Chinese National Football League heading past midseason

Right before the Chinese national holiday, there were two important games played on the weekend of September 27/28 as the Chinese National Football League hits midseason.

A clash in the East between teams fighting for playoff spot, and heavyweight clash of unbeatens in the North. When the dust was settled, the playoff picture became clearer as two decisive victories played out.

Hangzhou Smilodons 32 – Shanghai Street Cats 0

In Hangzhou a bit of a surprise emerged as the Smilodons finally broke through and earned their first win of the season with a very strong performance against the Shanghai Street Cats. The Smilodons defense, their strength this season, once again had another solid performance, including a score of their own, and the Street Cats offense could never really threaten the Smilodons defense.

With this win, the Smilodons (1-2) moved into third place in the East Division and if they can beat their cross-town rivals the Hangzhou Generals in November, they are assured a playoff spot. For the Street Cats (0-2), this season has gone from bad to worse as it will take a miracle for them to make the playoffs. They will have to get it together for their remaining two games if they want to make the postseason.

Beijing Barbarians 30 – Taiyuan Troops 10

In Taiyuan the Beijing Barbarians faced their first real test of the season and came through with a solid 30-10 victory. The Barbarians showed off their balance as their punishing defense controlled the game throughout and despite the Troops putting up a tough resistance early on, eventually the Barbarians offense were able to score enough points to put the game away.

The Barbarians moved to 4-0 and are within touching distance of a second straight division championship. However, their opponent for their final game of the regular season are the 3-1 Qingdao Conquerors. While the Barbarians will be the heavy favorites in that game, Qingdao has had a lot of time to rest and train, and a win by the Conquerors would throw the North division standings into chaos.

For the Troops (3-1), while their first loss of the season was a stinging reminder of just how far they have to go, this is still a strong team. Their next matchup, against the 1-2 Beijing Iron Brothers, suddenly gains a bit of intrigue as while the Taiyuan are virtually assured of a playoff spot, the Iron Brothers are mathematically still alive for the third seed in the playoffs. Taiyuan will be the favorites in that game, but the Iron Brothers have the luxury of playing at home with a full roster, and both teams know that this is a must-win situation for either team. Taiyuan clinches with a win while the Iron Brothers, due to terrible tiebreakers, will need to win big and needs other games to fall their way.

With the league off before their second biggest holiday of the year, the playoff picture in the east got clearer while the reigning kings of the north continue to keep a hold of their crown. With the country taking a week off, football fans in China will have to wait until October 12th for the league to restart!

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