Christian Pundt, Harish Prasad, Hunter Jones, Kenny Gossett, Ray Bentley, and Special Guest Levant Irvine
A majority of our teams are now officially two-thirds through the season, and while nobody has been mathematically eliminated from the playoff picture, we’re starting to see a few of them get pushed a little farther to the outside, looking in on the postseason. Week Eight saw Saint Louis shake the rust of a shutout off, only to fall short a field goal to the Fury, while the London Knights suddenly looked mortal against a resurgent Alaska Storm squad. Perhaps most importantly, the Tyrants were finally felled by a more-than-competent looking Sparrows outfit. While postseason seeding becomes a much murkier issue now, we here at the Power Rankings don’t have time to wait 5 more weeks! We live in the NOW!
EDITORS NOTE: This week, the role of Harish Prasad will be played by Levant Irvine. Harish will be back next week on regular duties, or else so help me
|1||Denver Nightwings||6 - 1 (+1)||Almost as if to answer our rankings last week, the Nightwings have reclaimed the top spot with an assued 16-10 over the Charleston Predators in the Carolinas. While their offense put up less numbers in the end than Charleston did, it was Kramer Jackman's still-perfect foot that kicked them over the top with 3-for-3 made. The Nightwings are almost a lock for the postseason at this point, but they will have to survive the gauntlet of Carolina, Las Vegas, London, New Orleans, and Las Vegas again to earn their #1 seeding.|
|2||Baltimore Vultures||7 - 1 (+1)||"We're up all night 'til the sun
We're up all night to get some
We're up all night for good fun
We're up all night to get lucky"
- Daft Punk, "Get Lucky"
Get lucky is exactly what the Vultures did this week against the then-undefeated Tyrants. With a pick-six from Kaz "No McFly Zone" McFly and Hendrixx Thornberry, Baltimore was able to keep pace with Seattle and ultimately fell them by a field goal. Baltimore's defense is running hot, and while their offense hasn't been as explosive in recent weeks, they still are in absolute control of their destiny heading into the final weeks of the season.
|3||Seattle Tyrants||6 - 1 (-2)||Oh, Seattle. After we put you in the driver's seat, too! While the final score of 31-34 still registered as a loss for the Tyrants, there are plenty of good things to take out of the game. Without two pick-sixes from Baltimore's defense, which can't be relied on every game, Seattle would have come out of this one with a comfortable victory. The Tyrants will try and make up for lost time, as they travel to San Francisco this week to take on the Sharks - themselves smarting from a vicious 10-56 loss. With each team looking to prove something, things could get a little hairy on the field this week.|
|4||Tallahassee Pride||6 - 2 (0)||What started off as a game ended as a brutal mauling, as the Legion were absolutely slaughtered by the Tallahassee Pride 7-49. Each side of the ball was firing on all cylinders as the Pride matched 5 Tom Pepper interceptions with 5 Christian Christiansen touchdowns. Tallahassee has a lot going for them, but are traveling across the Gulf Coast to take on the New Orleans Pharaohs this coming week, who themselves are looking to make a statement against a top-tier team. Frank Goodin's team is looking good for a postseason berth, with Houston, Queen City, and Mexico City rounding out their final opponents - the question is not will they make it, just where will they be seeded?|
|5||Alaska Storm||6 - 2 (0)||One week after the London Knights ascended to the upper stratosphere on the back of Reggie Streeter, Alaska took them and got them to sit back down. The defending back-to-back-to-back champions were able to make the Knights look downright mortal in their confident 24-34 victory over them, with their defense getting 2 sacks and 4 interceptions in a textbook showing. This week, the Storm travel to the seesawing Queen City Corsairs, in a game where anything can, and very much will, happen.|
|6||Mexico City Aztecs||6 - 2 (0)||Normally after the Aztecs absolutely crater an opponent 10-56, you'd see some vertical movement, but as it was the on-the-cusp Sharks, they will instead hold steady this week at sixth. Mexico seemed to have worked out their defensive kinks, with six interceptions to their credit, as well as holding the Sharks to a single field goal offensively. The Aztecs will host the St. Louis Gladiators this week; while some see it as another game to pad Matt Willson's stats in, the Gladiators are hungry for their first victory, which could make this a very interesting game indeed.|
|7||Chicago Wildcats||5 - 2 (0)||The Wildcats were given the bye week to think about what they did in their baffling loss to Alaska. To be fair, other than some fluky clock management, Chicago was able to remain toe-to-toe with the defending champions, and so we here at Power Rankings aren't too worried about the Windy City team. Shann Varner hosts former Carolina chum Andy Hamilton this week, who himself is hoping to push his unit into the postseason - implications that make it a dark horse candidate for most exciting match up of the week.|
|8||London Knights||4 - 4 (0)||One week after winning a shootout with New Orleans, London were sent back to their place a tier juuust below the true contenders in a two-possession loss to the Alaska Storm. Their superstar runningback Reggie Streeter still had a productive night, but Rob Roby struggled through four turnovers. London is clearly a very good team on the verge of breaking through. They will have plenty more opportunities to do so over the last month of the season.|
|9||Sioux Falls Sparrows||4 - 3 (+1)||Sioux Falls had more trouble than they should have versus an Oklahoma City team that has more or less let other teams walk over them all season. While they were eventually able to put them away, we were legitimately nervous there for a while. That being said, this shouldn't take away from the whole picture of this team. The Sparrows have been riding an offense that is the third highest scoring unit in the league, and they look poised to have their hot streak truly tested down the stretch with matchups versus Las Vegas, Mexico City, Queen City, Alaska, and Chicago.|
|10||Queen City Corsairs||4 - 3 (+2)||Queen City has been such an odd team this season. Some weeks they are getting buried in the past by teams like Alaska and Vancouver, while other weeks they are absolutely flexing such as their wins over New Orleans and Atlanta. They rank around the middle of the pack in scoring on both sides of the ball, but the excellent play of AJ Caswell and their stifling pass rush position this team nicely moving forward.|
|11||Atlanta Swarm||3 - 4 (-2)||After starting out 3-0, Atlanta has dropped four straight games... meaning they are under .500 for the first time this season. While this is certainly concerning, it's no real reason to panic. The Swarm still have one of the top offenses in the league, headed by the excellent play of Marcus Dunhill, and a defense that has performed at a high level based on the strong play of their secondary. While many teams around this position are starting to see the trouble they are in, it's hard for us to believe Atlanta has any major structural problems. This just happens to be a really good, if not streaky team, that's now caught up in a dogfight for the playoffs.|
|12||Tulsa Desperadoes||3 - 4 (+3)||Tulsa has become a trendy dark horse team after their whipping of the Houston Hyenas this past week. This team has been teetering on the edge of being a real player when it comes to consideration, but their 45-10 showing really pushes them into the postseason picture for the first time. Despite still being under .500 at 3-4, none of Tulsa's showings have been poor performances, and this team averages outscoring their opponents by three points each week (although that number probably is largely swayed by their last game). It will be interesting to see how far this team goes given the fire that's been lit under them.|
|13||Vancouver Legion||3 - 5 (-2)||Vancouver has played every single game so this season really close - win or lose. That was, until this last week, when the secondary seemed to give way, and they could not escape the turnover bug on offense. Now Vancouver finds themself in their familiar 3-4 / 3-5 predicament they seem to find themselves in every season as the playoff picture becomes more clear - that being that they are close enough to have a reasonable chance at a berth, but it requires a significant late season run to make happen. We've seen it before, but we'll need to see Andy Hamilton's side essentially win out to have a good case for the playoffs.|
|14||San Francisco Sharks||3 - 5 (-1)||In a week filled with blowouts, San Francisco losing 56-10 to Mexico City, and being outgained 614-298 may have been the highlight of them all. San Francisco's defense has struggled this season, especially as of late, but this team has seen real production from key pieces such as Matt Burnham and his running mate Gabriel Manning. They are in a similar situation to Vancouver, as they are one of the last few teams that has a realistic shot at the playoffs, but they need to make some real late season magic happen in order to get in.|
|15||Las Vegas Fury||3 - 5 (-1)||A game the coaching staff were worried about, and with good reason, as St. Louis gave it their all being desperate for their first taste of victory. Fortunately, it ended in Las Vegas' favor through the skin of their teeth. That's something to consider as their next opponent, Sioux Falls, fares much better at finishing off their opposition. Thomas Ramen and co. need to be mindful going up against a more veteran defense if they wish to prevail. Looking forward, they will have to give it their all in two match-ups against Denver in Weeks 10 and 12. They will also have to remember to not underestimate the Pharoahs in the midst of that stretch in Week 11.|
|16||Charleston Predators||2 - 5 (0)||If there's one thing the Predators can hang their hat on having still lost, they did manage more offensive yards than Denver and kept them to below 20 points. Against a team that averages 25 points a game, it's no feat to thumb your nose at. They'll need to keep an eye on the turnovers this week against Tulsa and continue to improve upon the defense shown against Denver, as the Desperados scored 45 points in their win over Houston. The outlook for the rest of the season entirely rests on how their offense gets on, as they are away to offensive juggernauts Seattle, in-the-hunt Atlanta, and a rematch against Tulsa to close it all out.|
|17||New Orleans Pharaohs||2 - 5 (0)||Their offense came to light against London, but allowing Reggie Streeter to break SFL records highlights one of the key weaknesses the Pharaohs have had problems with all season. Their inability to stop the run will come to a head when they face Tallahassee this week, as veteran A.J Francis ran for 93 yards last week against Vancouver. New Orleans, on the other hand, allows over 148 yards per game as a defensive unit. The road ahead is also not as kind, having to face Robert Redford's Fury in Week 10 and Jared McChesney's Nightwings in Week 11.|
|18||Carolina Skyhawks||1 - 6 (0)||Having won a game prior to the bye, Carolina will have to continue to get their offense sorted having done well in their previous outing against Houston. Unfortunately for them, Denver comes into the game holding their opponents to a little under 16 points per game. The schedule the rest of the way is also of some concern, as after Denver they have Atlanta and Oklahoma City. The Skyhawks also have another top echelon team in Seattle to contend with in week 12.|
|19||Oklahoma City Renegades||2 - 5 (+1)||Moving up mostly due to an improvement on last week's performance compared to some of the teams below them, the Renegades still fell short to the Sioux Falls Sparrows second quarter barrage of touchdowns to fall 38-28. The outlook is also slightly more favorable considering their future schedule, although this can be rendered void if they fall to Baltimore next week.|
|20||Houston Hyenas||2 - 6 (-1)||Houston lost a game to Tulsa in a 45-10 shelling that didn't seem in the cards on paper. They will now have to regain some confidence during the bye. Playoffs seem almost out of reach, and they will have to run the table now to at least reach .500. The road ahead is arduous, but the Hyenas have the bye to think about how they wish to proceed. Their final four games will be against perrienial SFL Runner Up Tallahassee, playoff hopefuls Chicago, playoff regulars Mexico City, and back-to-back-to-back champions Alaska.|
|21||St. Louis Gladiators||0 - 7 (0)||Going from not scoring at all to scoring three touchdowns on Las Vegas is a marked sign of improvement in all but the win column. Perhaps the Gladiators will have found something to build upon to change the more pertinent zero they have problems with - the one in the wins column, Next week is another opportunity to make that difference. This being their seventh loss, playoffs are most certainly out of the question now. The road to regained honor will prove difficult, as their next game being against the Aztecs in Mexico City.|