In the first matchup of the 2018 playoffs, the Troy will play at home against the Harrison Wildcats in what looks to be one of the most competitive matchups of the season. The Wildcats come into the game as 2-point favorites, projected to come away with the victory by a score of 28-26. 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. The Wildcats, one of the top teams in Division 2, come into the game ranked 25th. The Trojans come in ranked 19th. 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.
Harrison comes into the game on a 5-game winning streak. After last week's 19-14 win against the Northwest Knights, they are 7-3 and look to continue the positive momentum. While the Wildcats haven't been the most high-powered offense throughout the season, they have been improving week to week. In the last 7 weeks, they've averaged 38.14, up from their season average of 32.9, which ranks 32nd in Division 2. They rank similarly on defense, coming in at 53rd in their division, allowing 25 points per game. That number has generally gone up in recent weeks as they've given up an average of 9.33 points in their last 3 games.
Troy is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 5-game winning streak, including last week's 7-6 win against the Piqua Indians. That brings their record to 9-1 as they look to add another notch to the win column. The Trojans have struggled on offense, scoring only 27.5 points per game over their last 2 games. On the year, they rank 27th in Division 2, scoring an average of 33.6 points per game over the course of the season. Defensively, they haven't been the strongest either in terms of points allowed. They give up 11.1 points per game, ranking 8th in their division.
Prediction: Harrison to win (86.86% chance of victory)