It crazy to think that we are already sixteen weeks into the 2019 NLL season. With just four weeks left after this weekend the playoff race heats up even more, if it wasn’t already heated already.
Through fifteen weeks of the season there are currently three teams that have already clinched a playoff berth already. In the east Buffalo and Georgia have done so while San Diego is currently the only team in the west to clinch thus far. That could change this week as we could see the east get locked up and more teams in the west join San Diego in clinching a berth.
Calgary can clinch a playoff berth multiple ways this week. Calgary needs to either beat San Diego on Saturday or Saskatchewan to beat Vancouver on Saturday. If either of those happen then the Roughnecks will be playoff bound.
In Saskatchewan’s case, all they need to do is win and they are in. Saskatchewan can clinch a playoff berth if they are able to defeat Vancouver on Saturday. The Rush can most certainly beat the Warriors, and to make things even better it’s a home game for the Rush.
Toronto is another team that can clinch a playoff berth in multiple ways this weekend. If Toronto defeats Philadelphia on Saturday or New England defeats Rochester on Saturday then the Rock are in the playoffs.
New England is in a similar boat as Toronto, but it’s a slightly different situation. If New England defeats Rochester on Saturday and Toronto defeats Philadelphia then the Black Wolves are in. But both of those have to happen, it’s not an and/or situation for New England.
While four teams can potentially clinch a playoff berth this week two teams can also be eliminated from the playoff race as well. Philadelphia and Rochester are both in that boat coming into week sixteen.
Philadelphia can be eliminated from the playoff race if they lose to Toronto and New England defeats Rochester. In Rochester’s case they can be eliminated from the playoff race if they lose to New England, so it’s a must win situation for them on Saturday.
Remember, the NLL playoffs are moving to a different format starting this season. The top four teams in each division make the playoffs for a total of eight teams. The number one seed in each division will play the four seed with the one seed hosting. The number two seed in each division will host the number three seed in each division. The second round will be a one game divisional final with the higher seed hosting. In the NLL finals it is a best-of-three series with the highest seed hosting game one and three, if needed, while the lower seed host the second game.