The most exciting regular season in SAFL history is now in the books. There were some pleasant surprises. Some unpleasant surprises. Some teams are looking up, while others will try to regroup. Entering the playoffs every team is gunning to take down the three time defending champs. This is the first time in recent memory where every team has a legitimate chance to win it all.
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The Gators just wrapped up their most successful regular season in their history. Their manager did a great job in closing the talent gap between the top teams. The Gators were the best team this season and the numbers back it up. They enter the playoffs with better than 1 in 3 chance to win it all. They have the best roster top to bottom. They have an outstanding QB and a able leadership. The only thing this team doesn’t have is team wide playoff success. Will they finally break through or go back to the drawing board?
AK has lost two regular season games in three season. Let that sink in for a moment. This team personifies excellence. They approached this season with more caution and seem to have taken it down a notch to turn loose in the playoffs. This team has a skilled QB, tremendous athletes on both sides of the ball, and a winning attitude. Our model gives them about a one in five chance to win it all. They certainly have the talent to raise the SAFL trophy for the second time in five seasons. But they’ve also been bested on the biggest stage in myriad ways. Don’t bet against this team being the last one standing.
The Browns ended the season similar to the way they ended their regular season in 2018: 6-4 with a cloud of uneasiness hovering over the team. They then proceeded to put together the greatest offensive show in SAFL playoff history. Can they repeat their performance from a year ago? It’s hard to doubt this team, but it’s also hard to believe in this iteration of the Browns. This team could implode and make a first round exit. This team could get their act together and win it all. They might lose in any round. They won’t be favored against anyone they play, but we expect them to make their final charge.
Prime Time picked the right name for this franchise. They are definitely ready to take the crown. They have two elite athletes. And a few other good ones. They have QB who has can score from anywhere on the field. They have a defense that doesn’t miss flags. They have veteran savvy as well. So why only a 1 in 9 chance to win it all? It all starts with their unimaginative offense and their vanilla D. If this team can vary their offensive looks and run some ornate sub packages, they can guile their way to the chip. Will management take heed of our words of wisdom? They have a winnable path to the crown. Only consternation can stop these guys.
Cobra Kai is definitely the team everyone wanted to avoid in the playoffs. Their mix of skill, speed, football IQ are almost unmatched. We forgot to mention that they have a highly skilled QB. They run the most complex offensive scheme. The defense is not as complex. Which is really a shame because even with an average performance from their D, this team can go all the way. Our model doesn’t think too highly of their D, resulting in a 1 in 16 odds to win it all. The plan for CK is real simple: light up the scoreboard and for the love of God, make a stop on D.
The Bandits season was a tale of two extremes. They started out hot, then cooled off some and rebounded to grab the #6 seed. This team could’ve easily won two more games. But alas, you are what your record says you are. Beneath the surface though, we thing this team is ripe to pull off upsets, especially in the opening round. Out model gives them a 1 in 20 chance to win. This may be too low as the Bandits showed last season in the playoffs that they can beat anyone. The Bandits will play tough D. They will play for 60 minutes. The question remains: will their QB join the grit and grind persona of this team?
The Savages won three games but their performance is that of team close to .500. This team played without their best player and QB for much of the season. With the all start healing nicely, this team has the look of that proverbial team that no one want to play. These guys have tremendous size and good team speed. No reason this team can’t be making noise in the playoffs. Our model is a bit more pessimistic, giving them about a 1 in 30 chance to win it all. But models have been wrong before. Egregiously wrong. Which Savages are we going to see in the playoffs: the team no one wants to play or the team every one wants to play?
The Elites have gently settled in into a comfort zone after three seasons. They don’t have the best team, nor the best metrics. But they do have a quiet confidence going into the playoffs. Despite our model’s odds at about 1 in 60 for the Elites to win it all, we think the softer skills like camaraderie, unselfishness, and brotherhood will net a tangible result. The Elites have arguably the most talented QB in the league. They have good athletes throughout their roster. It’ll be up to their leadership to steer the ship confidently amid playoff turbulence. Don’t laugh. These guys can do it.
The Renegades did enough to qualify for the playoffs. At this point, we’re not going to point out -143 point differential or that our model gives them 1 in 500 chance to win. What we want to point out is that despite overwhelming odds against them to make it, here they are ready to put on their boxing gloves and lug it out. The Renegades have a playoff tested QB and a bunch of guys ready to mix it up. This is a potent combination in the playoffs.
The Thunder failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity to get into the tournament. This team showed tremendous heart and grit by showing up every week and giving it their est. While this team has been eliminated from playoff participation, there isn’t one person associated with SAFL that does not wish they could participate. That’s the feel of this proud franchise. They’ve left an indelible mark in our hearts and we will miss them. We hope they recruit like hell and bring the pain next season. Lightning solicits awe, but thunder strike fear in hearts.