Pulling The Flag

The Post Season Power Rankings: 24-17

So it’s that time of year again!! Playoffs!!

A huge congratulations to the 24 teams that have fought hard all season to make it to their respective playoffs in the North or South.

But the question is who has the best chances of walking away no.1? Well this week is a special edition of the power rankings, where we have ranked the 24 teams in the playoffs.

This time round though we will go in descending order, let’s build up to the big no.1 reveal huh?

24 Leeds Samurai

First up is one of newest members to the playoff club, the Samurai finished the season with a little scare just beating out Calderdale Knights to finish 6-8.

They’re one of only two teams with a negative win/loss percentage in the playoffs and have an uphill battle going into round 1 against the Grangemouth Broncos .

QB Kyle Taylor (38tds/19ints/16sacks) will be looking to cause an upset win over the Broncos, with his star WR this year Jonny Dudley (18tds). The Leeds defence will need to ramp up though, having allowed 429 point scored past them in the regular season.

23 Dunbeth Dragons

Three years in the league and two playoff appearances in a row, the Dragons will be a missed team in the HNC if rumours of the folding after the season are true.

The Dragons will go into round one against the Manchester Titans and will be relying on playmakers QB Alistair Aitken (44tds/22ints/13sacks) and WR Craig Murray (25tds) to get points on the board.

Like Leeds before them, they will need an improvement from the defence (381PA) and won’t be able to rely on Aitkens team leading 7 interceptions to carry them into round 2.

22 Edinburgh Outlaws

Edinburgh have had an unfortunate year going from 8-5 last year to 4-6-1 this year.

But don’t let that negative win/loss fool you, this team had a bunch of close games all year, losing by a point to the Comets and just losing 31-27 against powerhouse, Glasgow Hornets.

These guys aren’t new at the playoff scene either having qualified last year, they also boast a nice balance on offence utilising two QBs in David Hogg (23tds/4ints/1sack) and Liam Clutterbuck (23tds/9ints/3sacks), this pair have managed to find a nice spread to WRs Angus Ballantine and Jamie Archibald (11tds each)

They will be up against a tough Sheffield Giant squad in round 1 and will look for William Humphries to add to his 8 sacks this year along with Clutterbucks impressive 12 interceptions.

21 Clyde Comets

First year in the league and qualified for the playoffs. It was a slow start for these guys which caused them to leave it to the last game to secure qualification beat Carnegie Renegades 13-12.

The Comets will go into round 1 against the Sheffield Vipers and will highly look upon the experience of Kirkcaldy Bull/GB Lion star Brian “Bud” McFerren who has accounted for half the points scored for the Comets.

An interesting caveat, is also the shrewd capture of fellow former Bull, Dave Pasnik, from the Glasgow Hornets.

The Vipers will look to shut them down, however thats easier said than done…

20 Coventry Cougars Mixed

This is the first southern entry in the list and it’s those pesky little kids from Coventry. If you’ve never played against Coventry before you’re missing out, what these guys like in height they make up for in tackle missing speed.

Round 1 will be against the Aylesbury Vale Spartans and we could see them upsetting the Spartans to make round 2.

Look for speedster Kieran Eaton to add to his impressive 35 Tds, Sam Finnie’s (18tds) and with the addition of MEC transfer Danny Caballerro (15tds) this offence could be hard to stop.

They also boast a decent defence with their speed, Eaton holds (15ints) with Caballerro on (12ints). Teams will also need to be aware of Luke Maddens speed when blitzing as he has (10sacks) on the year.

The youngsters have proven they can upset the good teams beating Big Bowl runners up, Copenhagen Barbarians in group play this summer.

19 Hereford Stampede

Such an up and down season, starting with a 2 point win over the Cardiff Hurricanes saw Stampede wait until the last game day to jump over the Plymouth Buccaneers and Exeter Falcons to make their second straight playoff appearance. But it wasn’t easy with the Stampede getting in over the Falcons on the 4th tiebreaker!

Hereford will be hoping to utilise the talents of QB Steve Hall to find WR Jay Jay Spencer who has caught well over half of the Stampede’s scores this year.

They will also look towards sack master Max Dury and leading interceptor Josh Bolland to slow down Neil Henderson’s Chichester Sharks in round 1.

18 Manchester Crows

This is another team that has had a bit of a “sophomore slump” style year after coming off a strong (12-3-1) 2016 campaign, the Crows posted a 8-6 season.

This is a team that could be knocking on the door of a top 10 power ranking, but a slew of injuries (most notably QB Talha Javed) has seen them drop in production this year.

Since Javed’s injury Crows leading WR James Durham (20tds) has stepped in at the Qb position (27tds/8ints/3sacks) to spread the ball around nicely to WRs Phil Shanahan (13tds), Gregory Hollin (11tds) and Matt Wilkinson (11tds).

The Crows go into round 1 against the Aberdeen Oilcats and will be looking at their tall defence (seriously they average around 6″5 a player) and GB star Wilkinson (9ints) to slow down the electric Oilcat offence.

17 West Essex Showboats

Now we move on to a side that’s no stranger to the playoffs, having made them the past 5 years.

The Showboats have a relatively small team for a top 24 ranked side and this has proved costly this year as they had to forfeit their final gameday due to lack of players.

The Showboats go into round 1 against 2014 national champions Cardiff Hurricanes and will look for league GM Nick Bertenshaw (43tds/14ints/11sacks), who is a far cry away from his impressive 100td season last year, to lead them to victory.

Bertenshaw has done a great job spreading the ball around to WRs Sam Taylor (14tds), Reiss Muckley (10tds) and Ollie Stone (9tds).

The Hurricanes will also need to be aware of Muckleys blitzing skills, his reach and speed has had him rack up 14 sacks this year and that’s with 3 missed games.

Agree or disagree? Let us know.

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