The first round of the playoffs is where most of the more lopsided matchups happen in the postseason. Saturday's matchup between the Riverside Pirates and the Minster Wildcats is one of those matchups, the Wildcats projected to advance to the second round with a 39-8 victory. 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 Pirates rank 25th in the division while the Wildcats rank 2nd. A new matchup on the schedule for each team, Saturday'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.
Riverside comes off of a 21-7 loss against the Lehman Catholic Cavaliers and will look to rebound this week as they hope to finish out the season strong. While the Pirates 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 33, up from their season average of 25.2, which ranks 41st in Division 7. On defense, they'll also be looking for improvement, which they have shown signs of in recent weeks. Over their last 5 games, they've allowed an average of 9.4 points, an improvement over their 32nd-ranked season average of 20.2.
For Minster, Saturday is a chance to expand on a 2-game winning streak after their 25-15 win against the New Bremen Cardinals brought their record to 7-3. The Wildcats offense hasn't been particularly great this season in terms of point production, a trend which continues into recent weeks. Over their last 4 games, they've scored an average of 19.25 points - this season they've averaged 29.5, which ranks 28th in Division 7. They've played at a simiar level on defense, ranking 28th in their division, giving up 19.8 points per game. Over their last 3 games, however, they have made progress, giving up an average of 7.33 points per game.
Prediction: Minster to win (99.97% chance of victory)