One of the great things about Round 2 here is that there are unfamiliar matchups as well as some rematches and classic rivalry games. And the tier system is working to its desired effect: parity. There are few uncontestable shoo-ins, and some of the games that look like they could be lopsided are between teams who haven’t played each other this season, so there remains the factor of unpredictability. Very exciting.
Commentary and picks by Backseat Coach. Photograph © Jes Quesada, Game On Photo.
Last week’s record: 6-3 (66%)
Record in 2017: 196-37 (84%)
Cincinnati Sizzle (5-3) @ Orlando Anarchy (6-2) — This is the first-ever meeting between these two clubs. Both teams have taken two consecutive losses heading in to the playoffs, but Orlando faced two playoff contenders from Division II whereas the Cincinnati lost to two Division III teams who were not playoff qualifiers.
Massey prediction: Orlando 34-21
Pure Points prediction: Orlando 35-19
Backseat Coach picks: Orlando
Austin Outlaws (4-4) @ Arkansas Wildcats (6-2) — Arkansas has had a stellar season, winning all their divisional matchups. Austin’s season is not to be overlooked; their only divisional loss is to these Arkansas Wildcats. Arkansas is 2-1 all-time against Austin, but this is their first encounter in the playoffs.
Massey prediction: Arkansas 32-14
Pure Points prediction: Arkansas 31-15
Backseat Coach picks: Arkansas
Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz (5-3) @ S. Oregon Lady Renegades (2-6) — This matchup is the first ever between these clubs, but one I think we can expect to see again in future playoff scenarios. The Lady Gades qualified for the Division III semifinal in 2016, but couldn’t assume the travel costs. This time they have home field throughout so they only need to worry about traveling to the ‘Burgh should they win out. Interestingly, the mathematical models predict a Rocky Mountain victory. This should be an entertaining game.
Massey prediction: Rocky Mountain 23-22
Pure Points prediction: Rocky Mountain 33-10
Backseat Coach picks: Southern Oregon
Maine Mayhem (7-1) @ Toledo Reign (5-3) — Another first-time matchup that I am particularly curious about. Both clubs have had attained hard-earned success this season. Not to get all sentimental on you, but no matter what happens, I will be happy for the victor and sad for the loser. Surprisingly, the mathematical models are at odds as to who will come out on top, which adds even more intrigue particularly for those who like to debate which model is better. I think Toledo’s experience against Division II teams this season gives them an edge.
Massey prediction: Toledo 26-14
Pure Point prediction: Maine 20-18
Backseat Coach picks: Toledo
Madison Blaze (4-4) @ St. Louis Slam (7-1) — The Slam stamped out the Blaze 55-0 back in Week 2.
Massey prediction: St. Louis 49-0
Pure Points prediction: St. Louis 54-0
Backseat Coach picks: St. Louis
Sin City Trojans (5-4) @ Mile High Blaze (8-0) — Mile High has utterly destroyed every opponent this season, but their all opponents were from Division III. Sin City has been toughened up by 4 games against Division I opponents, and defeated the Everett Reign in the opening playoff round. This is a rematch of last year’s D2 Pacific Region title match. Sin City came out on top last year by a four-point margin, and Mile High are looking to avenge that loss.
Massey prediction: Mile High 20-6
Pure Points prediction: Mile High 41-0
Backseat Coach picks: Mile High
New York Sharks (5-4) @ Montreal Blitz (6-1) — One of the classic rivalries in women’s tackle football history. After failing to post a victory over the Sharks from 2002-2016, Montreal now looks to complete a season sweep with a third victory over the Sharks. New York persevered over the Philadelphia Phantomz in the opening round of the playoffs. The Blitz is Division II’s top seed.
Massey prediction: Montreal 38-20
Pure Points prediction: Montreal 38-22
Backseat Coach picks: Montreal
Tampa Bay Inferno (9-0) @ Carolina Phoenix (6-2) — If you had been lamenting throughout the season that there was no regular season matchup between Tampa Bay and Carolina, aren’t you glad now that the stakes are even higher when we find out who the better team is? This is a first-ever meeting between these clubs. Though the Carolina and Tampa areas have been home to many clubs over the years, the last time a Tampa team faced off against a Carolina team was in 2011 when the Inferno visited the Carolina Raging Wolves posting a 26-6 victory.
Massey prediction: Carolina 40-28
Pure Points prediction: Carolina 43-27
Backseat Coach picks: Carolina
D.C. Divas (6-3) @ Boston Renegades (7-0) — Another classic rivalry. D.C. has rolled off four straight victories, and hope to avenge a mid-season shutout they suffered in Boston. The undefeated Renegades look to kick it Militia-style by eliminating the Divas with a season sweep.
Massey prediction: Boston 28-18
Pure Points prediction: Boston 28-13
Backseat Coach picks: Boston
Pittsburgh Passion (7-2) @ Chicago Force (7-1) — This is a matchup I wish we had seen more often; the Force and Passion have met only four times previous to this. Chicago has won all of them including two playoff games.
Massey prediction: Chicago 37-28
Pure Points prediction: Chicago 41-28
Backseat Coach picks: Chicago
Minnesota Vixen (7-2) @ Dallas Elite (6-0) — Another unfamiliar matchup, though the Vixen did suffer two losses to the Dallas Diamonds, the last time in 2010. I would be quite surprised if the final score resembles those offered by the mathematical models. My gut says blowout in favor of the Elite.
Massey prediction: Dallas 34-20
Pure Points prediction: Dallas 36-29
Backseat Coach picks: Dallas
San Diego Surge (6-3) @ Central Cal War Angels (7-0) — Finally, an emerging classic; for the last five years, these two have squared off at least once a year if not twice, and currently they are split at 4-4 all-time. While San Diego struggled a bit this season taking an unprecedented three losses (two to Central Cal), they looked like a revitalized team when they defeated the Los Angeles Warriors in the opening round of the playoffs. But thus far, no one has found a way to overcome Central Cal’s dominating defense.
Massey prediction: Central Cal 36-22
Pure Points prediction: Central Cal 34-25
Backseat Coach picks: Central Cal
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