Week 20 officially wraps up the end of the National Lacrosse League regular season and that means the fun is just beginning as the playoffs are up next!
Avoiding injury is a major storyline for all teams on the floor this weekend and let’s not forget that 1st place in the West is still up for grabs.
NLL staff members Andy McNamara, Renee Washington, Devan Kaney, and Brian Shanahan deliver their game predictions every week.
Send us your picks @NLL on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the specific game hashtags for each match-up below.
2018-19 Game Picks Standings:
Congrats to Devan Kaney who can be crowned Queen of the Game Picks, but the slate will be wiped clean for the postseason! On to the predictions!
Toronto Rock (11-6) at Vancouver Warriors (5-12) – Friday, 10pm ET
No matter what time of the year it is, a trip out West can always be a challenge for eastern based teams. Vancouver is out of the playoffs, while the Rock are cemented as the three seed so getting out healthy is most important for Toronto.
I see the Rock being conservative and the Warriors sending the home crowd away happy to finish a disappointing season.
Neither of these teams are really playing for too much in Week 20 – the Warriors are out of playoff consideration and the Rock are already locked into the number 3 seed in the East, but I don’t see the Rock letting off the gas this game. Going with Toronto in this matchup.
Tweet @NLL using #TORvsVAN
New England Black Wolves (8-9) at Rochester Knighthawks (6-11) – Saturday, 7:30pm ET
If the NLL season was a couple weeks longer Rochester would be pushing hard for a trip to the postseason. However, their four-game winning streak started a bit too late. New England is planted into 4th place and will keep with the theme of not wanting to get anyone hurt.
This version of the Knighthawks make will finish strong for its fans.
Pick: BLACK WOLVES
The Knighthawks are out for spoils and I think they’re going to go for their fifth win in a row this week. Plus, New England hasn’t played well on the road this season and they are already set to play the Bandits in round one.
Tweet @NLL using #NEvsROC
Colorado Mammoth (6-11) at Saskatchewan Rush (10-7) – Saturday, 8:30pm ET
This is a possible first round matchup so the Rush have something to play for. Colorado’s actually won their last two road games and only fell by two goals the last time they played Saskatchewan.
My gut is saying to go with the visitors.
I don’t want to go as far as saying that the Rush are a shoo-in for the Finals, but they are looking like a strong team despite their big loss to Calgary in Week 19. I just don’t see the Mammoth winning this one.
Tweet @NLL using #COLvsSAS
Buffalo Bandits (13-4) at San Diego Seals (10-7) – Saturday, 10pm ET
Buffalo has clinched the East Division title so while they are playing at the highest level of anyone in the league, do the Bandits really want to sacrifice potential injury? The Seals have lost three of their past four, but a victory could secure them the Western crown. I’ll go with San Diego.
The Bandits are undoubtedly the team to beat in the NLL right now. They are playing great, they have so much swag, and they’re fun to watch. Taking Bandits over Seals. (P.S. will we see this matchup again in May? Perhaps.)
Tweet @NLL using #BUFvsSD
Make sure to catch all the NLL action on B/R Live.
Andy McNamara has been a play-by-play commentator for the NLL on TSN, B/R Live, and world lacrosse tournaments since 2011. He’s also a sport talk host and anchor on TSN 1050 sports radio. Follow Andy on twitter @AndyMc81.