June 28, 2013 by Charlie Eisenhood in Preview with 1 comments
Just three weeks left in the AUDL regular season and it’s coming down to crunch time for teams across both divisions. New York, Indianapolis, and Philadelphia all have the opportunity to clinch playoff spots; Rochester, Detroit, Minnesota, and Cincinnati will all be looking to prevent that from happening.
Here’s a look at the games this week around the AUDL.
Philadelphia Phoenix @ DC Breeze
The Philadelphia Phoenix travel to Washington to take on the Breeze for the final time this season. The Phoenix are undefeated this season against the Breeze.
Philadelphia (7-6) needs wins down the stretch, as they currently hold just a one game lead over Rochester (6-7) for the final playoff spot in the East.
The Breeze (3-10) have already been eliminated from playoff contention.
New Jersey Hammerheads @ New York Empire
The Hammerheads are headed to New York to face the Empire for the second time in two weeks. New Jersey got their first win since Week 2 over New York last weekend. New York has a comfortable 1.5 game lead over Philadelphia for the #2 seed in the East playoffs. A win over New Jersey would lock up that spot for them.
Last week, the Empire were playing without a number of their starters — most of those players are back in the fold for this week. That should give New York the advantage for a rebound win.
Rochester Dragons @ Toronto Rush // Toronto Rush @ Rochester Dragons
The Rochester Dragons have a very tough test this weekend — a home-and-away against the Toronto Rush. A best case scenario for Rochester is probably to preserve legs in one of the games and go for a 1-1 split on the weekend. That would keep them close to Philadelphia who have to face the Rush in the final week of the season.
The Rush (11-0) are looking to continue their undefeated season. If they can take down the Dragons in both games, they will effectively end Rochester’s shot at the playoffs.
New Jersey Hammerheads @ Philadelphia Phoenix
The Hammerheads travel south after their game against New York to face the Phoenix. With a win at home, Philadelphia will likely lock up a playoff berth, unless Rochester manages the huge upset over the Rush.
The Hammerheads will be looking to finish the season on a positive note by continuing their momentum after last week’s win against the Empire. Marquez Brownlee has quietly been a star in the league and will give Matt Esser a run for his money as the most explosive player on the field.
Madison Radicals @ Windy City Wildfire
The Radicals are headed to Chicago for one of the most anticipated late season games in the AUDL. This matchup will settle the season series between the Radicals (9-3) and Wildfire (12-1), currently locked at 1-1. This game may well be a preview of the Midwestern Division finals.
Both teams will be looking for a psychological edge heading into the playoffs. AJ Nelson will lead the Wildfire as the Radicals defensive line looks to find a way to slow down Windy City’s potent offense.
Expect the Toronto Rush to be keeping an eye on this game, livestreamed on UXtv.
Cincinnati Revolution @ Minnesota Wind Chill
The Minnesota Wind Chill are on the brink. After falling to the Alleycats last week, they have to win out their next four games or they are eliminated from playoff contention.
They will need to start with a win this week over the Cincinnati Revolution. The Wind Chill should feel good about their chances after blowing out the Revolution 26-9 in their last meeting.
The Revolution also need a win to stay in the race, but they don’t control their own destiny. An Indianapolis win eliminates them as well.
Lots to play for this week — expect a much closer game than last time these two teams met.
Detroit Mechanix @ Indianapolis Alleycats
Here’s the math: if the Alleycats beat the Mechanix at home, they will be a win away from clinching a playoff spot. Any Wind Chill loss will seal the third spot for Indy. Every game counts right now in the Midwest.
The Mechanix need a win to stay in contention and will be bringing their best game. They haven’t had success against Indy, however. The 2013 season began with Indy handily beating Detroit in Michigan.
The Alleycats have been defying expectations all season after losing Brodie Smith and Johnathan “Goose” Helton to Chicago in the offseason. They will be hoping to be the only original AUDL team to return to the playoffs.
Madison Radicals @ Detroit Mechanix
The Radicals have to make the long trip from Chicago to Detroit for a Sunday game against the Mechanix. Depending on the outcome of the Saturday games, this game may or may not be meaningful. For Madison, it likely won’t matter, but the Mechanix may need a win to stay in contention.
Detroit has beaten Madison once before on this same road trip — Chicago-Detroit — early in the season. Madison is a more seasoned team now, however, and won’t be easy to beat.