Swedish playoffs set for this weekend; check out the matchups

The Swedish Superserien semifinals are set for this weekend with the Stockholm Mean Machines who finished first, playing host to the fourth place Uppsala 86ers in game 1. Game #2 features the second place Carlstad Crusaders playing at home against the Örebro Black Knights who wound up third.

Saturday, October 10, Uppsala 86ers (0-6) @ Stockholm Mean Machines (5-1)

On paper, this would seem to be a no brainer. Stockholm has beaten the 86ers handily in both meetings between the teams during this coronavirus-shortened season. However, Uppsala with a quarterback who has now started two straight games, could be a different team.

In the second game of the year, the Mean Machines shut out Uppsala 41-0 and then defeated them 34-14 three weeks ago. Stockholm had a combined 828 yards of offense in the two games compared to the 86ers 437. Mean Machines quarterback Tim Morovick threw for a total of 471 yards and five touchdowns while Victor Ekberg threw for 182 yards in the second game and did not play in the first. That first game for Uppsala saw three different players at quarterback who threw for 22 yards. However, this is a different 86ers team with Ekberg about to start his third game. In the final game of the regular season, a 13-7 loss to the Orebro Black Knights, Ekberg acquitted himself well while giving the offense a semblance of stability. In his two starts, he has thrown for a league-best 165.5 yards a game. Oscar Nevermann leads the 86ers in rushing with 145 yards on 31 carries. Interestingly, he leads the league in average yards per carry with 4.7. With Joshua Akena also carrying the ball, Uppsala’s rushing attack can be dangerous.

Stockholm enters the game following a surprising 20-0 loss to the Carlstad Crusaders in the final game of the season. Still, they lead the league in offense averaging 29 points and 294.5 yards per game. Morovick was third in average yards per game with 154.2 but tossed a league-high nine touchdown passes. His receiving corps of Alpha Jalloh, Ben von Jagow, Pär Lindelöf and Edwin Almeida Taborda is arguably the best in the league with Jalloh averaging 68.5 yards per game to top the league. Stockholm’s leading rusher overall is Timmy Goransson who has rushed for 234 yards total with Morovick a close second with 225.

Stockholm’s defense has been outstanding all season apart from the hiccup against Carlstad. With Malcolm Engstrom and Leon Littfinski both hopefully back in the lineup (they were missing in the final game loss) the defense should be humming again. Uppsala linebacker Richard Liljestrand is a key along with the team’s leading tackler, defensive back Clint Allsten.

Sunday, October 11, Örebro Black Knights (3-3) @ Carlstad Crusaders (4-2)

The Carlstad Crusaders put on a fine defensive show in the final game of the regular season in blanking the defending champion Stockholm Mean Machines 20-0. Nevertheless, Örebro scored the biggest upset of the year in defeating the Crusaders in the second last game beating them 20-13, marking their first win over Carlstad in 20 years.

In the two games between the two, a win for each team, neither team seemed to have the advantage. Crusaders quarterback Danny Farley played only the second half of game #1 throwing for 86 yards and a touchdown and in game 2 he threw for 182 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile Black Knights quarterback Jake Sisson missed the first game but in the historic win, he threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns. Carlstad has the league’s leading rusher, Emil Knutsson while the Black Knights latest addition is running back Mike Gentili who ran for 73 yards in game #2. Örebro wide receiver Filip Wetterberg had his breakout game against the Crusaders and led both teams for 102 yards receiving and a touchdown. Carlstad’s receivers led by Alexander Segerfeldt, Kevin Börzei, Jacob Bergwall and Robin Juhlin will put pressure on the Black Knights secondary.

Both defenses have played well throughout the season with Carlstad the league leader in points allowed per game (8.3) and yardage (182.3). The Black Knights gave up 20.3 points per game and 219.3 yards. Crusaders linebacker Christian Kuylenstjerna had 49 total tackles and 13.5 tackles for loss by far tops in the league. For Örebro defensive back Jonathan Armedatiz was the top tackler with 30 in five games. The linebacking corps led by Josh Murphy and Filip Jonsson allowed only 62.8 yards rushing a game, second only to Carlstad’s 57.3 yards surrendered.

For Carlstad to lose to the Black Knights again will be tough. The Crusaders have only lost two games at home in the last decade. Nevertheless, Örebro have surprised once already this year.

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