The 2012 Season has come to an end! The Playoffs are set, and it’s time for these four teams to fight for the Shadow/Gotham/Untitled Bowl I Champion! Let’s have a look at Week 14 and what events transpired to lead us to these four teams in the playoffs!
Horsemen – 204.28 [MVP: Bears WR Brandon Marshall – 34.00]
Revenants – 176.94 (L) [MVP: Falcons QB Matt Ryan – 41.68]
Spread – 27.34
This was the only game that involved a team which absolutely needed the win to get into the playoffs. The other three teams that weren’t a lock could lose and still get in with a bit of All-Play Record magic(as the Beatleteers did), but the Revenants absolutely needed the win as well as a Stompers loss and some All-Play magic. Unfortunately, the Revenants’ streak continued at four losses, caught in the warpath of the resurgent Horsemen, trampling their way to a six-game win streak and crushing the Revenants’ small hopes of getting into the 2012 playoffs. The Revenants’ QB’s crushed the Horsemen’s by 26.96 points, and aside from Darren Sproles posting 0.30 points higher than Trent Richardson, the Horsemen won everything else: RB by 5.60, WR by 34(Brandon Marshall’s total, which of course means that Vincent Jackson tied the two Reveants’ WR’s added together, since AJ Green decided not to show up), Flex by 3.40, Kicker by a full 8(not Janikowski’s fault the Raiders didn’t give him any opportunities), and Defense by 2(just one additional forced fumble in the stat line for the Broncos). Putting in Roddy White instead of AJ Green and Darren McFadden in Flex would’ve won the game by 0.54 points, but that would’ve been absolute perfect coaching, and it just didn’t happen this week, and the Revenants look to win the Mopey Bowl to avoid ridicule and shame filling their nine months of offseason before they get first pick of the draft. The Horsemen slide into the playoffs with a season record 2 games better than the next best team, and the only team with two digits in the win column. MVP: Bears WR Brandon Marshall posted his third game of the season to be over 30 points, and the only one since Week 9, improving his overall standings to 2nd-best WR on the season, behind only Randall Cobb, most of whose points are from return yardage(1182 yards). Brandon Marshall now leads the league in receptions(the only player with 100+), and is second in the league in yds(behind Calvin Johnson by a good 200+) and TD’s(one behind AJ Green). He was the best WR in the league for Week 14, just ahead of another Horsemen WR, Mike Wallace. Interestingly, 4 of the Top 10 WR’s on the week rode the bench, and three of the Top WR’s on the week belong to the Horsemen(with Wallace on the bench).
Great Whites – 216.32 [MVP: Giants QB Eli Manning – 42.06]
Stompers – 177.04 (L) [MVP: Chargers WR Danario Alexander – 27.80]
Spread – 39.28
So, this is one of the games where the loser still could’ve snuck into the playoffs, since they’d be tied in record with the loser of the Spectres/Beatleteers game, they just needed a better All-Play than that loser. Unfortunately for the Stompers, they ended up being one of only two teams the Beatleteers outscored this week. They were one win better than the Spectres, so if the Beatleteers had won, the Stompers would be in, too. But alas, that’s not what happened. The Stompers could not win their third straight game against the League’s second-ranked Great Whites team in their first winning week(5-0!) since Week 7. The Great Whites took QB by 21.88 (thanks to Eli’s resurgence), RB by 23.30(thanks to a meager 18.40 by CJ2K and a solid 38.20 from Doug Martin[Arian Foster is still on a downward slide because of Houston’s gameplan]), WR by 3.20(the teams actually tied at WR1 at 28.10 because of Cobb’s importance to the Packers’ Special Teams), and Kicker by 6. The Stompers were able only to take Flex by 4.10 and Defense by 11(very smart Defensive pick-up, with the Jets outscoring the Packers for the third week in a row(this week by 2 points)). The Great Whites use this game to cement their 2nd seed and avoid facing the Horsemen(who they are 5-8 against in All-Play, 1-1 regular season) in Round 1 of the playoffs and get seeded against the Spectres(who they are 6-7 against in All-Play, 1-2 regular season), forcing the Stompers into 5th seed and a shot at the Mopey Bowl to avoid the ridicule and shame mentioned way back in the intro. MVP: Eli Manning continues his annual December quest to remember-that-the-Super-Bowl-exists-and-he-could-potentially-sit-out-the-playoffs with a huge 42.06-point game, his second-best game of the season, best since Week 2, by throwing for 259 yds and 4 TD’s, even with the 2 INT’s. It puts him squarely at 4th-best QB of the week, 15th-best of the season(finally, top half of starting QB’s), and 7th-ranked QB of the last two weeks. Eli’s laziness has officially subsided, and he’s looking to keep the Redskins and Cowboys out of his NFC East Division Title.
Spectres – 214.70 [MVP: Vikings RB Adrian Peterson – 47.50]
Beatleteers – 197.26 (L) [MVP: Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch – 38.30]
Spread – 17.44
I made a big fuss about how big this game was going into Week 14, and I stand by that. But the loser of this game still ended up in the playoffs, and even with a chance to face the winner again in the Shadow/Gotham Bowl for the ultimate grudge match. At QB and WR, the Spectres managed to leave their knockout best players on the bench(best QB of the week Cam Newton and 6th-ranked WR Brandon Lloyd, including 25th-ranked WR Eric Decker) and still win this one by 17.44 points. The Spectres took QB by 10.74 thanks to thoroughly average points by the Beatleteers’ QB Corps(and Peyton’s worst game since Week 2), RB by 20.40(ADRIAN PETERSON! and Jamaal Charles), and Flex by 15.60(and they say Ahmad Bradshaw is their lead back?). The Beatleteers took WR by 20.30(Welker and Colston put up some of their worst games of the season), Kicker by 3, and Defense by 6. The Spectres needed this win to get into the playoffs, seeing as the Stompers ended the season with one win better at All-Play, and this win helped them seed third, one seed above this Beatleteers’ team, who have been doing well enough each week to seed above the Stompers at All-Play by a full six games. MVP: Tom Brady posted 47.94 points this week, which is about 9 points over his average. Jamaal Charles posted 35 points this week, which is nearly 11 points better than his average. But Vikings RB Adrian Peterson brought his average PPG up by nearly two points this week with his 4th 40+ game in 5 weeks, rushing for 154 yds and 2 TD’s in an upset over division rivals the Chicago Bears. He has now posted better fantasy points than Tom Brady in 4 of his last 7 games(only .44 points shy this week), and he leads the Spectres to an upset over the Beatleteers with their 3rd-straight 200+ point game and the third best regular-season record of the league(and it’s not even a tie).
So that’s it! Week 14 saw the Spectres and Beatleteers swap their 3rd- and 4th-ranked standings, and the Horsemen and Great Whites’ each keep their opponents out of the playoffs for 2012, and into the Mopey Bowl(with a week off!).
The 1st-ranked Horsemen move to face the 4th-ranked Beatleteers(6-8 against the Horsemen in All-Play, beating them by 24.44 in total points), and the 2nd-ranked Great Whites will take on the 3rd-ranked Spectres(7-7 against each other regular season, with the Spectres leading point total by 97.12 points), and it will be either the Horsemen or Beatleteers versus either the Spectres or Great Whites in the Shadow/Gotham Bowl! That leaves only four possibilities for the Championship Match, and it’s getting exciting! The Playoffs are finally upon us, and all four teams are playing to prove that their season meant something(and possibly some sort of prize, maybe…!). Will we have the 1st- and 2nd- best teams, the Husband-and-wife, the week 14 grudge match, or the… Beatleteers versus Great Whites(there’s got to be some reason that’s interesting!)? We won’t know until Sunday Night! See you then!
PS – The League meeting on December 9th went extraordinarily well, with most votes being unanimous, and the few that weren’t being at least 5 out of 6 teams voting FOR. This means a few changes are in order for next year, and I’ll recap what those changes are after the Championship is over. The short of it is that this will be a Keeper League, so keep an eye on two players you’d like to keep for the 2013 season. That will not, however, be a requirement, and you can choose to keep nobody and draft from the available free agents, with each keep losing a team their first and second draft picks, respectively. The other important thing is that our league next year will be 11 players with 8 on the bench(19 total) as opposed to this year’s 9 on the roster with 6 on the bench(15 total), so we will each be drafting 4 additional players, including one TE. Another thing to keep in mind.
PSS – I have no advice regarding the matter, unless you’re Great Whites’ Head Coach Alice, but something to keep an eye on over the next three weeks is clinch-benching. If you have players on teams who are a lock for the Playoffs, you do run the risk of those players being benched in the final weeks of the season. Again, it’s something (most of) you can’t do anything about, but just keep an eye out in case you have backups. We’ll see how that plays out, and whether it leads us to voting on whether the season should end early next year.
League of Shadows