Three weeks in and some sides are finding their form. After an 8-4 start, we went 3-3 last week, dropping us to 11-7 on the year. Its called regression to the mean. As is ‘I’m regressing because picking games is a mean proposition.’
Bye(s): Utah Warriors, NOLA Gold, Rugby ATL
Old Glory DC v. Toronto Arrows
Neither of these sides has really found their form yet. For DC, this is as must win as a 4th round game can be. Zero points after three rounds has left them 9 short of the playoff positions, and both of the nearest playoff teams have a game in hand. For Toronto, its a chance to build on momentum after they topped NOLA last week. Just five points out of playoff position themselves, the Arrows could see themselves above the red line if things bounce the right way elsewhere.
Analyze these teams all you want, but sometimes its as simple as saying one side is better.
Dallas Jackals v. Rugby New York
After a heartbreaking loss, they welcome another championship contender to Choctaw Stadium. Dallas can run with good teams for a while, but can they find an eighty minute performance? Dallas is rising, but they may have to wait a little longer to jackal a game.
Winner: New York
Seattle Seawolves v. Austin Gilgronis
Easily the game of the week. Austin has found the missing bits that kept them from excelling in 2021. Seattle found the bricks in a back shed and rebuilt the Seawall.
Lineups will play a big part of this. Will Tavite Lopeti be healthy? it could be that simple.
Austin hasn’t had to leave Bold Stadium yet this year, and Seattle is tough at home. The home team is a tempting proposition. However, the Lopeti knock worries me. Allan Clarke will be smart enough to not overemphasize this game and risk players, so I’ll go with the healthy visitors.
Houston SaberCats v. San Diego Legion
If Austin/Seattle is the big show, this is a worthy matinee.
Houston stole one in Dallas. Returning to Aveva, they’ll be hunting. Tavite Lopeti could be the future of the Eagles in the centers, but Christian Dyer deserves discussion to be his partner. This isn’t the kind of team built to blow anyone out, but they’ll make enough cracks to sink some big ships.
San Diego just feels… off. Injuries and age are showing already. They’ve looked good, not great at home. Can this old boys team travel down to Texas and not get wrangled? I’m not so sure.
LA Giltinis v. New England Free Jacks
We could see this rematch for the last game of the season, and no one would be terribly surprised. Like several other teams, LA is still working through some health issues. The fallback 10 is a former Super Rugby pro, but can Luke Burton keep the team thriving until Giteau and Carty return? This team is still great, but it lacks the aura of last year.
New England took a step forward this year. Instead of making massive roster changes, they’ve simply focused on developing a young core that looks ready to make a run. They’ll have a long trip out to LA only to meet a team ready for its home opener. If the fixture was flipped, they’d be the slight favorite. As is, its the prediction that’s flipped.