It’s playoff time in Brazil!

As the regular season is practically over, only “win or go home” matches lie ahead in Brazil’s BFA League.

While the Northeastern Conference playoffs have already started, regular season is yet to come to an end in the Midwest. Southern and Southeastern playoff pictures are set after decisive matchups in the last two weekends. Relegation is now settled for the four most desperate teams in BFA Elite, and the fight for promotion in BFA Acesso is also close to definition. Have a look at the preview for the playoffs and a quick analysis from the last games!

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE:

Fighting for the top seed, Galo FA met their local rivals América Locomotiva in Belo Horizonte last Sunday morning. The current two-time champions had no difficulties and won 28-0. Locomotiva (2-4) will miss the playoffs after getting a #3 seed last year, and now makes plans for 2020, since import QB Jeremiah Aycock announced his retirement following yet another leg injury in the first quarter. Galo (6-0) hosts the Tritões (4-2), who traveled to São Paulo to beat the Storm (1-5) by 20-13 on Saturday, despite playing with a 30-man roster.

Parris Lee runs the ball for Galo against Locomotiva. Photo: Tiago Munden

Despite going to Rio de Janeiro and losing 31-6 to the Vasco Almirantes, the Corinthians Steamrollers have snuck out of relegation once again with a 1-5 record. That one win came after a thrilling 28-12 victory against the Challengers FA early in October. The Macaé Oilers, on the other hand, failed to perform a miracle and lost to Portuguesa FA by 42-7. The Oilers (0-6) will go down as the only winless team in the conference, as Portuguesa (5-1) secures the #3 seed and travels to play #2 Almirantes. Also missing the playoffs, Flamengo Imperadores finishes 3-3 and Challengers FA 2-4 after the former beat the latter by 34 unanswered points.

SOUTHERN CONFERENCE:

On October 12th, the Santa Maria Soldiers traveled to Gaspar to beat the Black Hawks FA by 14-7 despite missing their starting QB, Douglas Rodrigues, due to a concussion. On the very next day, Timbó Rex took a trip to Curitiba and defeated Paraná HP by 37-13. Those results settled the standings as expected: T-Rex #1, Soldiers #2, Black Hawks #3 and HP #4, making the conference semifinals a couple of rematches from these two games, but this time the homefields are flipped.

T-Rex beats HP again and takes the #1 seed. Photo: Richard Ferrari

After beating the São José Istepôs by 12-0, the Jaraguá Breakers escaped relegation as their rivals sunk into it. The postponed game between the Breakers and the Soldiers, in which the latter beat the former by 9-0 last Sunday, had no effect on the standings, since each team had its fate already clinched, and so a lot of second-stringers were tried out on both sides.

MIDWESTERN CONFERENCE:

After getting 0 points in all of its five games and giving away the three biggest scores in BFA history, the Brasília Templários would have hosted the Campo Grande Predadores once more, but the team from Brasília forfeited the game and, therefore, lost by 49-0. Relegation is automatic, but the walk off score is still better than any other one they had in the five previous games. The Predadores (2-3) travel to Brasília again for a postponed match to finish the regular season. The game against the Leões de Judá (3-2) will be a pre-playoff duel, as whoever wins it secures the 2nd place in the Central division.

Cuiabá Arsenal struggles, but beats the Hornets at home. Photo: Junior Martins

In the Western division, Cuiabá Arsenal hosted the Sorriso Hornets for the #2 seed. Maintaining the motto of “close games only”, the sides from Mato Grosso performed a real defensive thriller, won by Cuiabá by 7-6. Arsenal (5-1) takes the division and hosts the Central division’s 2nd place (TBD). The Hornets (4-2) take a trip to Brasilia to face the undefeated Tubarões do Cerrado.

NORTHEASTERN CONFERENCE:

The playoffs in the Northeast had an early start this season, as conference semifinals are already decided. After an overwhelming 52-21 win in the regular season, the João Pessoa Espectros had a tougher time beating the Ceará Caçadores in the semifinals two weekends ago. In a rainy playoff-inauguration matchup, the Caçadores went to João Pessoa and got an early seven-point lead. Before halftime, the hosts tied the game after Alex Niznak connected a pass to the endzone. In the third quarter, Diego Aranha kicked a field goal and secured the comeback. After many fourth-quarter penalties, the score remained 10-7 as the clock ran off. The Espectros proceed to their tenth-straight conference finals.

In a defensive showdown, the Espectros beat the Caçadores and made it to yet another conference final. Photo: Anderson NS Silva

Last Sunday the Bulls Potiguares traveled to face the undefeated Recife Mariners, as the hosts won by 33-0. The undefeated white-and-blue side from Recife was led by American quarterback Jake Schimenz, who had 4 touchdown passes in this game. Now the Mariners will host the Espectros in Recife for the conference trophy in November.

THE PLAYOFFS:

Recife Mariners vs. João Pessoa Espectros (Nov. 3rd)

Galo FA vs. Tritões FA (Nov. 2nd)
Vasco Almirantes vs. Portuguesa FA (Nov. 2nd)

Southeastern Conference Championship Game: November 16th

Tubarões do Cerrado vs. Sorriso Hornets (Nov. 2nd)
Cuiabá Arsenal vs. Leões de Judá/Campo Grande Predadores (Nov. 3rd)

Midwestern Conference Championship Game: November 16th

T-Rex vs. Paraná HP (Nov. 2nd)
Santa Maria Soldiers vs. Black Hawks FA (Nov. 2nd)

Southern Conference Championship Game: November 16th

RELEGATION AND PROMOTION:

All finishing 0-6 in the Season, São José Istepôs, Brasília Templários, Macaé Oilers and Natal Scorpions will need to play BFA Acesso in 2020 if they want to get back to the Elite. In the 2019 lower tier, a lot of teams look promising for the next year, but still need to battle a lot to qualify.

Brasília V8 looks strong as they host newcomers Goiânia Saints for the Midwestern spot. In the Northeast, Recife Apaches, Caruaru Wolves and Carrancas FA look like the strongest candidates to give the state of Pernambuco a third team in the top tier, as they await on wildcard matchups to set the semifinals. Back down South, the Brown Spiders (winners of the first full-pads match in Brazilian history) are looking strong, but also undefeated Armada Lions are coming up strong for a potential clash in the conference final.

In the Southeast, 2019 São Paulo Football League champions Rio Preto Weilers are the only undefeated side in the regular season and look strong to finally make it to the Elite this year, after barely missing it in 2016 and 2017. With American imports Alex Cardenas and Bejoe Mundit, Contagem Inconfidentes looks like the next best team in the battle, but they need to get their defense going. Blaze FA is the dark horse in this race since they’ve lost home field advantage, but promising quarterback Bernardo Teixeira is the upside of the Rio de Janeiro team.

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