DULUTH -- Win and you're for sure in. That was the easiest way the Georgia Force could clinch a spot in the 2012 post season.
At 8-8, the Force had stumbled, losing four of their previous five games before edging out Orlando two weekends ago in week 17 of this AFL season, bringing their season and division title hopes resting on their home and road regular season finales.
In their home finale, the Force, aside from a 45-yard opening kickoff return by return man C.J. Johnson, were short-circuited by the Pittsburgh Power in a 58-41 defeat.
"We need to play better than we did tonight," head coach Dean Kokinos said.
The Force mustered very little in offensive production with only 13 points and just 58 total yards in the first half.
In contrast, the Force defense allowed 106 total yards and 31 points in the first half.
In the second half, Georgia kept it relatively close, but the Power eventually pulled away to hand the Force its ninth loss of the season.
As it stands now, the Force have clinched at least second wild card spot (pending the result of the Tampa Bay Storm and New Orleans VooDoo game which had yet to be determined late Saturday evening) with a pair of division rivals, the New Orleans and Jacksonville Sharks joining them in the playoffs.
If playoff seedings were set now, New Orleans would win the American Conference's South division and Jacksonville would join Georgia as the first wild card team in the American conference.
In their regular season finale next week, the Force travel to face division rival New Orleans where a win could change their seeding in the first round of the playoffs.
If the Force were to defeat the VooDoo by 23 points or more the Force would then own the overall record tiebreaker by virtue of having more points scored in their two matchups against New Orleans and thus win the South division. If Tampa did win versus New Orleans, the Force would also have the opportunity clinch a wild card berth via a Tampa Bay loss against Spokane next Saturday or an outright victory over the VooDoo.
"We've got to go play and win next week, that's all I know," Kokinos said. "It is what it is."
We're going to go play to win the game next week; that's all we're trying to do next week."