WILD CARD WEEKEND PREVIEW

Woohoo, playoffs baby! Twelve players scraped and fought through 17 weeks of the regular season and have earned their way to try and earn their place in next month's 1-On-1 Super Bowl XII.

The best of the best -- the #1 and #2 seeded players -- have earned the right to kick back and watch everyone else fight for the right to face them next week. This season it's Ethan C, Mother Cluckers, Ragesters, and Bassturds who have earned a first-round bye. And those who will face them next week can be found among the winners here:

AFC 3rd Seed Why Not Zoidberg? vs. AFC 6th Seed Mary L:
This one is all about the rubber match -- these two met in their two divisional matches this season, and each came out on top once. It's interesting to note that both matches were MNF tiebreaker decisions after 7-7 and 4-4 performances, each of them being their lowest pick totals of the season. So after fighting each other to a pair of low-scoring decisions, they'll now meet in a match where you only have four matches to choose from. Will Why Not Zoidberg? be able to keep his quest for a second consecutive Super Bowl apperance going, or will Mary L keep up her co-Player of the Year performance and keep up a terrific rookie season?

AFC 4th Seed I Will Win It All vs. AFC 5th Seed Mike C:
It was certainly two different seasons this year for I Will Win It All. After posting a 1-6 performance through Week 8, it looked like it was about time for him to hang things up. But he turned things around in a big way, running off six-straight and going 8-1 to close out the season. Mike C was just the opposite, starting out 5-1 before stumbling just a bit (it's not that his 11-5 record wasn't terrific, but he wasn't able to wrest the division title back from Ethan C). In Mike C's favor is the fact that he has already shown he can beat I Will Win It All as he did in Week 6. Will that make the difference, or will I Will Win It All keep his red-hot streak going?

NFC 3rd Seed Jeff Bvs. NFC 6th Seed Rabid Ferrets:
For awhile there, it seemed like Jeff B had a first-round bye all but wrapped up. We all thought that if either he won or Evil Squad Of Evil lost in Week 17, then he'd earn a bye. As it turns out, both of them losing allowed Bassturds to slip into the #2 spot with a win, leaving Jeff B to have to earn his way to the Divisional Round. Rabid Ferrets had several chances in the final month to get a win that would put him in the driver's seat for a playoff berth, but came up short each time. Fortunately for him, he was able to back into the playoffs at the last moment, and now is looking to do what he couldn't do in Week 14 -- beat Jeff B.

NFC 4rd Seed Evil Squad Of Evil vs. NFC 5th Seed Fighting Sporks:
Evil Squad of Evil was the other half of the pair mentioned above who could have skipped this week had he gotten a Week 17 win, but he came up short there and now has to fight his way out the Wild Card round. To do so, all he has to do is what he's done twice already this season -- beat Fighting Sporks. Of course, while Evil Squad Of Evil has had the advantage this season (and historically -- he's 8-6 in regular season over Fighting Sporks), he can't get complacant. He's only 1-5 in playoff matches, and the last time he got a season sweep over Fighting Sporks, it was Fighting Sporks who ended his season in the 2012 Wild Card playoff round. A whole lot of bragging rights on the line for this one!

Ok, that's it for the early preview. If you're one of these eight players, then make sure you get those picks submitted no later than 12 noon Eastern on Saturday. Also, keep in mind that the higher-seeded player picks two consecutive numbers for the second tiebreaker (the Seahawks/Redskins game), so as to prevent the possibility of a tie as noted here -- good luck all!



Hi everyone -- first off, an apology. I just realized that I had made a mistake just above, where I referred to the second tiebreaker as "the Seahawks/Redskins game". As Bassturds tried to point out to me (and it went right over my head), those two aren't playing each other this weekend.

Total score will be a factor in one match this weekend, as Why Not Zoidberg? and Mary L picked all four matches the same way. Their pick tie will be broken the score total of the Green Bay/Washington game, with Why Not Zoidberg? rooting for the defenses to keep this one to 47 or under while Mary L is looking for them to put up a bunch of TDs to drive the score to 48 or better.

We know that match won't end until Sunday night, but we have a matching pair that will end tonight. If Pittsburgh wins tonight, then both Rabid Ferrets and Fighting Sporks will be moving on; and if it's Cincinnati getting the upper hand, then Jeff B and Evil Squad Of Evil will be the lucky pair.

The final match is a little more complicated as I Will Win It All and Mike C have three differences this week. If today sees KC and PIT win, then I Will Win It All move on, and if it's HOU and CIN, then it will be Mike C in the Divisional Championships. And if there's a split in those results, then they'll be coming down to the GB/WAS game where I Will Win It All needs Washington and Mike C will be rooting for Green Bay.

Ok, that'll wrap it up for the preview. Check back after the Chiefs/Texans game to see which AFC player go up one pick on their opponent. Good luck, everyone!



WILD CARD WEEKEND RESULTS

KC/HOU: Blowout City as the Chiefs absolutely put the boots to the Texans. No matches settled, but I Will Win It All goes up one pick on Mike C.



PIT/CIN: The Steelers get a win in one of the craziest finishes we've seen in a long time. In doing so, we had three wild card teams pick up wins -- I Will Win It All, Rabid Ferrets, and Fighting Sporks are all moving on to the Divisional round next week.

One more match left, coming down to the GB/WAS score -- check back tomorrow night to see if Mary L keeps the wild card team streak going, or if Why Not Zoidberg? gets one for the division winners (Monday morning edit: Whoops -- that didn't make much sense. I Will Win It All was a division winner who will be moving on).



GB/WAS: Nothing on the line with the winner of this game, but the score was criticial. Midway through the 4th, the total went above 47 giving Mary L the win.

So in the end, the 1-On-1 Pool division winners fared slightly better than the NFL ones. In the real world, all four hosting teams lost, while in our pool I Will Win It All was the sole division champ who will be moving on. We now know next week's schedule -- the Divisional Championship round will be:
Ethan C vs. Mary L
Mother Cluckers vs. I Will Win It All
Ragesters vs. Rabid Ferrets
Bassturds vs. Fighting Sporks

For those eight players, the pick submission page is ready and waiting. When you go there, please pay attention to the tiebreaker setup -- four of you have special instructions.

Enjoy the week everyone!



Wild Card Round Why Not Zoidberg? Mary L I Will Win It All Mike C jeffb Rabid Ferrets Evil Squad Of Evil Fighting Sporks



DIVISIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND PREVIEW

Hi All, and welcome to the Divisionals -- the all-important round where you start making your money back. All eight remaining players have already recouped some cash via winning your division, Player of the Week, or Player of the Year, but now is when you can start turning a profit. A win this week means you'll get at least $75, and even a loss will net you $30. So then, let's see who we have facing off to try and make it to the Conference Championships:

AFC 1st Seed Ethan C vs. AFC 6th Seed Mary L:
Ethan C started out a little on the slow side, dropping his first two and going 2-3 to start the season. But he turned things around in a big way and ended the season with five-straight victories. Now he enters new territory -- a playoff match! We've just checked through the pool history and found that amazingly, this is Ethan C's first time making the postseason after missing it his first six years in the league. With this appearance, every player who joined the pool in 2009 or earlier has now made the postseason (actually, everyone who joined in 2010 or earlier has made it. 2011 joiner JPP's Missing Fingers, you now hold that honor). Ethan C will be taking on rookie Mary L here, who made quite a bit of noise this season and ended up with a share of the Player of the Year award. In fact, even though Ethan C's W/L record is two matches better than Mary L's, she still put up ten more correct picks on the season than he did. Will that be the difference maker here?

AFC 2nd Seed Mother Cluckers vs. AFC 4th Seed I Will Win It All:
It's been a long, long postseason drought for Mother Cluckers -- eight years without sniffing a playoff match. Meanwhile, her opponent has never not made the playoffs (although to be fair, that history encompasses all of two seasons). These two have faced off only once before -- a Week 7 match last season that saw I Will Win It All come out on top 11-10. Now if I Will Win It All is going to live up to his name, he'll have to do something that hasn't happened since the first year this pool existed -- beat Mother Cluckers in a postseason match. She went one-and-done in 2004, but the next time she made the playoffs, she took it all the way, becoming the 1-On-1 Pool Super Bowl III champion.

NFC 1st Seed Ragesters vs. NFC 6th Seed Rabid Ferrets:
It's been nothing short of a monster season for Ragesters. Best single-season W/L record ever. Longest single-season winning streak. Longest overall winning streak. It's no understatement to say he's been seriously tearing up things up this year. In what seems to be a trend in this preview, it's been awhile since Ragesters has been playing in January -- three years since last appearance and six since his last time in a Divisional Championship, but he can be comfortable in the fact that he's never lost a match in the second round of the playoffs. Another important win was in Week 16, when he delivered what was nearly a death blow to Rabid Ferrets' playoff hopes. If things didn't fall together perfectly in Week 17, Rabid Ferrets wouldn't even be here at this point. But fall together they did, and now he's going to try and make the most of it. And while Ragesters is killing it this year, he shouldn't take Rabid Ferrets too lightly -- he's a former Super Bowl champ, 12-5 in playoff games (the most playoff wins in the league), and is 4-2 in Divisional Championship games. Likely going to be a tight one!

NFC 2nd Seed Bassturds vs. NFC 5th Seed Fighting Sporks:
Ok, we're going to have to walk back a claim we made above -- upon further review, Ethan C was not the player who went the longest without ever making the playoffs. We could've sworn Bassturds had won the NFC North once before, but nope, he started in the league the year before Ethan C and this is his first postseason appearance. But he's definitely making the most of his best season ever -- as we came down the stretch of the season, there was a chance he could miss the playoffs completely, and then the expectation became that he'd host a Wild Card match, but when all was said and done, he'd kept on winning and put together a very impressive bye-worthy season. Now he's looking to keep things rolling by beating Fighting Sporks for the second time this season, having put up a 10-10 win in Week 13. Of course, Fighting Sporks can look back and see that while he may have lost to Bassturds this season, he swept him in their three previous meetings. Looking through Fighting Sporks' history, we see an easy first-ballot 1-On-1 Pool Hall Of Famer (once there is such a thing, anyway), but his postseason performance can be a bit sporadic. He's a player who only failed to make the postseason three times (since the pool's inception in 2004) -- but he's under .500 in playoff games -- but he's also a Super Bowl champion. Fighting Sporks is really facing a test here, as he's a pretty dismal 1-5 in Divisional Championship games, but the one time he got past this point he wound up taking the title.

All right, that's it for this part of the preview. We'll continue looking at the upcoming matches once the picks are in, so if you're one of the final eight, then get those picks submitted no later than 12 noon Eastern on Saturday. And remember, if your name appears on the notation line of the tiebreaker field on the submission page, then you need to put in two consecutive-numbered score picks for the Seahawks/Panthers game. Enjoy, everyone!



The picks are in, and we have five underdog selections on the board. All the home teams are favored this week, but we had four player pick the Chiefs and one other pick the Seahawks. Here's how it'll all break down:

We now know that the NFC Championship match will either be Ragesters/Fighting Sporks or Bassturds/Rabid Ferrets. Each of the matches these players are involved in will come down to the Chiefs/Patriots game, with Ragesters and Fighting Sporks moving on if New England gets the win, while Bassturds and Rabid Ferrets would face off if Kansas City keeps their winning streak going.

The Ethan C/Mary L match will be the next one finalized, with Ethan C counting on the Seahawks and Mary L looking to the Panthers to keep rolling.

Finally, we have the Mother Cluckers/I Will Win It All match. These two picked all four games the same way, so they're coming down to total score. First we'll be looking at the Steelers/Broncos game to decide their match, with Mother Cluckers counting on big defensive performances to hold this one to 39 or under, while I Will Win It All looks for Manning and Roethlisberger to find a way to push the total to 41 or better. If these two happen to combine for exactly 40 points, then we look back to the SEA/CAR game's total. There the roles will switch, with Mother Cluckers looking to the offenses to put up 47 or more, while I Will Win It All would need things to finish up at 46 or under.

So now we're all set -- check back after the KC/NE game to see how things are coming along. Only seven football games left for the season, so enjoy them while you can!



DIVISIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND RESULTS

KC/NE: The Patriots head to their fifth consecutive AFC Championship Game, and also send Ragesters and Fighting Sporks to a meeting the NFC Championship match next week. Congratulations guys!

Nothing on the line from the ARI/GB game, so check back tomorrow afternoon to see if Ethan C fares better at picking the underdog than Rabid Ferrets and Bassturds did.



SEA/CAR: After going down 31-0, Seatte made a game of it -- but it was too little, too late. That translated to good news for Mary L, who rode a Carolina win to a spot in next week's AFC Championship.

Also, a score total of 55 in this one would give Mother Cluckers the win if the next game has a total of exactly 40.



PIT/DEN: It was a nail-biter finish, but the Denver D stood its ground and held the score to 39 thereby sending Mother Cluckers to the her second AFC Championship match -- nicely done!

With that, we have next week's lineup all set. Battling for a spot in 1-On-1 Super Bowl XII will be:
Ragesters vs. Fighting Sporks for the NFC Championship
Mother Cluckers vs. Mary L for the AFC Championship

Congratulations to these four for making it this far! To those who fell to the wayside here, nice job making it this far and better luck next season. And if those moving on want to get a jump on next week's picks, the pick submission page has been updated. Have a great week everyone!



Divisional Round Ethan C Mary L Mother Cluckers I Will Win It All Ragesters Rabid Ferrets Bassturds Fighting Sporks




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