The Backseat Forecast: Week 2 – 4/8/2017

By Backseat Coach

1) Boston Renegades (D1) @ Philadelphia Phantomz (D2)
The pesky Phantomz (0-1) were held in check last week by the D.C. Divas’ vaunted defense. The bad news for Philadelphia is that Boston’s defense may be just as good as D.C.’s and their offense may be even better. The good news is that the Phantomz will be a strong contender in the D2 playoff bracket in part because they are willing to take on the toughest teams in the Northeast. Prediction: Boston

2) D.C. Divas (D1) @ New York Sharks (D2)
Last week, the Divas (1-0) defense stopped Philadelphia cold, containing the explosive Phantomz to only one score. While New York (1-0) scored a shutout victory against the Richmond Black Widows, I don’t expect the Sharks to have a big bite against D.C. Prediction: D.C.

3) Baltimore Nighthawks (D2) @ Pittsburgh Passion (D1)
The Nighthawks (1-0) soared to a commanding 59-19 victory last week over the Keystone Assault. They will need that kind of production on offense to keep up with
Pittsburgh (1-0). The The Passion looked lackluster in a 30-19 victory over the Columbus Comets, but they are 4-0 all time against the Nighthawks, winning by a margin of no less than 28 points each game. Prediction: Pittsburgh

4) N.Y. Knockout (D3) @ Keystone Assault (D3)
Keystone (0-1) will try to bounce back from a trouncing at the hands of the Baltimore Nighthawks last week. In the loss, they produced 19 points against the Nighthawks’ respectable defense, however. That bodes well for the Assault against the Knockout (0-0) who averaged only 1.2 points per game last season. Prediction: Keystone

5) Maine Mayhem (D3) @ New England Nightmare (D3)
Both of these squads had their season-opening matchups postponed because of wintry weather conditions that made travel to dangerous to risk. Last season, they were both top performers in their respective leagues. Maine (0-0) is the reigning IWFL Affiliate Bowl champion, while New England (0-0) reached the 2016 USWFL title match. I’ll defer to home field advantage. Prediction: New England

6) Richmond Black Widows (D3) @ Connecticut Hawks (D3)
The Black Widows (0-1) made a strong effort last week to keep the New York Sharks to 18 points. Their offense did not rise to the occasion, however, and were shutout. That probably won’t be the case against Connecticut (0-0) who are still trying to define themselves following a short 2016 season in the USWFL. Prediction: Richmond

7) Hampton Roads Lady Gators (D3) @ South Carolina Smash (D3)
The Lady Gators (0-1) received a harsh welcome to the game of football in their inaugural home opener when the Carolina Phoenix trounced them 60-0. They seek to reverse their fortunes against another new team in the Smash (1-0). The Smash already have a win under their belts, having defeated another new team in the Southeast Region, the North Florida Pumas. Prediction: South Carolina

8) Flint City Riveters (D3) @ Toledo Reign (D3)
If Flint (0-1) hopes to win a game this season, they need to still be in the game in the 4th quarter. Their season opener against the Detroit Dark Angels ended encouragingly within a two-score margin, but they need to show better against the Reign (0-1). Last week, Toledo couldn’t get going against the Cleveland Fusion, so maybe anything can happen in this one. Prediction: Toledo

9) Chicago Force (D1) @ Detroit Dark Angels (D2)
After collecting a forfeit in Week 1, Sami Grisafe and the Force (1-0) take to the field against the Dark Angels (1-0). Detroit collected a narrow victory last week against the Flint City Riveters. Prediction: Chicago

10) Indy Crash (D2) @ West Michigan Mayhem (D2)
Indy (0-1) are 3-3 all time against West Michigan (0-1), and have won the two most recent meetings including a thrilling one-point victory in their sole matchup last year. This week’s tilt shapes up to be a close one, but I predict the pendulum to swing in the direction of the Mayhem who are at home. Prediction: West Michigan

11) Atlanta Phoenix (D1) @ Jacksonville Dixie Blues (D2)
Atlanta (1-0) is the only D1 team in their region, but I am not ready to designate them as the best team in the Southeast. Since being established in 2013, Atlanta is 3-2 vs the Miami Fury, and 3-3 vs the Tampa Bay Inferno — not exactly dominant. Jacksonville (0-1) demonstrated an ability to put points on the board last season, but still fell to Atlanta 44-13, and they are 2-5 against Atlanta all time. But this could be closer than many think. Prediction: Atlanta

12) Derby City Dynamite (D3) @ Columbus Comets (D2)
It was a pleasant surprise to see Columbus (0-1) remain competitive against the predominate Pittsburgh Passion last week. Is this the dawning of a new Comets team? Hard to say just now, but they should get a win against the Dynamite (0-1). Columbus is 1-0 over Derby City and 3-0 over Louisville, Ky. teams all time. Prediction: Columbus

13) Huntsville Tigers (D3) @ Tennessee Train (D3)
The Tigers (0-1) and the Train (1-0) will reestablish a rivalry started in 2015. Huntsville dominated Tennessee on their own turf in their first two regular-season matchups by a combined score of 76-38. But in their season finale in Huntsville, the Train exacted their revenge with a thorough thumping of the Tigers 38-6. They haven’t met since. This game could go either way. Prediction: Tennessee

14) Cincinnati Sizzle (D3) @ Music City Mizfits (D3)
Our first “Clash of Champions” for 2017. The reigning LAFL champions, the Mizfits, shut out the Huntsville Tigers 26-0 last week, while the Cincinnati Sizzle, the reigning USWFL champ, rolled to a 46-12 victory over the Tennessee Train. As the USWFL title holds more weight, I’ll take the Sizzle. Prediction: Cincinnati

15) Daytona Waverunners (D3) @ North Florida Pumas (D2)
Daytona (0-1) last week suffered a stunning defeat against the Orlando Anarchy who had previously been winless for nearly three full seasons. And I am concerned about the Waverunners’ waning roster size compared to last year. I like the Pumas’ chances at securing their first victory. Prediction: North Florida

16) Miami Fury (D2) @ Tampa Bay Inferno (D2)
The renewal of a rivalry! Historically the Fury is 6-2 all time against the Inferno. But Tampa Bay (1-0) has trended upward, splitting with Miami in its last four meetings. While the Fury took a year off to regroup in 2016, the Inferno emerged as Florida’s top team. Will Miami be able to keep pace as they return to the field in over a year? We shall see. Prediction: Tampa Bay

17) Minnesota Vixen (D1) @ Minnesota Machine (D2)
This is an historic first meeting of Minnesota’s two teams and the dawning of a cross-town rivalry for the Twin Cities. The Vixen (1-0) rolled the Madison Blaze last week while the Machine (0-1), in their first game since 2015, took a hard loss against the Kansas City Titans. Prediction: Vixen

18) Madison Blaze (D2) @ St. Louis Slam (D2)
Madison (0-1) is off to a rocky start after a 44-0 loss to their former IWFL rival Minnesota Vixen. Things won’t get easier against the reigning WFA D2 National Champions. Prediction: St. Louis

19) Austin Outlaws (D3) @ Acadiana Zydeco (D3)
(Game audio is scheduled to be streamed on ESPN Radio at mrsn.us)
Austin (0-1) and Acadiana (0-1) have met on the playing field six times dating back to 2010. The Outlaws won the first four meetings, with the Zydeco winning the last two. But the games have never been close. The closest game was won by a margin of 34 points. Prediction: Acadiana

20) Dallas Elite (D1) @ Houston Power (D3)
In 21 matches against Dallas-Fort Worth area teams (the Dallas Elite, Dallas Diamonds, Lone Star Mustangs, and Arlington Impact) the Power (0-1) have only a single victory (Lone Star Mustangs 6/11/2011). They never scored against the Elite (1-0). Prediction: Dallas

21) Arlington Impact (D1) @ Arkansas Wildcats (D3)
This is a first-time meeting between these teams. Arkansas (1-0) scored a surprise victory against the reigning D3 champs Acadiana Zydeco, but are likely outmatched by the Impact (1-0) who shut down the Houston Power last week. Prediction: Arlington

22) Portland Fighting Shockwave (D1) @ Seattle Majestics (D1)
Eyebrows were raised when Seattle (1-0) merely survived a low-scoring affair with the Southern Oregon Lady Renegades. Credit to the Lady Gades on stepping up their game, but Seattle should dominate a D3 squad if they are to be competitive in the league’s top division. They have their work cut out for them against Portland (1-0) who took care of business last week against the Tacoma Trauma. Prediction: Portland

23) Everett Reign (D2) @ Tacoma Trauma (D2)
The Trauma (0-1) just haven’t had the consistency they need in their skill positions to replicate the success of their 2015 season. It is exciting to see former Tacoma player Michel Volk take the reigns as head coach, and maybe she can lead the team to the promised land. But after a thumping at the hands of the Portland Fighting Shockwave last week, I’m not ready to predict a victory for Tacoma. Everett (0-0) takes to the field for the first time this season. Prediction: Everett

24) Rocky Mountain Thunder Katz (D3) @ Mile High Blaze (D2)
The Thunder Katz’s history is a bit difficult to grasp. Besides one victory against Mile High in 2015, the Katz (1-0) were soundly defeated by the Blaze (1-0) twice in 2014. Last season they kept it close with the Minnesota Vixen in a 14-7 tilt. The Vixen advanced to the IWFL championship. The Massey Ratings currently predict a Katz victory. There are reasons to think the Katz will win this game. But my gut says Blaze. Prediction: Mile High

25) La Muerta Las Cruces (D3) @ Utah Blitz (D3)
The more experienced Utah Blitz (1-0) are likely to emerge with a victory, but the story in this one is the debut of New Mexico’s first entry into the WFA in the La Muerte de Las Cruces (0-0). I can’t wait to hear about their experience. Prediction: Utah

26) Central Cal War Angels (D1) @ Kern County Crusaders (D3)
Central Cal (1-0) got off to a strong start last week by posting a 50-19 victory over the Sin City Trojans. The newly launched Kern County Crusaders, who are the War Angels’ closest geographical neighbors, look to build on lessons learned in an 18-0 loss to the Inland Empire Ravens. Prediction: Central Cal

27) Sin City Trojans (D2) @ Utah Wildkats (D3)
Utah’s third women’s football team, the Wildkats (0-0), debut against the Sin City Trojans (0-1). Although the Trojans were no match for the Central Cal War Angels last week, they are still the reigning D2 American Conference runners up. Prediction: Sin City

28) Los Angeles Warriors (D1) @ Ventura Wolfpack (D3)
Los Angeles (0-1) nearly swiped a victory against the San Diego Surge in their season opener. They are a force to be reckoned with in the Pacific South Region this season. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack underperformed in my opinion against the Utah Blitz falling 34-0. Prediction: Los Angeles

29) San Diego Surge (D1) @ Inland Empire Ravens (D3)
Both teams are coming off wins in Week 1. The Surge scored a thrilling come-from-behind one-point victory over the L.A. Warriors. The Ravens (1-0) defeated a the Kern County Crusaders in a D3 matchup. Otherwise, not much to more say about the game at hand. Prediction: San Diego