Games We Play: Playoff mood for Jerusalem-Haifa IFL game-of-the-year at Kraft

Jerusalem-Haifa is as good as it gets in the IFL, and the teams face-off this Thursday at 7:00 pm at Kraft Stadium.

USA football ball 88 (photo credit: )
USA football ball 88
(photo credit: )
For the throngs of avid Fieldturf IFL fans out there, this game needs no introduction. The top two teams in the standings, both extremely hungry, bordering on starving, for this victory. Playing for first place. Winner has the inside track to a first round playoff bye with just a couple of games left in the regular season. The biggest, best and most anticipated regular season game in the young history of the league. Add it all up and the showdown between the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions and the Real Housing Haifa Underdogs this Thursday evening at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem could go a long way in deciding the IFL champion in March. The truth is these are two really good football teams who will go at it playing with a combustible mix of motivation on both sides of the field. Big Blue (5-1) is coming into this game with added incentive in front of their home fans after getting spanked by the Underdogs in their last meeting, in Haifa, for their only loss of the season. The Lions will benefit from playing at close to full-strength for the first time in more than two months after more than three weeks off to rest a number of nagging injuries. This extra vigor and enthusiasm could tip the balance in their favor in a tightly-fought contest that could go down to the wire. The Underdogs (5-2), on the other hand, are riding a wave of momentum and confidence that is unprecedented, tearing through teams with apparent ease on their current four game winning streak and clicking on all cylinders both offensively and defensively. Look for this positive energy to play a factor in the early stages of the contest if Haifa can take advantage of the Lions' rustiness with a quick strike to throw them off their game plan and rattle them at the outset, not allowing them to settle into their groove. In the end, if the New York Giants taught us anything last Sunday in Arizona it was to have faith and ride the hot and streaking team who peaked at the right time…so why am I so damn uneasy picking Haifa? I've been pumping them up for weeks. Because I think these teams are even on offense and defense, but not on special teams. Big Blue has a slight edge there - add that to the home-field advantage and I think they'll stop the rolling Underdog express and win. 37-35 final score. Normally I'm fairly well hype-intolerant, but here's all I know: Jerusalem-Haifa is as good as it gets in the IFL, circa 2008, and I can't wait to see what drama it all produces this Thursday at 7:00 pm at Kraft Stadium. Lions-Underdogs. Bring it on! The IFL returns next Friday with an important duel with playoff implications between the Mike's Place Tel Aviv Sabres and the Dancing Camel Hasharon Pioneers at the Yarkon Sports Complex in the Baptist Village near Petah Tikva with kickoff at noon.