Playoff berths up for grabs in Japan XLeague’s crucial 5th round

The penultimate round of the Japan XLeague’s regular season see some big teams face off as well as games that will decide the ultimate playoff fate for others. Panasonic Impulse (#1) put their unbeaten record on the line against Obic Seagulls (#5). Elsewhere the 2-2 Finies meet the 1-3 Silver Star in a game that will have a huge impact on both teams postseason fate.


Nagoya Cyclones v. Club Hawkeye

2017 October 14th (Sat): Tsurumi Ryokuchi Osaka (12:00)

Both teams pulled off surprising wins last time out with Nagoya getting revenge for their defeat in the opener to Black Eagles, and HawkEye winning for the first time ever in X1. Cyclones won 18-7 two weeks ago when the game was in Nagoya. The teams drew 15-15 in the Pearl Bowl in the spring. The fact that the visitors are still in a chance of sneaking a wildcard slot give them the edge here.

Prediction: 14-10 (Cyclones)

All Mitsubishi Lions v. Tokyo Gas Creators

2017 October 14th (Sat): Fujitsu Stadium Kawasaki (14:00)

We’re going against the fans here as we’ve been on record as saying we think the Creators are the class of Battle Nine. Even if they don’t pull off the win, expect a close game. The Lions already have three points and even if they lose both this game and the one next week to Silver Star they could still make the playoffs but a win here would seal a place for them.

Prediction: 21-17 (Creators)

Fujitsu Frontiers v. Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers

2017 October 15th (Sun): Amino Vital Field Tokyo (11:00)

Frontiers lost their first game of the season the last time out when they fell to Panasonic 24-9 in Osaka. That game took place right after Challengers downed Tokyo Gas 24-0 on the same field. Asahi Beer is in a tough spot playoff wise as they have just two points and IBM to face after Fujitsu. One win would see them make the playoffs but if they lose both there is a strong possibility that they will be the Super Nine team that misses out. There is never a good time to play Fujitsu but coming off a loss the Kawasaki-based outfit are sure to be even more fired up and it’s hard to disagree with the fans vote.

Prediction: 31-0 (Frontiers)

Elecom Kobe Finies v. Asahi Beer Silver Star

2017 October 15th (Sun): Expo Flash Field Osaka (11:00)

Huge game for both sides. A win would seal a playoff spot for the Finies and take some of the pressure off heading into the Lixil game in week six. A win wouldn’t put Silver Star in the postseason but with a Battle Nine team (Lions) their final regular season opponent and with the Challengers having to face Fujitsu and IBM it would all but assure them of leapfrogging their sister company team. The key to the game will be the Finies offense. If they can score enough points their defense should be good enough to hold Silver Star.

Prediction: 21-17 (Finies)

Meiji Yasuda Penta Ocean Pirates v. Metropolitan Police Eagles

2017 October 15th (Sun): Amino Vital Field Tokyo (14:00)

The Pirates have been out of sorts this season and gave Minerva their first win in X1 in seven years last week. The Eagles conversely have been putting in much improved performances the last two outings. Still though we think the Pirates will take this one.

Prediction: 17-14 (Pirates)

Panasonic Impulse v. Obic Seagulls

2017 October 15th (Sun): Expo Flash Field Osaka (14:10)

Panasonic have looked good. Very good. Obic meanwhile haven’t been all that impressive at times. The fans are coming out strong in the Osaka side’s favor but we’re saying Ikaika Woolsey makes his first start and leads the Seagulls to the upset.

Prediction: 14-10 (Seagulls)

Bulls Football Club v. Fuji Xerox Minerva AFC

2017 October 15th (Sun): Amino Vital Field Tokyo (17:00)

The bottom two clubs in the standings and Minerva hadn’t won an X1 game in seven years before last week but we think there is still a gap between the two teams. The HawkEye loss seemed crushing for the Bulls players. Obviously they’d like to get a win at some stage but we just can’t see it coming here.

Prediction: 17-9 (Minerva)

As One Black Eagles v. Nojima Sagamihara Rise

2017 October 21st (Sat): Expo Flash Field Osaka (14:00)

The only surprise here is that 14% of people think that the Black Eagles have a chance of defeating the Devin Gardner-led Rise. Our prediction is that this will be over by halftime and the likely MVP will come out by then with one eye on the Panasonic game

Prediction: 49-0 (Rise)

Lixil Deers v. IBM Big Blue

2017 October 21st (Sat): Amino Vital Field Tokyo (16:30)

Surprising that IBM are so heavily favored in this one considering what happened last week. Definitely the chance of an upset here and we might have gone with Lixil were it not for the fact that we think the Finies game will have the Big Blue players looking for a bounce back performance. The Deers need one more win to ensure playoff football though and Kobe next week are no pushover either so they’ll be trying hard to get that here. We think it’ll be a close one.

Prediction: 21-20 (Big Blue)