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 Northwood Rangers, anything but a playoff bid would be a disappointment. They come into the week projected to finish 7th in the Region 18 playoff standings. For the visiting Cardinal Stritch Cardinals, it's a battle to stay in contention. They are currently expected to finish the season 5-5, which would put them around 14th in Region 26. The Rangers are the favorites on Friday, projected to win the game by a score of 54-17. The Rangers come into the game ranked 13th in Division 5 while the Cardinals comes in ranked 55th in Division 7. While the Rangers look forward to a potentially dominant home victory, the Cardinals come in looking for the huge upset. One of the more familiar matchups of week 10, both teams know what to expect. Northwood will hope to continue the recent trend, in which they've won 5 of the last 5 matchups. In the most recent season's matchup, the Rangers proved superior, winning 52-18.
Cardinal Stritch hopes to build off of last week's 44-16 win against the Hilltop Cadets and finish the season strong. The Cardinals offense hasn't been particularly great this season in terms of point production, a trend which continues into recent weeks. Over their last 5 games, they've scored an average of 14.2 points - this season they've averaged 24.3, which ranks 51st in Division 7. 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 70th in their division on the season with 30.3 points allowed per game, they've given up an improved average of 25 points over their last 4 games.
Northwood is no stranger to winning recently as they come off of a 9-game winning streak, including last week's 43-7 win against the Ottawa Hills Green Bears. That brings their record to 9-0 as they look to add another notch to the win column. Thus far, the Rangers offense has averaged 51.3 points per game offensively, which ranks 1st in the state. In recent weeks, they've been even more powerful, scoring an average of 55.2 points per game over the last 5 weeks. Nevertheless, the defense could actually be the true strength of the team, which they've shown in their most recent contests. Over the last 2 games, they've allowed only 8.5 points per game. However, success on defense isn't just a recent trend - on the season, their defense ranks 12th in their division, allowing 14.4 points per game.
Prediction: Northwood to win (99.98% chance of victory)