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By Ken Gossett, Hunter Jones, Thomas Paterniti, Christian Pundt

There nine teams that are either 5-3 or 4-4, a one game difference, in the playoff playoff race – and traditional powers in Alaska, Baltimore, and Tallahassee are all clawing for a playoff spot. That’s kind of crazy. No one is safe and everyone is fighting for a finite amount of spots and there can be massive changes and swings on a week-to-week basis as any week can produce a massive change in the rankings. Good luck to every team still competing for a spot.

RankTeamRecord (Movement)Recap
1Tallahassee Pride
5 - 3 (+2)While it might seem a bit odd for a 5-3 team to be at the top of the power rankings, the Tallahassee Pride picked up a huge win this week against the Baltimore Vultures a week after finally beating the Alaska Storm, getting what’s been a giant monkey off their back. Their three losses this season were to the Storm, Mexico City Aztecs and the Sioux Falls Sparrows, not a group of losses to hang your head over. 5-3 isn’t the ideal spot to be in for the playoffs race but the Pride have a winnable schedule to end the season.
2Baltimore Vultures
5 - 3 (0)The Baltimore Vultures lost to the Tallahassee Pride this week, falling to 5-3 on the season. This loss ends the Vultures three-game winning streak, ironically after losing to Tallahassee back in week five. The only other team to beat Baltimore this season has been the Las Vegas Fury, a game the Vultures unfortunately won’t be able to avenge unless the two meet in the playoffs. At 5-3, they certainly aren’t a lock for the playoffs but it’s hard to see them missing out.
3Alaska Storm
5 - 3 (+2)Alaska bounced back in a strong way this last week with their defeating of a very strong Mexico City team. It goes to show how strong the back-to-back champions are that they were able to pace what looks to be the best Aztecs team since Season 9 in a game that didn’t ever look like the Storm would lose after halftime. Behind the further excellent play of Ron Cockren’s passing attack and the lightning-and-thunder backfield of Robert Merrill and Jason Williams with the #1 scoring defense in the league, they look as strong as any team heading down the stretch run of the season.
4Denver Nightwings
7 - 1 (-1)Denver had been defending themselves all season against their critics who pointed to their extremely weak schedule, and their 37-24 loss to an upstart London team will only add fuel to that fire. QB Josh Miller uncharacteristically threw 6 picks in a game he’d surely love to forget, and the whole thing spiraled out of control quickly. The Nightwings will look to rebound this week on the road against New Orleans, one of their tougher remaining opponents.
5Dallas Lobos
6 - 3 (+1)Oh, you had us for a second there Dallas. It was 7-7 heading into halftime and many were wondering if this was just another case of a team catching fire and punching well above their weight (as Indianapolis and Las Vegas had earlier this season). But then the Lobos got rolling in the second half and really pulled away in the fourth quarter. This new age offense throws their opponents week in and week out for a loop as it forces team to adapt an entirely and radically new gameplan for them, putting those teams into a situation they are uncomfortable in. And having several awards candidates in rookie sensation RB Zack Sandlin and all-world WR Junior Senior III doesn’t hurt.
6Mexico City Aztecs
6 - 3 (-2)Right when we thought the Aztecs were going to get hot and never look back, they drop two straight games in really unfortunate fashion. Mexico City looks like this may be their team since their championship season with Matt Willson leading a career year and Ramos Lynn’s defense as dominant as ever. Ray Bentley has been excellent adapting to his new role as a ball control back and if they are able to keep that formula and get back on a roll then they could very well be lifting the trophy again.
7Chicago Wildcats
5 - 3 (+1)The Chicago Wildcats end their two-game skid and beat the Oklahoma City Renegades 24-6. While the Wildcats have been sort of up and down throughout the season, they’ve still proven to be a consistent presence in the top 10 of the power rankings throughout the season. They’re in an absolute dogfight for the playoffs with a lot of teams also sitting at 5-3 on the season and they’re final stretch of games aren’t the easiest ones to ask for, the Wildcats may need an upset or two to seal their playoff spot.
8New Orleans Pharaohs
6 - 3 (+1)The Pharaohs are one of the most dangerous and underrated teams in the league. They took a bad loss last week to the Sparrows that really stifled them on most of their fronts and really put the clamps on most of what they do well. They responded in outstanding fashion this week with a 42-17 dismantling of the Atlanta Swarm. It goes to show how well-rounded and dominating the team is when they beat another team by four possessions when no individual player had an outstanding game. That’s an especially scary thought considering they may have the best “big three” of offensive players (Xander Gold, Logan Jack, Deezer Powell) in the entire league.
9Sioux Falls Sparrows
4 - 4 (+3)Sioux Falls came out with a superb game plan and took it to Queen City, suffocating them in a 30-10 victory in Buffalo. The Sparrows relied heavily on Colin Hart and held the ball for 75% of the game, giving the Corsairs little chance to respond. Sioux Falls has now fought all the way back to 0.500 and will look to take the next step this week against a Vancouver squad that has looked unstoppable at home.
10Queen City Corsairs
5 - 3 (-3)Queen City came out flat at home and really had no answer for Sioux Falls ground-and-pound game of keep-away, falling 30-10. This marks the second week in a row that they have been soundly defeated, and it remains to be seen whether they can halt that slide against a very talented Baltimore team this week in prime time.
11Vancouver Legion
4 - 4 (-1)Vancouver is coming off a narrow win in a really ugly game versus Tulsa. But hey, a win is a win, and the Legion are now .500 and very much in the playoff picture after their recent two game winning streak and their seventh ranked scoring defense. The offense still doesn't seem to be clicking week in and week out but Andy Hamilton's unit has found ways to overcome that struggle. They have a tough road down the stretch with Sioux Falls, a pair of games versus Denver, and a matchup with London still to go. The playoffs are far from a lock but the Legion are in play for an extended as much as any other team.
12Las Vegas Fury
4 - 4 (-1)Las Vegas is just one of those weird teams that keeps getting weirder. In a game that should’ve been a get-right week as the Fury gets ready for the playoffs, they really made that win a lot more difficult than it needed to be. They’ve struggled in key categories such as yards per carry for Robert Redford and sacks (Ramen is tied for the most sacked QB in the league), indicating they have a real issue with sustaining drives. It’s hard to really understand where the direction of this team is heading, despite our belief in the coaching prowess of Max Jackson, and the overall star talent of this team – and that’s really not a good thing as we hit the stretch run of the season for a team with work to do.
13London Knights
4 - 4 (+1)London pulled it all together this week and shocked Denver with a 37-24 thrashing in which their pass defense dominated, snagging 6 INTs. For a young franchise, this win has to feel like validation of their growth throughout the season. The Knights now look to make a playoff push with a schedule full of challenging, but winnable, games down the stretch, beginning with a reeling Tulsa team.
14San Francisco Sharks
4 - 5 (-1)As the playoffs come closer and closer, eight plus wins is the only real way to lock up a playoff spot. Being sub.500 with five losses has San Francisco on the ropes for a playoff spot. This team has been steadily trending downwards since the first month of the season and it’s really beginning to look dire for a hopeful, youthful San Francisco team.
15Atlanta Swarm
3 - 6 (+1)Atlanta’s high risk-high reward offense may have cost them some games this season, but it’s really hard to deny that it’s not fun to watch the games their involved in. After asserting themselves as no pushovers in their early season bout with Queen City, they’ve dealt with a very difficult stretch of games that they have looked like a really good team in, going 2-2 with victories over Las Vegas and Tulsa, but losses to Sioux Falls (which was a close game for about three quarters) and New Orleans. The defense is still far from a finished product and, along with turnovers, has really caused the Swarm to be on the outside looking in of the playoff picture.
16Oklahoma City Renegades
3 - 5 (-1)The Oklahoma City Renegades, after trading wins and losses throughout the season, may have bottomed out a bit. They started the season 3-3, literally losing one week and winning the next, but their past two games they’ve lost in fairly convincing fashion. They lost to the London Knights 34-13 then this past week lost to the Chicago Wildcats 24-6. Almost all of their games this season have been toss-up games where they felt they could’ve gone either way, however the last two weeks have been different. At 3-5, they’d need to essentially win out to have a good shot at playoffs, fortunately for them they have a schedule where it’s liable to happen.
17Tulsa Desperadoes
3 - 5 (0)The Tulsa Desperados are picking the wrong time to hit a funk. Their latest loss to the Vancouver Legion mark their fourth straight loss, and they’ve gone from 3-1 looking good to 3-5 and desperately needing wins now. Unfortunately for the Desperados, their schedule to end the season isn’t a good look for a team in a funk right now. They’re three wins this season were from teams that were under .500, to make the postseason they’ll need to pull some upsets.
18Indianapolis Spitfire
3 - 6 (+2)Indianapolis did what needed to be done and absolutely drilled the hapless Gladiators 44-3. For a team in transition with a change in ownership and team setup, this has to feel encouraging. They’ll look to find some consistency and a team identity as they close out their season and look to the future.
19Carolina Skyhawks
3 - 6 (-1)The Carolina Skyhawks have had a bit of a weird season. At first they looked like they might be the worst team in the league, yet at other times they look like a dark horse at a playoff run if the cards fall right. Unfortunately, this week put a real big hole in that dark horse playoff team dream. At 3-6, even winning out the rest of the season would put them in a position where it’s still not a guarantee. They don’t have a terrible slate to end the season, but unfortunately for the Skyhawks, they don’t quite fully control their own destiny. All they can really do is win out and let the chips fall where they may.
20Houston Hyenas
2 - 6 (-1)The good news for Houston is that this was the one week of the season that they can’t suffer a heartbreaking loss to an opponent they played competitively. They’ll look to play spoiler the rest of the way as they host a surging Tallahassee team this week. I know we’ll all be watching nature videos of hyenas versus lions in order to prepare ourselves for the carnage to come.
21St. Louis Gladiators
1 - 8 (0)The only thing worse than getting blown out by a good team is getting blown out by a bad team. After somewhat of a moral victory in a loss to a solid San Francisco team, St. Louis laid another egg this week with a 44-3 beat down at the hands of Indianapolis. This marks their third loss of the season by over 30 points, and they have lost every game since week 2 by an average of 20 points. I won’t pile on any more, so suffice it to say that the Gladiators have a lot of work to do to even get to a point of competing in this league next season.
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