WORLD LEAGUE – The final slate of teams for the 2018 World League post season hangs in the balance as the Week 13 season finale game between the Jerusalem Cheeseheads (6-6-0) and Milan Wild Boars (5-7-0) heads into fantasy overtime. After trailing through the entire match with the Boars, but always within striking distance, Jerusalem entered the Monday night game with about an 8 point deficit and just his franchise tight end, Zach Ertz, and a kicker, Jake Elliot, that they picked up in free agency just a week ago. With Ertz racking up over 80 yards, but held without a touchdown, the pressure was heavy on the shoulders of the newly signed kicker – a single miss could have been disasterous – and he came through with a perfect 4 for 4, 2 field goals and 2 extra points. Still though, when the final gun sounded, the Cheeseheads held just the thinest of leads, 85.11-84.46 as the game now enters fantasy overtime – awaiting to see if any stat corrections reverse the win.
Jerusalem, along with the AF#23 London Falling and the Dublin Bay Prawns all 3 entered Week 13 with 6-6-0 records, competing for the 2 remaining Eastern Conference playoff slots after the AF#11 Old England Patriots (10-3-0) secured the #1 seed and first round bye. London was safe, no matter how their season finale vs the defending Champion Scandinavian Stars turned out – a win would give them the #2 seed based on standings and tiebreakers while a loss would still leave them with at least the #3 seed Points Wild Card, which they had last season as well, or even the #2 seed based on their points advantage. The results wound up being a London loss, as the champion Stars used a late game rally to beat London 94-78.
Dublin had the misfortune of playing England who barely preserved their 7 game win streak with a tight, heartbreaking 95-88 victory over the Prawns. Coming into Week 13, league insiders were predicting either Jerusalem or Dublin to be the third Eastern Conference franchise to secure a playoff berth, but Scandinavia has come out of nowhere to slide past the Prawns in total points, 1312-1302 on the season. This effectively locks the Irish out of the playoffs, regardless of Jerusalem’s overtime outcome. As it stands now, if the Cheeseheads’ win withstands stat corrections, they will host London in round 1, but should their victory be overturned, it would mean 5 of the 6 Eastern clubs would incredibly all finish 6-7-0, London would earn the #2 seed on standings tiebreakers (total points), and the Scandinavian Stars would have the miracle they needed to get in as the #3 seeded Points Wild Card. That would leave Jerusalem on the outside looking in for the second season in a row. The NFL requires all stat corrections to be finalized by 12 noon EDT on Thursday of each week, so the league will be waiting until just hours before the playoffs start to find out who will be playing.
In the Western Conference, things were a little bit simpler. The AF#14 City of Champions (9-4-0) end their season on a low note, losing at home, 94-79 to the AF#24 Mexico Aztecs (9-4-0). Despite the loss and the tied record, however, CoC owns the tiebreaker (total points) and has secured their first ever #1 seed and their third playoff appearance. Their amazing season has seen them go from last in the league last season to first in conference and
second in the league only to the Patriots this season as they head into a week 14 bye. Mexico will take over the #2 seed with the win, based on their equivelent record. The #3 seeded Points Wild Card was decided by the matchup between the AF#10 Buenos Aires Blue Dogs (8-5-0), heavy favorites despite being on the road against the rookie Youngstown Mafia (8-5-0) franchise. A win would have clinched a return trip to the post season for the Dogs as either the #2 or #3 seed, and even with a loss, they had a healthy points margin to insure they got in on tiebreakers. Youngstown however, did not show up to the game to lay down, beating the Dogs by 60, 147-87 in an almost successful attempt to do the impossible and surpass them as the Points Wild Card. The win puts a cap on what can only be described as a successful first year for the new franchise. While the Eastern Conference awaits the overtime results of Jerusalem and Milan, the Western Conference is already preparing for a rematch of last season’s Western Conference Championship between Mexico and Buenos Aires. The Blue Dogs won that game, in Mexico, on their way to World Bowl VI, and this face off will be held in Mexico City again where the Aztecs will be playing for a chance to return to Edmonton, two weeks after beating City of Champions in the season finale.