Adams, Mark Strong tie for fourth playoff spot in peerless pigskin prognosticator race; Watson still ahead by one

 

FootballsThe first-ever run for the playoffs in the HORIZON peerless Pigskin Prognosticator sure ended with some fireworks.

 

Teia Adams and Mark Strong qualified for the playoffs, tying for fourth in the regular season, by the skinniest of margins–one point.

 

That came about through Detroit’s 38-37 win over Cleveland, with the tying touchdown scored with no time left on the clock on a TD pass by rookie Matt Stafford. Jason Hanson’s extra point provided the winning margin, and put defending champ Michael Miller out of the playoffs. Miller was just a touchdown, or a few seconds on the clock (whichever way you want to look at it), from knocking Adams and Strong out of the running. 

 

The game was the final one on the panelist schedule for the week, the last of Sunday’s “early” games, adding a bit more drama. All the other results were in.

 

The other results saw Thomas Watson retain a one-game lead at the top with a fine 12-3 week. He leads Brian Burchett, who went one game better with a sparkling 13-2 mark. Brian has a one-game lead over brother, Brent, who went 11-4. Strong also notched a 12-3 mark, and made two games up on Adams to edge his way into the playoffs.

 

Miller had a good 11-4 record on the week, while Adams went 10-5 to hang on to fourth place. Gary Strong went 9-6, and also will not qualify for the playoffs.

Adams, Miller and the Strong brothers all entered the week within three games of each other for the final playoff spot. Adams was two games up on the defending champ and Mark, while Gary was three games out. 

 

Miller and the Strong brothers all picked enough games different from Adams to have a shot at the playoffs. Miller had three games picked differently, Mark four games and Gary five games. Three losses in both the high school and college ranks eliminated Gary, but Mark picked up a game in each of the high school and college ranks to draw even with Adams. Those two had all the NFL games picked the same (as did a lot of the panelists). Miller made his two-game margin up in the high school ranks, running the table in that division. He and Adams had all the college games picked the same. 

 

So it all boiled down to Miller’s lone-wolf choice of Cleveland over Detroit, and for almost the full 60 minutes of the contest, that pick looked good. Lion quarterback Stafford, aided by a pass interference penalty in the end zone with no time remaining, hit tight end Brandon Pettigrew on an untimed down for the one-yard score to cap an 88-yard drive. Hanson’s PAT settled the verdict. 

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The gap between the tie for fourth and the upper echelon of the pickers is substantial. Adams and Strong are seven games back of third-place Brent Burchett, and nine games out of Watson’s 114-51 mark. Watson and the Burchett brothers have been locked in a tight battle at the top for several weeks now.

 

The pickers have this week and next with the remaining high school games. Between the high school title games, played in Cookeville this year, and the start of the bowl season, there will be a couple of unusual schedules.

Like last year, the final hurdle for the progs will be a heavy dose of college bowl games–a dose of medicine not everyone can handle.