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NY/NJ Hitmen

The Hitmen Prepare for the Playoffs before the Playoffs

New York – (29 March 2001) — That’s what week 9 and week 10 represent in The XFL. Two teams, Orlando and LA have clinched playoff spots. Two playoff spots remain with only two weeks remaining. Six teams are battling for 2 spots.

These last 2 weeks of the inaugural XFL season are the playoffs before the playoffs. LA is in and now they are trying to clinch their division and they are trying to catch Orlando for The #1 playoff seed. The Rage have clinched the east and a home playoff game. Their goal in these last two weeks is to capture home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The West handles their business Sunday on TNN and UPN when LA trys to avenge an early season loss to Memphis. The Maniax are hanging on just barely, as they try to stay alive in the playoff hunt. The Outlaws and Demons are both 4 and 4, They are fighting for the 2nd playoff spot in The West. The Demons are trying to avoid a season sweep by Vegas.

In the East, Birmingham is surprisingly still alive but they need to win their last 2 games and get help. An Orlando win on NBC Saturday will officially kill the Bolts hopes for a playoff spot. This leads us to the biggest NBC Saturday Night game of the season thus far. Who would have thunk it? The Chicago Enforcers head to the Meadowlands to face the NY/NJ Hitmen. Both teams are 3 and 5 and are tied for the 2nd playoff spot in the east. Chicago started the season at 0 and 4 and have now won 3 out of their last 4 games. NY was 0 and 3 and have won 3 out of their last five.

Their last meeting saw the Hitmen defeat the Enforcers in a slopfest at Soldier Field back in Week 4. The Hitmen can sweep the season series with a win on Saturday night. A win by NY/NJ coupled with a Rage win over Birmingham gets NY into the playoffs.

Both NY and Chicago may have to go to battle Saturday night without their best weapons, Both John Avery and Wally Richardson are banged up and may not play. We will have more on this situation on Friday. It’s The Hitmen’s last home game of the season and it’s all up for grabs. If NY wins and the Bolts pull of a major upset against Orlando. Then that will set up a week 10 play in game between the Bolts and NY in Birmingham on TNN. It’s put up or shut up for these eastern division rivals.

The Hitmen offense has played extremely poor all season. They are only averaging 11 points per game. Their defense has bailed them out all season. New York’s biggest blunder of Year 1 in The XFL, That’s easy, They selected Charles Puleri ahead of John Avery in the first ever XFL Draft. Chicago has the league’s best rushing attack going into this Saturday’s pressure cooker at Giants Stadium. The Enforcer defense is the league’s worst so their ground game has really been their savior this season. John Avery is the focus though, he leads the league with 733 yards rushing in 7 games. Remember, he missed Chicago’s first contest with NY back in Week 4. If he plays, the Hitmen defense will have their biggest challenge of the season.

Hitmen fans get out to the stadium this Saturday night, it’s going to be wild. Tickets are available at Giants Stadium box office or check out www.nynjhitmen.com for ticket and travel information. If you have never been to an XFL game, this is your chance to see the XFL Xperience live. There’s nothing like it.

Mike Mitchell is a freelance sports writer, analyst, and a general lover of all football. Mike was one of the original XFLBoard.com Team Reporters in 2001, reporting on the New York/New Jersey Hitmen. We have welcomed him back to the XFLBoard and love his ongoing insightful contributions.

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