AFL W2W4, R16: Bombers-Pies a genuine blockbuster; can the Eagles arrest the slide?

Last weekend saw several potential finalists fluff their lines in the race to September, with Geelong, West Coast, Hawthorn, Melbourne and North Melbourne all losing to throw the make-up of the top eight into chaos.

There's no doubt more surprises will be in store in the final two months of the season, starting this weekend.

Two monster clashes open the round, with the Swans and Cats meeting at the SCG on Thursday night and the suddenly in-with-a-sniff Crows up against their grand final conquerers of last year, Richmond, at the MCG on Friday.

In such an even season, almost every game could impact the top-four and top-eight hopes of teams desperate to make the cut.

Here's What To Watch For in Round 16.

Is Bombers vs. Pies the biggest game of 2018?

When Essendon trudged off the Melbourne Cricket Ground after a 49-point loss on Anzac Day very few would have predicted their next meeting with Collingwood would be one of the must-watch matches of the season.

The once 2-6 Bombers have finally clicked and since Round 9 have been just about the form team of the competition with John Worsfold's side claiming impressive wins over Geelong, GWS, West Coast and North Melbourne to even the ledger at 7-7.

The run and dash we expected to see early in the year has finally made its way into Essendon's game with Adam Saad and Conor McKenna's pace off half back influential in the turnaround -- one which has come in the absence of spearhead Joe Daniher. Skipper Dyson Heppell and former Giant Devon Smith have also played crucial roles in the past six weeks as Essendon has gone from easybeats to potential finalists.

Sunday afternoon's blockbuster clash against Collingwood is set to be a belter with the Magpies also in red-hot form. Nathan Buckley's team are currently riding a six-game winning streak and sit second on the ladder after a number of shock results last week. Their scalps may not be quite as impressive as Essendon's but the way in which they're playing in 2018 has their membership figure -- not to mention premiership hopes -- growing rapidly.

Adam Treloar won the Anzac Day Medal earlier in the year but Collingwood's star on-baller won't be lining up this time after suffering a double hamstring tear against the Blues a fortnight ago which significantly evens up the midfield battle.

Will the Bombers make finals? Can the Pies finish top four or even top two? There's so much riding on this game.

Who wants to win the Lukosius Cup?

Remember the name Jack Lukosius. The South Australian key position junior is almost certain to be this year's No. 1 draft pick and is such an outrageous talent that ESPN's draft expert Chris Doerre labelled him "arguably the best prospect to come through the junior ranks in the past 10 years."

But why is he important when looking at Saturday's Brisbane-Carlton clash at the Gabba, featuring the teams placed 17th and 18th on the ladder? Because the loser of that game may be the real winner, and the victors may be the real losers if Lukosius slips through their hands.

As it stands, the Blues have first dibs on the Nick Riewoldt-like running machine as they sit last with one win and a percentage of 63.6, while the Lions are four points above them but with a vastly superior percentage (83.6).

Brisbane have largely been competitive despite their difficult season but last weekend's shock 55-point win against Fremantle in Perth could be the injection of confidence the young list needs. However, the Lions haven't won successive matches since Rounds 6 and 7 in 2015.

And despite being in the box seat for another wooden spoon, it hasn't been all doom and gloom for the Blues in recent times, thanks to the re-signings of gifted forward Charlie Curnow and captain Marc Murphy. Not to mention their spirited display against Port Adelaide last Saturday.

Come Saturday afternoon, the Blues may have all-but secured the No. 1 pick, or will they down the Lions to breathe new life into the race for Lukosius?

While the contest between the two worst teams in the league is unlikely be appointment viewing, the ramifications could be enormous come draft night.

Can the Eagles arrest their worrying three-game slide?

They must be tempted to hit the panic button down at West Coast HQ, after the Eagles slumped to their third straight loss last week against Adelaide last Saturday.

After flying high on top of the ladder at 10-1 after 11 rounds, the Eagles now find themselves third on the ladder and currently without home ground advantage for the finals.

This week they return home to host a Giants outfit which, after having its own finals aspirations doubted, has won its last four and finally look like the team many expected them to be. The contrasting recent form lines of these two sides spells danger for the Eagles even though this match is set to be played in Perth.

Critically in need of a shot in the arm is the Eagles' forward line; in their first 11 games this season, West Coast averaged 100 points per game. Since then -- and since injuries struck Jack Darling, Josh Kennedy and Mark LeCras -- they've averaged just 62 points per game.

While it's a lot of class to cover, the Eagles simply won't win games against decent opposition kicking 62 points. Over the last three weeks of footy, and since hitting their straps, the Giants have averaged 113 points per game.

The Eagles still have a key weapon available in Nic Naitanui, but considering the Giants are ranked in the top five for contested possessions, clearances and tackles, West Coast's prime movers are going to have to get their hands dirty if they're to arrest their slide.