The National Arena League (NAL) is progressively getting closer to the playoffs.
That means it’s time to break down who will likely be in the playoffs and who will likely be in, and the teams that will be out.
NAL Playoffs Pot Starting to Stir
The Carolina Cobras are looking great in first place with a 7-2 record. The Massachusetts Pirates are shortly behind them with a 7-3 record. The Columbus Lions and Jacksonville Sharks have third and fourth with a 5-3 and 6-4 record, respectively. Those are the four teams that are likely going to make the playoffs as of right now.
As for the bottom of the standings, the Maine Mammoths have sat in fifth place all season and currently have a 2-7 record. Their most recent game was last weekend, defeating the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, who are in last place with an 0-8 record.
The Playoff Situation
The Carolina Cobras are looking to clinch the playoffs pretty soon, but how soon exactly? It can be as early as this upcoming weekend or it could be down to the wire in the last week of the season.
Carolina will clinch the playoffs if they defeat the Columbus Lions and the Jacksonville Sharks defeat the Maine Mammoths. If one happens, but not the other, the Cobras and Mammoths face each other in what could be the determining factor of elimination in Week 13.
Surely the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks are eliminated by now, right? That is actually wrong. To be eliminated from the playoffs, the Steelhawks have to lose this game against the Massachusetts Pirates and the Sharks must defeat Maine. Again, if one of those two things happens, but the other doesn’t happen, it will be determined what happens the next week.
A common misconception is that teams just need to win to make the playoffs. While that is true, there is a lot more to it than that. The Cobras could win this week, but their win alone, doesn’t secure their playoff spot. They need to win as well as a Sharks victory. This is where teams can start to help other teams out. On the other hand, the Steelhawks are desperately begging the Mammoths to beat the Sharks next week so both teams can still have a shot at the playoffs, even if Lehigh Valley loses.
Why the Cobras are able to clinch this week
Looking at it in the Cobras point of view, the best record they can get is 13-2 and the worst record they could possibly get this year is 7-8. The best the Mammoths can do is 8-7, while the worst they can do is 2-13.
Now, if the Cobras win this week, the worst they can do is 8-7, where if the Mammoths lose, the best they can do is 7-8. That is the reason why the Cobras clinch the playoffs if they win and the Mammoths lose in Week 12.
Why the Steelhawks are able to be eliminated this week
For the Steelhawks, the best record they can get this season is 7-8. The worst they can get is the perfect 0-15 record. The best record that the Sharks can finish with is 12-4, while the worst they can do is 6-10.
The reason why the Sharks are selected is because they are currently the last team in the playoffs position. If the Steelhawks lose this week, the best they can do would be 6-9. If the Sharks won this weekend, the worst they could do is 7-10, which is one win more than the Steelhawks and a higher win percentage. That explains why the Steelhawks are officially eliminated from the playoffs if they lose and the Sharks win this week.
What about the Mammoths?
The Maine Mammoths are in a sticky situation as well. Two teams are dependent on their upcoming game. One team needs them to lose, while the other team needs them to win. As of right now, the best record they can get is 8-7, and the worst record they can get is 2-13.
Like mentioned before, the Sharks are the number four spot, so we will use them as the main example. The best they can do right now is 12-4 and the worst they can do is 6-10. For the Mammoths to be eliminated from the playoffs, the Sharks have to win three more games of their remaining six games.
That would put the Sharks at 9-7 at the worst. From there, it wouldn’t matter what the Mammoths did. The best they can do is 8-7, which is one game shy of the Sharks, assuming the Sharks remain in fourth place.
When it comes to the Columbus Lions, the best they can do is 12-3, while their worst is 5-10. If the Lions take fourth place, they would need to win four of their remaining seven games.
The odds of the Mammoths making the playoffs are super slim. What makes it tougher for the Mammoths is if the Sharks and Lions face the Steelhawks.
Be sure to stay tuned, as we break down every single playoff possibility in the NAL. Give our Twitter page a follow (@LWOS_IndoorFB) for updates on every team of every league. The playoffs are in full swing in some of the indoor leagues, so you won’t want to miss out on everything that is happening.
1. Carolina Cobras 7-2
2. Massachusetts Pirates 7-3
3. Columbus Lions 5-3
4. Jacksonville Sharks 6-4
5. Maine Mammoths 2-7
6. Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 0-8
This weekend’s schedule
Saturday June 23
7:00 p.m. ET: Lehigh Valley (0-8) @ Massachusetts (7-3)
7:00 p.m. ET: Maine (2-7) @ Jacksonville (6-4)
7:00 p.m. ET: Columbus (5-3) @ Carolina (7-2)