Commentary and picks by Backseat Coach. Photograph © Larry Liebsch.
Last week’s record: 20-4 (83%)
Record in 2017: 97-20 (83%)
DC Divas (D1) @ Boston Renegades (D1) — Although the Divas (2-2) have now lost consecutive games for the first time in over two years, I expect stronger play than the first time they met Boston this season. I also expect the Renegades (3-0) to be more proficient. Can D.C. flip the script and get a season split? Because things don’t get much easier for the Divas as they next face Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta.
Baltimore Nighthawks (D2) @ Philadelphia Phantomz (D2#6) — These teams met just a few weeks ago, and Philadelphia won handily. I expect a repeat performance. Especially when any let up might cost Philly in a very tight race for a playoff spot.
NY Knockout (D3) @ New England Nightmare (D3) — Not much to go on here, because both teams look asleep. The Knockout hasn’t scored a point since their season opener, and the only points New England has scored all season is a touchdown against the Knockout two weeks ago.
Prediction: New England.
Connecticut Hawks (D3) @ Montreal Blitz (D2) — This will be a first-time meeting between these two squads. I still don’t know a lot about the Connecticut Hawks, but I know Montreal will win this.
Hampton Roads Lady Gators (D3#6) @ Keystone Assault (D3) — The Lady Gators (2-2) last week continued their impressive debut season by notching their second win. With Orlando and Richmond occupying the two available playoff slots, the Lady Gators can only lie in wait for their season finale against the Black Widows. But in the meantime, they must continue winning games. Keystone (1-3) is not in the playoff picture.
Prediction: Hampton Roads
Cleveland Fusion (D1) @ New York Sharks (D2) — This is an excellent test for both teams. Cleveland (2-1) is ranked #4 overall; a decisive win over New York will demonstrate that they are worthy of the ranking and may help solidify their playoff seeding. The Sharks (3-2) meanwhile have seemingly embarked on a gradual decline from occupying the #1 seed in the D2 Northeast Region to #3. A bad loss to Cleveland might open the door for the Philadelphia Phantomz, whom the Sharks face next week, to overtake New York for a playoff spot.
Columbus Comets (D2#3) @ West Michigan Mayhem (D2) — The Comets are enjoying a renaissance season. Though 2-2, Columbus is ranked #3 in D2 and #10 overall. West Michigan is also 2-2 but far from playoff contention.
Flint City Riveters (D3) @ Detroit Dark Angels (D2) — Last week I said I was impressed that each of the Riveters’ losses this season were by no more than two scores. Then they went out and beat Cincinnati for their first win in franchise history. Will Flint (1-3) have the momentum to capture their second victory this weekend? I’m not sure, but this should be another close one between these teams. The Dark Angels (1-3) prevailed over Flint 26-12, and this time Detroit is at home.
Indy Crash (D2) @ Madison Blaze (D2) — The Indy Crash (0-4) have been hobbled with injuries. Though they forfeited a game two weeks ago in hopes of healing up, they did not put up much of a fight against Columbus last week losing 46-0. Madison (1-2) haven’t had much success so far, but they were able to defeat the winless Minnesota Machine. I just don’t think the Crash have enough healthy people to defeat a team with almost twice the roster size.
Atlanta Phoenix (D1) @ Carolina Phoenix (D2) — To say this matchup is highly anticipated is a gross understatement. Both teams have been the regional powerhouses of their respective leagues. Now under the WFA banner, they square off for the first time, Phoenix vs Phoenix, an instant rivalry. Both teams are looking strong, sporting 4-0 starts. I’m picking Carolina because of defense. They haven’t given up a single point so far this season.
Music City Mizfits (D3#15) @ Cincinnati Sizzle (D3#10) — This is set up rather nicely to be a Battle Royale. Cincinnati (3-1) took an unexpected loss against the previously winless Flint City and they tumbled in the D3 standings from #2 to #10, falling out of the playoff picture. They can’t afford to lose. The Mizfits (3-1) peaked at #7 after Week 3 but have been hovering in the teens since, and they need to make a move now to keep their playoff hopes alive another week.
Tampa Bay Inferno (D2#8) @ Miami Fury (D2) — Tampa Bay emerged with a narrow victory when these two teams met in Week 2. At the time I don’t think anyone knew what to expect from the Fury, and we saw that they were the same Miami (3-1) we know and love. But now it is time to see if Tampa Bay (4-0) is really the team we expect them to be. The Inferno have slid down the WFA D2 Standings from being #2 after Week 1 to #8 at the midpoint of the season. Tampa Bay simply hasn’t had an impressive margin of victory over an opponent of consequence. With the Pumas, the Dixie Blues, and the Anarchy the opponents remaining on Tampa Bay’s schedule, now is the time to impress.
Prediction: Tampa Bay
Jacksonville Dixie Blues (D2) @ Orlando Anarchy (D3#2) — What a tough call this one is. Halfway through the season, Orlando (4-0) is undefeated! I keep waiting for the bubble to burst. Will it be this week? They are a D3 team, after all, and Jacksonville is a D2 squad that has never lost to the Anarchy in seven contests. Jax hasn’t even lost to an Orlando team since the Orlando Fire in 2002! But the Dixie Blues are 0-4 and they just got crushed by Carolina 54-0. So do I hitch my wagon to the Crazy Train or to the train that isn’t going to leave the station?
Minnesota Vixen (D1#7) @ Chicago Force (D1#3) — The Vixen have enjoyed a 4-0 run and hopes are high in keeping things rolling. In addition to one forfeit victory, Minnesota has destroyed the Madison Blaze 44-0, the Minnesota Machine 62-2, and the Kansas City Titans 41-0. Total domination is a great way to start the first season in a new league. But I am sad to say the honeymoon is over. The Vixen are going to have to scrap as hard as ever to stop Chicago (4-0). Minnesota’s stout defense will have their opportunities to shape the outcome of the game, but total domination is not in the cards. Not by the Vixen, anyhow.
Acadiana Zydeco (D3) @ Austin Outlaws (D3) — Thus far this season, the Zydeco (0-4) have faced their trials and tribulations in rebuilding their team after winning the D3 title last year. Remember, progress is not always measured in wins and losses. That said, I have a gut feeling Big Blue will show some life this week. But I just can’t pick ‘em.
Arkansas Wildcats (D3#12) @ Arlington Impact (D1) — Arkansas (3-1) put up a good fight against Arlington (3-1) in Week 2, and all season long have shown that they are not to be underestimated. The Wildcats won’t win it, but another good showing against a D1 team may help boost them in the standings.
Portland Shockwave (D1#13) @ Everett Reign (D2) — Everett (1-2) collected its first victory of the season against Southern Oregon two weeks ago. But Portland (3-1) will take care of business decisively and possibly preserve some starters with a rematch against Seattle looming.
Oregon Lady Renegades (D3) @ Tacoma Trauma (D2) — Despite the recognition they get (and deserve) for playing hardnosed football, the Lady Gades (0-4) haven’t won a game yet this season. Their next two games — which are both against Tacoma (1-3) — may be the best chances Southern Oregon has to find a win. I think the game will be decided by less than a touchdown, and I expect Tacoma to come out on top of this one.
Mile High Blaze (D2#7) @ Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz (D3) — Mile High (5-0) is looking every bit like a contender for the D2 American Conference title match. They blanked the Thunderkatz (3-1) by a score of 63-0 earlier this season for their only loss. Expect similar results this time.
Prediction: Mile High
Santa Fe Dukes (D3) @ Colorado Freeze (non-league) — Colorado recently lost a close one to the Tulsa Threat. I believe the more experienced Colorado (0-1) has the edge over the 0-2 Dukes.
Los Angeles Warriors (D1#10) @ Sin City Trojans (D2#12) — While Sin City (2-2) has the ability to keep things interesting, this game amounts to a tuneup for the Warriors’ next match against San Diego. Los Angeles (2-2) wants revenge for the season-opening one-point loss to the Surge. They have work to do, and this week they’ll get it done.
Prediction: Los Angeles
Kern County Crusaders (D3) @ San Diego Surge (D1#9) —
UPDATE: This game has been forfeited by Kern County
Inland Empire Ravens (D3#8) @ Central Cal War Angels (D1#5) — The War Angels (4-0) are flying high off their crushing performance against San Diego last week. They won’t be falling back to earth for this game. Meanwhile, the Inland Empire Ravens (2-1) cling to a D3 playoff spot with Southern Oregon nipping at their heels.
Prediction: Central Cal
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