Week 19 AFL Playoff Scenarios (Updated 7/26, 4:15 PM)
Sunday July 21, 2013
The stage is set for what should be a remarkable 19th week of the AFL season, as all four seeds in the American Conference remain up for grabs. In the National Conference though, matters are essentially said and done with, as the two postseason matchups are basically set.
We'll start in the National Conference, where just about everything is said and done with.
The Chicago Rush were the last team of the night on Saturday to clinch a spot in the playoffs, essentially winning the Central Division after upsetting the Arizona Rattlers in one of the biggest upsets of the week. The Rush knocked off the Rattlers 63-42 to move a game up in the Central Division with just a game to play. Technically, the San Antonio Talons could win the division with a win and a Chicago loss next week, but the margin of victory for San Antonio and the margin of defeat for Chicago combined would have to be greater than 163 points for that to happen.
For the Rush, they have beaten the odds and will be heading into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the American Conference. Thanks to what has been referred to as "arena conflicts," Chicago won't be playing a home game in the postseason though, and instead, it will head on the road to visit the Spokane Shock.
The Shock earned the No. 3 seed in the National Conference by beating the Talons on Friday night and watching the San Jose SaberCats lose to the Philadelphia Soul on Saturday. With the loss, San Jose was be pushed down into the No. 4 seed, setting up a first round playoff game against the Rattlers.
It was earlier reported that the Rattlers would be hosting their first playoff game on Sunday, August 4th. ArenaFan originally reported that the Shock would be hosting the Rush on Thursday, August 1st. Official word came on Sunday that the game would be played on Thursday the 1st at 10:00 p.m. ET.
UPDATE, Friday 7/26, 4:15 PM: The Arena Football League has now changed its course and will be reporting later in the week whether the Rattlers have or have not clinched the Western Division title. If Arizona and Spokane both end up tied at 14-4, they could end up switching places. If Spokane is awarded the Western Division championship at 14-4, it would host San Jose, while Arizona would host Chicago in the opening round.
National Conference Playoff Games (if Arizona wins the Western Division)
Thursday, August 1st: #2 Chicago Rush @ #3 Spokane Shock (10:00 p.m. ET)
Sunday, August 4th: #4 San Jose SaberCats @ #1 Arizona Rattlers (8:00 p.m. ET)
National Conference Playoff Games (if Spokane wins the Western Division)
Thursday, August 1st: #4 San Jose SaberCats @ #1 Spokane Shock (10:00 p.m. ET)
Sunday, August 4th: #2 Chicago Rush @ #3 Arizona Rattlers (8:00 p.m. ET)
The New Orleans VooDoo were beaten on Saturday, but they were still big winners in Week 18 in the American Conference. Thanks to a loss by the Orlando Predators at the hands of the Cleveland Gladiators, the matchup between the Preds and the VooDoo in Week 19 in Orlando will be for the last playoff spot in the American Conference.
The Tampa Bay Storm were clinched in the playoffs prior to their game against the Pittsburgh Power going final thanks to the New Orleans loss. They had a chance to clinch up the No. 3 seed in the conference, but they were beaten by the Power 48-37. With the loss, the Storm will need a win in Week 19 or an Orlando loss to be the No. 3 seed. If the Storm lose in Jacksonville and Orlando beats New Orleans in Week 19, they will be the No. 4 seed and the Preds would jump up to No. 3.
The Predators had an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot. If they had won in Week 18, they would have clinched the fourth and final playoff spot in the American Conference.
However, the stage is now set for the showdown that has been brewing for quite some time. Head Coach Pat O'Hara and the VooDoo are going to be coming to the Amway Center next Saturday night to take on the Predators in a de facto play-in game for the postseason.
"It's all clear now. Win and you're in," said O'Hara, who coached with the Predators in 2010 and 2011.
At the top of the American Conference, nothing changed in Week 18, as both the Philadelphia Soul and the Jacksonville Sharks won. Philadelphia will win the No. 1 seed with a win or a Jacksonville loss. The Sharks need both a win and a Philadelphia loss in Week 19 to earn the No. 1 seed.
American Conference Playoff Games
Saturday, August 3rd: Orlando/New Orleans/Tampa Bay @ Jacksonville Sharks (7:00 p.m. ET)
Saturday, August 3rd: Orlando/New Orleans/Tampa Bay @ Philadelphia Soul (7:05 p.m. ET)