In the first round of the playoffs, there are usually a few games in each division that serve as a preview to the rest of the excitement we'll see as we approach the state championships. This week's matchup between the Jackson Ironmen and the Granville Blue Aces looks to be one of those games as the Ironmen comes into the game as 1-point favorites in what essentially amounts to a toss-up. 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. Jackson comes in as Division 3's 20th-ranked team. Granville comes in ranked 16th. A new game on the schedule for both teams, it should shape out as an unpredictable affair. Strategically, this might lead to complications that could throw off the gameplan of either team.
Looking to build upon their 2-game winning streak, Jackson comes into the week at 7-3. After their 20-7 win against the Chillicothe Cavaliers, they are confident in their ability to finish strong. The Ironmen have boasted one of Division 3's best offenses all season, averaging 38.7 points per game, which ranks 6th. In their last 5 games, they've been even better, scoring 46.8 points per game. On defense, they've been just as strong. Allowing just 17.2 points per game over the course of the season, their defense ranks 25th in their division. Over the last 2 weeks, they've been even more proficient, giving up just 3.5 points per game.
Granville is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 7-game winning streak, including last week's 33-7 win against the Watkins Memorial Warriors. That brings their record to 9-1 as they look to add another notch to the win column. The Blue Aces offense is one of the most high-powered in their division, particularly in recent weeks. For the year, they rank 21st in Division 3 with 32.1 points per game. Over the last 4 weeks, they've scored an average of 32.1. While their offense is solid, the defense deserves equal credit for the season's successes. Their 10.5 points allowed per game ranks 5th in the division and continues to get better week by week - in their last 3 games, they've given up just 7 points per game.
Prediction: Jackson to win (81.67% chance of victory)