Week 16 picks

In the penultimate week of the regular season, I went 3-2 – extending my .500-or-better streak to 6 weeks. I can’t hit .500 overall this year – 4-for-4 this weekend will put me at 35-37, or .486. On the upside, the worst I can do this year is 31-41 or .431, which is what my prediction record was last year.

People have worried that eight of nine teams making the playoffs means there are fewer “meaningful games”, but nothing could be further from the truth this weekend. All the games have playoff implications for all the teams – even the Rock, who aren’t playing.

Buffalo is fighting for their playoff lives, as are Rochester and Colorado. In fact, Buffalo and Rochester are fighting each other for their playoff lives. If Rochester wins, Buffalo’s out. If Buffalo wins, Rochester’s fate depends on the Mammoth-Swarm game. The Mammoth can clinch with a win, but also if Rochester wins.

The rest of the teams are playing for their playoff seedings – I think the Swarm and Mammoth are the only teams who can’t host a playoff game. I won’t go over all the possibilities in the west since they’re complicated. They’re all listed on nll.com anyway. Suffice it to say that all the remaining games are crucial and nobody’s going to be mailing it in this weekend.

If I get my picks right, we’ll have Colorado crossing over to play the Rock and the Wings playing in Rochester. In the west, Edmonton will host Minnesota (with the Swarm ready for some payback for last year’s embarrassing playoff loss) and Calgary will play in Washington.

Record: 31-37 (.456)




ROC @ BUF Who shows up this weekend – the Bandits from last week or the Bandits from the previous six? Either way, Matt Vinc is in the running for Goaltender of the Year and as much as I’d hate to see John Tavares finish his career (not that that is a sure thing either) on a losing note, I’m giving this one to the Knighthawks. Knighthawks5
CAL @ EDM The Rush have only won twice at home this year, but Calgary will be without Dane Dobbie. The Rush would love the “first overall” title to go along with their first-ever home playoff game(s). I think Bold returns from an off week to shut down the Roughnecks – at least, as much as they can be shut down. As a Rock fan, I’d love to see the Rush lose this one so the Rock can clinch first overall, but I’m picking Edmonton. Rush4
COL @ MIN The Swarm are averaging over 16 goals in their last six games, and Callum Crawford has been the league’s best player over the last several weeks. The Mammoth have been playing fairly well, beating the Rush and Wings in recent weeks, and they beat the Swarm back in February, but they’re no match for the new and improved Swarm. Swarm
PHI @ WAS I took forever to make this pick and changed my mind a few times. Both teams have strong goaltending but have been inconsistent all season. But the Stealth have a better offense, and if Iannucci returns this weekend, he’ll be itching to show his stuff after being benched for two weeks. I know they’re 4-5 when I pick them and 4-2 when I don’t, but I have to go with the Stealth again. Stealth4

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