The mission is simple.
Win, and the Reading Express is in the American Indoor Football Association playoffs for the fifth straight year.
But there's one major complication to achieving that goal for the defending league champions - the undefeated Baltimore Mariners.
The Mariners (13-0) will be looking to complete an undefeated regular season at home Saturday at 7 p.m. when the Express (8-5) visits 1st Mariner Arena.
A win would give Reading the third and final playoff spot in the East Division. A loss would give third place to Erie, which already completed an 8-6 season and holds the tiebreaker over the Express by winning 2-of-3 matchups.
"No team is unbeatable," said Express fifth-year linebacker Matt Sola. "This is why we play the game. It's in our hands. It's up to us."
Once nearly out of the playoff picture, the Express has won three straight since coach/general manager Bernie Nowotarski left the organization and 5-of-6 overall.
"Our playoffs in our mind started three games ago," Sola said. "We've had that mentality. It's time to keep rolling. We've got to win to keep going."
To qualify for the playoffs, the Express must rebound from a 51-27 loss it suffered to Baltimore April 17, perhaps its worst home loss in its five-year history.
"I like our chances," Express interim coach Chris Thompson said. "I like the way guys are handling this week and last week of practice. This is win and we're in or our season's over and we look for 2011."
The Express had last week off after a dramatic 49-48 last-second win over Fayetteville engineered by backup quarterback Dan Kelly.
Despite those heroics, Thompson said the Express' playoff hopes will ride on the arm of quarterback Rob Flowers, the league's reigning MVP.
Flowers was injured in a win over New Jersey June 5 and was ineffective at times before being replaced by Kelly in the second half of Reading's game June 12.
"Rob's our guy; that's not going to change," Thompson said. "It's just been nice to be able to have Dan there to go to if we are struggling or looking to do something different."
Flowers has completed 57.3 percent of his passes, thrown for 52 touchdowns and run for 10. But he has thrown a league-high 19 interceptions.
Baltimore is led by running back Isaiah Greer with a league-high 34 touchdowns and former Express backup quarterback E.J. Nemeth, who has thrown 47 TD passes.
"You've got to love the opportunity to play in this kind of game," Sola said. "It's going to be a battle. We're going to do the best we can to come out on top."