It's finally here: the PLAYOFFS. 18 teams are competing for three conference trophies and one OIL trophy. This year is a mix of old and new as perennial contenders and newly-competitive managers will battle over the next four weeks. To the matchups!
Click on team logos to view manager pages on okiraqi.org. Click matchup titles to view the matchup on Yahoo!
Congratulations to Zerger, Cliburn, Pyle, Lutonsky, Buehre, and Neely on finishing in the top two in their respective conferences. Enjoy your wins this week.
For the second-consecutive season, defending champion Lance Zerger and his Redlegs have clinched a first-round bye. Joining him is Sir Neely and his Hooligans, making their first appearance in the top two.
Joining Zerger and Neely in the AFC playoffs are Green, Nye, Schuster (making the playoffs for the first time), and Peacock.
Both these managers are returning to the playoffs after being strong contenders in 2016, but neither could pull off the championship last season. Look for the Doughboys to make a strong statement that they are not over their 2016 Thunder Bowl defeat.
UPSET ALERT! Schuster's Discharges are making their first OIL playoffs appearance against Nye, who was a front-runner for a first-round bye all season. Nye has a better record and higher points-per-game and OPR, but I'm picking Schuster to make it to Week 15.
In the NFC, Cliburn's 'Mericans have secured their first first-round bye since 2012, while Pyle was Lucky Enuf to clinch a bye for the second-consecutive season.
Joining Cliburn and Pyle in the championship hunt are Bruesch, Trovillo, Duffy, and Morgan. Five of the six NFC contenders are previous champions, with Duffy finishing third twice.
Morgan's Whackers have been incredibly unlucky this season, first losing Aaron Rodgers and then Jordan Reed and JuJu Smith-Schuster (first to injury and now to suspension). But he's facing the lowest-scoring 10-win team in OIL history. So perhaps there's a chance. I'm of the belief that, were they at full strength, the Whackers would upset SoonerJack . . . but they're not at full strength, so they won't.
At first glance, the Hangovers would seem to be favorites. Although they have a worse record, their points per game are 18 points higher than the Hippies' and their OPR is significantly higher. But their 140.81 points per game is deceiving, as they averaged just 120.76 over the final three weeks of the regular season . . . all losses. Look for Trovillo to beat Duffy and move the Hippies closer to a second-consecutive championship.
Newcomer Rob Lutonsky took over a fledgling Vandals franchise midseason last year and turned them around in one season, earning the number-one seed in 2017. The other first-round bye goes to defending champion Scott Buehre and his Dirty Dogs.
UPDATE: A stat correction (LAR DEF +1 sack) gave the Blue Falcons the win over the Vandals, which gave the first-round bye to the Boomtown Brawlers and moved the Vandals to number three.
2015 champion Zack Brake and his Boomtown Brawlers secured the third-seed, while the final three teams are Straily, Gray, and Bellar.
It's not often you see a team with a 9-4 record end up the number-four seed, but here we are. The Enforcers are the victims of some incredible teams at the top of the PFC. Should they win, which I think they will, it'll set up a Week 15 of four teams at 9-4 or better.