Playoff Chase: 12 Big Central schools’ fates yet to be decided come Cutoff Weekend; Who will make it?

While Central Jersey Sports Radio won’t have full analysis of the playoff standings until a number of changes are made on Tuesday – including forfeits added back to the schedule and out-of-state SI updates – we wanted to take a cursory look at who’s on the bubble, who’s on the right side of the bubble, and who still has a chance to make the playoffs as they sit outside of the top 16, longshot or not.

READ MORE: Updates to UPR this week likely to cause some big changes; LIVE playoff projection show set for Saturday on Central Jersey Sports Radio

Here’s a brief look at the chances for each of the 12 public schools we deem “on the bubble” – inside or out – heading into Week 9:

North 5

With a win, we believe 15th-place Elizabeth (3-5) is in with a win Friday night at Ridge, a good opponent power points- and OSI-wise. Before anyone gets up in arms, the best team below them, record-wise, is North Bergen at 3-3, so the Minutemen wouldn’t be keeping any 6-1 teams out of the playoffs.

Does 18th-place Plainfield (3-4) have a shot? With a win against Perth Amboy Saturday afternoon, it’s possible they have a shot, but may need some help.

Believe it or not, Watchung Hills may have a better shot despite being 1-7 and in 19th place. That’s because they have a better opponent. The Warriors visit Edison Friday night.

South 5

We say 17th-ranked New Brunswick is a maybe to make the playoffs if they win Friday night at Monroe. That looked like a better game when the Falcons started the season 3-0, but they then lost 4 straight before beating Perth Amboy last week.

South Brunswick is 4-4 but in 21st place, and even with a win against a good Bridgewater-Raritan team, they’re a longshot. With some help, who knows? We might after the Tuesday changes take place.

North 4

Three teams from the Big Central hold places 15 through 17: North Hunterdon (4-4), Linden (3-4) and Montgomery (3-4), with all having a shot. Bergenfield (3-5, 18th) is the team to watch though, coming off a huge upset win over then 6-1 Nutley on Saturday, that put them in the conversation, too.

The Lions may have the easiest path as they play at Voorhees Friday night. The Tigers visit Woodbridge – although the Barrons have lost two straight now – and Montgomery is at Cranford, perhaps the tallest order.

North 3

Both 5-3, 15th-place Summit and 16th-place North Plainfield should be in with wins. The Hilltoppers visit Somerville in the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland Friday night at 7 on Central Jersey Sports Radio. The Canucks have a road game against South River Saturday afternoon.

South 2

It’s likely Roselle (17th, 4-3) gets in the playoffs with a win at Bound Brook, likely enjoying the same kind of bounce Manville did with a win over the Crusaders Friday night. Speaking of which…

South 1

Will a wrong be righted with Manville now in the top 16 of South 1 with a 6-1 record? The Mustangs can’t afford to lose this weekend against Metuchen and find out. A win likely has them in. But another 6-1 team is staring at consolation play: New Egypt is 6-1, in 18th place, and likely out.

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