By Jess

15. Butchers v 18. Dark Rainbows

In this corner: The Butchers

The road so far: Not the Butchers we’re used to, but despite a few setbacks they’ve won key games against tough opponents. 

The history books: Last year the Butchers lost this exact play in game to the Rainbows in what was a crazy upset.

Injury report: Pete still might be out from when he messed up his elbow a few weeks back. Meredith is out for the count with a mid season ACL tear.

One player to watch: Brady. He cut his hair so people wouldn’t recognize him but it didn’t work. Whether you think he’s underrated or overrated he’s still dangerous with the ball, folks.

Key number: 4- the exact number of women they’ll have playing due to injuries. 2 is better than none in terms of breaks and subs

Dominant narrative: It’s been a bumpy road but if they succeed in this game they should be able to give their next opponent a tough time.

The big question: Will history repeat itself? 

Bandwagon-ability: Fairly high. How could you not cheer for the lovable faces of Dana, Rachel and Creamy.

One good reason to root for them: Creamy said if they win him and Diana won’t move to Delaware WOOOO

In this corner: The Dark Rainbows

The road so far: Despite seeming like the team to watch this year, the Rainbows *seemed* to have lost their luster

The history books: Last year the Bows beat the Butchers for their first entry into the playoffs in a long time. I scored my first goal and peed my pants- wow!

Injury report: no one is injured but a lot of the Rainbows’ roster will be missing

One player to watch: Sean aka hockey Jesus. The old school Rainbow who’s been around the block and plays like it.

Key number: 20- the jersey number of the idiot captain (not me) who decided to plan a trip for the first two weeks of the playoffs.

Rainbows without Yetter.

Dominant narrative: While everyone loves to say we were underwhelming this year, when we connect as a team it’s great!

The big question: Will I pee my pants again? Will history repeat itself? 

Bandwagon-ability: Also fairly high. We’re the real league sweethearts for a reason ya know

One good reason to root for them: Who doesn’t love a good upset?

16. Sky Fighters v 17. Mathematics

In this corner: The Sky Fighters 

The road so far: Unfortunately dropping back down to the 4th division after this season, Sky Fighters have all the makings of a good team but one thing seems to be missing.

The history books: What is UP with these rematch games. Last year Math beat Sky Fighters in the play in game. Round 2 here we go. Years prior, when Fuzz first formed, Sky Fighters took them out and went onto the quarter finals.

Injury report: Maurice was in a boot earlier in the summer but is back and good to go

One player to watch: Wes— when he’s not busy running marathons he’s incredibly resilient and a big part of the Sky Fighters fire power

Key number: 1- as in the 1st division, which the Sky Fighters once were in and now have descended as far down as the 4th division

Dominant narrative: It’s been a season of lows sprinkled with a few highs. The Sky Fighters need their mojo back and then some if they want to end the season on an epic comeback.

The big question: Will they rise to the occasion or underestimate their opponent?

Bandwagon-ability: 7/10

One good reason to root for them: Everyone (the media) has shit on them for getting a decent amount of their players poached last year. Let’s see if they can shut everyone (the media) up.

Do the Sky Fighters have the stamina to keep up with Math?

In this corner: Math

The road so far: Despite some new additions it’s been a tough year for math 

The history books: Math beat Sky Fighters last year and the year before that upset Cobra Kai in the round of 16. 

Injury report: Jon banged up his hand (a source says it was gross and swollen) but word on the courts is he should be back and ready to go

One player to NOT watch: Tadpole. Jack won’t be here so this is about to get reaaaal interesting. Yet again a key player abandons their team in a time of need.

Key number: 3- Jeff, Jack and Linsey are all out and without this trio the better half of the commissioners might be worried

Dominant narrative: Math needs a win to get their mojo back

The big question: Will Zach N play in a skirt or is that reserved solely for Rose Charity games? (please play in a skirt, Zach)

Bandwagon-ability: A wild card team filled with nice and mild mannered people, what’s not to love? I’ll give them an 8/10.

One good reason to root for them: Sarah has said that in lieu of wedding gifts to please come cheer for Math 

14. Fresh Kills v 19. Tompkins Square Riots

In this corner: Fresh Kills

The road so far: This year has been tough for FK with attendance issues and losses from prior years’ victories

The history books: blah blah the team with the most PBR Cup wins blah blah 

Injury report: n/a

One player to watch: Meg— if she shows up, that is. Megatron has been a force on the courts and her thirst for goals (and human flesh) cannot be quenched

Key number: 21- as in the number of players the playoffs rosters are capped at, which they should have no trouble staying under

Dominant narrative: With quite the fall from grace, this is not the FK we’re all used to. Can they bounce back and make a solid PBR Cup run?

The big question: What’s their rebuilding year gonna look like after this?

Bandwagon-ability: 4/10

One good reason to root for them: If they win they won’t fuck up the playoffs schedule woooo!!!

What the…?!

In this corner: The Riots

The road so far: The Riots have secured their spot as 20th in the league for the 2nd consecutive year but to come in against them overconfident is a huge mistake.

The history books: The Riots haven’t made it out of a play-ins game in a hot minute.

Injury report: n/a

One player to watch: Someone please correct me in the comments because I don’t know his name but that blue helmet guy is speedy and good. Might be an interesting matchup vs Ariel.

Key number: 0- as in 0 goals. DGR is known for having some legendary days and for the Riots to have a shot this thing needs to go into OT with the help from a shutout from Dave. (no pressure Dave)

Dominant narrative: These aren’t the Riots we’re all used to. They’ve played together for a while now and I’ll say this year they seem to be their strongest yet. The worst thing a team can do is underestimate them

The big question: Will Dave stand on his head in goal?

Bandwagon-ability: 6/10

One good reason to root for them: An upset like this might make the BTSH history books. Then we can all gloat about how we witnessed greatness to the younger kids in the league when we’re old and cranky like Walker.

13. Mega Touch v 20. Gut Rot

In this corner: Mega Touch

The road so far: Although they were off to a slow start this season, Mega gained speed, making them a formidable force for their opponents.

The history books: Reigning Schlitz Cup Champs

Injury report: n/a

One player to watch: Tash. The Harvard hailing ice hockey alum is obviously a friend of Shelly’s and obviously really good. Classic Julie and her stellar recruiting.

Key number: 13- as in Mega’s overall standings. They’re the highest ranked team out of anyone in the play in games so making it out should be a breeze.

Dominant narrative: The last time these two teams faced, Gut Rot shocked the world with an OT win.

The big question: Will Mega lose in the last seconds?

Bandwagon-ability: 6/10

One good reason to root for them: Personally I’d like to see a Julie vs Olivier rematch how about y’all?

“When Gut Rot wins everyone wins”

In this corner: Gut Rot

The road so far: It’s been a tough season for Gut Rot, with some triumphant surprise wins that ultimately have kept them going.

The history books: Typically in the bottom, Gut Rot is no stranger to the play-in game

Injury report: n/a

One player to watch: Peaches- fast and aggressive to the ball and with the ball, you don’t want to get in his way

Key number: 2- as in the number of wins they’ve had all season. One of which to Mega!!!!

Dominant narrative: While Gut Rot has some key players they rely heavily on (no Akhil, I’m not talking about you) what makes them so great is when others step up.

The big question: Will Heather score another OT winner? Is Akhil jealous when all the attention isn’t on him?

Bandwagon-ability: 8/10, 9/10 if Becca isn’t there to gloat 

One good reason to root for them: “When Gut Rot wins everyone wins”

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