All – Pro League Playoffs:
All-Pro League Championship Game: 5/26/18 @ 9:15am – #4 Hitsquad vs. #2 Yobogoya – A lot of people probably had Rusty Trombone penciled into this title game after the pretty dominating undefeated regular season they had. Hitsquad put that assumption to rest with a (27-20) win in the Semi-Final. That game featured a punt return for a TD and a Pick 6 for Hitsquad to pull the upset. Yobogoya for their worth, overcame a slow start and two score deficit to the Untouchables to cruise into the final (35-21). These two teams met in the regular season and the game was totally one-sided with Yobogoya winning (40-6). The Poll Master isn’t positive, but he seems to recall Hitsquad being with out their QB and a couple of other “big names” that game. When you look at the two teams, this game marks the 3rd in a row All-Pro Title game that Yobogoya has been in. They won the Fall 2017 title, but fell (0-6) in the Winter title game which was played on a muddy bog. If you want experience in big games (recently) then Yobogoya has it. Hitsquad has played in and won numerous Pro League Championships, but to date they have ever made the All-Pro title game (Elias Sports Bureau). Ironically, it took them a switch to a rival QB (from Balls Deep), in order to make it. On paper you have to like Yobogoya as they have the statistical edge on both sides of the ball. Offensively they average 35.5 pts/game whereas Hitsquad is only coming in at 23.6 pts/game. Similarly, Yobogoya has the edge on points allowed at 18.9 pts/game and Hitsquad at 21.4 pts/game. If you think about Championship games being swung by 1-2 “big plays” then you have to believe that Hitsquad has less margin for error than Yobogoya. If this game becomes a shootout in the mid 30’s to 40’s then Yobogoya will certainly come out on top. A lower scoring game would certainly benefit Hitsquad. The Poll Master sees this game as being a close one. Neither team is particularly quick to the line on offense and both use a good deal of the play clock with intermittent huddling. A lot will be shown on the first couple series of the game as the Poll Master will be looking to see if one of these two team comes out “flat”. Yobogoya has a penchant for getting off to slow starts so if Hitsquad gets up early, it will be interesting to see if they can ride out a lead for the better part of a game. Vegas has this game at Yobogoya -8 and in the end the Poll Master is going to go where the stats are leading him. He expects the two veteran, big-armed QBs to put on an aerial display which lights up the scoreboard! Prediction: Hitsquad 32 – Yobogoya 38
The Poll Master has been paying close attention to games this season, but given the demands of the day job, he didn’t have time to complete individual game predictions for playoff weekend #1. He does however have several thoughts on each division and spreads on scheduled games and projected games!
- Hitsquad and the Victors seems to get each other in the first weekend each season; this first round game will be a slug fest with the winner not having a ton in the tank for Rusty Trombone
- Speaking of Rusty Trombone, they are a mere two games away from a perfect season (10-0) – quite an achievement in a parity rich All-Pro division.
- 4 of the 6 playoff teams have tasted from the All-Pro Title Chalice in the past; the other two (Hitsquad and Horsetail) have Championships at the Pro Level
- Rusty Trombone is definitely the most consistent team in the field; they carry the best defense at 13.8 pts/game; that number does include two forfeit wins so it would have been interesting to see what they would have turned in by playing two more full games
- Untouchables definitely can put up some numbers on offense; they broke the hallowed 300 points in a season plateau (323) by breaking 40 pts 5 times and 50 points twice
- Every point counts; Yobogoya and the Untouchables each blew the other out this season, but Untouchables missed the valuable #2 seed by 6 total points. Ironically they will have to go through Yobogoya in rubber match if they get by Horsetail
- Horsetail had some unfortunate timing with outside evens (forfeiting two games during the regular season). A very dangerous #6 seed with real record of (3-3) and only -17 net points.
- Poll Master likes the two top seeds to advance to the finals. The double-dip is a hard thing to overcome when the teams are so comparably strong!
- Spreads: #5 Victors vs. #4 Hitsquad (-4); #6 Horsetail vs. #3 Untouchables (-10); #4 Hitsquad vs. #1 Rusty Trombone (-8); #3 Untouchables vs. #2 Yobogoya (-7)
Pro League Playoffs:
Pro League Championship Game: 5/24/18 @ 6:15pm – #2 Goon Squad vs. #1 Movement – The top two seeds go at it in this Championship Final. Can’t say it is a huge surprise as both of these teams seemed to be a little bit better than the rest of the competition in the Pro League this Spring. These two met once this season, and Movement got the upper hand (32-26). It should be mentioned that Goon Squad held an early (12-0) advantage in that game and had the ball with a chance to go up three scores before Movement systematically clawed their way back. This season it has not been uncommon for Movement to get off to slow starts. They have trailed in at least 3 games that the Poll Master caught. On the other hand I have seen Goon Squad fade in the 2nd half of games. Goon Squad is not particularly deep, but I don’t think fatigue will come into play in a 1 game Championship for all the marbles. The biggest question for this game is big plays. Movement thrives on that big play over the top or a long catch and run by one of their many athletes. You let them get moving (pun intended) and they can be like a boulder coming down a hill. Goon Squad would prefer to “muddy up” this game and keep it a low scoring affair. Movement for the most part this season has put up a lot of points, so they aren’t accustomed to playing in too many tight games. If the game reaches the 30’s, I would have to tip my cap to Movement, but if it stays in the teens or low 20’s, then you might be looking at Goon Squad as the new Pro League Champs. A last thought on this game is about execution. A lot of playoff games are won and lost by capitalizing on the opponents mistakes. Too often in flag-football you see a team create a turnover and then they immediately go for the jugular with long bomb or any impact play, only to find themselves behind the sticks on the ensuing drive. Which team plays it smart and which team takes too many chances when the ball bounces their way? Although Vegas has Movement by -11 in this one, the Poll Master sees a much closer game. In the end he’ll also side with Movement as they complete the perfect season (10-0)! Prediction: Good Squad 24 Movement 28
- Movement is also working on a perfect season at (8-0) entering the playoffs. There are whispers that they wish they had played All-Pro this season as Pro hasn’t been super challenging!
- Movement has trailed in 3 games this season (that the Poll Master saw) and twice by double digits but nobody seems to be able to put them away.
- Two teams traditionally give Movement problems (Fantesticle and Swarm); but luckily for Movement they play each other in round 1 and Movement will get a tired team in round 2.
- One side of the bracket is the “old guard” with teams that have a bit of seniority in the league and the other side of the bracket has some “younger” teams in terms of seniority (Goon Squad, Ballers, and Peaked in High School).
- 4 teams in this bracket give up (25 or more points per game); therefore the Poll Master expects most winning teams to score in the 30’s.
- Movement broke the 300 point plateau for a regular season (311)
- Fantesticle is definitely the sleeper in this division. They don’t beat themselves and arguably have the best QB in the division.
- Seeds #2 through #5 are separated by 46 net points; parity abounds
- Peaked in High School has the ability to score with anyone, but they have a bad habit of taking their foot off the gas. Will this tendency bite them in the playoffs?
- Goon Squad is a tough #2 team to read. On the one hand they played Movement to a 6 point game but on the other, they got destroyed versus a .500 Swarm team (53-14) and had a (28-20) setback to 410-Outlaws where they gave up a large lead.
- Ballers are know to cause some playoff disruption, but have never made the title game in the Pro Division. Can they change that narrative this season? Defense will have to improve to make that a reality as they allowed 31.8 pts/game in the regular season
- Movement is definitely the prohibitive favorite here.
- Spreads: #5 Swarm vs. #4 Fantesticle (-6); #6 Ballers vs. #3 Peaked in High School (-4); #4 Fantesticle vs. #1 Movement (-12); #3 Peaked in High School vs. #2 Goon Squad (-2)
Semi-Pro League Playoffs:
Semi-Pro League Championship Game: 5/26/18 @ 8:00am – #2 Redemption vs. #1 4th & Inches – Ahhh, two old foes meet again for the Title of the Semi-Pro League! If memory serves me correctly, these two teams duked it out for the Fall 2017 Championship, with 4th & Inches coming out on top then. Now fast forward to this week’s game. 4th & Inches comes into this game off a bit of a clunker. They barely escaped a very gamely Killswitch team in the Semi-Final, winning (26-20) in OT. That was certainly not the kind of performance you would expect from an undefeated #1 seed that was playing a “tired” team in their 2nd game as a double-digit favorite. 4th & Inches’ QB threw 3 picks in that match-up, which is certainly not something he can repeat if he wants be Champ! On the other side of the bracket, the #2 seed Redemption got all they could handle from the #3 seed Chronic Masterdeflators in their Semi-Final match-up, but pulled away winning (27-19). This championship game will be the 3rd time these foes have met this season. 4th & Inches owns victories in the 1st two at (24-20) and (33-13) respectively. They always say it is hard to beat a team three times in a row, but 4th & Inches seems to have figured out Redemption. You can throw out the scouting reports here as both teams “know each other”. As the kids say, 4th & Inches puts up a “shit-ton” of points, averaging 42.5 points/game. Redemption is no slouch at 29.2 pts/game, but if both teams play the way they are capable of then Redemption has to overcome an average differential of over 10+ points/game. The stats don’t get much better for Redemption on the defensive side of the ball, with 4th & Inches coming in at 14.5 pts/game and Redemption sitting at an even 22 pts/game. Not saying that an upset is impossible here, but things look pretty lopsided if looking at the numbers alone. The keys for Redemption will be “staying together” as a team and playing smart. Every Championship game has plays or calls that don’t go your way and you can’t implode in the first half or else you have lost the game before halftime. Good teams take the ball after half (if they win the coin toss), and try to “double-dip” with a score before halftime. If Redemption can execute things like this and play a smart and largely mistake free game, then you can throw all these stats out the window. For the biggest game of the Semi-Pro season, Vegas sees this one as a lopsided affair with 4th & Inches at -10. In the end the Poll Master also sniffs a double-digit win…..Prediction: Redemption 21 – 4th & Inches 31
- 4th & Inches is the 3rd team that still has a perfect season on the line; this season marks the first time ever that 3 teams enter the playoffs with that claim.
- Hard to fathom that the (0-8) Mingos had a shot at playoffs on the final weekend of regular season.
- Organized Chaos can put up some points but their defense is atrocious, allowing 42.6 pts/game; they were one of two teams to allow over 300 points scored this season
- 4th & Inches has the best defense at 13.8 pts/game; they also had the best offense at 357 points scored. That sniffs the All-Time record under the Poll Master’s administration (372); although those numbers might be a little inflated since 4th & Inches got The Mingos twice in the regular season
- Red Rum switched QB’s mid season and reeled off wins in 3 of their last 4; definitely a dangerous team come playoffs
- Red Rum got a another 8am draw for the playoffs; members of that team have the infamy of forfeiting a playoff game last summer. Will history repeat itself on Saturday?
- Chronic Masterdeflators has been knocking at the door for a few seasons now; they lost the Winter Pro Title game to the Krypto-Knights and now have a #3 seed here
- Redemption quietly snuck into the #2 seed thanks to a (6-2) record and beating Chronic head-to-head; they could be poised for title game rematch with 4th & Inches next week
- The top 3 teams in the division all play relatively good defense (22.3 pts/game or less allowed) so any of the lower seeds will need to put up some points to win.
- Killswitch enters these playoffs going in reverse. Having lost their last 4 games they surrendered a nearly 30 points lead to Organized Chaos last week. They have been top contenders in the division for a while now, but this season might not be one of them.
- The Chronic bench is thin; so not getting the #2 seed will definitely challenge them on Sat with the double-dip. Assuming they beat Organized, Redemption would be smart to move fast!
- The Division is very top heavy with 71% of the wins held between the top 3 teams. Hard to think any of the bottom 3 seeds wins this division!
- Spreads: #5 Killswitch vs. #4 Red Rum (-10); #6 Organized Chaos vs. #3 Chronic Masterdeflators (-15); #4 Red Rum vs. #1 4th & Inches (-6); #3 Chronic Masterdeflators vs. #2 Redemption (+2)