IFFL – The AF#17 Scottish Claymores, their playoff ticket on the line, came out not just to win, but to dominate this week in the IFFL, posting their best score of the season in the destruction of the Melbourne Maulers 227-105. After going up 97-21 on Thursday night, behind almost 500 total yards and 7 touchdowns from their QB-WR combo of Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, the Claymores never let up, leading all game and running the score up to keep themselves high on the scoring list for the Points Wild Card Slot, should they need it. The win gives them a final regular season record of 7-4-0 and sends them back to the IFFL playoffs for the first time since losing the Championship Game in 2014. They’ll face the Venice Killerwhales in the first ever Europa Division Championship Game beginning next week.
Their opponent, the 2015 League Champion Killerwhales, finish the season with a matching 7-4-0 record, and a just as impressive final performance, dismantling the Rochester Grizzlies 220-84. Venice had already secured their place in the post season based on a combination of overall record and their 2-1 division record, while Scotland, 1-2 in division games, needed the final win to stay a game ahead of rival Cardiff. It was a bittersweet Week 11 for the Cardiff Crusaders, who put up their best score of the season against the league’s best team, slaying the Los Angeles Dragons 219-147, but the win only got them to a 6-4-0 finish. Had they gotten some help from a Claymore loss, they would have leapfrogged ahead of Scotland by virtue of their 2-1 division record, but instead they’ll finish 2017 as the 3rd place team in the new Europa Division. The expansion Istanbul Lions went out with a 114-157 loss to last year’s League Runner-Up Chicago Red Stars to finish their inaugural season 4-7-0.
Around the rest of the league, the other post season spots were already set, with Los Angeles scheduled to face the New Orleans VooDoo in the Americas Division Championship and the Perth Panthers and expansion Hawaiian Beach Bums ready to go head to head in the Pacific Division Championship. The Dragons posted the worst Week 11 performance of the 4 of them with their upset loss to Cardiff, but still finish the regular season with an 8-3-0 record, good enough for #1 in the League. Hawaii barely got past Kuala Lumpur, 163-141 in a game that wasn’t settled till Monday Night, overcoming what could have been a devastating -39 points from their QB2 position to finish 5-6-0 as the weakest team -statistically – in the 2017 playoffs. In a possible playoff preview, New Orleans and Perth finished the season locked in combat, with the Panthers coming out on top, 234-214, New Orleans unable to make a MNF comeback despite over 350 all purpose yards and 2 touchdowns from their second quarterback. They each finish the regular season with 7-4-0 records.
The season finale scoring bonanza by the Claymores, Killerwhales, Voodoo, and Panthers was enormously important for each of those teams in the Points Wild Card Race. The way the IFFL playoffs are set up, the 3 Division Championship Games will play out over the next 2 weeks, and the 3 winners will advance to the semi-finals, while the fourth semi-final team will be the team with the highest regular season points total among the rest of the league. The Dragons were far and away the top scoring team in the league, finishing with 2103 points of total scoring, so they’ve secured first option on the Points Wild Card Slot. What that means, is should the Dragons lose to New Orleans in the Division Championship, they will still be able to advance to the next round. The other teams, though, were all close upon each other in total scoring, so every Week 11 point they could rack up, would be to their advantage should the Dragons win their Division Championship and the Wild Card passed on to the next team in line.
With the dust settled on the final week of regular season play, the totals were incredibly close. The second place team in total scoring was the Scotish Claymores with 2103, so if the Dragons win, and the Claymores lose, Scotland will be able to advance anyway on points. Following the Claymores, should both they and the Dragons win, is Perth with 1990 season points, just 3 points ahead of the Killerwhales’ 1987 points, who are, in turn, just 4 points ahead of the VooDoo’s 1983. This means, that if the Dragons win, and the Panthers win, Venice will advance either by beating Scotland or by Points, which will leave New Orleans out; the VooDoo can only advance by beating the Dragons, who they lost to in Week 9. The final scoring totals will also determine the match-ups for the semi-finals with the highest playing the lowest, and the pair in the middle facing off. Look for a Divisional Round preview to come out later this week.