IFFL – With only two teams having clinched playoff berths (Hawaii and Cardiff), and just two teams eliminated from contention (Rochester and Melbourne) the remaining 8 teams in the IFFL now fight it out for the final four playoff spots in what has been the closest end to a season in the league’s short history. Going into the final week of the regular season schedule, the teams for each of the upcoming Divisaional Championship games is still yet to be set, but it will all be settled by the end of the weekend. The divisional round of the playoffs begins in Week 12, with teams playing a two-week cumulative Division Championship game for each IFFL Division in weeks 12 and 13.
In the Europa Division, the AF#18 Cardiff Crusaders (8-2-0) took care of business against the Venice Killerwhales (4-6-0) while the Istanbul Lions (4-6-0) kept their season alive with a resounding win, 298-189 over Scottish Claymores (4-6-0). The Lions win and the Killerwhales loss has set up a 3-way battle for second the spot in the division in the final week of the regular season.
Cardiff Crusaders: Clinched playoff berth.
Venice Killerwhales: With their superior Division W-L ratio Venice can clinch second spot in Europe with a win over Istanbul
Scottish Claymores: Can clinch a playoff berth with a win over Cardiff and a loss by Venice. The claymores will progress on Division W-L tiebreaker over Istanbul
Istanbul Lions: Can clinch a fairytale playoff spot as the only team to progress to 5-6 with a victory over Venice and a loss by Scotland.
In the Americas, upsets have kept this division alive into the final week. The New Orleans VooDoo (5-5-0) and Chicago Red Stars (5-5-0) could have virtually put this division to bed in week 10, but the proud LA Dragons (5-5-0) refused to lay down and the Rochester Grizzlies (3-7-0) took on the role of playoff spoiler. The result: another division 3-way tie to be resolved on the final week of the regular season. Tiebreakers could be required in this division.
New Orleans VooDoo: With their superior Division W-L ratio the VooDoo can clinch the first spot in the Americas with a win over Chicago. Lose and they can still finish in second, so long as LA also loses and doesn’t make up the 101 point differential in Total Season Points. A loss, and an LA win, will see the VooDoo eliminated.
Los Angles Dragons: A win over the Grizzlies will see LA finish in first or second place in the division based on the result of New Orleans vs Chicago game. A loss, and a loss by Chicago will still result in a second place finish due to their Division W-L ratio. A loss, and a Chicago win, will make it very hard as they will need to make up the 101 Total Season Points differential over New Orleans.
Chicago Red Stars: For Chicago the equation is simple, win and they are in, lose and they go home. First spot is up for grabs with a win and an LA loss, second with a win and an LA win. Losing will guarantee that LA and New Orleans make the playoffs even with a loss to the Grizzlies.
Rochester Grizzlies: Already eliminated but can play spoiler and end the Dragons season with a win.
Finally, in the Pacific things look a little clearer. The AF#1 Hawaiian Beach Bums (10-0-0) kept their perfect season alive with a crushing win over the Melbourne Maulers (3-7-0), while defending IFFL Champions, the AF#17 Perth Panthers (5-5-0) all but assured themselves the second spot in the division after taking out the KL Tigers (4-6-0) last week in a must win game.
Hawaiian Beach Bums: Playoff berth locked in weeks ago by their perfect season.
Perth Panthers: A win over Melbourne will guarantee second spot and set up a divisional rematch with the unbeaten Beach Bums. A loss, and a win by the Tigers over Hawaii, will send it to a Total Season Points tiebreaker, where Perth has a 187 point advantage.
Kuala Lumpur Tigers: A Panthers loss and a Tigers win by more than 187 points than Perth will see them clinch second spot in a tiebreaker.
Melbourne Maulers: Already eliminated but can at least dent the hopes of the Perth Panthers with a win. Melbourne can climb into third spot in the division with a win and a Tigers loss.
With a 2017 Division Title Game rematch likely in the Pacific, and possible in the Americas, all eyes will be looking to Europe to see if the 2017 10th placed Istanbul Lions can keep the dream alive and book a Division Title Game against the 2017 8th placed Cardiff Crusaders.
Congratulations to Hawaii and Cardiff and good luck to the remaining teams this weekend.