NLL Week 5 Staff Picks

The Battle of Alberta resumes. (Photo: Brad Watson)
The Battle of Alberta resumes. (Photo: Brad Watson)

There are four games on the National Lacrosse League schedule this weekend, all on Saturday night. The action starts with the Toronto Rock (4-1)–who currently sit atop Shanny’s Power Rankings–visiting East Division rival Buffalo Bandits (3-1). In a rematch of the 2013 season opener, the Rochester Knighthawks (0-3)–still looking for their first win of the season–play host to the Washington Stealth (3-2). Both teams itching for another win, the Minnesota Swarm (1-2)–who have seen all three of their games come down to one goal decisions–travel to take on the Colorado Mammoth (1-2). In the first of four ‘Battles of Alberta’ this season, the Calgary Roughnecks (2-2) head north to face off against the Edmonton Rush (1-2).

While the east division teams have started to put some space between them, the west division has three teams at 1-2, only one game back from division-leading Washington Stealth.

I didn’t end up flipping a coin last weekend, but managed to do pretty well for myself going 5 and 2. I was then politely reminded that other panelists went 6 and 1. Thanks for busting my bubble, fellas. For me, this week’s picks did not come easy. Sure they’re red hot, but can Toronto beat Buffalo at home? In the last two seasons, Buffalo has won the first home match up. Rochester has to win a game eventually, right? Does releasing Levis reignite the Mammoth or did winning their home opener give the Swarm the confidence their young team was looking for? The guys all seem to think Calgary’s winning the first Battle of Alberta – I just have a feeling about Edmonton this weekend (and I have a thing for the underdog). With Alberta sweeping January’s NLL players of the month, this is going to be a great game!

Fans (who are at 7-8-2 this season) can get their picks in until the scheduled start of each game.

Toronto @ Buffalo
Both teams are hot, but I think the Rock are a bit more established and the D won’t have to account for John Tavares, making it a little easier to key on the other Buffalo gunners. – Chavez

Both teams are good at winning close games but I see Toronto pulling this one out. No JT is bad news for the Bandits. Rose and Sanderson the difference in this tilt. – Pilson

If Buffalo can contain the Rock’s running game, they can pull this win out. A large part of the responsibility will fall on Cosmo’s shoulders. He’s ready for a big game. – Stamp

This could be a classic. Toronto is just playing with poise and Nick Rose is on. Buffalo looks strong, too, but I think the Rock’s forward group is the difference in this one. They’re playing very well right now. – Vock

Washington @ Rochester
0-3 looks bad, especially for the defending champs. But they’re not that bad of a team; they’re just not getting the breaks. They’ll get some this weekend. – Chavez

The Knighthawks offence just can’t seem to get their sea legs under them while the Stealth have had no problem putting the ball in the net. – Pilson

Washington is back as a power in the NLL after a very strange season, but it’s just too hard to believe the Knighthawks will lose four straight to start the season. – Stamp

I think Rochester can take advantage of a team that’s allowed more than 13.5 goals each game this year to get their first W. Roch gets revenge for the first game of the season. – Vock

Minnesota @ Colorado
Chris Levis wasn’t the problem for Colorado, but his departure should be the wakeup call the Mammoth needed. – Chavez

Goaltending is still the big weak point for the Mammoth. Even though the team has been called out by their coach to play better in front of the net, don’t think they can contain Minny’s attack. – Pilson

Is changing one letter (Levis to Lewis) enough to change the Mammoth’s fortunes? Maybe the shakeup will snap them out of their funk, but I’m betting it’ll take at least one more loss for it to sink in that they need to work better together to succeed. – Stamp

Minnesota looks very, very confident on the offensive end of the floor, and Colorado’s defense is scrambling. Minnesota in what could be a high-scoring affair. – Vock

Calgary @ Edmonton
Both back ends are great, but the Calgary offense found its groove last weekend and will be tough to stop. – Chavez

The Roughnecks offence has been on fire over their last two games – both on the road. For some reason, the Riggers play better away from the Dome the last few years. – Pilson

The Roughnecks are on a roll and I still believe they’re the best team in the league at this point, but it is a really tough assignment to go into Edmonton and leave with a win. Expect a real battle here. – Stamp

Calgary found itself last weekend. While Edmonton’s defense is outstanding, I think Calgary’s offense can wear them down and take this one. – Vock

Week 5 Picks

Chavez
5-12
Stamp
12-5
Shanny
10-7
Bridgman
6-11
Jenner
5-12
O’Neill
9-8
Pilson
7-10
Vock
6-10
Saturday
TOR@BUF

WAS @ ROC
MIN @ COL
CAL @ EDM

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