As we reach the end of the season, teams that still have reasonable chances are jockeying for playoff positioning. For the home team in this matchup, the Lakota West Firebirds, anything but a playoff bid would be a disappointment. They come into the week projected to finish 5th in the Region 4 playoff standings. For the visiting Middletown Middies, it's a battle to stay in contention. They are currently expected to finish the season 1-9, which would put them around 17th in Region 4. The Firebirds are the favorites on Friday, projected to win the game by a score of 28-12. For Middletown, this is a chance to prove themselves legitimate by coming out on top against a solid opponent. For Lakota West, this week is simply about doing what's expected of them. 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 Firebirds have been superior, coming out on top in 5 of them. However, the past won't matter come kickoff. In 2018's matchup, the Firebirds came away with a 7-3 victory.
Middletown looks to get back on track this week as they come in on a 8-game losing streak. They are currently 1-8 after a 41-21 loss against the Mason Comets last week. While the Middies 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 22.5, up from their season average of 17.7, which ranks 59th in Division 1. Defensively, giving up 31.8 points per game, they rank 60th in the division.
Coming off of a 41-35 loss against the Princeton Vikings, Lakota West, hopes to build some momentum and rebound strongly with a win. The Firebirds offense will look to continue to improve as they've scored an average of 25.5 points per game over their last 2 games, up from their season average of 22.8, which ranks 42nd in Division 1. Defensively, they haven't been the strongest either in terms of points allowed. They give up 18.6 points per game, ranking 24th in their division.
Prediction: Lakota West to win (99.65% chance of victory)