AFL Power Rankings through Week 7
The Steel and the Storm were both THIS CLOSE to notching their first wins of the season. Clearly, both look significantly better with Shane Austin and Jason Boltus respectively under center than they did with their other revolving doors at quarterback. It wasn't enough for either to ultimately get their first win, but at least I could argue that all eight teams are now officially competitive for the first time all year long.
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1: Orlando Predators (7-0) (LW: 1) - The Preds were favored by 30 and ultimately only squeaked past Tampa by a deuce, but maybe we should've seen this coming. They just came off of their Super Bowl-esque victory over Arizona and have a game coming up this week against Philadelphia which is arguably an even more important game. Add in the fact that Orlando took the Storm behind the shed in Week 1 and the fact that the War on I-4 has now been decided by one score in seven of its last nine editions, and a close game seemed inevitable.
2: Philadelphia Soul (6-1) (LW: 3) - The look on Dan Raudabaugh's face told the whole story when the clock struck 0:00 on Saturday night. Not only had the Soul beaten the Rattlers for the first time in franchise history, but Raudabaugh finally beat Nick Davila after so many failures prior. The more we see out of Philly, the less explainable the loss to Jacksonville was. If we see another big win this week, the Soul will officially be staking their claim to the top spot in the Power Poll as well.
3: Arizona Rattlers (5-2) (LW: 2) - There clearly is something wrong with the Rattlers right now. Our good buddy Richard Obert reported of "disclipinary issues" while Arizona was on the road in Orlando, and that parlayed with a growing injury list is making arguably the greatest dynasty in this league's history look a little breakable. We're not all that worried, as the Rattlers are still basically sure to win the National Conference. So what if they have to go on the road for the ArenaBowl? Ask Cleveland how well that worked out. I'd bet the Rattlers get this ship righted sooner rather than later.
4: LA KISS (3-3) (LW: 4) - The big problem Arizona has? This is going to be the third straight week in which it's playing a team that has a massive bulls-eye pinned to its back. If the KISS happen to pull off the shocking upset in the desert on Saturday night, they'll shockingly only be a half-game back in the National Conference. Maybe I shouldn't crown the Rattlers yet after all!
5: Jacksonville Sharks (2-4) (LW: 4) - There might never have been in a team in the history of this league that needed a bye week like Jacksonville. The Sharks should be refreshed after blowing a big lead in Cleveland two weeks back, but you can bet that a loss to a suddenly resurgent Portland team will have the temperature rising once again in a hurry on Les Moss and the staff in Jacksonville.
6: Cleveland Gladiators (3-4) (LW: 6) - The Gladiators picked off their former mate Shane Austin four times on Monday night, and they still absolutely should've lost to the Steel. Arvell Nelson had a pretty good first half, but it felt like he couldn't complete a pass the whole second half. That's how 20-point leads die in this league. Sure, Cleveland got away with a win, but this team is about to be in a world of hurt in a few weeks when it has to go out on the road for effectively the rest of the season.
7: Portland Steel (0-6) (LW: 7) - You could argue that Tyrone Goard cost the Steel their first victory of the season. Of course, you could also argue that without Goard, they never would've been in a position where an extra point would've won them their first game of the season. The biggest problem for Portland? The team still has more touchdowns allowed than defensive drives this season. PDX has just nine stops, and its quarterbacks combined now have 15 picks. Yikes.
8: Tampa Bay Storm (0-6) (LW: 8) - The Storm broke 30 points! Too bad they didn't break 40 points. Dating back to last year, they're on nine straight games without scoring more than 40, and that might be just as depressing as the streak of five straight games to start this year failing to score 30. Boltus definitely makes this team more competitive, if for no other reason that he's one of the toughest SOBs in the league, but there's still something in the water in Tampa Bay which is poisoning this team. It's five days later, and I'm still trying to figure out the play calling and clock management Lawrence Samuels used to end that game.
ArenaFan Fan Power Poll
1. Orlando Predators (95.9 Power Points)
2. Arizona Rattlers (90.0 Power Points)
3. Philadelphia Soul (81.5 Power Points)
4. LA KISS (66.5 Power Points)
5. Jacksonville Sharks (60.6 Power Points)
6. Cleveland Gladiators (54.7 Power Points)
7. Portland Steel (38.5 Power Points)
8. Tampa Bay Storm (37.4 Power Points)