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IFL Week 17 Game Previews, Predictions, Schedule: Fuzzy Playoff Picture Will Become More Clear

Week 16 of the IFL season was another hectic week of professional indoor football. Several teams had a chance to make their playoff future more precise, but many needed a win to close the deal. Due to those teams failing to get significant wins, Week 17 will have five games which will impact the IFL playoff picture.

Four IFL teams have punched their playoff ticket, and the Frisco Fighters and Arizona Rattlers have clinched a home game for the first round of the playoffs. The Bay Area Panthers and Massachusetts Pirates have both cliched their playoff spot, but both teams will need to continue to get wins to guarantee that they will get a first-round playoff game at home. It is essential to mention that the Massachusetts Pirates had a rough visit to Arizona in Week 16 and will have to return to the desert for another win on the road.

Seven other IFL teams are still fighting for their playoff future, and several of these games will either lead a team to the post-season or close the door on their season. The Tucson Sugar Skulls and Quad City Steamwheelers are one win away from clinching their playoff spot, and both teams still have an outside chance at playing for home-field position.

In the Western Division, the Northern Arizona Wranglers control their playoff opportunity, but they need to get wins. San Diego and Duke City are in must-win situations for the rest of the season. In the Eastern Division, the Sioux Fall Storm hold a slight advantage over the Green Bay Blizzard for the last playoff spot. The Blizzard need to win out to keep their playoff hopes alive, and the Storm can clinch their spot with a win and a Blizzard loss.

Reminder: All IFL games are available via streaming for free on or the IFL Network on Youtube.

Game #1

Visiting Team: Sioux Falls Storm (7-6, 4th in the Eastern Division)

Home Team: Iowa Barnstormers (3-10, 6th is the Eastern Division)

Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa

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

Draft Kings Betting Line: Sioux Falls Storm -12.5, O/U 92.5 points

The Sioux Falls Storm come into this game looking for a win to solidify their playoff position in the Eastern Division. In Week 16, the Storm went on the road and ran into the buzzsaw of the Frisco Fighters. This week Lorenzo Brown Jr. leads his team into Des Moines to face a Barnstormers team playing for pride. The Storm must start fast on offense and play great defense to get this critical victory.

The Iowa Barnstormers have faced a season-long onslaught of injuries, including to their quarterback. Zach Reader and running back Antonio Wimbush will need to play explosive and efficient football to pick up a win against the Storm. Iowa has played significantly better at home compared to road games, and if the Storm come out of the gate stumbling, the Barnstormers could be a spoiler.

Prediction: Sioux Falls Storm 52, Iowa Barnstormers 45

Game #2

Visiting Team: Green Bay Blizzard (7-6, 5th in the Eastern Division)

Home Team: Quad City Steamwheelers (8-5, 3rd in the Eastern Division)

Location: Vibrant Arena at the MARK, Moline, Illinois

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

Draft Kings Betting Line: Quad City Steamwheelers -6.5, O/U 100.5 points

The Green Bay Blizzard plays a playoff game every week for the rest of the season. After a slow start in Tulsa, the quarterback Max Meylor and Blizzard were able to come back and win on the road in Tulsa by three points. This week the Blizzard are back on the road and still must win to keep their playoff hopes alive. This week they will need to play a much more complete game as they prepare to face a much more skilled opponent.

The Quad City Steamwheelers find themselves in the same position they were during the 2022 season. If the Steamwheelers can find a way to defeat the Blizzard at home, they will simultaneously clinch a playoff berth and eliminate the Blizzard from the post-season. At times the Quad City offense has been one-dimensional, which gives teams like the Blizzard a chance to give them trouble.

Prediction: Quad City Steamwheelers 64, Green Bay Blizzard 48

Game #3

Visiting Team: Tucson Sugar Skulls (7-6, 3rd in the Western Division)

Home Team: Duke City Gladiators (5-8, 6th in the Western Division)

Location: Rio Rancho Events Center, Rio Rancho, New Mexico

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

Draft Kings Betting Line: Tucson Sugar Skulls -1.5, O/U 85.5 points

Tucson failed to clinch a playoff spot in Week 16 while being upset by the last-place team in the Western Division, the Vegas Knight Hawks. The Sugar Skulls have been consistently inconsistent during the 2023 season. If quarterback Ramon Atkins can get the offense into a groove, Tucson will likely find themselves in a shootout with the Gladiators. The ability of the Sugar Skulls’ defense to get stops will be the determining factor in this game.

The Duke City Gladiators are in a do-or-die situation. If the Gladiators can get a home win against the Sugar Skulls, they will cling to a slight chance of qualifying for the playoffs. The Gladiator’s offense, led by quarterback Daquan Neal will need to be ready to score on every drive to give themselves a chance to stay alive in the race for the 4th playoff spot in the Western Division.

Prediction: Tucson Sugar Skulls 61, Duke City Gladiators 57

Game #4 – Game of the Week

Visiting Team: Massachusetts Pirates (9-4, 2nd in the Eastern Division)

Home Team: Northern Arizona Wranglers (6-7, 4th in the Western Division)

Location: Findlay Toyota Center, Prescott Valley, Arizona

Date and Time: Saturday, July 8th at 9:05 pm EDT

Draft Kings Betting Line: Massachusetts Pirates -4.5, O/U 86.5 points

After a Week 16 disaster in Phoenix, the Massachusetts Pirates must return to Arizona to face another challenging opponent. The Pirate’s offense, led by quarterback Anthony Russo and running back Jimmie Robinson, is one of the most explosive offensive units in the IFL. The Pirates start slow on the road and need help getting stops while on defense. Massachusetts will have to face another tough crowd this week, and it will be essential to maintain their focus on action on the field.

The Northern Arizona Wranglers have one of, if not the best, defense in the IFL. They can turn that defensive effort into a playoff run similar to 2022. To make that run, the Wrangler’s offense, led by quarterback Garrett Kettle, will need to be efficient and score on a high percentage of their drives. If Northern Arizona comes out ready to score, this will be the best game of the week, but if they do not, the Pirates could recover from Week 16 and get a win to clinch a home playoff game in the first round of the playoffs.

Prediction: Massachusetts Pirates 52, Northern Arizona Wranglers 46

Game #5

Visiting Team: San Diego Strike Force (5-8, 5th in the Western Division)

Home Team: Bay Area Panthers (8-5, 2nd in the Western Division)

Location: SAP Center, San Jose, California

Date and Time: Monday, July 10th at 9:05 pm EDT

Draft Kings Betting Line: Bay Area Panthers -9.5, O/U 101.5 points

The San Diego Strike Force is another team in the Western Division that must win every week to stay in the playoff race. The Strike Force, led by quarterback Nate Davis, played well in 2022. To get a win in the SAP Center, they will need to come ready to score every drive, and defensively, they need to produce turnovers.

The Bay Area Panthers have clinched a playoff spot, and they will need to win to earn their chance to play a home game in the first round of the playoffs. After being a 1-win team in 2022, the Panthers have done a great job of turning their team around. Expectations for Bay Area are to be a team playing for the IFL National Championship in 2023; they need to finish the regular season with success on the field and a healthy roster.

Prediction: Bay Area Panthers 66, San Diego Strike Force 46

Follow me on Twitter: @AaronSauter7

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