Thursday, October 11, 2007

Power Rankings -- Week 7

A very unusual set of results this week have managed to completely shake up the standings as the two teams which seemed near locks to win their divisions last week both stumbled making things far from clear in basically every regard. Also, three teams all of whom were treading on the brink of being eliminated from playoff contention, Miami, New York, and Queens all managed to win this week really making almost anything possible for the last few weeks. Here is how it looks to me at this point. As we are nearing the end of the regular season, these rankings will primarily based on the teams’ records of course, the strength of their remaining opponents, and also on historically how well certain teams have managed to perform in this nitty-gritty when the heat is really on them.

1st: Boston Blitz (5.0 – 2.0) (+0 from last week). Although Boston still maintains the best record in the league, their hold on being the best team by far in the league, might not be quite as clear cut now. Though to me, the only team that can really stop them is still themselves (and of course they haven’t been able to use their strongest lineups recently can obviously be a factor in this slight stumble), but they also have to be somewhat concerned that their likely biggest threat, the New York Knights and Pascal Charbonneau, are now very much back in the playoff hunt, and I doubt Boston would care to have a repeat of last year's disappointment as their last memory this season. (Win Division: 80%, Make Playoffs: 97%)

2nd: Dallas Destiny (5.0 – 2.0) (+0). Like Boston, Dallas still maintains the best league record, but really aren’t in a position (like last week) where they can really coast to the division title as Seattle seems determined to give them everything they can handle in that regard. They are certainly still the favorites to do so, but both for losing their lead and morale reasons, they really need to do whatever they can to avoid another loss to the Sluggers this coming week. (64%, 90%)

3rd: Seattle Sluggers (4.5 – 2.5) (+0). I stated last week, that unless Seattle could manage to sweep Dallas, it was very unlikely they could win the division. Well, they’ve managed to make it halfway there and combined with the Mechanics and Cobras not winning this week, can now breathe a lot easier in reference to their chances to be in the post season. Of course, winning the division is a huge advantage so expect to see a real dogfight in the rematch with the Destiny this week. (32%, 80%)

4th: Philadelphia Inventors (4.0 – 3.0) (+4). The Inventors had a nice victory this week where they really dominated the Knockouts over the board to put themselves in second place in the East. Though they are in a good position to claim a playoff spot right now, everything is far from clear still as every team in the East could really make it with just a little fortune, and they will need to keep up that type of play to make it. (12%, 60%)

5th: Baltimore Kingfishers (3.5 – 3.5) (-1). The Kingfishers had what was probably a disappointing loss this week as they seemed to be quite favored on paper to win their match yet lost to a plucky Queens team. I still see them as a probable playoff team, but with every team in the East knocking on the door, no team can really afford to not be at their best in the next few weeks. (5%, 55%)

6th: New York Knights (3.0 – 4.0) (+3). Slowly but surely, just like they did last year, the Knights are climbing back into the hunt. It still is going to be anything but easy for them as they will be facing three equally desperate teams in the next few weeks, all in situations where they likely cannot afford a single loss to make the playoffs. (0%, 32%)

7th: Carolina Cobras (3.5 – 3.5) (+0). Carolina now solely holds the third spot in the West, but I’m sure really would have preferred to have the full game lead as they likely expected to win this week. They do however now basically control their destiny, but if they want to maintain that advantage, can’t afford to lose to the Mechanics this week. (2%, 59%)

8th: San Francisco Mechanics (3.0 – 4.0) (-3). The defending champions are suddenly in very serious danger of missing the post season altogether. Obviously they don’t want a repeat of what happened to their predecessors, the Kingfishers, the season after they won the Championship to befall them and knowing their players, they will do everything they can to stop that. But no more slip ups are really affordable as if they fall to the Cobras this week, they will be almost completely out of the race. (2%, 54%)

9th: New Jersey Knockouts (3.5 – 3.5) (-3). New Jersey seemed to unfortunately revert back to their early season pattern this past week rather than displaying the play which lead to their two game winning streak as they really got severely outplayed over the board against the Inventors and now have a very tough road to make the playoffs as they face league leading Boston next week along with the streaking New York team in the final week. (3%, 31%)

10th: Queens Pioneers (3.0 – 4.0) (+0). Queens played a very strong match this week as despite being quite a bit out rated, they really sent a message that they aren’t ready to slink away quietly and are still hunting for a playoff spot. Like New Jersey, they have a very tough road in facing New York and Boston before the season's end, but if a few things go their way, we might well see them in the post season. (0%, 25%)

11th: Miami Sharks (2.5 – 4.5) (+0). I stated last week that Miami would almost certainly need a 4 – 0 record to give themselves a playoff birth. They did manage to take the first step in that regard with their victory this week, but they still need three more such performances to make it which still seems unlikely for any team to count on. (0%, 17%)

12th: Tennessee Tempo (1.5 – 5.5) (+0). The Tempo forged another building block this week managing to score yet again on the back of a surging FM Andrews who after his very rough first season, now has a winning record this season. If the Tempo can manage to improve their results on the two lower boards as well, they could suddenly become a dangerous team. Even though it’s too late for them to salvage this season, who knows what might transpire for them next season. (0%, 0%)

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