ELF Playoff Push: Three teams clinch as Wild Card Race heats up

With each team in the European League of Football having played 10 games and only two left in the regular season, the playoffs are quickly approaching, and there are plenty of teams fighting to get in.  Three teams have already punched their tickets, and there is only one more spot left in the four-team playoff bracket.  

Last week, the Hamburg Sea Devils, Vienna Vikings, and Barcelona Dragons all won their respective matchups, and all three clinched a spot in the playoffs in doing so.  These teams will likely make up the top three seeds in the bracket.  The Sea Devils and Vikings are tied atop the league standings at 9-1, while the Dragons are right behind them at 8-2.  If the season ended today, the Sea Devils would have the top seed in the league and would host a first round matchup against the wild card team.  On the other side of the bracket, the Vikings would host the Dragons.  There are still two weeks left in the regular season, and each of these teams will be trying hard to win their games while making sure to protect the health of their star players.  All three teams are well-deserving of a playoff spot and will be competing to take home the second ever ELF championship.

As for that last playoff spot, there are four teams trying to sneak into the postseason.  Here is a look at each team’s chances and remaining schedules.

Leading the wild card pack at the moment are the 7-3 Tirol Raiders.  They are in the driver’s seat for now, as they control their own destiny.  If they win their last two games, they will be in the playoffs.  Both of their remaining opponents, though, are also fighting for the wild card spot.  This week, the Raiders take on the 6-4 Frankfurt Galaxy, and next week they play the 6-4 Berlin Thunder.  Their road to the playoffs will not be easy, but it is theirs for the taking.

There are three teams that currently sit at 6-4.  The highest ranked one, based on tiebreakers, is currently the Berlin Thunder.  After losing last week to the Sea Devils, the Thunder will look to get back on track this week on the road against the Istanbul Rams.  If they can take care of business, their matchup with the Raiders in the last week of the season could decide which team makes the playoffs.

The Rhein Fire kept their season alive last week in a thrilling victory at home against the Galaxy.  With that game out of the way, they have fairly easy matchups in the last two weeks.  First, they take on the 2-8 Cologne Centurions, and then they meet up with the 2-8 Leipzig Kings.  If the Fire do not slip up, there is a decent chance they can sneak into that fourth seed of the bracket.  They will need other matchups around the league to go in their favor, though.

Finally, the Frankfurt Galaxy had a huge setback last week when they lost on the road to the Fire.  Now at 6-4, they have one more chance to save their season this week at home against the Raiders.  A win in that game would put them in a good position, as they end the season against the 0-10 Stuttgart Surge.  A loss in that game would mean they will be eliminated.  As the team who won the inaugural ELF championship, a missed postseason in the following year would be very disappointing.

Out of the four teams still fighting for the last playoff spot, there is a reasonable possibility for each team to make it in.  Berlin and Rhein should move to 7-4 next week with wins, while the Galaxy vs. Raiders game will be a must-watch game, considering all that is on the line.