVE BANANAS"
- Baboons De Gage Bodine:
“Not going to lie, I was blindsided after being released after taking the Herd to the championship game last season. It’s kinda like being cheated on in a sense. however, The transition to the Bronx has been a lot easier than I thought. They brought me in because they know the leadership role I bring, and we already have another solid QB runnin the show, so I flipped to DE to be an instant impact and a leader on that side of the ball. The past is the past, I know what I bring to this team and all I’m worried about is helping this team get wins week in and week out.
- Baboons Wr Jonathan Walton:
"I haven't thought of a quote yet. Why are you writing? Don't write this. No this isn't my quote stop writing"
- Baboons Cb Showtime Michaels:
"Let’s get this over with”
- Baboons Wr Josh Ho:
"I wrote a little diddy just for this game...
Takes the snap, drops back to pass
Another score, Baboons spankin that ass
There's this guy named Travis, he's talking his shit
But he drops the football, after another Shane Cole hit
69-0, empire can't score
Another SHOWTIME pick, let's put up some more
Tyson Cooper is shook, can't believe the stats
0 scores, 8 picks... He's shitting his pants
BoJangles runs it in, simple as free throws
He steps on your fritos, as he breaks out the Doritos
Between Miller, Walton and Rocco, Jax Jones finds a name
But juking past the defense... is the Hooooo Train
Keep talking your shit, bitch, you gonna get your karma
In the form of a sexy goddess, who's name is Fat Darla
So empire better think twice before throwing your rocks
Cause no one's ever the same, after facing The Bronx"