Jett Zero, Ray Bentley
Banner Image by Andy Hamilton

Three games remain. Quarterfinals were an exciting lot of games, from spectacular upsets to overtime thrillers, and now the final four stand. Of those teams remaining, only one of them has ever been to the Championship Game before – winning it every time they’ve made an appearance, to boot. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, though. Sioux Falls. Vancouver. Queen City. Atlanta. Two of these four teams will be in rarefied airs next week, and we here at Zero Guarantees have a hunch that we know who they are. To be fair, we did drop a game last week in our predictions, but we still hold the edge in the postseason by a single game. At time of publication, the community WhoYaGot was overwhelmingly in favor of the home teams, but lags behind Zero Guarantees by a single game. Three remain, though, and the winds of change could begin to blow at any moment. May the best team(s) win.

#4 Vancouver Legion 33
#1 Atlanta Swarm 38

Sunday, April 19 | 3:00pm EST [FTF]

Finally, one of the most anticipated match-ups of the season is here. The top two teams for most of Season 14 are finally on a collision course this Sunday as the Vancouver Legion head south of the border to attempt to take down the top-seeded Atlanta Swarm. It's hard to imagine that any game now could be MVP candidate and future HOF'er Marcus Dunhill's last, as he has already announced his retirement at the end of this season. Dunhill has been the heart and soul of of this Atlanta Swarm team and hugely responsible for their successes over the last 13 weeks, creating beautiful music with RB BDG Hollewood and receivers Boo Chisolm and Siege Falco. Anything other than a trip to the finals at this point would be a disappointment. The same could be said for Vancouver owner / head coach Andy Hamilton and his Eternal Frost. After reaching an impressive 8-1, the Legion dropped their last 3 regular season games to finish 8-4. It was tough for the Canada faithful to watch their top-seeded team tumble to the 4th seed in just a matter of weeks. To make things worse, the offense was still averaging the most points in the league and they were still losing. A strong win against Jacksonville in the quarterfinals did help boost Legion morale, but to dominate the league most of the season with the #1 offense only to not even make the finals would also be, in essence, a major let down. 2nd year RB Sudo Nakai looks to dominate the field this Sunday while helping take the pressure off the other MVP caliber quarterback this season, Tom Pepper. Captain Canada himself hopes to lead his franchise to their first ever championship, but they will have to take out the league's best teams in the process. As far as the semi-finals are concerned, I'm putting my pesos on the home team here, as the Swarm are undefeated at home so far this season. I don't see that changing anytime soon.
#7 Queen City Corsairs 24
#3 Sioux Falls Sparrows 17

Sunday, April 19 | 5:00pm EST [FTF]

My apologies to the Sioux Falls Sparrows for the majority of this write-up; I am being forced to eat so much crow based on my last QCC pick that I feel it a tad uncouth to do it around another bird-centric team. I digress.

Last Wednesday I confidently posited that Queen City would hold a close game against the Baltimore Vultures before being shipwrecked against the Vultures' statistical edge in the second. While parts of that were correct (the team names), boy was I off regarding just about everything else! Now the Sioux Falls Sparrows have the honor of hosting the Corsairs in the Semi-Finals, a scant 13.5 or so weeks since their thrilling Week One match-up. AJ Caswell of Queen City was able to hit Chris Curtis and Stephen Hacker for a combined 3 touchdowns, but they also held the ball for a less than a full quarter the Sparrows did. You read that right - Sioux Falls had a 27:56 time of possession of the rock over Queen City's 15:51, a full quarter, minute and five seconds more than the four-time champs. They needed it, too; all that time with the ball helped push Sparrows kicker Maxwell Falck into range to squeak out a single-point victory over the Corsairs. Now with a full season inbetween then and the present, how are things shaping up? Sioux Falls took out the league's top defense in Charleston with a confident 9-24 win last Sunday, while Queen City pillaged the coastal city of Baltimore to drop the #2 seed from the postseason entirely. The Corsairs hold the edge in the air, while Sioux Falls has the second best run game in the league. Colin Hart will be the key to Sioux Falls' victory here in the Dakotas, as Queen City's 9th-best rushing defense (on paper!) will have an uphill battle slowing him down. On the other hand, the Corsairs did just put a brick wall in front of #3 rusher T-Roy Gaines, holding him under 150 yards and 0 touchdowns. One way or another, we've got a game brewin', folks, but I feel ultimately that Queen City will sail away with another victory, on to the Championship game.

There is one last item to mention: it has been said that whenever Sioux Falls makes the postseason, whosoever eliminates them moves on to win the championship. Now in Semi-Finals, if the Sparrows can pull this off, they very well might have accidentally cursed themselves to win it all. Any given Sunday, folks. Any given Sunday.

Zero Guarantees Season 14 Playoffs Record: 5-1
Season 14 WhoYaGot Playoffs Record: 4-2