Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen - Start Your Vuvazelas! It's the Gladiators preview.

Okay, folks - Hockey's over, Buccos suck and after the draft, no one will really care about the NFL for several more months (except for vehement discussions about why the hell Colbert drafted a safety in the 2nd round or something.) So, in the mean time, lets give the Power all the support we can.

And let me tell you: THE SEASON IS NOT OVER.

Yes, the Power has struggled. Yes, things look bleak - but this game has huge implications.

Let me break this down: The race is for #2 in our division and a wild card berth. That's a fact, and we have to live with it. Philly is so good that they can have two of their top recievers get injured, put a 5' 3", 150lb guy in their place, and still dominate. Dan Raudabaugh is the heir apparent to the throne of either Aaron Garcia or Mark Grieb. Unless the entire team gets fired (What are the chances of that?) they are going to win our division. Again, this is just the facts.

Right now, we're 2-4, Milwaukee is 2-3 and Cleveland is 3-3. The Mustangs are playing the Blaze this weekend, and I don't see them winning that. We're playing Cleveland. If we win, we have tied records, one division win apiece and us with the head-to-head. Meanwhile, in the central division, #1 is between Tampa, Georgia and New Orleans, all at 3-3 right now.

So, in other words, a win this weekend against Cleveland puts us very, very firmly in the hunt for a wildcard spot. It's not a sure thing by any means, but it's the difference between "also played" and "here we go!"

So, what will it take? The same stuff I've been saying every week, basically. The team is growing in skill and confidence every week. I still count last week's loss as a moral win, because of how well the Power played. If that team shows up, and the Gladiators I've seen the last few weeks shows up, we can beat them.

Early on, Cleveland was hot and boasted one of the best defenses in the league. However, they've lost two out of their last three games, and that third one was a pathetic win against the Predators. They also lost to the so-so-but-getting-better Force, and won against the winless Command. Their one no-bullshit, bona fida win came against Philly, the Soul's only loss of the season. That game scares me, but the sum total of the others gives me a lot of hope.

John Dutton, their QB is no slouch. We didn't need to play him last year because of an injury, and he's the main weapon. Last week, he became the 6th QB in history to throw for 700 career TDs. Thing is, he's also been throwing a lot of picks.

So, that's the deal - Okay team, won a big one, good defense, lost some silly ones, QB who throws picks but can get the job done...which one am I referring to? I think we're pretty evenly matched, even though people tend to favor the Gladiators. Either way, game kicks off at 7:30 at Consol and on the CW - grab your vuvazelas and make some noise!

Elsewhere in the league
  • Chicago at San Antonio. Early game at 3:30 on Saturday. Both teams have looked shakier than their records show. It pains me to say, but you gotta go with the QB and the home team - both point towards Aaron Garcia.
  • Spokane at Jacksonville. Big win last week for the Sharks, but the Shock should have this one sewn up.
  • Philly at Orlando. Well...Philly's gonna get another win.
  • Utah at Milwaukee. As I said earlier, even though I liked the Mustangs early on, the Blaze is a tough team in the toughest division and can't afford to drop any games. I see them coming in and taking care of business.
  • Cats at Barnstormers. I've been adopting a "never bet against the 'Stormers" stance, but I have an earlier pact with San Jose. Cats by a hair.
  • As I mentioned earlier, the Force are in a three-way, 3-3 tie for first. Arizona is in the same position at 4-2. It's a tough-ass division, and I'll take the Ratts.
  • With the Voodoo having the week off, the Force likely to lose to AZ, and the NFL GotW being Monday night, Tampa Bay needs to get their personal NFL Network tie-breaker. KC Command is winless, and I don't see them taking down the Storm.

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