AFL Power Rankings through Week 3
Can you believe that we're already almost a quarter of the way through the regular season? Some teams still feel like they're still trying to find their identities, while others are in midseason form and ready for the playoff push. Check out our debut AFL Power Rankings and see how they compare to the Power Poll as voted on by you, the fans of ArenaFan.
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1: Arizona Rattlers (3-0) (LW: NR) - I'm calling it right now. If the Rattlers want to go 19-0 this year, they will. There isn't a team in the league which is going to beat them if they're at their best and if they stay healthy. Nick Davila had every excuse to sit out against Tampa Bay if he wanted to over the weekend, and no one could've faulted him for wanting to spend time with his newborn child who was literally born hours before the game against the Storm. Instead, he came out and won Under Armour Offensive Player of the Week honors by throwing for 248 yards and seven scores. Ho hum.
2: Philadelphia Soul (2-1) (LW: NR) - I'm not going to make any friends in my hometown by not making the 3-0 Preds the No. 2 team in the rankings (heck, most probably think they should be No. 1… those are the delusional ones), but my eyes tell me that Philly is the better of these two teams right now. Sure, the Soul had a hiccup against Jacksonville, the same Jacksonville team which should've beaten Orlando last week, but they looked great against Portland and were dominant on defense against Cleveland as well. Dan Raudabaugh started shaky last week, going just 2-of-6 for 21 yards to start the game. His fourth down completion for a touchdown to Ryan McDaniel spurred him on the rest of the way. His stat line from that point on? A cool 15-of-19 for 200 yards and eight scores.
3: Orlando Predators (3-0) (LW: NR) - I'm not feeling it yet with the Predators. Their defense has the potential to be out of this world, and their offense wasn't stopped in their first two games of the year, but if we're being honest, they should've lost to Jacksonville and beat up the two worst teams in the league. Rob Keefe can coach a team up like few others in this league, and that's why the Preds consistently win these close games like the one they won on Monday night. If Orlando beats up LA this weekend at home on a short week of prep, I'll become more of a believer.
4: Jacksonville Sharks (1-2) (LW: NR) - Funny game we love, isn't it? After a scoreless first quarter on Monday night, the Sharks and Preds combined for 62 in the second quarter, including five TDs in the last 45 seconds. That whole sequence was odd, though. Derrick Ross shouldn't have scored a TD with 29 ticks left, and Jacksonville should've gone into the locker room up 27-21 getting the ball in the second half. Instead, he scored, Randy Hippeard got stripped and Alvin Ray Jackson brought it back for a score, Hippeard threw a pick, and all of a sudden, the Sharks should've been up at least 34-21 at the break. Les Moss tries a field goal, misses it, Brandon Thompkins returns it for a touchdown, Orlando onside kicks to start the second half, and instead of maybe being up 44-21 one possession into the second half, the Sharks were down 35-34. Why is Jacksonville ahead of LA after getting punked in Tinseltown in Week 1? Call me a believer for the time being that things will turn around in J-Ville.
5: LA KISS (2-1) (LW: NR) - Let's get this much straight: This 2016 LA team is significantly better than the 2013 and 2014 versions, and Omarr Smith deserves a lot of credit for the product that he's put on the field thus far. The KISS haven't exactly had a history of winning gritty games, but they did that in Cleveland last week. Again, sort of like Orlando needs to prove something to me though, LA does as well. Were the KISS just destroyed by Arizona because the Rattlers are just that much better than everyone else? Or are they really a legitimate contender? If the Fightin' Genes and Pauls can come across the country for a second straight week and win again, color me impressed.
6: Cleveland Gladiators (1-2) (LW: NR) - First off, it's good to have you back, Coach Thonn. The best news of the week was that Thonn was back on the sidelines after having some problems with his ticker that sent him to the hospital prior to the game two weeks ago against Tampa Bay. The Gladiators are an interesting case this year. Their defense is phenomenal – take away four pick sixes, and what's left is a 'D' allowing just 39.0 points per game. The offense though, is just dull. Dennis Havrilla isn't a starting quarterback in this league, and I'm not all that sure the injured Chris Dieker is either. That's why the Glads are dead last in the league with 10 turnovers in three games. Averaging 3+ turnovers per game won't get the job done in this league no matter how good your defense is.
T-8: Portland Steel (0-3) (LW: NR) - I refuse to award either Tampa Bay or Portland anything but a last place ranking. The Steel might've shown some heart in Orlando a couple weeks ago, but the games against Philly and Arizona were just downright embarrassing. Danny Southwick is a gamer, but he's really overmatched against good defense. What really alarms us is the fact that the Steel have a grand total of just three stops this year, and none have come in the first halves of games. 16 drives against. 16 touchdowns allowed. You're not winning many games like that.
T-8: Tampa Bay Storm (0-3) (LW: NR) - My stance on the Storm at this point is pretty darn clear. This franchise has become a joke and may as well just stop showing up to games as I see it. Jason Boltus is back, but I can't confirm or deny that he left Phoenix last week in one piece. There isn't a more embarrassing offensive line in the league than this. It might not show in the stat sheet with just four sacks against, but it's hard to complete a pass when by the time you get to the 'T' in "hut," you've already got a hand on your shoulder. Sure, Adam Kennedy, Jonathan Bane and Boltus aren't exactly Nick Davila out there, but Davila wouldn't be an All-Arena QB behind this line either. The offensive numbers are staggeringly bad. As a team, the Storm are averaging 27.0 and 183.7 yards per game (and just 4.6 yards per play), and their quarterbacks are combining to complete 43.0 percent of their passes with 10 TDs and seven picks. The combined quarterback rating? 90.0. Arizona's? 152.5. There's a reason why Tampa Bay was the second-biggest underdog that I can ever remember seeing in AFL history at +32.5. The good news? The Storm are only dogs by a TD to the bye week this week…
ArenaFan Fan Power Poll
1. Arizona Rattlers (95.3 Power Points)
2. Orlando Predators (89.4 Power Points)
3. Philadelphia Soul (74.1 Power Points)
4. LA KISS (66.9 Power Points)
5. Jacksonville Sharks (61.2 Power Points)
6. Cleveland Gladiators (52.8 Power Points)
7. Tampa Bay Storm (42.8 Power Points)
8. Portland Steel (42.5 Power Points)