This time of year there's two camps of franchises, one that have a clear opportunity for a playoff berth and those that are looking to find ways to land in the bottom four with a chance for the first overall rookie pick, and ultimately hope that they can pick up one gamebreaking player to turn their franchise around. So here's a look at where teams stand with three games left on the schedule.
The Worst 4 - This year there's some motivation to avoid being the worst squad as that team is on the hook for the following year's keg at the auction.
- Team Kitty (2-7-1) - With a squad devoid of much firepower, they are firmly in the #1 (worst) seed spot.
- Los Frijoles Pintos (3-7) - They've been snake bitten by the Peyton Manning injury, they are one of the squads with dreams of Andrew Luck dancing in their heads.
- Jack Trippers (3-7) - This team jumped on the "Suck for Luck" bandwagon early on, dealing away some '11 stars such as Calvin Johnson in hopes of adding other picks and ensuring their squad will tank.
- Naughty Thoughts (3-7) - Remarkably last year's Jankster Cup champion has fallen on hard times with bad luck (such as a heartbreaking 3 point loss this week when they had a solid WR playing on MNF).
- In the mix: Isotopes (3-6-1) - The Isotopes are only a half game out of the mix, making this an interesting final three weeks.
Summary: LFP is likely a lock due to three games ahead where they will be major underdogs (Fuego, Pomona & Firkin). The other four players each play each other (Isotopes & Team Kitty; Trippers & Naughty), and face off against surging playoff bound squads. So it's going to be a tight competition down the stretch.
The Next 4 - This is the group that generally just misses the playoffs, and in some cases will include great squads who got stuck in very good divisions (can you imagine Pomona missing the playoffs?).
- Isotopes (3-6-1) - Obviously they are only a half game out of the higher pick group, but they're also only 1.5 games out of the playoffs with games against both of the teams they are chasing. If they win all three, they'll get into the playoffs (@ 6-6-1) and could make a run like '04 when they entered at 5-8 and won three straight to win their 3rd consecutive cup.
- IMT (5-5) - They are still alive but will need to win out and get help. One loss and they're out, and will need lots of help to make it into the worst 4.
- Firkin Fanclub (5-5) - Both Firkin & Pomona are just a came out of their division and two games out of the wildcard, so its a stretch to put them here. In short they control their own destiny and could just as easily end up in the playoffs.
- Pomona Stoned Hens (5-5) - This is the hardest one, Pomona is one of the top three scoring teams and loaded (they have 6 of the top 30 WR's, the best QB by a wide margin and solid starting RB's), it would be crazy if they miss out but as of today they are a full game out of the playoffs.
- In the Mix: BeaverCats (7-3) - While they are the #3 overall power ranking team, they still need at least one more victory to ensure a playoff berth. Fightin Irie (5-5) & Strongfighters (5-5) are tied for their division lead, if either loses two of their final three, they could slip from the playoff picture (with Isotopes coming up). At this stage both South Whore (6-4) & Short Bus (5-4-1) are in the driver's seat given the two weak common division opponents and a 2+ game lead for the wildcard spots.
Summary: Three of these teams control their own playoff destiny (sans IMT), the next week will help clarify (or further confuse) this picture.