One thing to mention before we get under way -- this week has two Saturday games, which means we have to move the final deadline up 24 hours. Your Thursday Night Football pick has to be in by the normal time (noon on Thursday), but your weekend picks have to be in by 8:00 pm on Friday.
Ok, that in mind, let's take a look at this week's "If..." chart:
The AFC had very little movement, with the top seven seeds all staying exactly the same.
Not the case in the NFC though, where we've had a lot of positional shuffling. The top seven are the same players, but five of them find themselves in new spots -- including Beep Bops knocking Alabama Slammers out of the #1 Seed position.
Ok, on to a look at this week's divisional matches. We're on a time crunch, so many of them are just quick-hits this week:
AFC West: Lyle Alzado still maintains the division lead, but it's about at tenuous as can be. Indiana Jems is part of the three-way tie to lead this group, and a win here would put her back on top of the pack.
AFC South: It's been a bookended season so far in here. Black And Blues Brothers came on strong early, and maintained a strong hold on the division lead until about the midway point, when Louisville Islands was able to overtake him. That lasted for a few weeks, but now it's Black And Blues Brothers back on top via his three-match winning streak. While it's not technically a "must win" for Louisville Islands, a loss here would make it much, much more difficult for her to take home back-to-back division titles.
AFC East: Here's the crazy thing -- Deesato is in 32nd place in the Power Rakings, yet could still win this division. That's how tight this group is right now. But that goes out the window if Vlad M gets a win this week. And depending what else happens in the division, he could have the title pretty much locked up by the end of this one. However, Buttfumbler is giving chase and looking to push Vlad M back down. He can't take over the top spot this week, but a Buttfumbler win could put him atop the division after week 16.
NFC East: If things fall right, we could see our first division title sealed up here. A Turf Toe win here over Jeff B would mean it's all over, and Turf Toe would be champion. In fact, for the remainder of the season, all it will take is a Turf Toe win or a Jeff B loss for Turf Toe to wrap things up. So while Jeff B is looking for a miracle, he has the power to start down that path here.
NFC East: The bottom half of the division is in action as well, and this is more or less an elimination match. The division title is out of reach for both Bad Mice and Hyena, but the loser of this one will effectively be out of the Wild Card race as well.
NFC North: Someone's win streak ends here as Delta Dawgs and Rabid Ferrets prepare for the first of their two matches to finish out the season. A Delta Dawgs win would put Rabid Ferrets in a deep hole, putting him three back with three left to play. But a Ferrets win would put him just one behind the lead and could set up a winner-take-all showdown for Week 18.
NFC South: Alabama Slammers had been leading the division since taking over from Beep Bops in Week 4, but a loss last week allowed Beep Bops to regain the top spot. Now Alabama Slammers needs to get a win over Ragesters here to keep in contention and to potentially set up a Week 18 showdown with Beep Bops. For his part, Ragesters is in Zero Mistakes Allowed mode now. Snapping his current losing streak and finishing the seasons with four-straight victories would give him an outside shot at a Wild Card spot, but he can't afford a single loss.
NFC West: Fighting Sporks can put this division race to bed with a win over Evil Squad of Evil this week. A win would lock up the title, while a loss would keep things open for Evil Squad to make a run at it, and also leaves open the possibility of Heisendad making a miracle run up to the final as well.
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, and remember about the Friday deadline for the rest of your picks -- have a great week everyone!
Also, in case you missed the email:
Because of some large Covid outbreaks surrounding a few teams, the NFL is changing around this week's schedule. This WILL NOT change how this week is scored for pool purposes.
Even though there will be two games played on Monday and two games played on Tuesday, these games will still be counted as usual once they're completed. The tiebreaker score will still be based off Monday night's Vikings/Bears game (so yes, we will know the tiebreaker score when there are still two games left to play!).
Ok, that'll do it for the preview. Check back after the Saturday games to see how things are coming together.
"But Paul", you say, "that's only 11 winners"! True...true...one more is in the books as well, but it's such a unique situation that it deserves a closer look.
The I Will Win It All vs. Why Not Zoidberg? match has six differences, and I Will Win It All is currently leading 3-2. Ordinarily that would mean that Why Not Zoidberg? would be looking to the Seahawks to get the win tonight in order to tie it up and send it to MNF score. And what that is the case here, it's not going to matter. Two things can happen tonight -- either the Rams win and I Will Win It All goes up 4-2 in differences; or the Seahawks win, they tie 3-3, and it goes to MNF score. Thing is, we already know the MNF score, and I Will Win It All has the edge there. So in the end, Why Not Zoidberg? has no path to victory this week -- congrats to I Will Win It All on the victory.
This leaves four matches still on the table, all coming down to the Philly/Washington game. We'll have that posted tomorrow, so in the meantime check the updated pick chart. We also have the pick submission page updated for next week, in order to give people a chance to get their picks in before all the holiday festivities get in the way (and this week will once again have a deadline of Friday, Christmas Eve).
Why "most importantly"? Because with that win, we have our first postseason ticket officially punched. Say hello to Turf Toe, your NFC East Champion!
Congratulations also going to Beep Bops -- he put together his second Player of the Week-worthy performance. Way to go!
All right, that'll do it for this week. 15 down, three to go. Basically, as long as you're either within three wins of the #7 seed in your conference (and didn't lose to them head-to-head) or within three wins of your division leader, then you still at least have an outside chance in the playoff hunt (and that list includes 30 players -- sorry Deesato, Mean Machine, and Green Bowl Tokers).
So, check that finalized pick chart, see how you're position in the Standings is looking, and get those Week 16 pick submissions in before the noon Thursday deadline. Remember, we once again have Saturday games, so ALL picks must be in by 8:00 pm on Friday, which is Christmas Eve, so don't let the holiday plans mess up your pool season -- get those picks in sooner rather than later. Have a great week everyone!