The postseason has arrived and the Canfield Cardinals enter their first round matchup against the Marlington Dukes projected to win by a score of 28-20. The playoffs are the best time of the year but also come with a great deal of drama as many powerhouses will even see their seasons cut short. Each week, it's do or die and, after this week is complete, half of the current playoff teams will be eliminated. The Dukes, one of the top teams in Division 3, come into the game ranked 28th. The Cardinals come in ranked 5th. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Friday's game is a chance for each to test its skills and strategies against an unfamiliar opponent. Strategically, this might lead to complications that could throw off the gameplan of either team.
Last week, Marlington dropped a game 29-8 against the Alliance Aviators. They'll look to get in the win column this week as they hope to finish out the season on a positive note. In recent weeks, the Dukes haven't been quite as successful producing points but they remain the 25th-ranked offense in Division 3, scoring an average of 31 points per game. On defense, their last few weeks haven't even done justice to how good they've been all season. They've given up 24.5 points per game over their last 2, down from their average of 14.2, which ranks 12th in their division on the season.
Canfield will look to continue the momentum of their 2-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 34-7 win against the Poland Seminary Bulldogs last week, bringing their record to 9-1. While the Cardinals haven't been the most high-powered offense throughout the season, they have been improving week to week. In the last 2 weeks, they've averaged 43.5, up from their season average of 30.5, which ranks 26th in Division 3. While the defense hasn't been much better, they have improved lately - while they average 8.7 points allowed per game, which ranks 3rd in their division, they've taken that average down to 6.5 points over the last 4 weeks.
Prediction: Canfield to win (99.17% chance of victory)