After a one-week swap, the AFC has gone back to where it's been every other week we've been doing this, with Brenda's Bulldogs atop the conference, and JPP's Missing Fingers back in the first Wild Card spot.
In the NFC, things are mostly the same with a handful of positional changes, and Rabid Ferrets making the move into the #7 seed position, pushing LV-426 Xenomorphs into the first "Better luck next year" spot.
While we're looking toward the end of the season, we thought this would be a good time to see who is in the running for Player Of the Year honors and the cash bonus that goes along with it. It's a really tight race this year -- usually the difference between the frontrunner and the #10 player is a good 10+ picks, but this year, it's a mere five. Here's who has the best chance to grab the title:
122 - Louisville Islands
122 - Turf Toe
121 - Alabama Slammers
121 - Beep Bops
120 - JPP's Missing Fingers
120 - Delta Dawgs
118 - Brenda's Bulldogs
118 - Pigskin Palookas
117 - StuB
117 - Evil Squad of Evil
That said, there's always a chance that there will be a week made up of crazy upsets that someone will be able to capitalize upon, shooting themselves up the chart. We shall see!
Ok, on to a look at this week's divisional matches:
We'll kick things off in the AFC North where JPP's Missing Fingers will be looking to rebound after his first loss since September. He still has a lead in retaining that first Wild Card spot, but he's still very much in the mix to win the division and regain the #1 seed in the AFC. Getting his second win over Mean Machine in three weeks would give a big boost toward that goal. For his part, are the playoffs out of reach for Mean Machine? Welllll...probably. His best-possible record is now an 8-9 finish, which is still mathematically alive. But when you realize that the 1-10-1 Detroit Lions are still mathematically alive, well, Mean Machine's chances aren't much different.
The AFC West remains the closest top-to-bottom division in the league, with both Secretly Victorious and Indiana Jems only one win behind the division-leading Lyle Alzado. Whoever wins this rematch in the battle of the Williams Sisters (taken by Indiana Jems the first time around) will be perfectly poised to grab the lead, and in fact will overtake Lyle Alzado if she were to lose to Hyena this week.
Here's an interesting quirk of scoring -- Black And Blues Brothers remains atop his division despite having the lowest pick total in the AFC South. But while a high pick total can definitely help in the tiebreakers, it's the W/L stat that counts the most. And when the dust clears in this match against StuB, it could be any of three players atop the division. Black And Blues Brothers has the inside track, and would stay on top with a victory. But if StuB wins this, then we'll have to take a look over at the match between Louisville Islands and Fighting Sporks. If this becomes the case, then it would be Louisville Islands regaining the division lead with a win, or StuB leapfrogging into first place if Fighting Sporks gets the job done.
We have the middle pair in the NFC East desperately trying to stay alive in the playoff race with Bad Mice and Jeff B both trying to stave off elimination. Whoever drops this one will be knocked out of contention for the division title, and will be in serious trouble in the Wild Card race. Of course, if Turf Toe gets a win at any point in the remainder of the season then he'll lock up the division crown, but assuming that happens, then the winner of this one will at least be in slightly better shape to make a Wild Card bid.
Alabama Slammers is currently the top seed in the NFC, but the NFC South title is still a wide open race. This week, it's current five-seed Beep Bops taking on just-outside-the-postseason LV-426 Xenomorphs. Beep Bops already has a head-to-head win over Alabama Slammers, so if he takes this one and Slammers loses to Buttfumbler, then it will be Beep Bops leading the division when the week is done. LV-426 Xenomorphs has a slightly steeper hill to climb, but if he gets the win here then he'll be in line for a Wild Card spot, especially if Rabid Ferrets drops one this week.
Speaking of...Rabid Ferrets is looking to stay in contention in the NFC North. He's currently in the last NFC Wild Card spot, and looking to move up via a win over Pigskin Palookas. No easy task, though -- Palookas has swept the first go-round through the division, and is looking to run through them all again. He's running a four-match winning streak, and is getting close to locking in a playoff spot.
We'll wrap it up in the NFC West where Evil Squad of Evil is hoping to win his sixth division title. He's got two things to overcome here -- his opponent this week, Green Bowl Tokers; and a two-match lead by Fighting Sporks. Making things difficult is the fact that Sporks has posted three consecutive wins, while the rest of the division has combined for an eight-match losing streak. So Evil Squad has got to turn things around right now if he wants to have a serious shot down the stretch. In his favor is the fact that half of those eight losses are courtesy of Green Bowl Tokers, who is now in definite "do or die" territory. He may not be mathematically eliminated, but one more loss would all but certainly put him there.
And that'll do it for this week's preview. Head on over to the pick submission page and get that Thursday Night Football pick in by noon on Thursday -- have a great week everyone!
Nothing on the line here from the night game, so check back after MNF to see who gets the final wins of the week!
So in the end, the final wins of the week we're posted by Beep Bops, Mean Machine, Black And Blues Brothers, Buttfumbler, Fighting Sporks, and Green Bowl Tokers.
Know what the beauty of the Player of the Week award is? It doesn't matter where you are in the Power Rankings, you've still got a shot at it. So while 31st place in the league coming into this week isn't someplace anyone wants to be, a player like Mean Machine can still put together a performance that will get him some dough at the end of the season. Nicely done!
That'll about do it for another week in the pool -- check the finalized pick chart, see how you've shifted in the Standings, and get your Week 15 pick submissions in. AND PLEASE NOTE that this upcoming week has Saturday games, so while the Thursday game still has a noon Thursday deadline, the rest of the week must be in by 8:00 pm on FRIDAY this week.
Have a great week all!