Super 16 – Over the years, the Super 16 has had several memorable match-ups for their anual Thanksgiving Jamboree , and this year they’ve lined up the first Turkey Day double header since the 2015 season. The early game is a rematch of last year’s Thanksgiving Jamboree, featuring BIGDOGINTEX (6-5-0) and the Motor City Kitties (5-6-0), a pair of franchises that are no strangers to playing on the holiday. BIGDOG is a league charter member, entering in 2012, and Motor City entered in 2013 as the Extreme Pain Ram Parts, and while the Big Dogs have played in every one of the events since the S16 launched it in 2013, and the Kitties have been featured twice since relocating to the Lions in 2015, last year’s game was the first and only time these two franchises have ever faced off head to head, on Thanksgiving week or any other. That match ended with a 140-128 BIGDOG victory, and they’re favored in this one as well, by a couple of touchdowns. Coming off of a bitter divisional loss to Birds of Prey, 243-145, in the week 11 SimulPlay Game of the Week, that eliminated the Dogs from a shot at the division title, the Texas franchise is still in a great position to make a run at a Wild Card spot. They control their own destiny and can land their first post season appearance by winning out their final two games, this week, and in a Week 13 SimulPlay Thursday vs the Who Dat Saints. Motor City, on the other hand, has a much more narrow eye to thread. They are currently one game out, in a standings tie with 4 other teams and last in scoring – the first Wild Card tiebreaker – with those four. They need a win, and they need to run up the score. Then they need to do it again in the regular season finale against their biggest rival, The Indy-structibles (2-9-0).
The Prime Time game is going to be special as the AF#12 Who Dat Saints (8-3-0) host the AF#14 Birds of Prey (8-3-0) in a nationally televised SimulPlay game from the Louisisana Superdome. Get done with the dishes and settle into the couch early for this one, because it should be a wild ride as the S16 South Division title hangs heavy in the balance in this match-up between fierce rivals, who also happen to be two of the best teams in the Association. The Birds of Prey had no trouble kenneling BIGDOGINTEX last week while the Saints won their own week 11 tilt just as easily, 254-160 in another SimulPlay game, this one against Eagle has landed. The Eagle’s loss, along with the Jaw Breakers’ 165-180 loss to SF’s BowMen allowed the AF#22 Steel Curtain (7-4-0) to clinch the East Division title with their 245-222 victory over WTF HOUSTON. In the West, 1 Eye Til I Die (8-3-0) managed to lock down their division with a 170-158 close one against Arizona, while in North, the juggernaut squad of WRATH OF ODIN (10-1-0) clinched their own division title a few weeks prior. That leaves the South and their pair of 8-3 powerhouses still battling for the crown.
This pair has faced each other 5 times, including earlier this season in week 7, and the Birds have won all but the very first of them. This year’s Thanksgiving Classic, however, may be their most important match-up yet. The Birds are averaging 215 points per game right now, while the Saints have a slight edge, averaging 220, but the teams match-up very well in all phases of play – they each have a top 4 quarterback; the Saints have the league’s #2 halfback and #3 receiver, while the Birds have the #1 and #7 receivers; BoP has the #1 and #12 defensive ends in the league bookending their line, while the Saints have the #4 and #7 DB’s to bookend their coverage. The outcome of this game won’t, by itself, determine the South Division Champion, with their records so close, that’s going to have to wait for the conclusion of the Week 13 regular season finale, but it’s going to be extremely important considering tiebreakers. By League Rules, the order of tiebreakers for Division Championships starts with division record – Saints are currently 3-1, Birds are 2-2 – and then goes to head to head record – Birds got the win in week 7. That means the winner of this battle will own the division tiebreaker.
The importance of the game goes even beyond the division title though, as playoff seeding is on the line. WRATH OF ODIN has the inside track for the overall #1 seed, but the #2 seed and the first round bye that goes with it is still a tight race between the Birds, Saints, and 1 Eyes who all have identical 8-3 records – the 1 Eyed Bandit is playing Odin later this week, and that match-up will be just as epic and just as pivotal in determining who’s going to get that free first round pass, as well. Whichever of these southern rivals does not win the division will likely secure the first of two Wild Card slots, and BIGDOGINTEX leads the pack for the second one. Behind the Dogs, 7 teams are mathematically capable of taking that last Wild Card, including WTF HOUSTON (5-6-0) meaning the odds are heavy that 3 of the 4 South Division franchises will make it into the post season.
And it all starts on Thanksgiving Day. Pass the pie, please,, and dig in.