View From the Pit 2015 – Wildcard playoffs

So we’ve reached the end of the regular season. For six teams that’s pretty much the end of the road, the Diddy playoffs beckon for anyone with the heart for it. Does it count as practice for next season, I don’t know, but pick your Vince Lombardi quote form the many about winning, picking yourself up, quitters etc etc.

For the other six, the knockouts have arrived, the slate is wiped clean and its all to play for – you can moan all you like about how good your record is or who just scraped in, but the rules is the rules, and the six teams that are in are Rab’s Panthers, Stuart’s Fog, Ally’s Bohemians, Shaun’s Fire, Jimmy’s Jaguars and Gav’s Pickaxe. This week Rab and Stuart get a week off, and as promised I’ll only be dealing with the two playoff matches.

It’s going to take more than a little luck to win these matches…

 

Pickaxe at Bohemians

7-6 Nitten Pickaxe play the 7-6  Earlstonian Bohemians at Bohemian Park.

Pickaxe were led in week 13 by a 17.00 point effort fromMatthew Stafford. Nitten Pickaxe can expect a 19.89 point effort from Russell Wilson in week 14.

Bohemians were led in week 13 by a 23.90 point effort from Andy DaltonGary Barnidge was not injured before the start of his week 13 game, and contributed 5.90 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 14 due to an injured ankle , which might severely limit his fantasy production.Earlstonian Bohemians can expect a 18.65 point effort from Andy Dalton in week 14

In week 3, Earlstonian Bohemians defeated Nitten Pickaxe by 0.34 points, so coach Gav is looking for revenge this week. In the 3-year history of this rivalry, Nitten Pickaxe hold a 2-3-0 all-time series record against Earlstonian Bohemians.

Coach Gav has a very slim advantage of 60 points over the season – less than 5 a game, so there’s really nothing in it, the matchups will prove key so lets see where we stand.

At QB, it looks like its the Hawks Russel Wilson for Pickaxe with Andy Dalton for the Bohemians, Dalton has been more consistent but the Hawks are on the up in the last couple of weeks, there could be little to choose here. We won’t have too long to wait though – both play in the Sunday 6.00 Game

Pickaxe have the same three running backs consistently ranked in the top ten but failing to deliver, surely one week the promise will come good? Bad timing for wildcard week though as all three of them are up against teams ranked 25th or worse in points allowed to RBs. There should still be a good few points here, but probably not the 20 each that coach Gav wants, On the other side of the field we’ve just heard that Mark ingram could be out for the rest of the season, that puts a big dent in Ally’s RB squad and he’ll have to look further down the depth chart, Spencer Ware having the best predicted score – but only 6. All the Pickaxe RBs are in the Sunday early Game , but Ally’s Lamar Miller doesn’t go till MNF so could be a sleepless night if the scores are close enough

At WR, Pickaxe have struggled. Having Desean Jackson back to full strength has eased that a little ,but Pickaxe are still looking at just 20 pts a game between the Jackson and round 2 pick Demaryius Thomas, who has not lived up to his star billing. On the flipside, Odell Beckham is still flying, and making those astounding catches look pretty routine – the jury seems to be out on whether its superhuman, or should just be expected of a pro wideout – but that doesn’t matter here- one handed, 2 handed  or juggled into the endzone, there are no bonus points for style (next year?). Tyler Locket could be an interesting waiver pickup here, with the Seahawks passing game finally coming good – of course any points to Lockett will be mitigated to an extent by pickaxe QB Wilson, but if all the hawks plays go to Lockett…. Mind you, Ally will have a job dropping Martavis Bryant or Marvin Jones anyway – so it could be academic.

Gary Barnidge maybe peaked earlier on in the season, giving Bohemians a much needed boost, but perhaps he’s due a big game again. Pickaxe have plumped for a waiver wire pickup in Austin Sefarian- Jenkins, he’s been out most of the season, but back maye to full strength now. Surely there’s just one TD between the 2 of these players- and not a lot of ways to predict who it would be, both of them play early sunday though, so we’ll know soon enough.

Coach Ally has been pretty sly with his Kicker and DST choices for the wildcard week, both Mason Crosby and the Jets are up against their respective number 1 opponent in terms of points given away, though  with a kicker that’s a pretty meaningless stat. There’s surely some positive points for the Patriots DST this week on the other side, last weeks -1 effort was a shocker to say the least. Steven Haushka has benefited from the Seahawks resurgence in the last couple of weeks, but he’s also worryingly missed 3 extra points in the last 2 games, there could be something wrong there?

So Odell Beckham is likely to be on his own putting the last points on the board in this game. The loss of Ingram gives this matchup another twist, but Beckham Junior has been averaging 14 points and is capable of 30. he’s up against the Dolphins who rank 9th in points allowed. He’s already played the 8th and 10th ranked opposition, scoring 16 and 30 respectively – so lets split that ans say that 23 pts is not unreasonable. On the Pickaxe side, the player with the most to contribute here is Russel Wilson. the last 2 weeks have seen 30 pts plus, he maybe can’t expect 3 of those games on the bounce, but equally a 25 pt game is very possible.

Bedtime on Monday night could be sleepless for both these coaches, but Ally has to be comfortable with 25 or less difference with 2 pretty big scoring players left to go. and if Miami take the early lead, Ally has to think he’s home and dry. No number is going to satisfy Gav with two potential 30 pointers to play, but perhaps 40 points will seem like a bridge too far?

Who will be in the semis next week? Well its a tough one to call, but we’ll have to go with the Pickaxe this year.

 

Jaguars at Fire

7-6 Jimmy’s Jerman Jaguars play the 6-7 Fife Fire at Balbirnie Stadium.
Jaguars were led in week 13 by a 31.78 point effort from Tom BradyC.J. Anderson was not injured before the start of his week 13 game, and contributed 5.40 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 14 due to an injured ankle , which might severely limit his fantasy production. Jimmy’s Jerman Jaguars can expect a 18.78 point effort from Tom Brady in week 14.

Fire were led in week 13 by a 36.14 point effort from Cam NewtonLarry Fitzgerald was not injured before the start of his week 13 game, and contributed 5.50 points, but he’s listed as questionable in week 14 due to an injured ankle , which might severely limit his fantasy production. Fife Fire can expect a 18.99 point effort from Cam Newton in week 14,

In week 4, Fife Fire defeated Jimmy’s Jerman Jaguars by 26.92 points, so coach Jimmy is looking for revenge this week.

 

Jaguars have a good 87 points over the Fire for the year – a little over 6 and a half points a game. Not a lot of course, but if you think about that as a touchdown, then it starts to seem like a ‘cushion’ of sorts.

Fire have maybe snuck in the back door of the playoffs coming out of the weaker TJ Hooker Division, But Jimmy’s higher average score doesn’t tell the the full story, Jaguars perhaps have the biggest spread of scores in the league, and last week was the first time in a month that the Jags have got their ton; though that’s the same for Shaun’s Fire, they have outscored Jags by nearly 5 points a game over the last 5 weeks.Rookie Shaun is up against it playing last year’s champ, can the Fire rise to the challenge?

It says something for Cam Newton’s status as an all start QB that he’s up against the 31st ranked Falcons, but is still ranked the #1 QB this week. Seven rushing TDs in the year is nothing to sniff at. On the other side Tom Brady is also well liked for the matchup against the Texans and both these QBs are likely to exceed their lowly 18 pt projections. Cam’s rushing ability ability gives him the edge here as the Falcons are ranked just #5 against the run, which can only boost his chances of another 6 pointer.

Neither team has stellar RBs, in fact Jeremy Hill at #20 is the highest ranked, LeGarrette Blount at #23 completes the leading pair for Jaguars. Fire have Giovani Bernard and Alfred Morris as their two starters. Of course, any one of these 4 could have a breakout game, if that happens this match up could be over, with all of these guys predicted to not score a TD between them – even 1 score could start to put this game out of reach. None of the likely RB starters are up against teams that give anywhere near the most points to RBs though, but there’s always a sneaky receiving play that could throw our predictions right out of the window.

WR is where the action is for both of these teams, with much more respectable rankings and projections. Jaguars have a choice and may sub in Watkins and Decker who have the highest predictions this week, leaving a choice of Allen Hurns of Vincent Jackson for Flex. Sammy watkins lines up against the Eagles on Sunday who have given away the most points to WR of any NFL team this year. The Fire seem a bit more sure with Mike Evans, Larry Fitzgerald and T.Y. Hilton. Fitzgerald is listed as probable, despite the early start on Thursday night football against the Vikings

At TE Travis Kelce will; surely outscore either of Shaun’s pair, at least in terms of yardage? TE TDs are son hard to predict through – and there’s been quite a few single reception TD games within then EFFL  this season if O remember rightly  so we can’t right the Fire’s TE chances off completely. MFL has the scores much closer together at around 7 for Kelce and just over 6 for either of the Fire choices. Richard Rogers has been the most consistent at getting TD looks, with 6 TDs spread reasonably over the season.

Jimmy will hope to get points on the board early doors, with both kicker and DST from Arizona who go on Thursday night football against the Vikings. there’s surely a few points to be had between them, the vikings pretty middle of the park in terms of points given up to both these positions.Robbie gould goes Sunday Early and the Broncos DST a little later for Fire. The Bronos are the ones to watch here- as one of the highest ranked DST this week. the Broncos filled their page last week, with Interceptions, fumbles a TD and Sacks, whilst allowing just 3 points. Its hard to argue against a team with that level of skill and probably confidence going into a game against the Raiders.

Where does that leave us ? Well it’s Tom Brady and potentially LeGarrette Blount finishing the scoring in the Sunday late game for Jimmy, depending if Blount is playing, Shaun is going to want at least 25 and possibly 40 points to sleep easy. Meanwhile jimmy will think the job is done with less than 15/20 points to get.

Jimmy has the advantage is season long stats, and the experience of taking home the trophy,  but the Pit is calling this one for Rookie Shaun’s Fire

 

 

 

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