AP Poll

All – Pro League Playoffs:

Championship Game (2/17/18) – #3 Victors vs. #1 Yobogoya – Both teams in this final came from behind to win their respective Semi-Final match-ups.  The Victors made the Semis after dispatching of a 7-man Fantesticle team in the quarterfinals.  It was not without some difficulty as the Fantesticle played them to a (13-13) tie at halftime before the wheels came off.  The higher seeded Victors got past Rusty Trombone (25-24) in the Semis thanks in large part to their defense as they faced a two score deficit in the 2nd half.  Rusty Trombone simply had a sequence of possessions in the 2nd half where they couldn’t get the ball out of their own end and that allowed the Victors to creep back into the game (with at least one INT).  The game came down to a late score from Rusty Trombone to pull within 1 and a missed conversion sealed the game with just under a minute to go.  On the other side of the bracket, Yobogoya really did not deserve to win their game.  #5 Hitsquad jumped out to an early lead while riding a wave of momentum from scoring nearly 30+ unanswered points in their quarterfinal game against Schizm.  They gradually gave that lead back as the game wore on and heart-breakingly lost the game on a pick 6 when they had the ball still up a point (13-12).  A late hold from the Yobogoya defense in their own defensive red zone kept the final margin at (19-13).  These two championship game combatants met once on the final week of the regular season.  That game was taken (24-19) by Yobogoya following a 2 score comeback.  They were aided in that game by a bad call on a TD in the back of the end zone in which neither ref had a good angle on the receiver’s feet.  Despite the help from the officials you have to look at the Victors for their self-destruction in the 2nd half.  They (much like Rusty their semi-final game) couldn’t move the ball out of their own end and that allowed Yobogoya to systematically crawl back into the game with short fields.  Also notable for that regular season match-up was the absence of the Victors starting QB.  That very well undoubtedly played a role in the outcome.  In looking at these two rosters, the Poll Master sees a pretty even match-up.  Both have similar “big-play potential” skill players on the outside and not super mobile QBs.  Since comebacks have been a theme this season and especially in recent weeks, it will be interesting to see what happens if one team goes up two scores early.  The game gets mighty long at that point and you have to ride that momentum as long as you can.  Typically the teams that adjust well to adverse conditions, be it a bad call, or an easy dropped pass seem to come out on top in close games where the teams are seemingly even.  Yobogoya is still chasing an undefeated season, so will that burden become to heavy?  The Victors have been known to save their best games for the title games but they have also laid some eggs in this scenario.  Which Victors team shows up?  This could be an instant classic!  Given the run that Yobogoya has been on with winning the Fall All-Pro Title and Winter Tourney, the Poll Master is going to side with them by the slimmest of margins.  Prediction: Victors 25 – Yobogoya 26

 

8:00am – #6 Fantesticle vs. #3 Victors – 3rd time is the charm for these two teams!  The two played two tight games in the regular season with the Victors coming out on top both times (22-19) & (21-19).  Both games came down to conversions in the end so I would expect the “rub match” to be same.   The Poll Master would argue that Fantesticle is better than their (3-5) record would suggest.  They have 5 losses but their net points is only -9 points.  Along with the aforementioned losses to the Victors, they also have a 2pt loss to the #2 seeded Rusty Trombone.  Fantesticle is a veteran team that won’t beat themselves, so it will take a good game from the Victors to get the job done.  It is tough to beat a team three times, so the Victors had better be careful not to fool around in this one.  The Victors are coming off a stunning loss last week to #1 seed Yobogoya where they systematically gave away a double digit 2nd half lead to lose (19-24).  Despite that loss, they have to have the confidence that they can play with anyone at this point.  While still owning arguably the most “athletic” team in the All-Pro division the Victors are capable of running the table this playoff season.  They have done it before, but as they say “this is why you play the games”.  Gonna give the Victors the season sweep!  Prediction: Fantesticle 19 – Victors 26

 

9:15am – #3 Victors (Projected) vs. #2 Rusty Trombone – Two heavyweights will be slugging it out in this projected Semi-Final.  Rusty Trombone took the season match-up (24-18).  Rusty Trombone definitely earned the #2 seed with their regular season work.  They finished (6-2) with both of their losses coming by a single point; (31-32) to Yobogoya and Schizm (24-25).  What is notable about both of those losses is that Rusty Trombone had significant leads at some point in each game.  They could very easily have been (8-0) and the #1 seed.  Rusty Trombone is as good as it gets in the All-Pro division when they are clicking on all cylinders.  They spread the field exceptionally well on offense and at times looks like they are playing 8 vs. 6.  They do go on stretches of inconsistency on that side of the ball which could cost them in a game against an opponent who can also put up points.  The Victors sometimes get by on sheer play-making ability and that won’t happen in this game against a well-rounded Rusty Trombone squad.  Rusty grinds this one out.  Prediction: Victors 19 – Rusty Trombone 22

 

10:30am – #5 Hitsquad vs. #4 Schizm – This quarterfinal pits two teams who aren’t exactly fond of each other.  The regular season game saw some chippiness and words being exchanged by both starting QBs (at each other).  Hitsquad stunned Schizm in that game with a come from behind win (21-18) that shut them up.  You can bet Schizm has been wishing for a rematch!  These two teams are almost identical in terms of points allowed (157 for Schizm & 155 for Hitsquad).  Offense is a little different story with Schizm having a 72 point edge (252-180).  Critics would say that the bulk of that edge comes from two thrashings of Mean Machine, where Schizm outscored them (114-13).   Throw out those two games and Schizm becomes much more pedestrian at 138 points for and 144 points against and a (3-3) record.  As you might expect from a #5 vs. #4 match-up, this game is probably a coin flip.  Which team can get that crucial 4th down stop?  Which team executes on conversions?  (literally flipping the coin in my office – heads is Schizm and tails is Hitsquad)……Schizm gets revenge and moves on!  Prediction: Hitsquad 20 – Schizm 27

 

11:45am – #4 Schizm (Projected) vs. #1 Yobogoya – Yobogoya took out Schizm in the regular season (26-22) after they drove the length of the field with a little over a minute to go to win the game.   It was a stinging loss for Schizm in the midst of their 3 game losing streak in the middle of the season.  Yobogoya on the other hand has met all comers this season.  Perfect season is on the line this playoffs as they ran the table (8-0) with +145 net points.  Not the gaudiest statistics in the world but still a net margin of just over 18 points per game.  Yobogoya’s defense probably doesn’t get enough credit as they have been surrendering just 14.25 points/contest.  That type of defense has allowed them to claw back in games where they have faced deficits.  Only select teams have ever been able to run the table and with Yobogoya escaping with some narrow wins in the regular season, one has to wonder if the parity rich underbelly of the All-Pro league can jump up and bite them.  In this projected match-up they get a Schizm team that played them tough in the regular season.  It should be a good one as both have steady QB’s capable of putting up big numbers.  Neither team is “super young” any more so you have to wonder how much gas Schizm will have at the end of this contest.  We are riding with the fresher team….Yobogoya gets it done on conversions.  Prediction: Schizm 20 – Yobogoya 22

 

Pro League Playoffs:

Championship Game (2/17/18) – #2 Krypto-Knights vs. #1 Chronic Masterdeflators – The Krypto-Knights made the title game thanks to a (55-6) beat down of the #6 seeded Average Joe’s.  That game looked like the Average Joe’s were pretty “spent” from their back and forth (38-34) win over One for the K in the preceding quarterfinal game.  The game definitely turned on the Krypto-Knights’ red-zone defense as they stopped the Average Joe’s on two 4th & goals in the 1st half.  When you score every time you touch the ball on offense and add a few forced turnovers to the mix, you are going to be hard to beat.  The Krypto-Knights certainly look like they are playing their best ball towards the end of the season.  On the other side the #1 seed Chronic Masterdeflators overcame a slight hangover to take out a “feisty” Killswitch team 25-19.  notably Killswitch held a (13-0) lead in that contest before being outscored (25-6) the rest of the way.  One has to wonder if tired legs played a role in Killswitch failing to close the door.  It only further illustrates the importance of getting a top two seed BYE for the playoffs.   For the Championship game match-up, these two teams only met once in the regular season.   That game was played all the way back in 2017 (week 2 of the regular season).  Krypto took that game (24-6) so they certainly won’t be intimidated by #1 seed.   The Poll Master sees this game coming down to Chronic’s defense vs Krypto’s offense.  The Masterdeflators will want to keep this game in the mid 20s if they want to drastically improve their odds of winning.  While being a fundamentally sound team top to bottom, I’m simply not sure they could win an outright shoot-out.  Along that line of thinking, the Krypto-Knights have put up 38+ points in 3 of their last 4 games.  Gotta slow that production down if you want to have a chance!  Another angle is that this game could turn into a defensive struggle as both teams are good on that side of the ball.  They ranked #1 (Krypto) and #3 (Chronic) respectively across all of MDSSC this winter in scoring defense.  With the field conditions being less than adequate, and the weather supposed to turn cold by kickoff, will we find two teams stuck in the mud (so to speak)?  The Poll Master is usually a front-runner (taking the better seed), but the Krypto-Knights have been the more impressive team in recent weeks.  Odd to say since both teams are riding a 6 game winning streak entering this game, but the Poll Master is going to go with the perceived “hotter hand”  Prediction: Krypto-Knights 31 – Chronic Masterdeflators 24

 

8:00am – #6 Average Joe’s vs. #3 One for the K – The Average Joe’s got into the playoffs thanks to a net point tie-breaker with the defending winter Pro League Champs, the Baltimore Knights.  The two teams split on the regular season, but the Joe’s had a +71 net point edge.  The Joe’s score a good number of points for a #6 seed (196 on the season) but they also surrender a bunch as well (240).  That 240 number is 2nd worst in the division and typically spells an early exit from the playoffs.  Their opponent in this quarterfinal is the winter veteran One for the K.  One for the K won the season match-up pretty comfortably at (27-14).  They were a solid (5-3) on the season with a +48 net points.  The obvious answer here is defense.  If the Average Joe’s can clamp down on the favorite receivers of One for the K and force other people to beat them they might have a chance.  It is an uphill climb when you allow on average nearly 10 points more per game.  You either need some stops or your offense will have to win a shoot-out.  The Poll Master favors defense and sees the Average Joes’ Achilles heel rearing its ugly head.  One for the K marches on…  Prediction: Average Joe’s 19 – One for the K 30

 

9:15am – #3 One for the K (Projected) vs. #2 Krypto-Knights – The Krypto-Knights enter this playoffs playing some good ball.  They own the 2nd longest win streak in the land of MDSSC (tied with Chronic Masterdeflators and behind undefeated Yobogoya) at 5 games.  They have +157 net points edge which is tops for this season.  This one gets interesting when you look at the season match-up, as One for the K beat them in the season opener (31-25).  That game hedged on a couple of bang-bang (some would say controversial calls) that went One for the K’s way.  Both teams have obviously improved since the opener so it will be interesting to see who brings their A game to this projected match-up.  Having seen both teams play up close multiple times this season, the Poll Master has 3 points of emphasis….deem whatever strategy you can from them  1) Krypto-Knights QB is extremely mobile and will break your back with his legs in big situations; although he does get loose with the ball at times throwing into tight windows.  2) One for the K QB definitely has some favorite targets – when forced to go down the depth chart in terms of weapons, the results tend to suffer.  3) Youth factor – Krypto-Knights definitely have an overall advantage in terms of age and team speed.  It will be interesting to see if they can isolate certain match-ups and what One for the K can do to counter that.  In the end, a fresh Krypto team proves to be too much!  Prediction:  One for the K 19 – Krypto Knights 29

 

10:30am – #5 Crabcakes & Football vs. #4 Killswitch – Killswitch was the toast of the town after starting the season (5-0).  They were even telling the Poll Master to just mail them the Championship trophy as they already had it in the bag.  They have fallen back down to earth in a hurry, losing their last 3 games as they enter the playoffs.  Their schedule definitely was back-loaded, having to face what turned out to be the top 3 seeds of this season’s tournament in those final 3 games.  You have to wonder if their confidence is shaken?  Crabcakes & Football on the other hand is a game by game proposition.  In games where they have their #1 QB, they seem to be a different team with capabilities to play with anyone.  In games where he is out, they struggle to get the ball out of their own end.  You can see this in their mediocre 157 points scored on offense this season.  They have 4 games where they didn’t crack 14 points on offense.  It will be interesting to see which lineup rolls out this Saturday.   The season match-up between these two went to Killswitch (24-13).  While both teams have the talent to hoist the trophy as the proverbial underdog, the Poll Master simply isn’t sure if either of these teams is playing their best ball at the moment.  Gonna give credence to the +82 net point edge that Killswitch has in the season standings and move them on.   Prediction: Crabcakes & Football 20 – Killswitch 27

 

11:45am – #4 Killswitch (Projected) vs. #1 Chronic Masterdeflators – This projected semi-final will pair two teams that faced each other on the final weekend of the regular season.  That game went to the Masterdeflators (32-31) after Killswitch scored a late TD, but missed the conversion, and the Masterdeflators ran out the clock.  The Masterdeflators have been very solid this season as they rung up a (7-1) record and a +88 net points.  Their only loss was a (24-6) setback to the #2 seeded Krypto-Knights.  Additionally, the Masterdeflators have a stout defense, having allowed the 2nd fewest points in all of MDSSC this season (one point behind the Krypto-Knights at 112 points).  If you throw out the game they lost and the game against Killswitch, they allowed a breath-taking 9.5 points/game in their other 6 match-ups.  That is historic level defense on par with some historically good defenses of yesteryear (Rusty Trombone, All-Madden, Soldier 4 Christ, and the Untouchables, just to name a few).  If the Masterdeflators play that kind of defense, this game will be a blow-out.  This game could get interesting because you have a warmed up team (with really nothing to lose) against a team that has never really been in the top dog chair for the playoffs.  Do the Masterdeflators come out tight?  Or does an early fluke turnover cause them to fall behind early?  If that happens, it could be curtains for the #1 seed as they have seemingly been frontrunners this whole season (for the most part).  The Poll Master is rooting for a defense struggle, but sees it going more the way of the season finale.  Prediction: Killswitch 26 – Chronic Masterdeflators 28

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