WORLD LEAGUE – For the second time in World League history the Western Conference Championship will be decided between the league’s two Latin American franchises as the Buenos Aires Blue Dogs (7-7-0) travel to Mexico City to face the Mexico Aztecs (7-6-0). It’s been four years since these two have met for the Conference Title, with the Aztecs coming out on top in that one, 99-78, then going on to win World Bowl 2 in 2013. Mexico leads the all-time series between the two by a lopsided 5 games to 2 over the franchises’ histories, including a pair of wins in the 2017 regular season where they beat Buenos Aires 104-84 in Week 5 and by just 1 point, 90-89 in the Week 13 finale. The Aztecs will enjoy the home crowd in this one after that Week 13 win gave them the Conference #1 seed and a first round bye.
For the Blue Dogs, it’s their third trip to the Conference Final, their last being in 2015 where they lost to the Los Angeles Dragons who also went on to win the World Bowl, but they’re coming into this match with momentum, fresh off a 124-113 victory that ended the season for the Defending Champion Dacusvilles Devils. The win over Dacusville was Buenos Aires’ second highest score of the season, and betting centers have them installed as two touchdown favorites in the match, likely, in part due to Mexico being without their featured back, Ezekiel Elliot, who’ll miss the game while serving out the final game of his suspension.
Mexico has averaged 13 points less per game this season without Elliot as compared to the games they were able to start him, but their number 2 back, Melvin Gordon, is nearly as big a stud, ranked as the 7th running back in the league, and they’ve been getting things done, moving the ball through the air with the league’s #1 quarterback Russel Wilson. Despite their record being just above .500, they finished the regular season as the 4th highest scoring team in the World League, just a handful of points back from the flashier Eastern Conference teams. The Blue Dogs came in at #6 on that list, thanks in large part to their rookie runningback, Kareem Hunt, who’s debut season has him as the 3rd highest scoring back in the league. Buenos Aires’ biggest strength, though is their receiving corp, with their top 3 wide outs all in the top 12 at the position, including the league number 1, Antonio Brown who racked up over 200 yards receiving in their victory over the Devils last week.
The Western Conference Champion will represent the Conference on Christmas Eve at World Bowl 6 being played this year at Paladin Stadium in South Carolina, USA. Western teams are 3-2 in World Championships, including Mexico’s 2013 win.