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October 17, 2013

With two weeks left, football playoffs coming into focus

The proponents of the statewide high school football playoff system that takes off in just two weeks believed their tournament would extend the season for many teams. In other words, early losses would not be doom in terms of winning the state title.

So far, it looks like they were right. Think about Danvers’ opening night loss to Marblehead, or the Magicians’ own stunner at Beverly last weekend. For that matter, consider the Panthers’ upset losses to Danvers and Gloucester.

Some years, those defeats would mark the end of a championship run in a very early part of the season. This year, all three teams are very much in the postseason mix.

With two weekends of football before the seedings come out for this inaugural football playoff bonanza, let’s take a look at where each local team stands. Remember, every team has been placed in a division, with a certain number of those teams qualifying for the tournament. The top two teams in each league (provided the league has at least five 5 teams) get a spot, and the rest of the bracket is filled in by wild card teams.

Wild cards are determined using power rating, which combines a team’s wins (8 points for beating a lower tiered team, 10 for division wins, 12 for beating a higher tiered team) and the wins of their opponents (3 points for a win a team you’ve beaten has, plus one point for every win a team you lose to has). If a tournament has too many auto-qualifiers (i.e., there are 9 in an 8-team region), the ties are broken with the power rating.

What do the teams around here need to do to get in, and what does the possible road to Gillette Stadium for a Super Bowl look like if they do?

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