Portugal: Top 4 teams head into semifinal round

The Portuguese Federation of American Football, Federação Portuguesa de Futebol Americano – FPFA. kicks off its playoffs this weekend with four teams left in the semifinal round.

The championship final is scheduled for May 25.

The #1 seed Porto Mutts (5-1) will play host to the #4 seed Lisboa Navigators (2-3-1) in one game while the #2 seeded Cascais Crusaders (5-1) will be at home to the #3 Lisboa Devils (5-1). The three top seeds took turns beating each other during the regular season. Porto defeated the Devils 20-6 but then lost 31-27 to Cascais. The Crusaders dropped a 19-15 decision to Lisboa but then downed the Mutts 31-27. Finally, Lisboa beat the Crusaders 19-15 but then lost 20-6 to the Mutts. So Porto earned the top seed owing to a better +/- between the three teams. The Mutts were +10 while Cascais were +/- even and the Devils were -10.

Porto Mutts #1 (5-1) – Lisboa Navigators #4 (2-3-1)

The Mutts enter the playoffs as the slight favorites. The 2018 finalists (they lost 6-0 to the now-defunct Portuscale Dragons) have only lost only one game this year, a 31-27 decision to the Crusaders. However, the top three teams have only lost games to each other so this could also be a toss up. Still, Porto should get past the Navigators. They beat them handily earlier in the season 33-8. In fact, the last time Porto lost a game to the Navigators was in 2014. The last time these two teams faced each other in a playoff game was the championship final in 2013 when Lisboa came away with a 20-12 victory. The Mutts rely on quarterback Francisco Pereira, wide receiver Miguel Vasconcelos and the always dangerous Ricardo Cunha. However, if Navigators quarterback Diego Mota and running back David Schleich are in form this could get interesting.

Cascais Crusaders #2 (5-1) – Lisboa Devils #3 (5-1)

The Devils may actually have a slight edge in this game as they beat Cascais 19-15 in the opening game of the season. But the playoffs are the playoffs and anything can happen. The Crusaders had the top offense in Portugal in 2019 scoring 207 points in six games. Meanwhile, they are facing the toughest defense as Lisboa has only allowed 78 points, an average of 13 points per game. The Devils will look to running back Jesuino Furtado, quarterback Bernardo Solipa and Brazilian linebacker/fullback Ramon Franco. Crusaders quarterback Matias Manuel, wide receiver Bernardo Carvalho and running back Wilson Rocha are the keys to the Cascais attack.



Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.