Women’s Football Alliance Game Previews: Playoffs Round 3 (Conference Semifinals)

Boston Militia #99, Beth Kaleta (OL), faces down a DC opponent.  Photo © Barry Millman, Threepairs Photography
Boston Militia #99, Beth Kaleta (OL), faces down a DC opponent.  Photo © Barry Millman, Threepairs Photography
Boston Militia #99, Beth Kaleta (OL), faces down a DC opponent.
Photo © Barry Millman, Threepairs Photography

[Editor’s note: All game previews were written by Backseat Coach, who is really good at stuff like game previews.]

The third round of the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) playoffs are the conference semifinals. There are 8 teams remaining; 5 of these teams (Militia, Divas, Force, Surge, Diamonds) are making a return visit from last year.

Click any of the matchups to expand the preview for that game:

[toggle title=”DC Divas (7-3) vs Boston Militia (9-0)”]

July 13, 2013, 6 p.m. ET, Dilboy Stadium, Somerville, Mass.
Video stream: http://www.livestream.com/bostonmilitia
In-game updates: @divasfootball @bostonmilitia @backseatcoach
Current line: Militia (home) are favored by 26.5
Massey prediction: Divas 36 – Militia 62

The Divas advanced to Round 3 of the playoffs by soundly defeating a resurgent Columbus Comets squad. The Boston Militia slaughtered the Pittsburgh Passion to set up yet another playoff tilt with the Divas. This will be a record-setting fifth consecutive year the Divas and the Militia have faced each other in the postseason.

This classic rivalry was birthed in 2009 during DC’s sole playoff victory against Boston, which was decided in dramatic fashion in the final minute and propelled the Divas into the league championship game. Since then, however, Boston has prevailed upon the Divas, winning 8 of 9 matchups, including three consecutive playoff wins, while also collecting two national championships in 2010 and 2011.

Backseat Coach picks: Boston Militia[/toggle] [toggle title=”Atlanta Phoenix (10-0) vs Chicago Force (9-0)”]

July 13, 2013, 7 p.m. ET, Lazier Field, Evanston, Ill.
Audio stream: http://www.chicagoforcefootball.com/live.asp
In-game updates: @forcegameday @atlanta_phoenix
Current line: Force (home) are favored by 30.5
Massey prediction: Phoenix 6 – Force 74

After quelling the Cleveland Fusion, the Chicago Force host the Atlanta Phoenix, who advanced to Round 3 of the playoffs by defeating the plucky, pesky Miami Fury.

This will be the only matchup of undefeated teams this week, but unfortunately the teams make for the biggest mismatch of Round 3. Atlanta has impressively reached the conference semifinals in only its second season, but the inescapable Chicago Force will put an anti-climactic end to the joyride.

Backseat Coach picks: Chicago Force[/toggle] [toggle title=”Dallas Diamonds (9-0) vs St. Louis Slam (7-3)”]

July 13, 2013, 8 p.m. ET, Oakville High School Stadium, St. Louis, Mo.
In-game updates: @mamarcus17
Current line: Diamonds (visiting) are favored by 24
Massey prediction: Diamonds 45 – Slam 31

The undefeated Dallas Diamonds advanced to Round 3 of the playoffs by overpowering the Austin Outlaws. In its biggest game since the 2010 National Conference championship, the St. Louis Slam finally knocked off archrival Kansas City Titans to advance to Round 3.

Though Dallas is favored in most every way, league playoff travel rules enable the St. Louis Slam to host this matchup. That could be a pretty big deal for an upstart team whose rushing attack just had a breakout performance (417 yards, 8 touchdowns) against an elite team. Kate Evers, Taylor Hay, and Co., will have to replicate that performance to keep up with the offensive firepower of the Diamonds. It’s a tall order since Dallas’ defense has not given up more than one touchdown in any game this season. But playing at home may provide the spark St. Louis needs.

Backseat Coach picks: Dallas Diamonds[/toggle] [toggle title=”San Diego Surge (9-1) vs Central Cal War Angels (10-0)”]

July 13, 2013, 10 p.m. ET, Deran Koligian Football Stadium, Fresno, Calif.
In-game updates: San Diego Surge Facebook Page
Current line: War Angels (home) are favored by 5.5
Massey prediction: Surge 22 – War Angels 39

The San Diego Surge handily dispatched the Sacramento Sirens and the Central Cal War Angels loudly smote the Utah Jynx to advance to Round 3 of the playoffs.

Let’s just get right to the heart of the matter. This game is THE litmus test for the War Angels. On the field, the War Angels have been dominant. They have defeated all comers. They have outright walloped competitive teams like the Sirens, the Jynx, and the Portland Shockwave. But come playoff time, are any of those teams as tough as the San Diego Surge?

Over the past few years, WFA co-owners Jeff and Lisa have been building their flagship team, steadily improving, and this year going as deep into the playoffs as they ever have. But can they be as well prepared as the San Diego Surge, who have advanced this far into the playoffs, and further, in every season of its existence?

As I said in my Round 2 previews, the Surge is a very different team this year compared to last year, with players and staff together facing some huge internal challenges. But champions know how to win despite obstacles, and the Surge have done that this season. Can the War Angels contend with a team that may have already faced the biggest challenge it will see this season, that being the challenge of reshaping and adapting itself?

We will find out the answers to those questions soon. The San Diego Surge are the yardstick by which the War Angels will measure the strength of their team and the success of their season.

Backseat Coach picks: San Diego Surge[/toggle]

Last Round’s Results

Pittsburgh Passion 28, Boston Militia 63
Columbus Comets 12, DC Divas 40
Cleveland Fusion 7, Chicago Force 65
Miami Fury 24, Atlanta Phoenix 28,
St. Louis Slam 58, Kansas City Titans 55
Austin Outlaws 6, Dallas Diamonds 61
Utah Jynx 6, Central Cal War Angels 65
Sacramento Sirens 13, San Diego Surge 39

Backseat Coach’s win-loss record in playoffs: 15-3 (83.33%)

Massey Predictions and Zermelo Ratings by John Spatz, EZ Football Rankings.
Point spreads by Steve Mark, courtesy of New York Sharks.

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