Thursday, June 21, 2012

Road Battle Against the Soul, and heading to enemy territory

There's not a lot to be said about this week's matchup. The Power has improved in the last few weeks, but not enough to make it likely that we'll beat the juggernauts from Philly. Frankly, the only chance we have is if the Soul collectively say, "Eh...we'll wait until next week to lock up the one seed in the conference. Let's put Denis the Donut Boy in to cover kick returns."

But, I'm still looking forward to this game. The Brothers Keller and I (and Brother-in-Law Tim) are heading to the Wells Fargo Center to catch the Power on the road. Now, to be honest, we planned this outing at the beginning of the season when we still had stars in our eyes and Rowley in the locker room. However, there's still some excitement for me. I've never actually gotten to see a team I root for on the road.

Now, consciously, I know that teams regularly play on the road. Half the time, to be exact. But having never experienced this, it almost feels like this is a special occasion. An exhibition game. It's not, but that's how it feels. Also, I'm not used to being in a hostile sports environment (even if Philly's probably looking at us the way we look at the Browns.) I'm also not used to rooting for a pathetic underdog without much of a traveling fanbase.

All around, this is going to be interesting. Win or (likely) lose, I'll probably also have a bit of a different outlook in my review. Go Power, and I'll be back on Monday.

Elsewhere in the league

Now that the Soul have locked up the division and a playoff spot, the post season officially begins. From here out, it gets really hard to call games, and it's still a long time until the end of the season. Some teams are going to be playing their ass off to right the ship that is their season, other teams are going to slack because it doesn't matter anymore, others will play soft to guard against injuries because they know they're most likely in and yet other teams are going to say "screw it" and just try to play spoiler against a hated rival. So, what I'm saying is...take these picks with a grain of salt.
  • First up is Arizona at Milwaukee. This right here is what I'm talking about. AZ is 99.9% in the playoffs, it's just down to seeding. Without doing the math, I think they'd need to lose out and get some "help" in order to miss out. However, at 10-3 , they're tied with the Talons (and a game behind Philly in the whole league) they're in a footrace for the top spot in the National Conference. On the other hand, Milwaukee is in the hunt with basically everyone in our conference and can't afford a loss. Skill-wise, the Rattlers should win this one, but Milwaukee might want it more. I'll take AZ, but....salt.
  • "Friday" game of the week is NOLA visiting ORL. This is another example of what I'm talking about. Everyone in that division except the Preds is within a game of the top spot, and Orlando has some momentum after beating a rival last week. Also, they've already been shamed on a Friday night game - they might as well take the field as the Orlando Spoilers. The Voodoo is the better team, but they still currently have a losing record. I pick them, but I have a bad, bad feeling about this. If you want to take a risk on an upset this week, this is it.
  • Cleveland at Jax on Saturday night is almost impossible to call. Same record, both teams in second place in their respective divisions, playoffs still possible. However, I'm taking Jacksonville because Cleveland is on a slide, Jacksonville has a shot at their division and they're at home.
  • Next we have the Talons heading down to Tampa Bay for the third Florida game. Talons are the wise choice, but there's still that pesky little road/home curse that the Storm have. I still think the Talons are going to win, because they want home field in the playoffs, and TB is just looking to get in.
  • Chicago has a tougher division match on their hands than they really should. KC has been sad this season, but Chicago has struggled on the road. I'm picking the Rush because they have the better team, plain and simple - but I'm not going bet my mortgage on it.
  • Georgia has a match on the road against Utah, and they need the win to keep the lead in their division. However, I've been saying all year, they're a mediocre team and their road record isn't great. They're in the lead in a weak division and Utah is seriously in the hunt in a tough one. And they're at home. Take the Blaze.
  • Finally, the late game is Spokane visiting the Cats. This one's going to be brutal. Spokane's record in any other division would put them solidly in third place, and likely in second. The Cats need the win to have any chance to scoop the lead from the Talons and Rattlers. The Shock has struggled (even with a solid record) this season...but San Jose also lost to KC. However, given that they slaughtered Spokane (without Rowley) on the road earlier this season, I'll take them.

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