We're down to the final two weeks of inter conference play and the jockeying for haves and have nots is in full swing. With the trade deadline two weeks away, these next two weeks will define who is truly a seller and who is a buyer. This week also features some high quality match ups, so here they are.
Beavercats (4-4) vs. Engel Shiz (6-2) - The Beavercats are off to a slow start this year and have been snake bitten on the injury front but the team that has played in 4 of the past 5 Jankster Cups (winning 2) is taking on the upstart, new franchise Engel Shiz who has arguably the best starting lineup (and depth) in all the league. Both teams are in the playoff hunt but chasing division leaders, so neither can afford to slip up. The oddsmakers have this one a bit closer than I feel it will be (117-111), my money is on Engel Shiz dropping the week's high score and the Beavercats just barely hitting the century mark, making this an easy win for the newcomer.
BJeezy (3-5) vs. Los Frijoles Pintos (5-3) - These are two squads going in opposite directions, Bjeezy has been hot of late and gets their young, hot prospect quarterback (Nick Foles) back into the mix in a never too late run at a final playoff spot. Thanks to a strong Thursday night performance from disappointing Lamar Miller and a bye week for Peyton Manning (LFP's top player) they are on their way. While the beans look like a team in a tailspin, they've lost Doug Martin to shoulder injury, likely Justin Blackmon to stupidity, I mean a drug addiction, and several others such as Jay Cutler leaving an already thin roster playing a few borderline starters. Both teams are desperate, BJeezy more than the Beans but neither can afford to lose given their respective predicaments. Oddsmakers have made BJeezy a major favorite (82-52), my money is on the score being even more lopsided.
South Whore (2-6) vs. Fuego (4-4) - The Jibbers are getting hot a little too late. The rookie production from Eddie Lacy & Terrance Williams, and improved play from Joe Flacco & Antonio Brown and recent strong free agent addition of Jason Campbell has them looking competitive. The problem is its a lot too late, unless they can win six straight, the odds are heavily against them qualifying for the playoffs, so at this point it's a question of whether they are an "four worse" or not. Fuego on the other hand was a preseason Jankster cup favorite that has been hurt by stud injuries (CJ Spiller) and the total collapse of Josh Freeman as a competent NFL starting QB. Thanks to superstar production though from Drew Brees, Dez Bryant and Jimmy Graham, they're still in the driver's seat for not only a playoff spot but the division crown. However a win here is critical, so you have one team building momentum but secretly hoping to lose and another needing to secure an obvious win. Odds say this will be a tight matchup (jobbers favored 98-97), my gut says Fuego wins this on the way to a strong finish to the season and a division title.
Naughty Thoughts (3-5) vs. BINGO (2-6) - This is another tail of team teams and agendas; Naughty sold off all assets deemed non-strategic and is hoping to finish in the worse four while BINGO loaded up in an effort to make a strong playoff push. The problem for BINGO is they've struggled since loading up and a loss this week would turn them into sellers ahead of the trade deadline. Missing several key players on bye, the pressure is on Marshawn Lynch & Philip Rivers to step up and carry them over the depleted Naughty squad. However Naughty has Russell Wilson, Josh Gordon and DeMarco Murray all facing meaty defenses so big time performances could turn out the lights on BINGO and put Naughty on the outside looking in on the worse four. Odds though favor BINGO (88-76) and I'd say it's not that close when everything is said and done.
Delta Mad Dawgs (6-2) vs. Short Bus (6-2) - The matchup of the weekend pits two division leaders looking to expand their respective leads under the bright lights of national tv. The harsh realities though of this matchup are it lacks the normal punch of these squads. Short Bus is missing both its starting quarterbacks and several star receivers to bye weeks (Kaep, Stafford, Larry Fitz) while DMD is missing Carson Palmer, D. Thomas & Cecil Shorts. At this point the game means a lot more to DMD given the cluster in the division (2 teams w/in 2 games of them) vs. the Bus who has a three game lead in their division. Regardless of who needs this game more or not, it's a prime matchup that's neutered because of bye weeks. Odds makers say the Bus wins (88-80) but my money would be on a tighter matchup, one that DMD may win if McCown can impact the squad.
Isotopes (7-1) vs. East Bay Funk (5-3) - The other national audience telecast features a much more compelling matchup of mostly full strength squads looking to maintain their respective playoff positioning and trash talk for the rest of '13 and beyond. The Isotopes have the best record in the conference and like the KC Chiefs, feature a strong balanced attack that have left them win many tight, highly contested contests. Thanks to consistent performers sprinkled with a handful of stud ones, they're a win away from securing a playoff spot after several spotty seasons. On the other hand one of the strongest teams has run into spotty performances which has left them in the playoff mix but far from certain. What's interesting is the Isotopes have run with virtually the same roster they entered the year with while the Funk has loaded up, so this will be a battle of consistency vs. boom/bust that the odds makers say will go to the Isotopes (112-101) but my money would be on closer result with East Bay Funk finding a way to get the victory.
Team Kitty (3-5) vs. Monkey Fust (2-6) - Talk about a tale of two teams, Team Kitty once was 3-1 but after a couple losses sold every viable non-long term player and have them in a position where they nearly possibly can't win another one this year. Which also means they're nearly a lock for the #4 pick. Monkey Fust is also playing for next year but features a legitimate starting lineup and will win this one going away. Oddsmakers have the spread at 60 (92-32), my gut says they won't cover but the spread will be titanic like.
Pomona (1-7) vs. Strongfighters (5-3) - I feel like a broken record when I say Pomona is a team playing for next year but it's true. They're one of 5 teams who have effectively given up (along with Team Kitty, Monkey Fust, Naughty and South Whore) likely to be joined by a few additional teams the next few weeks. Strongs on the other hand have a strong lineup, top to bottom, and are desperate for a win to keep pace in the league's toughest division (PAAFC South). A win this week puts them within approx. one more of a playoff spot and gives them an edge on any tiebreaker with other wins/losses. Oddsmakers have this as a bigger landslide as the Kitty/Fust matchup (114-48) but my gut says it's closer.