Sometimes, those that have been there can explain it far better than you can ever dare.
Gatorade Playoff Status Update
Gatorade is the official hydration partner of the BFL. #WinFromWithin
Looking most likely to join them:
#3 The Super Touchdowners, #4 Shotgun Shenanigans
Could get in if a result falls their way:
#5 Cleveland Clowns
Mathematically possible, but unlikely:
#6 Team Jones, #7 Dezzy Does Dallas
The Dope Sheet is brought to you by Verizon, the official wireless carrier of the BFL. Verizon. Better Matters.
Waterton Winos (2-11) @ Dallas Sucks (9-4)
(Dallas Sucks lead season series, 1-0)
This is the only game that has zero playoff implications, as these two teams have their end of season seedings assured.
A home victory here will almost certainly guarantee Dallas Sucks will take possession of the FedEx Best Defense award, and if the Rage fail to maintain their slim lead in the points for race, the Old Spice Best Offense award too. It has been an excellent return to pro football for the Dallas Sucks GM, as he has built a team that has consistently reigned in the top two places in the power rankings this season. The Rage are the only team to average a better points per game in 2016 (240.3 to the Rage’s 241.3). The team’s offensive leader, Andrew Luck, has been joined by a rotating cast, but the free agency acquisition of Jay Ajayi, who exploded onto the scene in week 6, highlights the GM’s astute ability to weigh up the best players for his team.
The big question regarding the Winos is who will take ownership of the team in 2017, with relocation set to be confirmed after the Bridgend Shiva Bowl playoffs have concluded. Much like Chip Kelly, the Winos ignited the league upon first joining, winning five games on the bounce, but have since won two games in that remaining period of time as the GM’s lack of interest shines through.
The Dope’s Prediction: Dallas Sucks get into double figures in the win column, obviously.
Team Jones (6-7) @ Orlando Rage (11-2)
(Rage lead season series, 1-0)
With only one win in their last four games, Team Jones are counting on a miracle to get them into the winner’s bracket instead of fighting it out for pride in the next two weeks. As noted in the week 10 power rankings, Team Jones have suffered with a brutal schedule in the playoff race, facing the top two seeds and the streaking Shannys, with a Winos game providing the only win in that timespan. Although some members of the BFL press pack thought the Rage would take their foot off the gas this weekend and not run any risks going into the playoffs, with two potential season awards on the line, the Rage look to be going for it. Team Jones will need to bring their A-Game and you can expect David Johnson to continue his electric 2016 form, even if Team Jones fails to make the promised land. With five WRs inside the consensus top 25 this weekend, Team Jones have an embarrassment of riches at WR as well as arguably a candidate for BFL MVP. It’s been a while since we have mentioned Kwon Alexander, but the sophomore linebacker’s impressive season continues and The Dope believes a big performance could be forthcoming.
Despite the expected rout of the Winos last week, it was an underwhelming performance from the Rage as no player broke the 20-point barrier. The news that Jason Pierre-Paul is done for the season hurts the Rage going forward as he had been the league’s outstanding defensive performer since joining the Rage at the beginning of November. His Holiness, Breesus’s most disappointing output of the season will have raised some eyebrows, but despite Derek Carr waiting in the wings, the Rage GM looks to be favouring his man-crush going forward. The Dope is very critical of the Rage’s offensive depth at the moment, believing that despite having clear QB1, RB1 and WR1s, the drop off to the rest of these position players is vast and the gaps their playoff opponents have could potentially favour them next week.
Las Vegas has this being one of the closest games of the weekend, but The Dope believes there is a clear winner in this game.
The Dope’s Prediction: Team Jones do what they can to give them hope of a playoff spot by defeating the Rage, who will be scratching their heads at playoff line-ups for the next two weeks.
The Super Touchdowners (7-6) @ Maryland Cookies (5-8)
(Cookies lead season series, 1-0)
For The Super Touchdowners, victory will assure them of a shot at the Bridgend Shiva Bowl. It’s likely that with even with a loss, their advantage over their main rivals is so vast (as well as holding many of the important tiebreakers), they will still make it in, but they should avoid complacency at their peril, as the Cookies could sweep the season series to cause a lot of headaches up and down the league trying to work out who gets in. The Dope believes this won’t be necessary, as The Super Touchdowners are stronger than their opposition in practically every area except one. The Dope believes that The Super Touchdowners should not be considered playoff dark horses should they enter the Shiva Bowl, rather favourites due to the incredible depth of their team. The 1-2-3 punch of Antonio Brown, Shady McCoy and Tom Brady is enough to give every opposition nightmares, and that’s without looking below the fold at the team’s D.
That one area where the Cookies do have a slight edge over their opposition is at running back and Ezekiel Elliott, the presumptive Offensive Rookie of the Year. The league’s rushing leader goes into this game with a point to prove as he faces the only defense so far this season to hold him to under 3 yards per attempt. Elliott has been the sole high spot on a team that, by it’s own GM’s estimation, has suffered from a Shiva Bowl hangover all season. After starting the season 3-2 and looking likely to return to the playoff race, the Cookies offense that set the league on fire in 2015 has evaporated and it remains to be seen whether they can avoid going from Shiva Bowl to Plunger Bowl in 2016.
The Dope’s Prediction: The Super Touchdowners comprehensively crush the Cookies and scare the rest of their playoff opponents with the size of their victory.
Cleveland Clowns (7-6) @ Maesteg SheepSkins (5-8)
(SheepSkins lead season series, 1-0)
The defending champions will require some help from other teams to be able to defend their trophy in 2016, namely defeats of both The Super Touchdowners and Shotgun Shenanigans will see them enter the winner’s bracket. The previous meeting between these two teams this season was a SheepSkins rout and put the Clowns at their lowest ebb. Since then, the Clowns have only done slightly better than the SheepSkins, picking up four wins to Maesteg’s three.
The Clowns look in tremendous shape this weekend, with both of their RBs up against less than stellar opposition, they should rack up good points totals. Jordy Nelson remains a great offensive threat and is close to being the team’s top scorer this season. In a game where every point scored is critical, the return of Jordan Reed at TE could be significant to the Clowns’s chances of making it into the playoffs. On the defensive side, Tahir Whitehead – who missed last week’s game with a knee injury – has returned to limited practice this week and the team are optimistic that he can contribute alongside Lawrence Timmons as chief LBs.
The SheepSkins are left to ponder what might have been as their first regular season draws to a close. In a magazine interview published this week, the SheepSkins GM admits that the team’s 0-3 start is what has cost them a shot at glory this season, although their stunning rout of the Rage in week 4 remains a highlight. Julio Jones’s health has dominated SheepSkins news this week, as he recovers from turf toe. At press time it is unclear whether Jones will suit up for this week’s game, which would be a shame as he has advantageous matchups for both of his next two games. The SheepSkins will also be monitoring the health of Jordan Hill, as it will impact the contributions of their lead TE, Vernon Davis, this week. On the plus side, Melvin Gordon is tipped by The Dope to have an excellent game against a D that was torn apart by a quality RB just one week ago.
The Dope’s Prediction: Bell and Forte’s dominance of the ground game puts the Clowns in with a shot of defending their title.
The Game of the Week is presented by Advance Auto Parts, the official automotive replacement parts supplier of the BFL. Service is our best part…
Dezzy Does Dallas (6-7) @ Shotgun Shenanigans (7-6)
(Shenanigans lead season series, 1-0)
(Shenanigans lead overall series, 3-1)
This is the most important game of the weekend as both teams are in contention for the final two playoff spots. If the Shannys win, they are in pole position to get in given their points differential. An underwhelming victory or loss might not be enough. The Dezzys have to hope to wrack up their biggest points total of the season and hope that other results fall their way. A rumour has circulated amongst the BFL offices that a “Darl Kavies” has been spotted placing bets on accumulators on Rage/Cookies/SheepSkins victories in various gambling establishments in BFL-Land to make as much profit as possible out of the team’s potential success.
Missing the playoffs seemed inconceivable for the Dezzys after that incredible 5-0 start. But five successive losses, and only one win in their last three games, has them looking more likely to compete for the Plunger Bowl for the second successive season than the Shiva Bowl. Cam Newton’s unsuccessful defense of his MVP title from 2015 means taking him as #1 overall this season has turned out to be a bust, but at the time, very few people predicted the drastic fall-off in form that Superman would take this season. Larry Fitzgerald is unlikely to get the coda that his HOF-worthy career deserves, but he has been the team’s top offensive performer this season behind Newton. Greg Olsen remains one of the league’s best TEs and remains one of the team’s top threats heading into their post-season. Former Super Bowl MVP, Malcolm Smith, will hope to cap off his great season with some inspired performances to ensure his side reach the playoffs.
For the second year in a row, the Shannys enter the final week of the regular season with the ability to shockingly enter the playoffs given their previous record. After being 3-5 at one point and a nailed on certainty for the Plunger Bowl, for the second season in a row, the Rocky montages and motivational speeches in the Shannys locker room have worked their magic and they have their destiny in their hands this week. Murray-squared and Thomas-squared look set to dominate at RB and WR respectively, and Russell Wilson is leaving opposition defences speechless once more, working like a surgeon to dismantle his rivals. Von Miller continues to display every week why he got paid in the off-season. Chris Harris Jr. is set to continue what is likely to be another All-Pro season.
The Dope’s Prediction: The Shannys have just enough to secure a playoff berth, whilst the Dezzys will be left to wonder where it all went wrong.
The Dope’s Week 13 Predictions: 5-0 (for the first time ever)
The Dope’s Overall Predictions: 36-29
From the Commish’s Desk…
* As requested, I have reverted the regular season standings tiebreaker back to Total Points For instead of Head-to-Head record against your opponents. In retrospect, Head-to-Head would have worked better had we done my original intention for the league this year, which was to split the league into two divisions, as that would have made a little more sense. I spent a little while this week trying to work out the tiebreakers to able to explain them to you fellas as we go along on Sunday evening, but frankly, my head hurt. It’s just easier to work out people’s records and who scores the most points.
* A reminder that the home team in each playoff game gets a +3 headstart in each game as a reward for their regular season performance.
* For the six teams that don’t make the winners bracket, there is a consolation bracket that takes place to determine the placings of teams #5-10, including the Domestos Plunger Bowl. Checkout the “Projected Playoff Bracket” under the Schedule tab on the mobile app and the Standings tab on the website to see how it works and who you could face.
* Keep an eye on the Eliminator Challenge and Pick’em challenge groups as we roll towards the end of the NFL season. I will be setting up a Bowl Mania group in the next fortnight to allow you to pick the winners of the various college Bowl games that take place over December and January.
Very best of luck to everyone as their playoff chases culminate this week. Hope you all get the results you deserve.