AFL Power Rankings through Week 5
Welcome to the ArenaBowl before the ArenaBowl. Sure, it isn't a foregone conclusion at this point that the Predators and Rattlers will meet each other in the title game this year, but at least if the first five weeks are any indication, there's a good chance that's how this is going to play out. That's why, in a year where the regular season means virtually bupkis, this game is the most meaningful of them all, as the winner will have a tremendous inside track to the No. 1 overall seed when the real season begins in August.
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1: Arizona Rattlers (5-0) (LW: 1) - The Rattlers may as well have had another bye week last week. They stormed past Portland without any struggles, posting their fourth win by at least 40 points this season and their third beyond 30 points. The only real knock on last week is that Kerry Reed was lost for the season on a play which I don't recommend going back and watching if you're squeamish.
2: Philadelphia Soul (4-1) (LW: 2) - The Soul did nothing to make me take them out of the No. 2 spot this week. They were dominant on both sides of the ball in a 56-33 victory in LA, and they should waltz to another win this Monday against Tampa before the real fun begins with games against Arizona and Orlando at home. Something started to click for Raudabaugh on 4th and 15 on the opening drive of the game against Portland. He threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Ryan McDaniel. Since that point, he's completing 77.6 percent of his passes for 765 yards with 22 TDs and one pick, and the Philly offense has scored touchdowns on 27-of-30 drives. Pretty darn impressive.
3: Orlando Predators (5-0) (LW: 3) - Alright, Orlando. Now's your chance. Prove yourself against a somebody for the first time this season, and I'll move you up the ladder. It was nice of the Orlando defense to show up in the second half against Cleveland after being completely MIA in the first half. In other news, if you want to see a baller on defense in this game, look no further than Varmah Sonie. He's listed at 5-foot-8 (if he's 5-foot-8, I'm 5-foot-8… and I'm no more than 5-foot-6.5) and is the smallest player on the field when he's out there. He's already got five picks and a forced fumble in just five games, and he's single-handedly led this defense at times. His toughest task will come on Saturday against Rod Windsor and Maurice Purify, a men who are at least a half foot taller than he is.
4: Jacksonville Sharks (2-3) (LW: 4) - Jacksonville tried its best to blow that game on Sunday afternoon in Tampa, but the Storm did a better job of giving it back. Things were rolling right along for the Sharks before Derrick Ross fumbled on the goal line in the third quarter of a game which was well in hand, and after that, the offense really just sputtered the whole way to the finish line. We're not panicked over the Sharks yet, especially since all of their losses have come to teams above them.
5: LA KISS (2-3) (LW: 5) - The KISS are taking major steps backwards on offense with each passing week. Donovan Morgan is once again proving to be basically their whole offense. Nathan Stanley is regressing. And what was up with Omarr Smith never once attempting an onside kick in the second half of the game? Puzzling at best.
6: Cleveland Gladiators (1-4) (LW: 6) - For 30 minutes of football last Friday, Arvell Nelson looked like Nick Davila. He was throwing darts all over the field, and he led the Gladiators on six touchdown drives in a row. In the second half, he looked more like Arvell Nelson, chumping up three turnovers to take a close game and turn it into a blowout loss. Sure, the Glads weren't as bad as a 20-point defeat looked to Orlando, but there has to be some growing concern here in Cleveland. The Gladiators are already through half of their home schedule, and they still have Philly and Arizona twice on their schedule as well as a game at Orando. At best, this team is looking at 6-10 as we see it.
7: Portland Steel (0-4) (LW: T-8) - The reason we're set to move the Steel millimeters past the Storm is because they might at least have a little bit of a future at quarterback with Darron Thomas, a likeable guy who is at least going to play hard. It's a good thing, too. Kasey Peters was a train wreck, and he wasn't getting any help whatsoever from his wide receivers. We're also giving Portland some credit for these first four games that it's played. How many teams in this league right now would be 0-4 in games against Arizona, Orlando, Philadelphia and Arizona? At least three or four.
8: Tampa Bay Storm (0-4) (LW: T-8) - I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Lawrence Samuels has coached his last game at home. He showed all sorts of emotion in the loss to Jacksonville on Sunday, but a loss is still a loss, and this offense still hasn't managed to get past 30 points in a game. It's the first time in 15 years that a team has gone four straight games without scoring 30 points. Now, the Storm have to play at Philly, then at Orlando four days later. There's just zero chance to win either of those games, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the 30-point drought continues, especially if Jonathan Bane really is going to be starting under center. Bane is a gamer for sure; he took a beating on Sunday and just kept getting up. But the stats don't lie. 27 points are just 27 points, and they're really less than that when you consider the fact that the first seven came courtesy of Mike Washington on the opening kickoff of the game.
ArenaFan Fan Power Poll
1. Arizona Rattlers (96.2 Power Points)
2. Orlando Predators (88.8 Power Points)
3. Philadelphia Soul (75.3 Power Points)
4. Jacksonville Sharks (65.9 Power Points)
5. LA KISS (63.8 Power Points)
6. Cleveland Gladiators (53.1 Power Points)
7. Portland Steel (42.2 Power Points)
8. Tampa Bay Storm (39.7 Power Points)