WORLD LEAGUE – Fireworks were exploding over England Sunday night as the Pro Bowl Nominated Old English Patriots finished their 2017 regular season campaign in the World League on a high note, beating the Jerusalem Cheeseheads resoundingly, 122-49. The win gives them an 11-2-0 record for the season, and with the win, the Patriots secure the Eastern Conference #1 seed and first round bye in the post season after the AF#24 Scandinavian Stars, also Pro Bowl Nominees, lost their finale with Milan, to finish one game back from England at 10-3-0. Led by their starting halfbacks, Kamara and Collins, who put up over 20 points a piece, England got in front of Jerusalem early and led by a wide margin throughout the day, running up the score Belichek style. The win puts a bow on a remarkable year in which the Patriots attained the franchise’s historic 50th win and also completed the first ever eleven-win season in World League history. England will take Week 14 off while waiting to see who they’ll be facing in the Week 15 Eastern Conference Championship Game.
In the Scandinavia-Milan game, the expansion Wild Boars took the lead and then managed to fend of a Sunday night comeback attempt by the Stars to win 111-80 and finish their inaugural season 6-7-0 – 2 wins better than the roster they took over, the Barcelona Dragons, finished in 2016. For the Stars, the loss means they’ll go into the Eastern Conference playoffs as the #2 seed where they’ll face another Pro Bowl Nominee, the AF#20 London Falling (8-5-0) who had already secured their #3 playoff seeding before going out with a loss, 70-108 against Dublin Bay after the Prawns put up 72 points on Monday Night Football. The Scandinavia-London playoff pairing makes for a very interesting match-up, having last played each other 13 weeks ago in the season opener in a game Scandinavia won by just 1.16 points. Both teams are charter members of the league, and have faced each other 11 times, with London getting the edge in the series 6 wins to 5, including a 2015 win in the first round of the playoffs. These franchises are perenial contenders and have multiple playoff appearances and wins under their belt, including two World Bowl appearances for each of them, where London has the edge as well with an Atlas Trophy and League Championship from World Bowl I in 2012. The winner of this epic contest will face the Patriots in the Eastern Conference Championship Game in Week 15.
In the Western Conference, the 3 playoff bound teams were set going into Week 13, but the seeding was still wide open, and that remained the case until the very end Monday Night Football as the match-up between the Mexico Aztecs and Buenos Aires Blue Dogs turned out to be the most thrilling game of the week. The Aztecs led by 19 headed into the Monday night contest, and the Blue Dogs desperately needed their star receiver, Antonio Brown, to suit up to give them a shot at a comeback. Brown was cleared to go, and the Blue Dogs started him along with their replacement tight end Tyler Kroft who’s averaged 5 points a game since his bye week. Kroft wound up contributing just 2 points to the comeback effort, and just one more catch would’ve been huge as the Blue Dogs star, Brown didn’t do a whole lot until the fourth quarter. In the final quarter of the regular season, however, Brown started to look like a star, and as he made play after play, Buenos Aires began closing the gap with Mexico. Then, paydirt, late in the fourth as Brown scored on a dart throw and then, later, went over a hundred yards, bringing Buenos Aires within striking distance of a win. But that was it. The Blue Dogs had to watch the clock slowly tick down and run out, a hair short of victory, and with the final score 89.32-90.08 Mexico advanced to 7-6-0 and clinch the Western Conference #1 seed and first round bye while Buenos Aires would have to settle for a 6-6-0 final standings record and the #3 seed.
The third playoff team out of the West was the Defending Champion Dacusville Devils, who’ve had an up and down season in 2017, but finished with a pair of impressive wins in Weeks 11 and 12 to secure their playoff run. They needed to put up big numbers in their finale, though, to have a shot at the first round bye. Encountering unexpected opposition from last place City of Champions, the Devils did not score the necessary points to claim the Western #1 seed, and then had to survive a scary comeback attempt by the league’s Canadian franchise, particularly when they scored on a kickoff return before having the play called back. Finally finishing with an 84-66 win and a 7-6-0 record the #2 seed in the playoffs, the Devils will be going head to head with Buenos Aires in Week 14 while Mexico takes the week off, awaiting their opponent for the Western Conference Championship Game.