Week 12 is in the books and the playoffs are really beginning to take shape. At the conclusion of week 12 we have locked down four official playoff teams (Heeds, GBP, Canucks, Pescas), one unofficial playoff team (Rat Pack), and one likely (would have to try real hard not to get in) playoff team (Birdmen). Regardless of the final outcome, each division will be sending three teams to the playoffs.
Also locked up are both division titles, with the Crackheeds taking charge of the Joes and getting their second ever division title (last in 2005) and Jonny G assuming the Cobra throne and securing his first ever division crown. Remember, this is the fifth season of division play. Teams without a division title in their history? Only the Mormon Defenders and the Rat Pack.
What remains largely unclear is the seeding of the playoffs. The Crackheeds retain the top seed entering this week by a mere 9 point margin, so seeds 1 and 2 remain very much up in the air. The Canucks are in the driver’s seat with the 3rd seat on points and will retain that seed if they win this week. The sixth seed will be either the Defenders or the Birdmen. The remainder of the seeds are a total crapshoot and depend utterly on the week 13 results.
Week 12 was another week in which every winning team scored enough to beat every losing team, meaning it was quite the lopsided week. In total three of the games were official Beat Downs (Tm) – meaning games with a 40 point or greater margin of victory. A fourth game was less than a point away from a beat down (robbed!) and the “close” game of the week was still a 28 point rogering provided by the Rat Pack toward Cobra Kai. Additionally, every winning team scored over 100 points, and every losing team was below 100 points. In this regard and in regard to every team scoring enough to beat every losing team, this is the second time in three weeks this has happened, with week 10 being the other. Week 10 and Week 12 are the only two weeks where either has happened this season.
Glancing through the record book this week, here are some notables:
The Gang now have the hardest strength of schedule and the Crackheeds the easiest.
The Brown Trout are now the lowest scoring team in MLOM. In the seven other seasons in which team scoring was recorded, they have only finished out of the top half once – in 2005 they were the 8th highest scoring team. Conversely, the Rat Pack are the highest scoring team in the league, with 1313 points currently and one week left. They have NEVER finished higher than eighth (!) in scoring at the end of season. Their record season high for points was in 1374 in 2004 (the league’s highest scoring season – this total was good enough only for 8th that year).
Cobra Kai have 63 TDs to their credit – currently good enough for tops in the leauge
Los Pescaderos have 42 TDs to the their credit – currently good enough for worst in the league.
Well, it comes to it at last doesn’t it? The final battle is here. Week 13. Birdmen. Cobra Kai. Joe vs. Cobra. At stake? The inter-division title. Pride. The free world. How fitting it should come down to a rematch of Spirit Iron Knife versus Stormshadow? Let the shurikens fly. Let the eagle Freedom dart in and out and harangue Stormshadow. It’s time for both of these teams to get their ninja on.
These two met back in week 5 and Cobra Kai ended up victorious behind a blistering attack of Slaton, Johnson, Forte, and surprise weapon JT O’Sullivan. For the Birdmen, his Lee Evans (18 points) defense was good (very good Little Buhr) but not enough.
What shape will the game take this week? Fwats is anrgy and bitter. The Birdman resolute on securing a playoff spot. Everyone else holds their collective breath…
This Week’s Games
LT’s Crackheeds 126.13 over The Fightin’ Birdmen 86.73
Player of the Game: Drew Brees 41.34 points
The Crackheeds actually trailed by 26 points going into Monday night madness but when was all said and done Drew Brees and Lance Moore made it look easy with 63 points and 6 TDs between them. The win seals the division crown for the Crackheeds and more importantly a playoff bye. The Birdmen remain alive and well in the playoff hunt. They are likely to get in with only a faint glimmer of doubt to suggest otherwise. They are in with a win, a Defender’s loss, or if they are within 23 points of the Defenders final score, regardless of outcome. Still, being almost in is not the same as being in, and Commish wonders what kind of stress the Birdmen will endure this week. They’ve been at 6 wins since week 10 and have managed to drop two straight while watching several other teams march on by and storm into the playoffs. Also their string of four straight 100+ point games comes to and end this week. The Crackheeds on the other hand simply keep rolling on, stretching their league-leading winning streak to an impressive 7, which is now a franchise and league record. They shoot this week for their first ever official 10-win season (they actually did it in season one but results of that year are not recorded).
Fun Fact: LT’s Crackheeds move to 8-6 all-time against the Birdmen.
The Rat Pack 113.87 over Cobra Kai 85.46
Player of the Game: Ryan Lindell – 18 points.
In a game wrought with a lot of fire-power left on the bench, the Rat Pack finally end a 4-game skid by thumping Cobra Kai in the much heralded bitter bowl. WIth this win they sweep the Cobra Kai Dojo on the season and move unofficially into the playoffs; with their 1300+ points it would be nearly impossible for them not to make it, even if they sat their whole team this week. The Rat Pack started the season at 4-2 but are only 2-4 in the previous six weeks and thus their very mediocre 6-6 status. On their side is the fact that they lost 2 games by less than 1 point, a first in MLOM history for a single season. Perhaps just as important for the Pack is that they’ve put up 100+ points again after three straight weeks of mere double-digit output. On the other side of the bitter coin is the poor and lowly Cobra Kai, who over the course of the season have veered swiftly away from their supposed “No Mercy” policy only to end up giving out more mercy than just about everyone save Mother Theresa. Yes, a sad end for the mighty Kai, who have steadily lost more games each successive season since 2005 when they won an impressive 10 (which by the way, was their last season as 1.21 Jigiwatts.) When it mattered most – the past few weeks – they crumpled and only managed 100+ points once in their last four games. Fwats must be kicking himself for his RB choices this week, he left 46 RB points on the bench this week and only got 9 from his starters. His only trace of hope left for the year remains the chance to make Cobra victorious in the Inter-Division war and possibly play spoiler to the Birdmen.
Fun Fact: With this win the Rat Pack move to 7-4 versus the Cobra Kai. They sweep the season series.
Mormon Defenders 108.49 over Los Pescaderos 40.51
Player of the Game: Tampa Bay Defense – 26 points
The bar has been lowered. Gabe, apparently unsatisfied with his previous record for worst score ever in a MLOM game (Week 6, 2001, 46.96 points), and perhaps thinking that other teams were wandering too close to his mark (see Crackheeds, week 5), decided to stop fretting and actually do something it. What courage! Yes, it comes to this. We were close, SO close in fact to seeing our first sub-40 point game. Yeesh. Poor Gabe Buhr. What must have it been like for him to walk into his locker room, searching for his new quarterback only minutes before kickoff, only to find a looney and pantsless Donovan McNabb running to and fro in the showers and spreading his own feces all over the walls while laughing like a maniac? Or perhaps this was planned. Perhaps Los Pescas saw how the Crackheeds have bounced back from their shit-party in Week 5 and decided to use a similar toilet bowl up approach to initiate a playoff surge? We shall see. The good news is that the game was essentially meaningless for Los Pescaderos, as they are already in the playoffs, and despite the severity of this particular stink bomb it is still the only one they have this season. (Only two teams – The Rat Pack and Cobra Kai – remain stink-bomb free thus far this season.) The bad news is that this is the franchise’s 8th stink bomb and they are now only one away from the all-time league lead (the Rat Pack have 9).
On the other side of the fence the Defenders get themselves a beat-down win and keep just a little hope alive that they could be a playoff team this year. Odds are slim but the possibility remains. The Defenders break a 2-game losing streak and get back on the 100+ point pony, putting up their fifth such effort of the year (4 of those have been wins). They remain in a do or die situation of course with a tough game against the Canucks this week. They are also now officially Cobra Kai fans who must beat the Birdmen for the Defenders to have a prayer. Luckily – praying is exactly what the Defenders do.
Fun Fact: If only the Mormon Defenders could play Los Pescas every week. They sweep the season series (which accounts for 40% of their victories this year) and move to 5-5 all time against Gabe Buhr.
Crazy Canucks 162.16 over the Gang 99.53
Player of the Game: Randy Moss – 33.33 points
Strong work by the Canucks as they launch into the playoffs and set a franchise record in points in the process. This game was a blow-up, a beat-down, and basically everything the Canucks needed not only to secure a playoffs spot and get them in the right frame of mind to make a serious run at defending their title. And all this despite having every player on the road except for Kurt Warner. The Canucks chalk up their fourth straight win and have won five of their last six. The Gang, on the other hand, lose their 9th game of the season and continue to head for a franchise low. Despite getting 35 points from the Baltimore defense, they can’t quite manage to crack 100 points, something they’ve only done twice all year. At 3 wins they remain in the driver’s seat for the top pick in the 2009 draft.
Fun Fact: With this win the Canucks split the season series with the Gang, and move to 6-5 all time.
The GBP 129.55 over the Poo Fish 61.39
Player of the Game: Tony Gonazalez 21.53 points
Say hello to two teams going in different directions. The GBP cruise to another win in an effort to keep up with the Crackheeds in the race for the number one seed. With this win they lock down the Cobra Division and a coveted first-round bye in the playoffs. They continue to get solid across-the-board production without relying too heavily on any one star. They win their third straight and they’ve now emerged victorious in six out of their last seven. This is their seventh game over 100 points this season. And then there’s the Poo Fish, who in some ways might just be having their worst season ever. Yes they did go 3-10 back in 2005, but this season they’ve put up three stink bombs (all three coming in their last five games) and remember this is a team who only had two in franchise history coming into this season. They’ve only topped 85 points four times. Hard to say exactly what has gone wrong, but mostly it looks like injuries (and the Braylon Edwards fiasco) have done in this proud franchise. Bush, Chambers, Romo, Colston, Maroney, McGahee; just ask the 2007 Rat Pack that’s a hard thing to bounce back from. With their week 13 opponent (the Rat Pack) already in the playoffs, their really isn’t much left to play for for the Poo Fish in 2008.
Fun Fact: With this win the GBP split the season series with the Poo Fish and move to 7-5 all time against Little Buhr.
Player of the Week
Randy Moss – 33.33 points (8 catches, 125 yards, 3 TDs)
Brees got over 40 points but Commish would argue that even more impressive is a 30+ point game from a receiver.
Jon Fogerty sponsored Ronnie Brown Memorial Award
Michael Turner – 36.75 points (117 rush yards, 4 TDs)
Cassel put up 40+ again on the Poo Fish bench but given the stakes of the game for Fwats, and the fact this his starting running backs Parker and Slaton only generated 9 points combined…Commish has to go with the Burner.
“Put me in coach, I’m ready to play…”
Game of the Week
Rat Pack over Cobra Kai
The closest and most playoff shaping of all the games this week.
Team of the Week
Dropped a franchise best-ever 162 points and blasted their way into the playoffs in style.
Coach of the Week
The only coach who really nailed his optimal lineup this week, kept his team’s slim playoff hopes alive and managed to stay conscious despite the horrific stank emanating from his opponent.
Goat of the Week
Easiest call of the season. What else needs to be said? Enter, McFlabb and his negative 6.71 points. Hey Donovan, come get your horns.
Good luck to all teams this week!