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

I shoulda listened to Mike. When given the scores for last week’s games, he said “You know, I really think Florida is gonna pull this one off!” Had I followed his righteous advice, we would be currently tied with the community Who Ya Got; unfortunately for myself, we’re now just a single game behind heading into the final week. It’s been a pleasure picking games this season, and just because we’ll be down 10 teams next week doesn’t mean we won’t have picks for the first round of playoff games – and that’s a Zero Guarantee. Let’s get to it!

Houston Hyenas 21
Seattle Tyrants 27

Saturday, April 4 | 12:00pm EST [Twitch]

Broadcasters: Colin Northrup | Rick Northrup

Saturday afternoon’s contest in Seattle will be the only contest in the final week of the regular season with absolutely zero playoff implications. Despite a narrow victory in London last week, Houston was eliminated from playoff contention based on SOV and how the final slate of games shook out. With that being said, this is a great opportunity for each of these franchises to finish out the season strong and give a bit of a morale boost to their respective fan bases. Which team that will be remains to be seen. The Hyenas have been trending up in recent weeks (two straight wins) while Seattle has stumbled in back to back weeks. Despite this, I’m feeling that the Tyrants pull out their last home win of Season 14. The SFL’s leading rusher, Zach Sandlin, will compile 150 yards on the ground and two scores against Houston’s porous run defense and QB Kentez Johnson will eclipse 36 turnovers on the season. One thing is for certain; both owners must re-group in the off-season and possibly pick up some pointers while watching from the couch in late April.
New Orleans Pharaohs 21
Baltimore Vultures 35

Saturday, April 4 | 12:00pm EST [YouTube]
Broadcasters: Jeff Melinyshyn | Eddie Gauge

Electric showdown in Baltimore this week as two teams, fresh off a loss, will battle it out to further their playoff agendas in what should be a highly offensive bout. The Vulture’s 27-20 loss on the road last week to the Florida Storm sent shockwaves through the SFL community as most believed they would roll into the playoffs. Now at 7-4, Baltimore becomes one of five seven-win teams in what has proven to be an extremely tight playoff race. A loss to the Pharaohs this week could spell disaster for the Vultures, potentially dropping them to the 8th seed. Alternatively, New Orleans will be fighting for their post-season lives on Saturday as they are one of only two teams (Arizona being the other) who could potentially sneak into the post-season at 5-7, a la Houston of Season 13. Besides defeating Baltimore on their home turf, about 100 other things would need to happen for NOLA to advance beyond Week 12, but who wouldn’t want to see that? Unfortunately, what I DON’T see is a win happening here for New Orleans. Dazzo and Co. will do what they do best and the Pharaohs offense will be stymied by the Baltimore D in front of the opposing sea of Red and Black. Tough sledding boys and girls.
London Knights 17
Chicago Wildcats 28

Saturday, April 4 | 4:00pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: Andy Hamilton | Dan Mitchell

This weekend’s match-up in Chicago pits a playoff hopeful versus a browbeaten franchise searching for answers. Things were supposed to be different for London this season as last offseason saw an essential overhaul of its roster in an attempt to improve upon a mediocre 5-win campaign from Season 13. Despite this, its looking like the Knights will be saddled with an even more disappointing 2 wins this season, barring a miraculous upset of the Wildcats on their home turf. Hopefully the team from across the pond can hit it again this off-season as it looks like they will be slated for the #1 pick this summer. And for the Chicago fans, that is how they would prefer things, as it would mean a 7-5 record and a guaranteed spot in the post-season. The Wildcats have endured a tumultuous season, seemingly rotating wins and losses on a week to week basis, never stringing together more than two victories or defeats in a row. Their net points through 11 weeks exemplifies that fact, having only scored 3 more points than they have allowed. One thing is for certain; despite their record, the Wildcats have improved as a team every week since Week 1. The offense is putting up points and the defense is coming up big in critical moments. If Shann can lead his team to a win this week, it will set Chicago up nicely to not be one and done in the playoffs, as they were last season. Just keep feeding Ash Odom and you will see what I mean!
Florida Storm 23
Mexico City Aztecs 24

Saturday, April 4 | 9:00pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: T-Roy Gaines | Stephen Hacker

The most anticipated event of the season is finally upon us! You guessed it, the Unofficial Season 14 Championship Game! What, not what you were thinking? Too bad! After weeks of painstaking diligence and meticulous record keeping, the Beat Team oracles have determined that the winner of this contest will be crowned the Unofficial Champion of Season 14! Exciting right? Also, this Week 12 match-up between the Storm and the Aztecs, while one of the more storied rivalries in the league, holds major playoff implications, perhaps the most of all Week 12 games, due to MXC and FL both sitting at 5-6. Depending on who can pull this win out on Saturday night may spell doom for some playoff hopefuls while it gives hope to others. Not to mention, the loser of this game will be eliminated from playoff contention while the victor will almost definitely advance. The stakes are high, folks. Speaking of which, will we see the Aztecs roll the dice on a few riskier plays downfield to try to break open Florida’s stout defense? Will the Storm change up their game plan to exploit weaknesses in Mexico’s City’s 4th worst ranked pass coverage? Only time will tell, but this prognosticator thinks that it will come down to the wire in a one-score showdown for all the marbles. Fun Fact: Since Mexico City’s rebranding from the Santa Fe Gorillas in Season 8 and the Storm’s inception in Season 9, neither franchise has missed the playoffs, while combining for 4 championships between them in that span. One of those streaks is about to end.
Tulsa Desperados 16
Charleston Predators 26

Sunday, April 5 | 3:00pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: Chris Curtis | Steven Mullenax

Interesting match-up this week as the Desperados travel east to take on the Charleston Predators on their home court. Tulsa QB Deacon Nickens has been a turnover machine as of late, surpassing the once league leader in interceptions (Kentez Johnson) on his way to amassing 37 interceptions though 11 games. For those of you following along at home, that is 3.36 interceptions per game. Ouch. Nickens also currently holds the lowest completion percentage for a QB in the league at 62.86%. These are not the type of numbers a playoff QB should have. With 24 out of 28 of Charleston’s defensive takeaways being interceptions so far this season (2.18 picks per game), expect to see at least a few turnovers from the Desperado’s offense. All in all, if TD Drew can string together a few effective scoring drives late in the game, this should be a wrap for the home team. If Tulsa’s coaching staff can game plan around Nickens' propensity for turning the ball over, they may have a shot at piercing the Predator’s defense and keeping this game close. I’m not so sure of that happening, though. Charleston takes this game by 10.
St. Louis Gladiators 24
Carolina Skyhawks 21

Sunday, April 5 | 5:00pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: Eric Vinson | Cade Stephens

The ascension of Jonny Pichler to the SFL Postseason is nigh! A win over the Skyhawks would not only propel the Gateway City Gladiators into uncharted, break-even territory for the season, but could very well help push them into the big dance for the first time in team history. Carolina's defense can be scary at times, but they've still allowed 62 points over the last 2 games. Yes, they took down the possible playoff contenders in the Fury back in Week 10, but the Gladiators just took out the playoff-locked Queen City Corsairs, confidently holding a lead all game and doubling the Corsairs' score, 13-26. Now, add to the mix that Carolina has been officially eliminated but has the chance to play spoiler in this contest? Oohwee, you've got a football drama stew going, baby! While the Skyhawks are hosting, we feel that when the smoke clears, they'll have vacated the field in favor of the Gladiators.
Arizona Scorpions 9
Queen City Corsairs 21

Sunday, April 5 | 7:00pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: Rich Pratchard | Gerald Giudicessi

This match-up is pretty lopsided, no matter how it's sliced. The Corsairs have locked a postseason slot, while the Scorpions have been officially eliminated. More baffling, though, is their most recent common opponent in St. Louis. The Corsairs were handily defeated, while the Scorpions did the opposite and took down the Gladiators at home by 2 scores. So then why do we have the Corsairs sailing through this contest almost unchecked? Simple: they own the second best defense in the league as far as average points allowed per game - and Arizona scores, on average, the least amount of any of the teams in the SFL on any given gameday. Ashley Jackson and company were able to light things up two weeks back so hard that she captured her first Player of the Week award, but she'll need to play lights out if she and her desert team want to prove us wrong. Queen City by 12 - at least.
Atlanta Swarm 31
Las Vegas Fury 24

Sunday, April 5 | 9:00pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: Michael Trulio | Robert Garrett Jr.

I promised myself I'd write this entire week without using a single insect-related pun when talking about the Atlanta Swarm, and so help me, I will do my best to adhere to that rule. Mark Chisholm's team has been playing next level this season, capturing the first seed for the playoffs and generally stymieing opposing teams on both sides of the ball. On the other hand, the Las Vegas Fury have been a risky bet (I never said anything about Vegas puns!). While Max Jackson just took home a coveted Defensive POTW award for his standout performance against Arizona, he has a much larger job ahead of him keeping Marcus Dunhill and company in check. Add to the fact that Atlanta is sporting the 5th best offense and 3rd best defense in the league? Even the House is starting to sweat this bet. It's not over til it's over, but unless the Fury can double down and force the Swarm to bust, we fully expect Atlanta to run the tables on this one.

Bees! Ah, dang it.
Vancouver Legion 29
Sioux Falls Sparrows 28

Monday, April 6 | 7:30pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: Mike Daggs | Matt Willson

VANCOUVER'S SLIDE STOPS HERE. Ok, it was only a two week slide, but for the team that rode the undefeated wave the longest this season, it's still scary thing! Sioux Falls, unfortunately, continues their slide that began with a 35-17 walloping in their own nest at the hands of the Jacksonville Kings. While they remain at home, it still won't be enough to stop one of the most potent offenses in the league. Sudo Nakai and Tom Pepper have been jockeying for offensive supremacy (and perhaps an MVP nod, as well!) this season, and a win over the top-ranked Sparrows is exactly the kind of statement win they are looking for to close out the season. That having been said, it's never a good idea to count of the team from the Dakotas, as they've flown under many a radar this season. This could very well be the match-up to watch this week (aside from the Season 14 Unofficial Championship Game), as each teams will be jockeying for ultimate postseason position. The weather this weekend in Sioux Falls has temperatures dropping - perfect for the visiting Eternal Frost. Vancouver by one.
Denver Nightwings 17
Jacksonville Kings 24

Monday, April 6 | 9:30pm EST [FTF]
Broadcasters: Cameron Irvine | Charles Dougherty

Season 14 concludes with a game that, at the start of the season, looked much more exciting as a battle of teams, but now has much more exciting playoff implications. The Kings clinched last week off their considerably strong victory in Sioux Falls, while Denver took the business (and their secret weapon, the kicker who never sleeps) to the Vancouver Legion 29-27 to keep their postseason dream alive for the time being. Unfortunately for the reigning champs, that time and dream are drawing to a close as they come up against the 3rd best offense in the league. Denver will need a lot more than Kramer Jackman's regular season perfection if they want to squeeze a win out of their trip to Florida. Before the draft for Season 14, several of the attendees were asked for their hot takes for the season. One, who will not be named, said that their take was that Denver wouldn't just miss the title game, they'd miss the postseason. Against the current third seed, to prove that seer wrong will take more than just gumption. Then again, they did just trounce the #2 seed. Either way, we expect Jacksonville's momentum to be stronger in this game, and the win to travel home with them as well.

Season 14 Zero Guarantees Record: 63-47