The first round matchup between the Buckeye Bucks and the Alliance Aviators should be one of the more exciting matchups of the week. The Bucks come into the week projected to win by a score of 33-24. It's do or die for each team as always in the postseason. Regardless of the outcome, each team can take comfort in the fact that they had a successful enough season to get here, but only one team will be satisfied with the result as the other's season will end on a loss. The Aviators rank 42nd in the division while the Bucks rank 14th. The teams did not appear on each other's schedules last season, which presents a degree of unpredictability. Stylistically and schematically, past matchups are often used as a guiding tool. This week, however, each team will likely take time to adjust to an unfamiliar opponent, which should make for some added excitement.
Looking to build upon their 5-game winning streak, Alliance comes into the week at 7-3. After their 29-8 win against the Marlington Dukes, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. While the Aviators 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 35.5, up from their season average of 23.5, which ranks 62nd in Division 3. They rank similarly on defense, coming in at 42nd in their division, allowing 19.6 points per game. That number has generally gone up in recent weeks as they've given up an average of 9 points in their last 5 games.
Buckeye is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 9-game winning streak, including last week's 41-10 win against the Brookside Cardinals. That brings their record to 9-1 as they look to add another notch to the win column. Scoring an average of 35.6 points per game on offense, the Bucks rank 12th in Division 3. They've been even more dominant in recent weeks, scoring an average of 46.67 over their last 3 games. While their offense is solid, the defense deserves equal credit for the season's successes. Their 15.5 points allowed per game ranks 17th in the division and continues to get better week by week - in their last 5 games, they've given up just 8.4 points per game.
Prediction: Buckeye to win (98.24% chance of victory)