Kraft Family Israel Football League: Jerusalem Big Blue Lions top seed as playoffs loom

The Kraft Family Israel Football League has one week remaining in the regular season, so let’s set the table and dive into all the different playoff scenarios.

The defending champion Jerusalem ‘Big Blue’ Lions have clinched the top seed and will host the winner of the Wild Card Game in the semifinals on Thursday, February 21st. In the meantime, they have one game against local rivals, the Judean Rebels, though at least this season the rivalry hasn’t been much of a rivalry. The Lions have been getting along just fine without reigning MVP David Abell, leaning on league rushing leader, rookie David Fitoussi to carry them to an undefeated record.

The Petah Tikva Troopers have clinched the second seed and will host the #3 seed in the semifinals on Friday, February 22nd. The Troopers have been plagued by the injury bug and need to get healthy if they want to advance to the finals and challenge the Lions. Danny Mikhailov, Dani Eastman, Avi Rosenblum and Avi Kol-El are all injured to one degree or another, and getting at least three of those four back healthy is critical for the Troopers.

The Haifa Underdogs currently own the #3 seed, but face #4 Tel Aviv Pioneers this Friday at Wingate Institute. The winner of the game on Friday will get the #3 seed. Haifa has been looking good in all three facets of the ball and will need to execute well to beat the Pioneers. Tel Aviv has enjoyed the return of Yuval Fenta and the emergence of Shachar Regev as a difference-maker whenever he is on the field, which is nearly every play.

The Judean Rebels sit at the 5th seed, the last playoff spot. They need a win against the Lions OR a Beersheva loss to Petah Tikva in the final week of play (this week) in order to make the Wild Card Game and play on the road against the Underdogs or the Pioneers.

The Beersheva Black Swarm is in 6th and needs a win against Petah Tikva AND a Rebels loss to the Lions to make the playoffs after falling just short against the Pioneers just a week ago. The Rebels own the tie-breaker between the two clubs due to a blowout victory early in the season, which gave the Judeans the head-to-head advantage over the southerners.

The Ramat HaSharon Hammers and Mazkeret Batya Silverbacks sit at 7th and 8th, respectively, and will play each other this Saturday night. .The game has no playoff implications but will be played for pure fun, and for the 7th place in the final table

!Here’s to a successful final regular season week and an enjoyable and healthy road to Israel Bowl XII