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Bracket Busting: Making Our Points

High-stakes writers Monty Phan and John Lapinski chronicle their entry in the FFPC Super Bracket contest.

When our family goes around the table to say what we’re thankful for this Thanksgiving, I have my answer: the FFPC playoff seeding system that rewards high-scoring teams instead of only those with the best record.

That’s right. While everyone else says stock answers like “I’m thankful for my health” or “I’m so happy we have a nice house to live in,” I’m going to speak from the heart about my appreciation that the inability of the vaunted Patriots defense to shut down Lamar Jackson thankfully shouldn’t hurt our FFPC Super Bracket team too badly in our quest to qualify for the contest’s postseason.

I’m kidding. I would never do that. Well, not out loud. Part of being a happily married adult man – a good 75% of it, if we’re being honest – is managing not to say the quiet parts aloud, so, yes, I will be thinking about how I’m thankful for the above, all while spending Thanksgiving dinner surreptitiously trying to hear what Al Michaels is saying about the Thursday night game on the TV in the other room.

After a 5-1 start, the team I run with fellow writer John Lapinski is mired in a skid of three straight losses. Our most recent matchup saw us with about a 5-point lead with our opponent’s Jackson going Sunday night versus the Patriots and our Amari Cooper on Monday against the Giants.

I countered John’s pessimism with some of my patented optimistic-yet-ultimately-incorrect analysis.

In the end, John was correct. In Week 8, we lost in part because our opponent had the Patriots defense, which scored yet another defensive touchdown. Last week, we lost in part because the Patriots defense let Jackson score two rushing TDs, which was absolutely infuriating, especially the first one, when Baltimore appeared to settle for a field goal before taking the points off due to a resulting first down from a New England offsides penalty. Jackson ran it in on the next play.

With only two weeks left in the regular season, our point total has us in a pretty good spot to secure at least the fourth seed, and we are well within range of the second seed.1

Of course, a lot of factors are working against us this week. We are starting Ryan Tannehill for Deshaun Watson’s bye. D.J. Chark’s bye and T.Y. Hilton’s injury have left us with limited options, and now Amari Cooper, who plays Sunday night, is iffy, as well as George Kittle, who plays Monday. And we didn’t exactly start the week off with a bang with Darren Waller, who caught just three passes for 40 yards and failed to outscore our opponent’s kicker, Daniel Carlson. But our early-season success means we have a cushion to play with regarding our total points.


Image Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Lamar Jackson.

  1. The FFPC awards the top seed to the team with the best record, using total points as the tie-breaker. The second seed goes to the remaining team with the most points, then the one with the best record, then most points.  (back)

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