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IFL Week 16 Game Previews and Predictions: Several Teams Fight For Their Spot In The IFL Playoffs

In the world of alt-football, the IFL stands out as a league that successfully demonstrates an atmosphere of competitive parity. The combination of limited rosters, a small field, and big-time playmakers creates an intense environment for each team in the league. As the season plays out, many of those teams have found a way to rise above the others, some have fallen behind, and several groups find themselves playing for their spot in the playoffs.

The Arizona Rattlers, Bay Area Panthers, Frisco Fighters, and the Massachusetts Pirates have clinched their playoff bid, and now they are playing for home-field advantage. The Iowa Barnstormers and Tulsa Oilers are the only teams officially out of the playoff race, but both have their chances to play the spoiler for other teams trying to qualify for the playoffs. That leaves eight teams: Quad City Steamwheelers, Sioux Falls Storm, Green Bay Blizzard, Tucson Sugar Skulls, Northern Arizona Wranglers, San Diego Strike Force, Duke City Gladiators, and Vegas Knight Hawks to fight it out for the final four playoff spots.

Those teams are competing against other IFL teams on the field and working against other factors that could control their fate. The Frisco Fighters are an example of these other factors; this week, they announced that Billy Back would no longer be their coach, and interim head coach Andre Coles will lead the Fighters. Injuries, travel, and other issues beyond the field can determine whether these teams have a chance to compete in the playoffs.

The number of variables that can determine the outcome of any IFL game is immeasurable, creating an atmosphere that allows anything to be possible. Several teams have a chance to win this week and pull themselves closer to a prized playoff position. Other teams may need help to measure up, creating opportunities for other teams to improve their place in the standings.

Reminder: All IFL games will stream for free on or the IFL Network on YouTube.

Week 16 Game #1

Visiting Team: Sioux Falls Storm (7-5, 4th in the Eastern Division)

Home Team: Frisco Fighters (11-2, 1st in the Eastern Division)

Date and Time: Saturday, July 1st at 8:05 pm EDT

Location: Comerica Center, Frisco, Texas

Draft Kings Betting Line: Frisco Fighters -7, O/U 97.5 points

For the second season in a row, the Frisco Fighters have been the best regular-season team in the league. They have one of the best offenses in the league, led by quarterback TJ Edwards, and they take the ball away from their opponents. Week 16 should be another home win for the Fighters, but with their head coach Billy Back leaving and interim head coach Andre Coles taking the lead, they may be distracted in Week 16.
The Sioux Falls Storm is a team of grinders led by veteran quarterback Lorenzo Brown Jr. and a stout defense. For the Storm to clinch a playoff spot in the Eastern Division, they will need to win two more games unless the Green Bay Blizzard loses in the next several weeks. For the Storm to have a chance to pull off an upset on the road, they will need to be efficient on offense and score on nearly every drive. Teams that can keep the pressure on the Fighters have found a path to victory.

Prediction: Frisco Fighters 55, Sioux Falls Storm 51

Week 16 Game #2

Visiting Team: Green Bay Blizzard (6-6, 5th in the Eastern Division)

Home Team: Tulsa Oilers (1-12, 7th in the Eastern Division)

Date and Time: Saturday, July 1st at 8:05 pm EDT

Location: BOK Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Draft Kings Betting Line: Green Bay Blizzard -6.5, O/U 89.5 points

The Green Bay Blizzard faces the challenge of winning the last three games of the 2023 season to give themselves a chance to make the 2023 IFL playoffs. The Blizzard have played well on offense, with Ja’Rome Johnson and Max Meylor leading the team at quarterback. Both players have shown the ability to be dual threats and get the Blizzard into the endzone.

The Tulsa Oilers are out of playoff contention, but they still have a lot to play for to finish their first season in the IFL. Tulsa has shown the ability to play well at times, taking many of the top IFL teams to the limit. While the Oilers have been able to compete on a week-to-week basis, they have yet to show the ability to make the key plays in a game to clinch victories consistently. They could impact the IFL playoffs this week by eliminating the Green Bay Blizzard.

Prediction: Green Bay Blizzard 48, Tulsa Oilers 45

Week 16 Game #3

Visiting Team: Vegas Knight Hawks (4-9, 7th in the Western Division)

Home Team: Tucson Sugar Skulls (7-5, 3rd in the Western Division)

Date and Time: Saturday, July 1st at 9:05 pm EDT

Location: Tucson Convention Center, Tucson, Arizona

Draft Kings Betting Line: Tucson Sugar Skulls -7.5, O/U 85.5 points

The Vegas Knight Hawks face playoff elimination in Week 16. The Knight Hawks offense, led by quarterback Daquan Neal has shown the potential to beat any team in the IFL. Most weeks, Vegas fails to produce stops on defense and gives themselves a small margin for error. That combination has led to a series of disappointing weeks. Mathematically if the Knight Hawks win the rest of their games and the NAZ Wranglers, San Diego Strike Force, and Duke City Gladiators lose the rest of their games, they may have a chance to win a tiebreaker with the Wranglers to claim the 4th playoff spot in the Western Division.

The Tucson Sugar Skulls need one win to clinch their 2023 playoff spot. Ramone Atkins has been a playmaker for the Sugar Skulls’ offense and has done an adequate job of getting the ball to his weapons. At times the Sugar Skulls’ offense can get into a rut and give teams a chance to take over the game. The Tucson offense needs to come out committed to getting this win, and the Sugar Skulls’ defense will need to get some stops against the Knight Hawk’s offense.

Prediction: Tucson Sugar Skulls 50, Vegas Knight Hawks 42

Week 16 Game #4 – Game of the Week

Visiting Team: Massachusetts Pirates (9-3, 2nd in the Eastern Division)

Home Team: Arizona Rattlers (9-4, 1st in the Western Division)

Date and Time: Sunday, July 2nd at 6:05 pm EDT

Location: Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona

Draft Kings Betting Line: Arizona Rattlers -5.5, O/U 107.5 points

The Massachusetts Pirates have the most balanced team in the IFL. Quarterback Anthony Russo and running back Jimmie Robinson have been a dynamic duo for the Pirates. Massachusetts has clinched their playoff spot, but they will need to win two more games to clinch a home game in the playoffs. The Pirates have picked up big wins this season but have struggled to beat the best teams on the road.

The Arizona Rattlers have already clinched their playoff spot, but they would benefit from earning the top place in the Western Division. Drew Powell leads the Rattlers and has statistically had the top offense in the IFL. Arizona also has a defense that has played at a high level throughout the season. The Rattlers present a difficult challenge for any team in the IFL at home or on the road.

Prediction: Arizona Rattlers 65, Massachusetts Pirates 58

Follow me on Twitter: @AaronSauter7

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