Who is in?
The playoffs are coming up shortly for the Indoor Football League. They are the first of the bigger three leagues (AFL, IFL, NAL) to hit their playoffs and four of the six spots are already determined. But three teams are fighting for the last two, creating big drama in the last week of the season.
- Arizona Rattlers 13-0
- Iowa Barnstormers 12-1
- Sioux Falls Storm 10-3
- Green Bay Blizzard 8-5
Not only are these four teams in the playoffs, but their seeding is also set. The Rattlers have been undefeated this year and look to cap off a perfect season against San Diego this week.
Sioux Falls could have passed Iowa on tiebreakers if they won the head-to-head matchup two weeks ago, but dropped the opportunity. Despite splitting the season series between the Barnstormers and Storm, two additional losses to Arizona moves Sioux Falls to third place.
This gives Arizona and Iowa the first round bye while Sioux Falls and Green Bay will take the third and fourth seeds respectively and host a home game in the opening round of the playoffs.
Who is out?
- Bismarck Bucks 2-11
- Cedar Rapids River Kings 1-12
- San Diego Strike Force 1-12
The Bismarck Bucks had the greatest shot at getting off this list. However a heartbreaking loss at home to Tucson four weeks ago spiraled the team out of contention.
Cedar Rapids and San Diego’s one win came from defeating each other thoughout the season. Neither team were really in the hunt at any point this year.
Who is still alive?
- Tucson Sugar Skulls 6-7
- Nebraska Danger 6-7
- Quad City Steamwheelers 6-7
Two out of these three teams will make the playoffs. Interestingly enough, two of these three teams will play each other, making this a dramatic finale for those squads.
Quad City travels to Tucson in what will be the very last game of the season, as the time zones and start times delays this matchup. The Steamwheelers won the previous matchup in Quad City on April 20 72-54 behind EJ Hilliard’s five touchdown, 247-yard performance.
Offense will be the main story in that matchup, as the teams have the third (QC) and fourth (Tucson) best offenses in the league, with only 39 total yards separating the teams. The Sugar Skulls will be doing it on the ground first and foremost. The team leads the IFL in rushing attempts (24.6 per game) and is the only squad to go over 300 attempts on the season.
The Steamwheelers will be the squad looking for the passing attempts. Hilliard leads the league in yards per game (194.3) while receivers Quinton Pedroza and Keyvan Rudd are second and third in yards per game and receiving touchdowns.
For Nebraska, they have a tough task in going to Iowa for their finale. Since Iowa is locked into second place, they may either keep playing hard to potentially eliminate the Danger or take the foot off the gas early. They will have a bye, so it will be interesting to see what they will do.
The Danger have had a solid season but usually have been on the wrong end of heartbreakers. Nebraska had the lead with less that 30 seconds to go in four of their seven losses and let the opposing squad score in the final minute in six of them. They allow a mediocre 47.3 points per game and take a middle-of-the-road 62.6 penalty yards per game, but have the second best passing game in the IFL.
If Nebraska wins, they’re in the playoffs along with the winner of the Sugar Skulls/Steamwheelers game. If the Danger lose, the winner of the other game goes to Green Bay and tie breakers come in to play for the final spot. The first tiebreaker in the IFL is opponent strength of schedule, which will fluctuate throughout the week depending on who wins and loses the final day of the season.