Friday, 1 March 2013

Post Season Week 1 National Championship predictions

The playoffs are upon us! The post season has crept up on us faster than an Offensive Lineman at a cake buffet and the real business of knock out football begins (weather permitting).

Firstly, to deal in some glory/ignominy. During the season the Double Coverage team had a little prediction league running between a few of the writers and the overall results are in. Out of a total of 247 games predicted:

Rich predicted 180 correctly (72.8%) with 6 upsets

Luke predicted 174 correctly (70.4%) with 6 upsets

Jon predicted 170 correctly (68.8%) with 8 upsets

Simon predicted 170 correctly (68.8%) with 3 upsets

Pikachu predicted 166 correctly (67.2%) with 5 upsets

Willy Tee predicted 164 correctly (65.5%) with 5 upsets

An upset is decided when only two writers chose a team to win and get it right. Upsets were the tiebreaker so Jon finished above Simon

To bring a new slant to our play off predictions we've decided to ask our writers to give their best guess as to who will win in the playoffs with some new players in the game and also some new rules.

Dana Neale, Tommy Gibbs and Chris Stupack join our predicting team bringing knowledge of teh TVC, MAC and BNW with them. The rules are simple. Each player must predict a team to win each game, if you are involved with a team in that game your pick will automatically be for your team (less controversial that way!)

Now on to the picks!

Carnegie @ Birmingham

Not much love shown to the boys in black as they are clearly the underdogs in the eyes of our staff. Stupack goes with Carnegie as he has involvement with the club.

Birmingham have been rampant this season and the return of Varney at the helm of their offence has really helped boost them in the eyes of our predictors. Their only challenge came at the end of the season versus annual MAC rival Loughborough

Leeds had a so so season in a division not packed with much playoff talent and lost to two of the top four teams in their schedule (Hull and Newcastle) while only beating one by a single score (Leeds Celtics).

Overall prediction: A convincing Birmingham win

Loughborough @ Bath

The SWAC champions take on the dominant Loughborough side that most teams want to avoid in the first round and our writers do not give them much of a hope. Just as with Stupack before, Simon plumps for Bath because it's a team he is involved with.

For Loughborough it was a case of different season, same story, as they cleaned up all before them in the MAC until they came to face those pesky neighbors to the west. They will be missing star linebacker Jean-Paul Jones as he faces his one match ban for his ejection in that game, but we don't think it will have that big an effect.

Bath however will be hoping that JPJ's absence from the heart of the Loughborough defence will allow their own star running back Deji Ali to unleash all kinds of havoc. They'll need to maintain their stingy defence against the triple option attack Loughborough will use and try to bottle up GB Lion's QB James Slack.

Overall prediction: A MAC sweep with a Loughborough win

Sheffield @ UWE

Yet another walk over victory predicted by our writers and this time it is a full house for the Sheffield Saul's with no writers involved in the games to predict otherwise.

Although I predicted Sheffield to win the game I feel that this game will be much closer than the predictions show. UWE have had an up and down season and sometimes struggled to maintain their normal dominant form and only a batted down pass in the final quarter versus Plymouth saved their playoff hopes.

Sheffield have largely coasted through the season with only games against Derby and Hallam providing them with anything close to a challenge. The fall of their cross town rivals will no doubt have helped and they will be looking to the North Easts version of Greg Freeman to make plays all day.

Overall Prediction: Sheffield to win, but it may not be as clean cut as people think

Kingston @ Portsmouth

These two teams have already played in the regular season and Portsmouth will be hoping for a repeat of that performance where they won 12-6, giving Kingston their only loss. Our writers favor the victories of that previous match up 6-3, but it really is a close one to call.

Kingston will be hoping that GB Wide Receiver James Cherry can impose his will on the game and put some points up on the board against a stingy Portsmouth defence that has only given up more than two scores in three games this season.

Portsmouth look to be back to their previous championship pomp with a strong defence and a grind it out offence that is also capable of pulling off the big plays. You have to wonder how much of an effect four games in seven days has had on the squad though.

Overall Prediction: A hard fought, single score victory for the South Coasters

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