By: Lauren Gardner (TWITTER @LGRed)
Photos: Joe Petro/LFL PHOTOS

With Lingerie Bowl IX only weeks away, the playoff picture is really beginning to take shape. For the Eastern Conference, nearly all the regular season games are over and each team’s postseason fates have been decided. Liz Gorman and the Tampa Breeze will battle it out against Marirose Roach and the Philadelphia Passion for the chance to compete for a world title. That same certainty does not exist in the Western Conference.

In each, ‘From the Trenches’, I enjoy playing devil’s advocate so here’s my Wild West prediction. Coming into tonight’s broadcast on MTV2 (10:00 p.m. ET | 7:00 p.m. PT), both the Mist and the Valkyrie are looking for a win to secure a .500 record on the season. Yet both still have a shot at the postseason. In order for the Mist to head south for the playoffs, they need to beat Minnesota and Los Angeles has to fall to Chicago in addition to Seattle winning the point differential advantage over the Bliss (Currently +32 points ahead). Tough odds, but it IS possible.

West of the Mississippi, the expansion Las Vegas Sin and their core of experienced players have clinched a playoff spot. The second spot is open season. By the numbers, it looks as if the reigning champion, L.A. Temptation will advance.

As I pass over northern Nevada at 30,000 feet on my way to the Seattle vs. Minnesota game, I think the Wild West could surprise.With Laurel Creel back as starting QB, she has provided solid numbers for her squad but it’s about more than just the stats. Laurel has a leadership quality that captures the trust and attention of her teammates. I could see the way they rallied around her in her first start of the season against the Temptation. The Mist lost by a narrow four point margin in a game that could have gone either way, but Creel put them in a position to win. This team has a powerful offense full of experienced and talented vets and some promising rookies. Head coach Chris Michelson has his offense running up to 60-plus plays and does a good job at coaching the talent he has on his squad. Seattle’s record is not a reflection of their talent and this team is due.

It’s a long-shot but with a win over Minnesota and a Chicago victory over L.A., Seattle will be in the playoffs for the first time ever. It’s not probable but then again, people said reality TV was just a fad ten years ago.

You read it here first, ‘From the Trenches’, Western Conference playoff game will be ‘Vegas vs. Seattle.