The Jacksonville Sharks (10-1) are flying high with a 10-game win streak, but they face the Massachusetts Pirates (7-4), who are on their own-win streak as well with six. The Sharks can clinch the number one seed with a victory this week. The Carolina Cobras (8-3) and Pirates look like they’re going to fight until the end for the second-place spot if Jacksonville does, in fact, secure the top spot. Also, the Columbus Lions (3-8), New York Streets (3-8), and Orlando Predators (2-9) will battle for the fourth spot. Here is a look at what the 2019 NAL Playoff Picture looks like heading into Week 14.
Preview of 2019 NAL Playoff Picture
Sitting at first place by a whopping two games, the Sharks have the Carolina Cobras (8-3) all beat in the regular season. The Sharks defeated the Cobras in both regular season games against each other, thus, the Sharks having the tie-breaker. The Sharks have also defeated the Pirates earlier this season, but still have two more games to go against the Pirates. This could help them out because with a victory in at least one of the two games, the Sharks would be able to hold the tie-breaker over the Pirates. The tie-breaker and record, both, would make it impossible for the Sharks to fall to the second or third seed.
The advantage to teams facing each other in back-to-back weeks is that there is not enough time to change a whole lot in just one week. The team who has won the first game has also won the second game in all back-to-back matchups this season. The Sharks defeated the Orlando Predators; The Sharks defeated the New York Streets; The Cobras defeated the Pirates; The Pirates beat the Streets; The Pirates beat the Lions. That is a total of five times that this has happend this season, and it could happen a sixth time, depending on who wins these next two weeks.
The only downside to games being back-to-back is the fact that the team who wins the first week could get too confident and completely overlook the other team. The Sharks didn’t necessarily do that against the Streets, but the second game (Week 12) was definitely closer than the 83-51 Week 11 matchup.
Just One Victory Away Away…
If the Sharks lose the first game, but still win the second game against the Pirates, they are all fine and would still secure the number one spot. If they lose both remaining games to the Pirates, then the NAL playoff picture would become even more crazy. They would have to defeat the Predators if they want to take the number one spot. No matter how you look at it, the Sharks are simply just one win away from clinching first place; they would just like to have it this week instead of two weeks from now.
Tight Race Between Pirates and Cobras
The Pirates are currently one-game behind the Cobras, but the Cobras have the regular season sweep on the Pirates, making things much harder for the Pirates to take second place. For the Pirates to take over second place, they would have to win two more games than the Cobras at this point. To put it in other words, the Cobras would have to lose two of their last three games AND the Pirates would have to win two of their last three games.
Lions, Streets, and Predators to duke it out!
Believe it or not, the Predators, who are 2-9, are still alive in this playoff run. Both the Lions and Streets hold the tie-breaker over the Predators, which makes things nearly impossible for the Preds to overcome. For the Predators to make the playoffs, they have to win all three games (@ Carolina Cobras, vs. Columbus Lions, @ Jacksonville Sharks), AND the Lions have to lose two of their last three games (vs. New York Streets, @ Orlando Predators, and/or vs. Carolina Cobras), AND the New York Streets have to lose two of their last three games (@Columbus Lions, vs. Carolina Cobras, and/or @ Massachusetts Pirates). If all of those happen, then the Preds would finish 5-9 while the Lions and Pirates finish 4-10.
For the Lions to clinch the final playoff spot, they have to defeat the New York Streets in Week 14 and have to win one more game (@ Orlando Predators, and/or vs. Carolina Cobras).
In order for the Streets to clinch the final NAL playoff spot, they would have to defeat the Columbus Lions and would have to win one more game (vs. Carolina Cobras, and/or @ Massachusetts Pirates).
|NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE STANDINGS|
|Team||Record||Percentage||Games Behind First Place||Games Behind Fourth Place (Playoffs)|
|Jacksonville Sharks (Y)||10-1||0.909||N/A||N/A|
|Carolina Cobras (X)||8-3||0.727||2||N/A|
|Massachusetts Pirates (X)||7-4||0.636||3||N/A|
|New York Streets||3-8||0.273||7||N/A|
X – Clinched Playoff Berth
Y – Clinched Home-Field Advantage
Last season, nothing was set until the very last game of the regular season. This season, things are much different. If the playoffs were to begin right now, it would be the Columbus Lions @ Jacksonville Sharks in a 2017 NAL Bowl rematch, as well as the Massachusetts Pirates @ Carolina Cobras, which has always been a great game since the beginning of those two teams.
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