In the playoffs, anything can happen. At least that's what the Rootstown Rovers are hoping as they come into Sunday as 30-point underdogs against the Manchester Panthers. 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 Rovers, one of the top teams in Division 5, come into the game ranked 48th. The Panthers come in ranked 14th. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Sunday's game is a chance for each to test its skills and strategies against an unfamiliar opponent. Strategically, this might lead to complications that could throw off the gameplan of either team.
Rootstown comes off of a 33-20 loss against the Southeast Pirates and will look to rebound this week as they hope to finish out the season strong. While the Rovers offense has not been particularly great, ranked 26th in Division 5 with 33.2 points per game, they have improved in recent weeks, averaging 41.5 points over their last 2 contests. On defense, they rank 38th in the division, giving up 20.6 points per game.
Manchester will look to continue the momentum of their 4-game winning streak, the most recent addition to which was a 27-7 win against the CVCA Royals last week, bringing their record to 7-3. While the Panthers haven't been the most high-powered offense throughout the season, they have been improving week to week. In the last 4 weeks, they've averaged 32.5, up from their season average of 29.5, which ranks 38th in Division 5. They've played at a simiar level on defense, ranking 29th in their division, giving up 19 points per game. Over their last 3 games, however, they have made progress, giving up an average of 11 points per game.
Prediction: Manchester to win (99.16% chance of victory)