by Mike Daggs, Queen City TE

Three down, nine to go! Hard to believe three weeks of regular season action are already in the books. There’s been some surprises for sure and other teams that people thought who were powerhouses still indeed are. Not a lot of movement this week compared to last – the biggest gain was three positions and the biggest drop was four. Where did your team place this week? Let’s just get right down to it. Heeeeeeeeeeeeere we go………!

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Alaska3 - 0+ 1Many an Alaska player scoffed when they saw that they went from #1 in week 1, won their game by pitching a shutout, and dropped to #2. Unfortunately for the San Antonio Vaqueros the Storm unleashed those frustrations on them. That earned them the respect needed to get back into the #1 spot this week. The league's number 3 scoring offense and number 4 defense in points allowed were in control all day and tried reminding everyone why they were voted number one in the first place. The league's second ranked receiver Optimus Cline is right on the heels of Tallahassee's Duke Wilson, with the only ding against Cline being that he hasn't found the end zone yet. Fix that problem and Alaska is gonna keep on rolling.
Tallahassee3 - 0+ 1What can I say about Tallahassee... well, let's see..... They have the number one ranked offense and the number one ranked defense. They have the number one ranked QB in Christian Christiansen and number one receiver in Duke Wilson. They thoroughly throttled the Queen City Corsairs who were ranked number 1 last week. In week 4 they head to Vancouver to take on the Legion, who won last week but struggled in their first two games. I'm not sure they can be beat at the moment! Tallahassee is showing that they truly are a powerhouse team in this league. They've climbed in ranking each week and now find themselves at #2. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see them climb one last time.
Sioux Falls3 - 0+ 2OK - I have no problem admitting when I've made a mistake. I saw Sioux Falls at #5 last week and basically called them overrated. (Maybe it's the mascot - a Sparrow? Really? It's a delightful little birdie - doesn't exactly strike fear in the opponent, no?) Anywho... I was wrong! I thought for sure Atlanta would rebound from their week 2 loss and stomp the Sparrows in week 3. That didn't happen. The offense still struggled and is now only ranked #14 in scoring, but they only turned the ball over once and managed 3 points per quarter to outpace the 10 put up by Atlanta. Kudos to the defense for remaining strong and stopping Atlanta's offense from doing anything at all in 3 of 4 quarters. They're now the #1 defense in points allowed. Next up - undefeated Tulsa, who has the #5 ranked scoring offense. The defense will once again need to lead the team to victory and shut down that potent offense.
Tulsa3 - 0+ 2WOW, what a game! Tulsa was down early 10-17 at the end of the first quarter, but then they stomped the gas pedal. Before you knew it, 24 unanswered points gave them a 34-17 lead at the end of the 3rd. Indy tried desperately to make a comeback but it was not to be. For a team that started at #16 in the preseason rankings, #4 after three weeks is incredible. The Tulsa offense is currently ranked #4 in scoring, doing a lot of their work on the ground averaging over 100 yards per game. The defense is doing great as well and caused five turnovers against an Indy team that did an excellent job of ball security through the first two weeks. They currently boast a +5 turnover differential - 2nd best in the league - and are #1 in takeaways with 11!!! Next week they take on the Sparrows, who while undefeated have struggled to score on offense (zero touchdowns last week in their victory). But I wrote off the Sparrows last week and look how that worked out for Atlanta. The only thing we know for sure - we won't be talking about four undefeated teams after week 3.
Queen City2 - 1- 4In fairness to Queen City, I'm fairly certain at this point that Tallahassee wide receiver Duke Wilson is not human and is actually some sort of android shape shifter that can alter spacetime and distort the reality of those around him - because the man can not be covered. Wilson shredded the Corsairs and now have their defense ranked #14 in points allowed and #17 in passing yards allowed. Ooph.... The offense is still humming along nicely though - running back Ash Odom looking like he's worth every penny it took to bring him in from Alaska. He's currently the #2 ranked back and leads the league in touchdowns with 5 on the season. The offense is #4 in scoring and #1 in turnovers with a league low 2 on the season. My suggestion - take a few more chances and try getting your tight end more involved in the passing game. That's my totally unbiased, honest assessment. Really, it is. I swear.
Indianapolis2 - 1- 2Indianapolis is still going to be a great team this season, but they finally looked like the rookie squad that they are after the first quarter of their week 3 matchup against Tulsa. The Red Devils were able to jump out to an early 17 - 10 lead after one quarter but then surrendered 24 unanswered points in the next two. A fourth quarter comeback attempt fell just short and they lost the game. Their biggest issue was that they went from the best ball security in the league to a 5 turnover performance in week 3. That puts them now squarely tied third from the bottom. On defense - the secondary that has looked like one of the best in the league was taken to school by the Tulsa defense - 5 INTs for Tulsa to only 2 for the 5-star Indianapolis secondary. Don't get me wrong - this is still the team to beat. The offense is the number one scoring offense in the league. The defense faltered a bit but still has 7 takeaways on the season. Next week they take on winless Oklahoma City - if I were the Renegades, I'd be scared.
San Antonio2 - 1-San Antonio lost their first game of the season to the mighty Alaska Storm. Their power ranking position? Unscathed by defeat. Their number 6 ranked scoring offense did all that it could to keep them in the game, but the number 12 ranked defense in points allowed could not do enough to keep the Storm offense off the scoreboard. The offense is doing a great job on third down converting 57% of their tries, good enough for 2nd in the league. Trouble is... who's first? Alaska. The run defense is stout allowing the third fewest average yards per game in the league. Pass defense isn't all that shabby either coming in at #7 in passing yards allowed. Next week they host Houston who just came off an impressive victory of their own.
London2 - 1+ 1Bend........ but don't break. That was the motto of the day for the London Knights. The Knights couldn't find their way onto the scoreboard in the first half heading to the locker room down 0 - 10. The offense and defense came back on the field re energized after half time and held Carolina to zero points scored until the final 15 seconds of the game. London was able to put up 13 in the 3rd and 4th to take the lead but allowed a last second Carolina field goal to send the game to overtime. Fortunately for London, they made the smart move of signing on two of the Daggs' brothers. Jeffrey Daggs picked off Mark Biddix twice on the day, and Zack Daggs went a perfect 3-3 in field goal tries including the game winner in overtime. London is now ranked #7 in scoring on offense and #8 in points allowed, both in the top half of the league. Watch out America - it's a British invasion!
St. Louis2 - 1+ 2St Louis finally broke their way into the top 50% this week to land at #9. Though the offense still sits in last place in passing yards per game, they managed to improve their scoring average quite a bit and now sit in 7th place in the category (a jump from 13th a week ago). Ultimately though, this team is winning games via their ball security on offense and their ability to take the ball away on defense - they boast a league best +6 turnover differential with 9 takeaways on the season. The defense has also been pretty stingy on third down allowing only 34% of attempts to be converted for a 1st. They're hopeful to continue their winning ways next week as they face the winless Chicago Wildcats
Atlanta1 - 2- 2I expected the Swarm to rebound after their week 2 loss. I.... was wrong. The Sparrows took care of business and shut down Atlanta's offense holding them to only 10 points. An impressive feat considering Atlanta had been #5 in points per game. This week knocked them down a few pegs to 9th. The defense is playing strong and holding teams on average to less than 18 points per game, but they're going to either need to do even more than that this week, or the offense really needs to show the same signs of life as they did in week 1, as they face off against #1 Alaska.
Mexico City1 - 2+ 2Good news - Mexico City won. Bad news - they only moved up 2 spots to #11. I know Ray Bentley was hoping for #8 (not sure what the obsession is, but he really wants to be in 8th place). The Aztecs are starting to resemble the team that won the season 9 championship, riding Bentley's legs to a league leading 442 yards on the season. That's an impressive average of 145 yards per game! QB Matt Willson needs to step his game up a bit though as he currently ranks #14 out of the league's starting quarterbacks. They did win, but it was by 3 points to a Chicago team that has stumbled out of the gates. Week 4 will be a better test of their strength as they face off against a red hot London Knights team.
Houston1 - 2+ 3What to do when your team is at the bottom of the ranking in points per game? Put up 40 points on Dallas, that's what. The Hyenas stomped the Ruffnecks 40 - 6 at home in week 3. The offense revved to life through the air and the ground picking apart the Dallas defense all day. 3 passing touchdowns for Ahmed Cheema, and the best game so far this season for Warren Murray with over 100 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. The defense now resembles that of a league leader - 2nd place in points allowed per game! Their six takeaways give the team a +3 turnover differential which will be crucial for them as they take on San Antonio this week. The Vaqueros offense has been really good at converting on third down and that is one area where the Houston defense has struggled so far allowing 43% of 3rds to get converted to 1sts. I expect a high scoring game between these two teams!
Carolina1 - 2- 3Carolina kept it close but they were unable to beat the London Knights in a 16 - 13 loss in week 3. Their previous #1 ranked rushing offense fell behind Mexico City to #2 after the London defense held them to only 84 yards on the ground. A big struggle is turnovers - currently tied for 3rd worst in the league with 6 on the season. The defense isn't doing enough to correct those offensive mistakes giving the team a negative turnover differential. Lose the turnover battle, lose the ball game - right? They'll need some adjustments this week to avoid the turnover bug - they're going up against the team that turns the ball over the least - the Queen City Corsairs (who, by the way, are looking to rebound from a beating of their own)
Chicago0 - 3- 2The Chicago Wildcats. The only winless team to rank higher than a team with a win. Who votes on these things, anyway?? (was trying to read Andy Hamilton's mind there..) Chicago continues their downward spiral after starting at #2 in the preseason, down to 11, 12, and now 14th place. In the rematch of the season 9 championship the previously winless Aztecs edged out the Wildcats 16 - 13 in what was not quite the same game as the championship itself. This player progression thing has really thrown a wrench in the gears of team predictability so far. Chicago continues to struggle putting points on the board - currently a league worst 11 per game. Like Carolina, they too are tied for third worst in the turnover column as well. The stats don't lie - the defense is doing even less than Carolina's to correct those mistakes giving them the 4th worst turnover differential in the league. A few key adjustments are needed - they need to fix the run game and they need to take care of the ball. If those two issues alone could be fixed this team would start putting up W's.
Vancouver1 - 2+ 3Ohhhhh Caaaaanadaaaaa... Lovely place - went to a concert there this week. Great time. Totally irrelevant though. Back on track - Vancouver did not like seeing that they were giving up a league worst 40 points a game. They also didn't like seeing that they were 2nd worst in the league in scoring averaging only 10 points a game. What to do about that? Filet the Sharks in a 38 - 24 beat down. The game wasn't even as close as the final score appears - the Sharks scored some points in garbage time a the end. Vancouver came out strong and controlled the game all day. They forced turnovers and kept the ball safe. But above all else - a heavy, heavy dose of running back Jonathan Sanchez (whom Matt Willson has now dubbed "The Sanchize"). Sanchez rumbled down field for 163 yards and a staggering 3 touchdowns on the day. The offensive firestorm bumped their points per game average from 17th place to 10th in one game. Points allowed on defense improved as well - they're out of the basement. They might be ranked in the lower half right now.... but just like last season's slow start, be ready. Here comes the Legion.
Dallas0 - 3- 2Dallas has a defense problem. After allowing 49 points in week 2, they allowed another 40 this week to Houston (who, you may recall, neglected to score in week 2 at all). They unfortunately took over last place in points allowed per game. The run defense is the biggest issue allowing the 3rd most yards per game on the ground. They're not generating turnovers either giving the team a negative turnover differential. Heath McDaniel Sr is one of the bright spots on defense though as he's currently rated the 8th best linebacker in the league and boasts 32 tackles on the season. Next up - the San Francisco Sharks. Most people may not be excited about a game between two 0 - 3 teams, but let's look at it this way. Their offenses are statistically the same. The defenses are statitstically the same. The Sharks historically turn the ball over a lot. The Ruffnecks historically can't take the ball away. Someone is going to win this game. For sure we will have one less winless team next week. Who it will be is anyone's guess as these two evenly matched teams should put on a much better show than people are anticipating.
Oklahoma City0 - 3- 1Turnovers will kill a team. You can't score points if you give the ball away. Unfortunately for Oklahoma City they can't stop doing just that with a league worst 11 turnovers on the season. The defense is getting their share of takeaways though - they're actually tied for third best in the league right now. Bet you weren't expecting to read that for a #17 ranked team?!? But with the offensive struggles they're the only team in the top 8 of takeaways who has a negative turnover differential, and it's a -5 at that. Not surprisingly the Renegades are 2nd from the bottom in points scored on offense, due in large part to the turnovers on offense. This team is not dead, though. QB Deacon Nickens? Yeah - he's ranked the 2nd best QB in the league behind only Tallahassee's Christian Christiansen. Bet you weren't expecting that either, were you? Tough, tough task up next for Nickens and his Renegades as they host Indianapolis - a top 3 team in takeaways this season.
San Francisco0 - 3- 1The Sharks climbed out of the basement in week 1, held their position in week 2, and find themselves back in the basement after week 3. There are many struggles on this team, starting with turnovers. As I mentioned with Oklahoma City, they're just giving the ball away too often on offense. Oklahoma City may have more turnovers, but the Sharks have half as many takeaways giving them the league worst -6 turnover differential on the season. Forgetting the turnovers for a moment, the passing attack isn't all that shabby. QB Jacques Luyindula and WR Gabriel Manning are in the top 6 of their respective positions. The run game has struggled though, and of course you can forget the turnovers for a moment but afterwards you remember they're still there and killing offensive drives. They stand a good chance for their first win in week 4 as offensively they are managing to score a lot more points than Dallas has been, but otherwise the teams are a statistical match and it truly could go either way. Either way, I think San Francisco may find a way to climb out of the basement again in week 4.