The Arena Football League begins Week 18 of a 20-week regular season with Arizona, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, San Jose and Spokane having locked down five of the eight postseason slots, leaving three spots still to be decided with five teams in the battle royal.
The AFL has 14 teams that make up two conferences, National and American, with two divisions each. The four division winner’s advance (regardless of overall record) along with two wildcard teams (best remaining overall record) from each conference.
The American Conference includes the Eastern and Southern divisions.
The Eastern Division consists of the Cleveland Gladiators, Philadelphia Soul, Pittsburgh Power and Iowa Barnstormers, while the Southern Division includes the Orlando Predators, Tampa Bay Storm, Jacksonville Sharks, and New Orleans VooDoo.
While Cleveland (14-1) and Pittsburgh (13-3) are still fighting for the division title, both are going to the playoffs since they will finish the regular season with the two best records in the East. Philadelphia (8-8) has battled back from a slow start to even their season mark and is in the thick of the fight for a ticket to the playoffs, but need to beat Orlando on the road to stay there. Iowa (6-9) is mathematically still in the chase, but their final two games come against the Power and SaberCats so don’t look for the Barnstormers to qualify for a spot.
Orlando (8-7) and Tamps Bay (8-7) are in a heavyweight fight for the division title as well as their postseason life. Unlike the Eastern Division, the second place team in the South may not advance to the playoffs. Jacksonville (6-9), like Iowa, can still mathematically grab a spot but won’t, and New Orleans (2-13) is just trying to get better week to week.
Cleveland and Orlando will advance as division champions with Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay taking the wildcards. Philadelphia would have to pull off not one, but two upsets in their last two games against San Jose and Pittsburgh and Tamps Bay would have to lose to Cleveland in Week 20 for the Soul to take the second wildcard over the Storm.
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