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Commentary and picks by Backseat Coach. Photograph © Sharonda Chang, Tampa Bay Inferno.

Last week’s record: 19-3 (86%)
Record in 2017: 116-23 (83%)


Philadelphia Phantomz (D2#5) @ New York Sharks (D2#2) — Philadelphia’s postseason is hanging on this game. While ranked #5 in Division 2 (and #12 overall), the Phantomz still trail behind Montreal, New York, and Columbus in the race for three playoff spots in the Northeast. They need a win or at minimum a very, very narrow loss to keep alive any hopes of a playoff berth. It’s a tall order while having to travel to New York.
Prediction: Philadelphia


Montreal Blitz (D2#1) @ NY Knockout (D3) — The Knockout (0-4) are still searching for their first win of 2017, but they won’t find it against Montreal (3-1).
Prediction: Montreal


Baltimore Nighthawks (D2) @ Hampton Roads Lady Gators (D3) — Baltimore (1-4) has lost four straight games all against D2 competitors. They should get off the schneid this week playing a D3 team, though the Lady Gators are a respectable 2-3.
Prediction: Baltimore


Connecticut Hawks (D3#8) @ Maine Mayhem (D3#4) — Maine (2-1) is on the outside looking in on the playoff picture with Toledo and Richmond occupying the two Northeast Region playoff spots. A victory over Connecticut (1-3) is unlikely to improve the Mayhem’s rank, but if the Hawks get an upset, it could propel them into the playoff conversation. Unfortunately, neither squad has very strong opponents on their remaining schedules, so their only hope may be for Toledo or Richmond to tumble down the rankings because of an unexpected loss.
Prediction: Maine


Cleveland Fusion (D1) @ Columbus Comets (D2#3) — Their Week 4 meeting provided one of this season’s more intriguing matchups. I predicted an upset, but Cleveland came back in the second half to post a 19-9 victory. I am tempted to pick Columbus (3-2) again, especially since their play at home and they really need a victory to fend off Philadelphia in a sprint for the final playoff spot in the Northeast Region. But I think Cleveland (2-2) claims the win.
Prediction: Cleveland


Pittsburgh Passion (D1#3) @ Boston Renegades (D1#1) — Last these teams met, Boston (4-0) handed the Passion their first loss since returning to the WFA — snapping a 27-game winning streak — while Renegades quarterback Allison Cahill claimed her 100th career victory. I’d say Pittsburgh (5-0) is looking for a little payback. But it won’t be easy against the top-ranked team in the nation, but a win would put the Passion in the driver’s seat for a first round bye in the playoffs.
Prediction: Boston


Toledo Reign (D3#1) @ Chicago Force (D1#2) — Defense has lead Toledo (3-1) on an impressive three-game winning streak. They will get flattened by Chicago (5-0) which may affect their ranking, but I do not expect they will lose their grip on a playoff spot as a result.
Prediction: Chicago


Detroit Dark Angels (D2) @ West Michigan Mayhem (D2) — Detroit and West Michigan are 5-5 all time in direct competition. Can’t get more even than that. I also think the game will be close. The Mayhem (2-3) started out strong with a victory over the Indy Crash, but Detroit (2-3) look to be the more consistent team.
Prediction: Detroit


Flint City Riveters (D3#5) @ Derby City Dynamite (D3) — I’ve been impressed this season with Flint (1-4), specifically for their ability to hang tough with D2 teams. An upset by Derby City (1-4) might spoil Flint’s playoff chances.
Prediction: Flint


Atlanta Phoenix (D1) @ Music City Mizfits (D3) — Atlanta (4-1) look to bounce back after taking a loss against their Carolina namesakes. They’ll get it against the Mizfits (3-2).
Prediction: Atlanta


South Carolina Smash (D3) @ Richmond Black Widows (D3#2) — Richmond (3-2) has defeated every D3 competitor so far this season. Don’t expect that to change against the Smash (2-3).
Prediction: Richmond


Huntsville Tigers (D3) @ Arkansas Wildcats (D3) — Arkansas (3-2) took a narrow 12-0 victory in a hard-fought and somewhat brutal contest against Huntsville (2-2) in Week 4. You can expect another hard-fought match, but look for the Wildcats to win by a wider margin at home.
Prediction: Arkansas


NA Non-League @ Tennessee Train (D3) — I cannot find the opponent. I believe this is to be a forfeit from the Franklin Nightmare.


Daytona Waverunners (D3) @ Orlando Anarchy (D3#) — I believe this game has been forfeited by Daytona, but in case there is a game…
Prediction: Orlando


Tampa Bay Inferno (D2) @ North Florida Pumas (D2) — Tampa Bay (5-0) will continue their undefeated season this week against the winless Pumas (0-4).
Prediction: Tampa Bay


Kansas City Titans (D1) @ St. Louis Slam (D2) — Kansas City (2-2) is in the middle of a tough, four-game stretch in which they face the Slam and the Vixen twice each. The Slam (4-0) seek to continue their winning ways while Titans rookie quarterback Brooke Liebsch looks to refine her connection with Liz Sowers and K.C.’s other receivers following a bye week.
Prediction: St. Louis


Madison Blaze (D2) @ Minnesota Machine (D3) — The Machine (0-4) have scored only 2 points all season, and they lost to Madison (1-3) 26-0 three weeks ago.
Prediction: Madison


Houston Power (D3) @ Acadiana Zydeco (D3) — It looks like Houston (1-4) will notch another victory in its long-running rivalry with the Zydeco (0-5). The Power defeated Acadiana 36-0 in Week 3.
Prediction: Houston


Seattle Majestics (D1) @ Portland Fighting Shockwave (D1) — This is the biggest game of the season in the Pacific North. Seattle (5-0) edged Portland (4-1) by a field goal in Week 2. I like Portland’s chances at home.
Prediction: Portland


Tacoma Trauma (D2) @ Everett Reign (D2) — In Week 2, Everett lost to Tacoma (2-3) who scored a late touchdown in a knock-down, drag-out, rock ‘em, sock’em defensive football game. No doubt it’s a game the Reign (1-3) wants back. They get their chance at home, and I think they get the W.
Prediction: Everett


Utah Blitz (D3) @ Utah Wildkats (D3) — I was really tempted to just predict “Utah”.
Prediction: Utah Blitz


Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz (D3) @ Santa Fe Dukes (D3) — The Thunderkatz (3-2) travel this time to take on the Dukes (0-3) but I expect a similar outcome to their Week 1 meeting where Rocky Mountain won 50-6.
Prediction: Rocky Mountain


Pacific Warriors (D1) @ San Diego Surge (D1) — The home field thumping of the Surge at the hand of Central Cal was stunning to a degree that one may rightly wonder if San Diego (4-1) has fallen off a cliff. It would seem Los Angeles (3-2) is poised to take advantage. But for me the question is will the Surge lose two home games in a row? I think San Diego rebounds. But keep in mind that Seattle and Portland lie in wait to overtake whichever team may lose this game if the margin is significant. Playoff spots are definitely in play here.
Prediction: San Diego


Inland Empire Ravens (D3) @ Sin City Trojans (D2) — Both the Ravens (2-2) and the Trojans (2-3) have firm grips on playoff spots in their respective decisions, and the outcome of this game is unlikely to change that. But for both of these teams, this game shapes up as the most evenly matched on their schedules. So I feel both teams are going to relish the competition this Saturday. They play again in the final week of the regular season.
Prediction: Sin City


Jacksonville Dixie Blues (D2#17) @ Miami Fury (D2#14) — Miami ranks only #14 in Division 2, but still clings to the third and final Southeast Region playoff spot behind Carolina and Tampa Bay. Though winless, the Dixie Blues (0-5) are surprisingly in a position to swipe that playoff spot with a win over Miami. Miami (3-2) squeaked past the Dixie Blues in their Week 4 meeting 18-14.
Prediction: Miami


Colorado Freeze (non-league) @ La Muerte de Las Cruces (D3) — Colorado (1-1) last week handled the Santa Fe Dukes 37-0. While I expect a much closer contest, I still expect the visiting Freeze to prevail over Las Cruces (1-1).
Prediction: Colorado


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