Friday, April 10, 2015

2015 RRRC D1 Pick 'Em Panel - Week 11

Week 11 is a four match weekend with NOLA traveling to Austin for a double-header. Not much is really on the line this weekend. New Orleans could pull off an upset, but our pundits have different thoughts on that subject. Each of us thinks the Reds will win without an issue. But, there are some differences of opinions on the other two matches.

Griffins Rugby at Dallas Harlequins

Grant - The Harlequins may be picking up steam at this point in the season and they have some real talent in a few positions, but the Griffins are much more consistent in style of play and effort to stick to their gamplan. This will be a close match. but I think the Griffins will tough it out and prevail.

Ted - The Harlequins are riding high after their win last weekend over the Huns. This week they play host to the Griffins, who will present a much tougher test. Sitting in 4th place in the table, the Griffins are on the outside looking in at the playoff chase. Right now, they're playing for bragging rights and to keep building. The Harlequins would like nothing better than to knock them off and jump them in the standings. Pick: Griffins

Gordon - Having watched teams play last week I can see this being a close game. The Griffins lost their Captain Kevin Harrell to surgery today which will be a huge loss defensively and at set piece time. The Quins played with a fire in them on Saturday. They know that they are no longer the Quins of old and the adversity seems to have united them. This will be another cross town grudge match and I don't think the Griffins have the heart for it in certain positions. Quins to outfight them and win at home.

Gift - Quins have come to surprise me again. They gave the Huns the defeat that I definitely didn't expect, but can't say there wasn't evidence to say that it wasn't possible. Griffins Rugby have been a steady force in their approach. They have found a way to wear down teams for 80 minutes with a steady grinding style of play. The Griffins have yet to win a match on the road (since HARC), but the Harlequins lost big to them back on Jan 31. The Harlequins have been surprising teams all season, and though they have begun to build a bit of a winning streak, I'm still not completely sold on them. Their only wins have still been against the bottom two teams in the league. As impressive of a win against the Huns was, in the grander scheme, it seems to have made sense to the placement of each team. I expect Griffins Rugby to take the win in this game.

BussGriffins but it should be close. Both teams lack a few pieces to run with the top 3.

New Orleans at Austin Blacks

Grant - New Orleans will only be travelling to Austin with their D1 squad this weekend. Injuries, players moving, and work have really put a damper on their season. Three seasons in a row in championship rounds makes for an experienced, but a tired and banged up team. The Blacks are just too deep and too fast and at home. I expect the Blacks to roll over NOLA, take a bonus point win, and deepen the 181 point PD they've accumulated.

Ted - Playoff implications are riding high as NOLA rolls into Texas for a two-match swing. NOLA has dropped into 3rd place and absolutely cannot afford to drop another game back of the Reds and Blacks. This weekend is do or die for NOLA. The Blacks meanwhile are in great position atop the table and with an 8-point lead over the Reds. A win over NOLA would not only solidify their standing, but also all but eliminate one of their competitors. Pick: Blacks

Gordon - NOLA will be playing twice this weekend. Last season NOLA adapted better than the rest when playing back to back games. This year, those clubs do not have to do that so their away games became even tougher than before. Realistically, they have to win out and the Blacks do them a favour by beating the Reds if they are to qualify for the playoffs. The Blacks tore the Reds apart a few weeks back but have tapered off a bit since then. I imagine the Blacks will have been focusing on this game for some time now. I honestly have no idea who will win this tie and can make arguments for both. The must win scenario will drive NOLA, but the Blacks at home will favour them. This should be a great game and one I would love to watch. Blacks to win. 

Gift - New Orleans will be heading down to Austin for a two part series. The Austin Blacks have been on an upswing since the last these two teams played in New Orleans. The Blacks have absolutely destroyed everyone that they have faced since they lost to New Orleans. They have allowed an average of 13 points per game and have put up over 40 points in 4 of the last 5 weeks. New Orleans has been less than stellar the last three matches. They have only scored 35 points total in their last three matches and have allowed 137 points. Look for the Austin Blacks to take this match.

Buss - Blacks. The pieces are in place. The team is hungry confident and still improving. This is a statement game.

Houston Athletic at Dallas Reds

Grant - I love me some HARC. It's a spirited club and fun guys to be around. But they just have not traveled well this season. They haven't played too terrible at home, but they also haven't played every game for all 80 minutes. They really need to find that team-stamina to keep the engines revving for 80 minutes. Against the Reds this week, I think finding it will be too little too late. The Reds found HARC's weakness (midfield defense) on their visit to Houston and exploited it. The Reds will play that hand from the onset in this match and win this match in a similar fashion.

Ted - HARC's dismal season is almost over. Only four matches remain as they look to avoid a winless campaign. Odds against them putting a notch in the win column is very slim this weekend as they travel to face the Reds. HARC is giving up just over 50 points per game and they're taking on the second-best offense in the RRRC. Pick: Reds

Gordon - The Reds have started to click on attack and looked very clinical against a defensively solid Griffins team last week. In Chad Joseph, the Reds have one of the most dynamic players in the competition. His experience at higher levels has been a huge part of their recent success. The Reds are far from invincible though. HARC are away from home and with the season all but written off, they will not be the team to expose their weaknesses. I can see HARC conceding 50 points in this one as the Reds close out the game easily.

Gift - Houston Atheltic has been....underwhelming. They haven't been good at home or on the road, and this is not going to play out much differently than has been all season. Dallas Reds are just too good, HARC just doesn't have the team to take them. Reds will win this game.

Buss - The Reds are eager to prove they are still the top team and HARC is reeling. Reds big.

New Orleans at Austin Huns (Sunday)

Grant - I'm going to go against the flow on this one for two reasons: 1) NOLA is travelling light on a two-match weekend and 2) the Huns have absolutely nothing to lose at the moment. There is little doubt that the Huns are eager for a win and an upset that will not change the outcome of their season except to instill some pride that is sorely needed. NOLA will be a bit battered, but I think the Huns will edge ahead in what should be a wet, sloppy, and froward-centric affair.

Ted - One of the more intriguing matchups of the weekend, this match could be very interesting depending on how NOLA fares on Saturday. Will the Huns face an NOLA side that has more or less been eliminated from the playoff chase or will they face a renewed NOLA side that is back in the race? Regardless, the Huns can expect to face a side that should be worn out from a tough match against the Blacks. Will the Huns be able to capitalize? They've shown that they can hang with the upper crust in the RRRC, but not for the full 80. This match may have upset written all over it. Pick: NOLA

Gordon - I expect NOLA to win this game. Their backs will be able to exploit the weaknesses out wide that the Huns have. Huns must use this game as a chance to test themselves though. If they try to play it fast and loose they will lose. The players must stick to the gameplan and slow the speed of the game down and maintain possession for as long as possible. In order to get anything out of the game the Huns will have to limit NOLA to around 10 points. I do not see that happening. NOLA to win.

Gift - This will be the second match of the weekend for New Orleans. I don't believe the Huns will be able to match New Orleans. I expect New Orleans to take this win.

Buss - This is not the Huns year. Leadership will be VERY important keeping the ship sailing in the right direction for them but it won't be easy facing a tough NOLA team. NOLA will be beat up but will have enough to run away.

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