Jett Zero, Mike Improta, Ray Bentley
Banner Image by J.R. Lawless

Once again, our crystal ball is in the shop for servicing, explaining how we dropped a game to the community’s 7-3 record last week. Never one to let a loss get us down, we here at Zero Guarantees forged onwards, specifically by cutting the fat (Ray Bentley) and adding a much more reliable commentator: this week’s special guest columnist, Mike Improta! A big thanks to him for stepping up to the plate and taking on the thankless job of proving the community wrong and the Beat Team right. And right we shall be – just read on to see how right!

New Orleans Pharaohs 17
Charleston Predators 20

Saturday, March 28 | 4:00pm EST [FTF]

Broadcasters: Rich Pratchard | Robert Garret Jr.

Finally, a home game for a Charleston Predators team that got their head handed to them in three consecutive road match-ups, the first of which being in New Orleans. In that game, CHS QB T.D. Drew posted a sub-60% completion rating and turned the ball over twice, while the offense only managed two TDs on the game. Although they were ahead 10-3 going into the 4th quarter, the Pharaohs would go on to outscore the Predators 17 to 7 in the final frame, thus winning the game. If there was ever a time to turn things around for Charleston, this would be it. Three straight losses in a tight playoff race is NOT what the fans want to see heading into the penultimate week of the regular season. New Orleans on the other hand are in the best position they have been in all season, just coming off a strong home win against Mexico City. Now at 4-6, they are in a massive 8-way tie for the 10th and final seed in the playoffs, barring any tie breakers. Needless to say, this contest is a must win for BOTH of these franchises, as a loss here could mean watching foot ball from the couch in April. I see Charleston finally turning things around and capitalizing on their oft missed homefield advantage, serving up a hot dish of revenge on Saturday.
Denver Nightwings 28
Vancouver Legion 38

Saturday, March 28 | 9:00pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: Colin Northrup | Rick Northrup

The Nighthawks fly north this week to square off against the Top 5 Vancouver Legion in what I expect to be an SFL classic. Denver, who tasted ultimate glory back in the fall have fallen greatly in their own right, currently treading water as the 10th seed heading into Week 11. Faltering to the bottom 3rd of the SFL offensively through ten weeks, the Nightwings may get their chance to put up big numbers against a Vancouver defense that allowed one of the worst offenses to drop nearly 60 points on them just one week ago. However, with their track record of success this season and offensive weapons such as Tom Pepper, Sudo Nakai and Brett Killian at their disposal, the Legion’s offense should look to steamroll Denver en route to their 9th win of the season. For me, its hard to imagine Vancouver dropping back-to-back games, especially when the post-season stakes are so high this season. With 10 teams set to play further into April, seeding is crucial in ensuring a deep post-season run. And with how the seeding currently sits, its not impossible to think these two teams could face off sooner rather than later in the playoffs, assuming Denver can make it in. Vancouver, however, has a pretty strong say in whether or not we will see our first Championship-then-bust scenario since the Season 6 Queen City Corsairs. (This fun fact brought to you by DPP Andrew Rastelli. Thanks, Andrew!)
Carolina Skyhawks 24
Atlanta Swarm 41

Sunday, March 29 | 12:00pm EST [YouTube]
Broadcasters: Eric Vinson | Cade Stephens

The top team in the SFL takes on, well, NOT the top team as the Carolina Skyhawks fly south to the Hive in what should prove to be their toughest match-up of the season. Not only do they currently boast the best record in the league, the Atlanta Swarm also hold the 2nd best SOV mark of all current playoff teams at .456 (behind Baltimore’s .500). After last week’s shellacking of the Top 3 Queen City Corsairs, Atlanta seems to be on the fast-track to the big game in April. Meanwhile, Carolina posted a strong showing at home against the Las Vegas Fury in last week, bumping their overall record to 4-6 and thus giving them hope for the future. Normally I’d predict a blowout in every phase of the game based on team records and past performances, but Week 10 also showcased a Top 5 team in Vancouver allowing the much maligned Houston Hyenas to drop a 50 burger on them. No game is over in the SFL until the fat lady sings… err catches a touchdown pass? Kicks a field goal? No matter, only luck and the second coming of the Messiah could really help sway this game in Carolina’s favor, but it should be a good one to watch nonetheless. Atlanta by 17.
Houston Hyenas 17
London Knights 10

Sunday, March 29 | 12:05pm EST [Twitch]
Broadcasters: Jeff Melinyshyn | Jeremy Vega

Great win for Houston! Knocking off a Top 5 team in the Legion silences a lot of doubters chirping that the Hyena’s couldn’t win football games without Eddie Gauge on the payroll. Their job is not done, however. Sitting at 3-7, Houston is well out of the playoff pack and would need to win out and have a lot of help to even THINK about making a playoff push this season. Somehow I just don’t see another legendary gallop into the post-season on the back of a 5-7 record and a bunch of tie breakers. But, stranger things have happened. Even stranger, thinking about how the London Knights held a solid 2-2 record six weeks ago. Now at 2-8, the Knights are mathematically eliminated and can only look to a more hopeful off-season and Season 15 while attempting to play spoiler for the last two weeks of the spring session. Both franchises have a lot of questions to answer when this season is over, mainly how to eliminate costly turnovers and create a more efficient offense for their defensive unit to play around. That being said, I predict a rather close contest here, with the Hyenas squeaking out their 2nd win in a row.
Jacksonville Kings 23
Sioux Falls Sparrows 28

Sunday, March 29 | 3:00pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: Michael Trulio | Eddie Gauge

Sioux Falls has punched their ticket as they join the playoff ride. Jacksonville has not, and neither have they beaten the Sparrows. On February 23rd in the King’s Lair, Sioux Falls beat the home team 23-13. The Sparrows held the King’s offense to less than 300 total yards and only allowed them to gain 64 of those on the ground. At the same time, The Jacksonville Defense had no answers for the rush-game of Sioux Falls. The yellow and black piled up an enormous 238 yards rushing to go along with 3 touchdowns (2 from Hart and 1 from Wells). The Standings have Sioux Falls at 7-3, one spot above Jacksonville at 6-4. Sioux Falls’ team offense ranks just above Jacksonville’s at fifth and sixth overall, as well. However, it’s the Defense we look to make the difference in this game. Jacksonville loves to pass. Sioux Falls ranks third in the league verse the pass. Sioux Falls has the best rushing attack in the SFL, and Jacksonville ranks 15th at stopping the run. Furthermore, the Kings are 3-3 over their last 6 games and the Sparrows 4-2. After going 2-1 on the road, Sioux Falls returns home to Liberty Park. Look no further, Zero Guarantees leans with the SFL Community who is picking the Sparrows in ‘WhoYaGot,’ 82-33. In Week 11, the Sioux Falls River flows through Mt. Rushmore, making it tougher for the Kings to roam their way into a top playoff seed.
Seattle Tyrants 21
Chicago Wildcats 23

Sunday, March 29 | 5:00pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: Stephen Hacker | Steven Mullenax

The best rusher in the league, Zack Sandlin (164 yards per game) takes on the second-best rushing defense in the SFL, Chicago (79 yards rushing allowed per game). Seattle is doing its best to hop on Sandlin’s back to carry them back into the playoffs, while the Wildcat’s offense tries to desperately sink its claws-in of hanging onto a spot in the top 10. This is the game where the rubber meets the road for both teams. Seattle has the best defense in the league verse the run only allowing 55 yards per game. However, Seattle has the worst defense in the SFL stopping the pass, allowing over 300 yards per game. Chicago’s strength on offense is rushing the ball with Ash Odom and this is where the ‘chess game’ begins. Owner Shann Varner has the pieces he needs on defense, but does his ‘King’ at QB, ET King, have enough to find holes in the Seattle D? Inside the numbers has King at 12 TDs against 20 INTs on the year. Sandlin usually grinds his way into the stat-sheet without any problem, but if his quarterback Jacques Luyindula isn’t able to move the ball through the air, things could become difficult for the Tyrants having to stay one-dimensional. Seattle’s hopes of playing playoff football are all but with a record of 3-7. Chicago is currently clinging to the #9 seed at 5-5. The Wildcats come home after splitting their last two on the road. The Thunderdome Rocks on Sunday - and we like the ‘Cats by less than an Anthony “Automatic” Cece field goal, with a win by 2.

Mexico City Aztecs 26
Tulsa Desperados 20

Sunday, March 29 | 7:00pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: Chris Curtis | Dan Mitchell

Tough road losses for both teams in Week 10. Just when the Aztecs seemed to be gaining some traction with a win over the Predators in Week 9, it all fell apart in NOLA the very next week. The potent offense that SFL fans just assume to be commonplace for Mexico City was noticeably absent on Sunday, a game in which their only touchdown came from RB Ray Bentley in the first quarter. Bentley would only see 11 carries all night, while reigning MVP QB Matt Willison would throw for only 184 yards and toss two picks. The Desperados didn’t fare much better in Baltimore, floundering to a 16-38 defeat in a game in which the final score didn’t accurately depict how poorly Tulsa had executed all night. In summary, both teams had sub-par performances that landed them in tough situations with only two games left of the regular season. Looking at these teams and their level of play as of late, its not a stretch to wonder if EITHER team will make the post-season this year, especially after Tulsa held a 4-2 record earlier on in the season. Better ball control and limiting turnovers are the two things these coaches should be stressing this week, as lack of consistency on offense has thwarted these teams in close scoring games this season. I think Mexico City pulls out the win here, but I really have no statistical basis for my projections. TL:DR – Flip a coin and that’s who’s gonna win this one!
Baltimore Vultures 23
Florida Storm 21

Sunday, March 29 | 9:00pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: Cameron Irvine | Charles Dougherty

When you look at the direction the 7-3 Vultures are flying, it’s easy to see they’re perched high above the league already into the post-season, looking down at the rest of the teams battling for playoff spots. Looking up, the Florida Storm seem to be gaining strength as they’ve taken care of business winning their last two. All of Baltimore’s three losses have come on the road, while half of the six losses for the Storm have come at home. This a game where the Vultures are fine-tuning their strategy to keep pace with Atlanta and Vancouver to gain the first-round bye as the final two weeks of the season come to a close. Florida wants to continue to create havoc in the standings and beating Baltimore at the Eye is the way to do it. Although the Storm is tough and seems to be headed in the right direction, it’s difficult to ignore Baltimore’s three-game win streak. This season has been good to Baltimore and we feel that trend continues. Florida keeps it close, but the Vultures ‘weather the storm’ and take this one, 23-21 on the road. Sorry Storm, your playoff hopes vanish, and the weather doesn’t get any better at home.

Queen City Corsairs 28
St. Louis Gladiators 21

Monday, March 30 | 7:30pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: Mike Daggs | Matt Willson

The Gladiators have had an interesting journey when it comes to the Discord popularity. They were very unpopular early in the season, as they were unexpectedly competitive with Jonny Pichler at quarterback. Then, they went through a stretch over the past few weeks where the public climbed aboard, and they lost consecutive close games to the Swarm and Scorpions. Pichler began the season throwing only 4 interceptions in the first 7 games. Over the last three, he’s thrown 5. Last week, the Corsairs found themselves in the middle of ConPro Field battling a Swarm of Wasps ranked #1 in the league, they weren’t ready to handle, losing 37-20. Queen City has already clinched a spot in the playoffs but want to get back to their winning ways. Prior to losing to the Swarm, QCC had won three out of their last four games. Now, they are favored over the Gladiators on the road with the Discord community taking them 75 percent of the time. St. Louis is fighting for their playoff lives, but the Corsairs are fighting to steal the treasures of the Gladiators: their best-ever win total in franchise history. It’s a battle to end, but arrrrr…Piracy lives!
Las Vegas Fury 24
Arizona Scorpions 16

Monday, March 30 | 9:30pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: Andy Hamilton | Ryan Caudill

Our SFL GAME OF THE WEEK! Every game in the SFL this week has playoff implications. This game is no different. Two rivalry teams both at 4-6, located only a few hours apart get ready to take one step closer to making it into the playoffs. Both teams need to win-out to have a shot at the post-season. Las Vegas has lost their last two, while Arizona has won their last two. Although their records are the same, Las Vegas has the advantage in the standings in net point differential with -35 verse Arizona at -51. The Discord is a strong believer in momentum and have chosen the Scorpions at home, as the favorite. How quickly they forget it was just less than a month ago when Arizona went up in flames at the Silver State Stadium putting up their lowest point total of the season, losing to Las Vegas 24-9. Most would identify the Fury as a bad road team, and we would agree. Vegas is 4-1 at home and 1-5 as the visitors. The Scorps record would also indicate they have not been good on the road either, posting a 1-4 record playing away, against 3-2 at home. Arizona couldn’t find any luck against Las Vegas in the Sin City. This week, the heat rises as we look at the ‘paper,’ and in this sweltering heat, it’s disintegrating into ashes. Zero Guarantees ‘rolls the dice’ and goes against the odds. Win and you stay alive… Lose, and you're dead. Viva Las Vegas!

Season 14 Zero Guarantees Record: 57-43