JAPAN: Top 4 face off in regular season finale

The Xleague’s regular season comes to an end this week with playoff places and seeding up for grabs. The top four ranked sides meet at Yokohama Stadium on Sunday. Last seasons Japan X Bowl finalists Fujitsu Frontiers and Obic Seagulls take the stage after the clash between the leagues number one defense Panasonic Impulse, and number one offense Nojima Sagamihara Rise. Promises to be a great weekend of football.


Fan Vote %

Inside Sport Japan: Power Ranking                                    Inside Sport Japan: Power Ranking

2017 October 28th (Sat): Yokohama Stadium (11:00)

Last chance for the Bulls to salvage something from the season. Trouble is the Eagles beat them 46-7 when the teams last met in June during the preseason Pearl Bowl tournament. Basically comes down to how the Bulls react to two crushing late defeats. Do they just try to get the season over with or do they come out firing and try and restore some pride?

Prediction: 21-17 (Eagles)

2017 October 28th (Sat): Yokohama Stadium (14:00)

A win for either side combined with Cyclones and Black Eagles losing might actually lead to a wildcard slot (tiebreakers permitting). Pirates have won two of three and Tokyo Gas have been shutout three straight games (albeit against much stronger opposition) so we’ll go with the hot hand – ok the lukewarm hand.

Prediction: 14-10 (Pirates)

2017 October 28th (Sat): Yokohama Stadium (17:00)

Minerva now have two straight wins in X1 for the first time ever so confidence is bound to be high. Cyclones had the easiest schedule by far in the XLeague but win this and they are in the playoffs and that should be motivation enough.

Prediction: 13-12 (Cyclones)

2017 October 29th (Sun): Yokohama Stadium (11:00)

Wow. Not much love for the #2 ranked team from the fans. We agree that Panasonic should win this but think it’ll be close. Number one offense lead by almost certain MVP Devin Gardner up against the leagues top defense. Exciting prospect. Gardner will also see the man he replaced at Nojima, Benjamin Anderson, lead a Panasonic offense, that while not as spectacular as Nojima’s, has the ability to impose its will and march down the field consistently. Nojima can score but probably won’t get as many points as they normally do. The key will be whether or not their defense can similarly limit Panasonic.

Prediction: 35-28 (Impulse)

2017 October 29th (Sun): Expo Flash Field, Osaka (11:10)

IBM have lost two of three and that one win was in double overtime in a game that looked lost. Bar getting everyone healthy though, there isn’t much they can do. The players are there and as evidenced early the season, so is the play calling. Will they rest starters more and try and heal up ahead of the playoffs? Probably not. Challengers similarly have seen the defense outperform the offense so far this season. Of course that’s to be expected as it normally takes longer to build on that side of the ball. This game looks a lot closer than it did three weeks ago but hard to see IBM dropping two straight.

Prediction: 21-10 (Big Blue)

2017 October 29th (Sun): Yokohama Stadium (14:00)

JXB rematch. Fans giving Fujitsu a significant advantage. It’s true Obic haven’t performed like they would have expected this season but they are definitely trending upwards. Neither side really has hit the heights yet. Both obviously have the big prize in sights and will step it up in the playoffs. Can’t see this being anything but a close game.

Prediction: 21-21 (Tie)

2017 October 29th (Sun): Expo Flash Field, Osaka (14:10)

65% of fans thinking Finies have the advantage owes something to Elecom retweeting the poll and Lixil not doing so. Still and all this figures to be a good game. Lixil are much improved from the start of the season and the Finies are a stronger side than anyone imagined. Their defense should be able to hold Deers scoring down but as always the question is can the offense get the points against an upper half team.

Prediction: 24-14 (Deers)

2017 October 29th (Sun): Yokohama Stadium (17:00)

Lions 4-1. Silver Star 1-4. Fans favoring the latter two to one. Certainly shows the gap between the Super 9 and the Battle 9. Asahi Beer miss out on the playoffs and All Mitsubishi are in regardless of the result here so there isn’t much at stake, but you have to figure Silver Star want to finish the season with a strong win.

Prediction: 28-7 (Silver Star)

2017 October 29th (Sun): Expo Flash Field, Osaka (17:10)

Playoffs at stake for Black Eagles. Nothing at stake for HawkEye. Really that’s all you need to know for a rematch of the week two contest that As One won 23-0. They’ve lost three straight since then but they won’t here.

Prediction: 21-3 (Black Eagles)