It’s the FINAL week of regular season action in the NLL! I’m going to break down the playoff race team-by-team. I’ll let you know who is in, and who is on the outside looking in. Then we make predictions on who will win each of this weekend’s games!
Toronto Rock: The Rock lost their last game of the regular season last weekend to the Philadelphia Wings on a score of 9-10. A good game but a bad loss hasn’t hurt the Rock too much. They still sit atop the East Division by a few kilometers (used to metric system for our friends in Canada). Bottom line, Toronto has won the East Division regular season title and have won the right to host a first round playoff game. They can clinch the NLL regular season title if Edmonton losses to Calgary. They have no game this weekend – an extra week off before playoffs can do wonders to rest a team.
Philadelphia Wings: The Wings had a big win over Toronto last weekend and they improved their playoff status. If the Wings beat Washington this weekend and Rochester loses to Buffalo, Philly can host a first round playoff game. You know those Philly fans take their sports seriously, I would not want to play on the road at Philly for playoffs.
Rochester Knighthawks: Rochester split games last weekend. They beat Calgary but loss to Edmonton. Getting the win over Calgary put them in a good position. It is pretty simple for the Knighthawks – Win and not only are they in but they will host a first round playoff game. However, if Rochester loses and Colorado beats Minnesota, the Knighthawks are out. Close…but the Knighthawks should make it in. Rochester faces a tough Buffalo opponent scrapping to extend their season.
Buffalo Bandits: Buffalo got a huge win over Washington last weekend. Believe it or not, if Buffalo wins they are in and can host a playoff game if they win and Philadelphia loses. However, if Buffalo loses they are out. The Bandits control their own destiny.
Edmonton Rush: Edmonton continues to play well and beat the Rochester Knighthawks last weekend on a score of 14-10. The Rush are in the playoffs and can clinch the NLL regular season title with a win over Calgary. If Washington loses to Philadelphia, Edmonton will host a first-round playoff game.
Calgary Roughnecks: Calgary got shocked by the Rochester Knighthawks last weekend, but Calgary is still in great position going into playoffs. If Calgary beats Edmonton, they will take home the West Division title. They also have an opportunity to host if Colorado and Washington lose this weekend.
Washington Stealth: The Stealth dropped a game to Buffalo last weekend, but are still in good position. If the Stealth beat Philly, they can host a playoff game, or if Minnesota and Calgary lose they can host.
Minnesota Swarm: The Swarm handled the Mammoth this past weekend and are facing them again this weekend. Plain and simple – The Swarm are in and most likely are going on the road in the first round.
Colorado Mammoth: If Colorado wins, they are in. However, they have to beat a tough Swarm squad that they lost to last week. If Colorado loses, but Buffalo loses to Rochester, the Mammoth are still in. Colorado has played their way into a halfway decent scenario Although, no one thought Colorado would ever be on the fence the last week of the season.
- Rochester Knighthawks @ Buffalo Bandits
Connor Wilson – Rochester Knighthawks “Both teams need to win this game. I like Rochester to put it together for the win, and I’m going to pick them. Breaking with what’s got me here by going WITH my gut on Rochester? Yup“.
Chris Rosenthall – Rochester Knighthawks “The Knighthawks played two pretty good games last weekend, and every aspect of the team is improving at the right time. Jamieson and Vinc have huge games again, and the Bandits miss the playoffs“.
Ryan Connors – Rochester Knighthawks “This is basically a playoff game, and Rochester has done well in recent playoffs. The offense is finally clicking at a high level and Dawson is starting to take over. Vino is a beast in net – fly hawks fly“.
- Colorado Mammoth @ Minnesota Swarm
Connor Wilson – Minnesota Swarm “Minnesota needs wins. It’s that simple. So does Colorado, but they are a bit further out, and Minnesota finished it up this weekend“.
Chris Rosenthall – Minnesota Swarm “The Mammoth keep fooling me, and I keep falling for it.They just haven’t put together two full halves of lacrosse lately, so I can’t pick them in this one. The Swarm lit them up early last weekend; it never seemed as close as the final score. No reason they can’t do it again“.
Ryan Connors – Minnesota Swarm “Swarm have won the last 4 of 5 games and have scored 12, 20, 21, 13, 17 goals in each of those games. Those are some great numbers to have heading into the playoffs. Also, I think people forget how good Carlson and Kirk can be in net“.
- Calgary Roughnecks @ Edmonton Rush
Connor Wilson – Calgary Roughnecks “Calgary over Edmonton, but it should be an awesome game and could go either way. Wouldn’t shock me at all. I like Calgary to start making a bit of a push this weekend“.
Chris Rosenthall – Edmonton Rush “This is a tough one. Calgary’s won two out of three, but Edmonton won the most recent one, which I place the most value on. On the other hand, they’re playing in Edmonton, and the Rush have a terrible home record this year. I’m going with Edmonton anyway, they’ve been dominant lately“.
Ryan Connors – Edmonton Rush “This game is literally a toss-up. I’m going with the Rush because they want to honor their home fans on the last game of the regular season“.
- Philadelphia Wings @ Washington Stealth
Connor Wilson – Philadelphia Wings “Almost can’t believe I’m making this pick, but the East is so tight, I have to take the urgency of Philly’s situation to be the difference maker”.
Chris Rosenthall – Philadelphia Wings “Washington’s backing their way into the playoffs, and Philly’s been finding ways to win. I say bitter Stealth fans rip into Rabil for leaving the team, Rabil gets angry, hulks up and drops 3g and 2a on them“.
Ryan Connors – Washington Stealth “Couldn’t decide between these two teams. I like them both, but I decided to pick the Stealth because… well I’m not really sure – call it a hunch“.
Correct Picks Running Tally:
Connor Wilson (33-35)
Chris Rosenthall (31-37)
Ryan Connors (30-38)