Poland’s playoffs still up in the air going into home stretch

This year, in the PLFA Topliga, all but the last place team will make the playoffs.

In the quarter-finals #3 will host #6, #4 will host #5, and #1 & #2 will skip the first round and host the semi-finals, and with two weeks left in the season, only four things are certain: first the Wroclaw Panthers  have secured the #1 seed, second 4 other teams have clenched a spot in the playoffs, third the final seeds won’t be known until the final Sunday of the season, and fourth the 6 teams playing in the first week of the playoffs will have 6 days to get ready for the first round of playoffs.

Here’s a look at the league’s final match-ups, and each team’s paths to the various playoff rankings they can (mathematically) obtain:

13.05- Bialystok Lowlanders @ Wroclaw Outlaws
14.05- Husaria Szczecin @ Wroclaw Panthers
20.05- Husaria Szczecin @ Wroclaw Outlaws
20.05- Tychy Falcons @ Gdynia Seahawks
21.05- Warsaw Eagles @ Bialystok Lowlanders

Wroclaw Panthers (5-0)

The defending Topliga champions clenched the #1 seed on Friday night with their win over the Tychy Falcons. Even in the unlikely event they are upset by the Husaria Szczecin, next weekend, the worst they could finish is 5-1, which would put them one game ahead of anyone else in the league. In round one they will host the #2 seed, with the winner hosting the semifinal against winner of the 1st round game between #4 & #5 and the loser hosting a semifinal game against the winner of #3 & #6.

Gdynia Seahawks (3-2)

The 2016 runners-up, are currently in a 3-way tie for 2nd place, which may become a 4-way tie if the Bialystok Lowlanders beat the Wroclaw Outlaws next weekend. They will close the season at home against the Tychy Falcons, and win will guarantee them 2nd or 3rd, while a loss will put them at 4th or 5th. They beat the Warsaw Eagles but lost to the Lowlanders, meaning the Seahawks will need the Eagles to get the same results (win or loss) in Bialystok to ensure the higher seed in each of those two possibilities. Of course the Lowlanders being upset by the Outlaws, means a Seahawks win against the Falcons will clench 2nd place, regardless or who wins the Eagles/Lowlanders game.

Warsaw Eagles (3-2)

The Eagles started out the season with 3 straight wins, and are currently riding a 2 game losing streak, which has caused the race for the playoff seeds to burst wide open. They will close the season in Bialystok, and could wind up anywhere from 2nd to 5th. Having beaten the Falcons and lost to the Seahawks, and playing the day after the Seahawks & Falcons, the Eagles will know at the final whistle what seed they will have heading into the playoffs. A win by the Seahawks means the Eagles will be playing for 3rd or 4th, but a win by the Falcons will mean they are playing for 2nd or 5th place.

Tychy Falcons (3-2)

The 2016 PLFA1 champions, opened their first Topliga season with a week 1 loss to the Eagles, the Falcons went on a 3 game winning streak, which included a 3 point win over the Lowlanders, and with their loss to the Panthers last weekend have entered the logjam in the 4-way tie for 2nd place. The playoff seeding picture, in Tychy, looks like the one Gdynia is facing, but they are hoping that Lowlanders match their results, in the final week. A win in Gdynia will guarantee at least 3rd place, but a loss puts them in 4th or 5th. If the Lowlanders match their results, they will take 2nd or 4th, but if the Eagles have the same results, then the Falcons will take 3rd or 5th.

Bialystok Lowlanders (2-2)

Although the 2016 semifinalists are not, officially, in the log jam at 2nd place, their 3rd win is likely to come this weekend in Wroclaw, but the way the PLFA season has worked itself out, it is likely that many might see an upset by the Outlaws as just another game in the crazy 2017 season. Mathematically speaking, the Lowlanders could be seeded anywhere from 2nd to 6th. A win this week would put them in the 2nd place tie. a loss means they need to win and need the Falcons to win to take 3rd, since they would have the head-to-head advantage over both the Seahawks and Eagles. If they wind up losing both weeks, they would take 5th or 6th depending on if the Outlaws beat Husaria or not.

Husaria Szczecin (0-4)

Photo: Sławencjusz Klimkowsky

This year has been a little rougher than most for the Husaria, but despite the inability to taste victory, yet, the boys from Szczecin are the only ones, at this point, that completely control their own fates. If they do make the playoffs, the best they could hope for is a 6th seed, and that all comes down to a must win game with the Outlaws, in the final week. While an upset against the Panthers might provide them some added encouragement heading into the final weekend, it means nothing in the playoff picture, as they could wind up having the same record as the Outlaws, and the winner, of their last week showdown, will have the head-to-head tie breaker.

Wroclaw Outlaws (0-4)

The newly promoted team has not tasted a Topliga  victory since their promotion/relegation game win last summer. Much like the Husaria, no matter what they do this week, they can not make the playoffs unless the win in the final week against the Husaria, but unlike Szczecin, if the Outlaws upset the Lowlanders this week and beat the Husaria in the final week, they could take 5th place with a Lowlanders loss to the Eagles. In that scenario, both the Lowlanders and Outlaws would have a 2&4 record and the Outlaws would possess the head-to-head tiebreaker over

Gavin coached in all levels of NCAA, before coming to Europe in 2013. Gavin is the founder of 3D Football and is currently the Special Teams Coordinator and Defensive Coordinator for the Silesia Rebels in Poland's PFL1.