So, here we are, Week 13: there are two remaining playoff spots, and four teams with still-undetermined fates. Two teams moving on, joining the Outlaws and Nationals in the quest for lacrosse immortality. Two teams sitting on the couch, huddled over a gallon of ice cream, watching that Walid Hajj split dodge over and over again and wondering what went wrong…
Photo Credit: Kim Black
So, which teams are headed where? Who’s in and who’s out? There’s a chance all will be revealed later tonight, but I’ve got no patience, and I hate waiting, so it’s time to make some last-minute predictions. Below you’ll find each team’s record, their remaining opponents, and as of now, the percentage chance we’ll see them in Philly (constructed using a highly scientific formula, don’t worry about it) for Championship Weekend.
Denver (12-0) @ New York, @ Hamilton : 100%
Hamilton (9-3) @ Charlotte, Denver : 100%
Chesapeake (7-5): Rochester, Charlotte : 92%
Charlotte (6-6): Hamilton, @ Chesapeake : 54%
Rochester (5-7): @ Chesapeake, @ Boston : 19%
Boston (5-7): Ohio, Rochester : 41.8%
New York (3-9): Denver, Ohio : 0%
Ohio (1-11): @ Boston, @ New York : 0%
Now, if you’re not up to speed, here’s a rundown of exactly what’s on the line today. The Chesapeake Bayhawks have the easiest (read: least complicated) path to Philadelphia: win today (or next Saturday, for that matter) and they’re in, no matter what anyone else does. In fact, they don’t even have to win to clinch a spot this weekend. Since they beat the Rattlers 17-14 in Tampa earlier this season, a loss by less than three goals, coupled with Charlotte and Boston losses could result in a playoff berth by the end of the day as well, even with a Bayhawks loss.
With the Machine and Cannons playing at 4:00 p.m., the Hounds could find themselves in “win and you’re in” territory by the time they take the field this evening against Hamilton. If Ohio pulls off the victory in Boston, a playoff-clinching win over the Nationals would be the perfect setting for Charlotte to go above .500 for the first time in their brief history. As far as the Machine are concerned, snapping a five-game losing streak and ensuring that they at least tie last year’s win total would help smooth out the bitter taste of helping the rival Hounds clinch a playoff berth. Definitely not erase it, but certainly help smooth it out.
While the Bayhawks and Hounds can clinch tonight, the Rattlers and Cannons aren’t quite so lucky, as both teams can be eliminated (and as a result, are die-hard Hamilton fans) this weekend.
If the Cannons lose to the Machine, they have to go home, fire up some ESPN3 and sweat for two hours, because a Hamilton loss to Charlotte will mean their season is over. The Rattlers won’t sit around and watch their fate unfold (they’ll be busy playing a lacrosse game), but if the Cannons and Nationals lose, they’ll have to beat Chesapeake by more than three goals in order to stay alive heading into week 14.
Now, if the Cannons and Rattlers both win today, we enter into a situation that’s equal parts good for lacrosse fans and bad for MLL coaches’ blood pressure. First, it means none of the four remaining teams will clinch this weekend. Second, three of the teams will have 6-7 records, the fourth will be 7-6, and get this: they’re all playing each other next weekend. When you consider the razor-thin point margins (Charlotte beat Chesapeake by a goal, Rochester beat Boston by two) from their previous matchups, as well as all the tiebreaker-based insanity (Charlotte has the edge over Rochester, yet Boston has the edge over Charlotte), just know things would get all sorts of crazy.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, because the final playoff push is here, beginning with Machine-Cannons at 4:00 p.m. over on The Lacrosse Network. Who’s in and who’s out? Speak now or forfeit the right to say “I told you so” in the comment section. As always, good luck to your squad: they’ll need it now more than ever.