As the end of the season draws near, playoffs are the only thing on any team's mind that still stands a reasonable chance. On Friday, two of these teams meet - the Arlington Red Devils and the Leipsic Vikings. The Red Devils come into the game projected to enter the playoffs as Region 26's 3rd best team at 8-2. The Vikings come into the game projected to finish 8-2 as Region 26's 2nd best team. Arlington will enter the game as a 9-point favorite, projected to win the game 29-20. This week's matchup pits two of the Division 7's best against one another. Arlington ranks 15th while Leipsic ranks 14th. This is an unpredictable matchup as the Red Devils, projected favoritees, will have to defeat the Vikings on their home field. Not only is it unpredictable from a standpoint of who will come out on top, but also whether it'll be a close game or a decisive victory for one of these teams. The teams are no strangers to one another, playing against each other in each of the last five years. Over their last 5 matchups, the Red Devils have been superior, coming out on top in 3 of them. However, the past won't matter come kickoff. In 2018's matchup, the Vikings came away with a 31-30 victory.
Looking to build upon their 5-game winning streak, Arlington comes into the week at 7-2. After their 33-0 win against the Van Buren Black Nights, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Red Devils offense has been one of the best in the division, especially in recent weeks. For the year, they rank 14th in Division 7 with 34.6 points per game. Over the last 4 weeks, they've scored an average of 34.6. Nevertheless, the defense could actually be the true strength of the team, which they've shown in their most recent contests. Over the last 5 games, they've allowed only 5.4 points per game. However, success on defense isn't just a recent trend - on the season, their defense ranks 10th in their division, allowing 11.7 points per game.
Leipsic tallied up a 29-25 win against the McComb Panthers last week, bringing their record to 8-1 - they'll look to add to the win column once again on Friday. The Vikings rank 13th in Division 7 on offense, scoring an average of 35.3. However, over the last 2 weeks, their average is down to 25 points per game. While their defense has given up more points than usual in recent weeks, they deserve every bit as much of the credit for this season's successes as the offense. Over the course of the season, they've given up an average of 17 points per game, which ranks 20th in their division.
Prediction: Arlington to win (86.00% chance of victory)