Insanity – Week 12
By: Connor Lenahan
Matt Bruzzano and his Green Bay Blizzard have been the villains of the XFL for the 8 years that the league has existed. I wrote over the past two weeks about how he had an outside chance to crash the playoff picture. He would need to win out. Or so we thought.
Matt won his week 11 matchup against Houston and then just last night finished up a tie against Denver. Matt, never one to make things easy, just set in motion the most insane Sunday of football possible for our league. There are, as always, eight games going on. Only one does not matter to the playoff picture – Chicago against New York, two teams well out of playoff contention.
Instead we are faced with chaos for the eleven teams that have a chance of making the playoffs.
Green Bay faces off against New Orleans in a rematch of last year’s borderline insane championship game. Fitting that it was a tie in said title game that cost Matt a championship against his dad last year and it’s a tie this year that leaves this as the one and only deciding factor in Matt’s playoff chances. Should Green Bay win they will be in the playoffs by winning percentage. A loss has them missing out. No tie breaker, no mess. Win and you’re in on Thanksgiving. If it weren’t for the whole “they just played each other for the title” thing then this would be the best matchup of the Bruzzano family yet. New Orleans is on record as wanting to beat Green Bay this week just to knock them out of the playoffs. This alone would be reason to watch Sunday, let alone the next six games.
Kansas City takes on Miami in the most important game in Killers history. Should the Killers topple the Typhoons then it is relatively safe to assume both teams would make the playoffs. This would be the first winning season in seven tries for the Killers as well as the first playoff birth. Miami, meanwhile, has the potential to get a top four seed with a win, thus helping their chances at bringing a title home for Bub Fenn. Should the Typhoons win then the Killers will be on the outside of the playoffs yet again. KC is a very solid, if unlucky, team. This is far and away the best chance they have ever had to make a late run. Again, a great watch for Sunday.
Philadelphia was mathematically eliminated last week against Waverly, but can throw Oklahoma City into a bind. OKC, with a win, would take a seed between 3 and 5. With a loss they are thrown into a presumed scrum of teams and tiebreakers for the last three playoff spots. This is one of the lesser matches of the day, but still key to the playoff picture, as it allows other teams to sneak up. Miami and Waverly are also in the running for those three seeds not already clinched by Minnesota and Seattle. Wins in either locale would force OKC to follow suit of slip down to a tougher matchup in the opening round.
Pittsburgh is coming off a season from Hell in terms of luck, but have their sights locked on one goal: Beating Denver. A win for the Blaze puts them in the playoffs comfortably ahead of any other 7-6 team regardless of tiebreaker. However, if the Blaze fell to the Spikes then things become more testy. Pat and Ryan could bring their Rocky Mountain squad to the playoffs even in a loss, but they would need just about every team behind them at 6-6 right now to lose. That’s a tall order (given that two of them are playing each other). Denver needs the win – one that Pittsburgh is dead set against allowing – or their day becomes one of nail biting and prayer.
Houston and Washington was originally going to be a matchup of teams vying for playoff spots with the winner getting one, but it appears as though the situation is a bit murkier than than. Washington would win a great deal of tiebreakers over anyone who finishes 7-6 at the moment. Meanwhile it appears as though Houston would lose just about every one. Therefore, Houston needs to not just beat Washington (knocking the Senators out), but have other teams like Las Vegas and Kansas City lose as well. Denver wouldn’t hurt either. Houston is in schadenfreude mode – They must succeed while all others must fail.
It’s not often that the two best teams in the league close the season against each other, but Minnesota and Seattle have their own Iron Bowl-esque matchup this week. Minnesota is gunning for a 12-1 finish, while Seattle could actually throw a monkey wrench in the seeding. Seattle, with a win, would own the tie breaker with Minnesota and, by proxy, the #1 overall seed. So, yeah, this is going to be an interesting little match.
But as always, the marquee matchup is the biggest rivalry in league history. Las Vegas can make the playoffs if they beat Waverly, while the Chargers can end the High Rollers season and clinch the third seed overall. Given that this is the rivalry that has in many ways defined the league over the past eight years it is always of interest. Throwing serious playoff implications in only sweetens the matchup. Then the family and Thanksgiving vibe is the cherry on top.
On the whole, this is going to be an utterly insane weekend of football. Good thing it all starts on Thursday. Bless rivalry/playoff week falling on a holiday.