VooDoo must win home finale to keep playoff hopes alive

Simply put, the New Orleans VooDoo enters Saturday night’s home finale against the South Division champion Jacksonville Sharks in need of wins in its last two games.

With two wins, the VooDoo will reach the postseason.

While that’s the most important thing, defensive lineman Michael Janac said he hopes he can knock the VooDoo into the playoffs with a few more sacks, placing him closer to his personal goal.

Janac has 61/2 sacks this season, which is 21/2 shy of B.J. Cohen’s single-season franchise record set in 2005. Right behind him is teammate Marlon Favorite, who is also within reach with six sacks. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“It will be a group effort if I get it,” Janac said. “I’m going to need my brothers on the line. Marlon Favorite. James Bryant and Xavier Brown. I hope we show up and play how we know we can play.”

Their combined ability to rattle Jacksonville quarterback Bernard Morris — who has 2,419 passing yards and 50 touchdowns — will likely determine the VooDoo’s playoff fate. Jacksonville is 10-6 and undefeated (4-0) in division play. Another offensive threat, receiver Jeron Harvey, enters Saturday’s game with a franchise record 137 catches. His 1,478 receiving yards rank sixth in the AFL.

Janac, now in his second season with the VooDoo, entered this year aiming for double-digit sacks. Even now, he’s confident he can tally the final 21/2 to reach his goal. Why? Because he said he’s had another nine or 10 slip away from him this season, based on technique, not finishing off a play or other reasons. It’s these tough lessons which made him better late this season, lessons he plans to take advantage of against Jacksonville.

“My next two opponents, I think it’s a very reachable goal where I can come out and play my game and reach my goal,” he said. “Now that I’ve got a year and a half (in the Arena Football League) under my belt, it started coming a little easier to me. Hopefully I’ll continue to progress.”

The VooDoo will be eliminated from the postseason race if it loses against Jacksonville and Orlando (6-10, 1-4) wins at Cleveland, clinching Orlando’s playoff berth based on overall record. If the VooDoo and Orlando lose, Tampa Bay (7-9, 2-3) clinches the wild-card spot.