Friday's matchup between the Field Falcons and the Norton Panthers takes place between two teams that, as of now, most likely will not earn postseason bids. Currently, the Falcons and the Panthers are projected to finish 9th and 12th in their respective regional playoff standings. Field enters the week as a 4-point favorite and will look to expand their playoff chances with a victory on Friday. With two teams coming in expecting the win, we won't know for sure who's the better team until they take the field on Friday. The teams have played each other in each of the last five years so neither is likely to surprise the other. Over their last 5 matchups, the Panthers have won 3, a trend they hope to continue. In the most recent season's matchup, the Panthers proved superior, winning 41-10.
Field is 4-5 after their 35-6 win against the Coventry Comets last week. This week, they look to build on that victory on the way to what they hope will be a strong finish to the season. While the Falcons offense has not been particularly great, ranked 44th in Division 4 with 27.6 points per game, they have improved in recent weeks, averaging 34.25 points over their last 4 contests. They aren't a top defense in terms of points allowed either, but they have given up less points in recent weeks. While they rank 69th in their division on the season with 27.6 points allowed per game, they've given up an improved average of 21.5 points over their last 4 games.
Coming off of a 21-14 loss against the Cloverleaf Colts, Norton, hopes to build some momentum and rebound strongly with a win. While the Panthers haven't been the most high-powered offense throughout the season, they have been improving week to week. In the last 3 weeks, they've averaged 24.67, up from their season average of 19.6, which ranks 80th in Division 3. Their defense, while not a top defense in Division 3, has shown signs of improvement. They currently rank 76th in the division with 27.1 points allowed per game, but have allowed an improved average of 10.5 points over their last 2 games.
Prediction: Field to win (91.58% chance of victory)