AFL Power Rankings through Week 11
Week 11 was all about its milestones. T.T. Toliver became the all-time leader in receiving yards. Tiger Jones reached 14,000 yards in his career. Donovan Morgan got to 12,000 in his. And the AFL reached 300,000 points. It's a good thing all those milestones happened, because three of the four games ended up being complete duds. It was the second straight week of the "haves" all playing against the "have nots," and once again, we've got a stern reminder of who really does have a chance to win the ArenaBowl and who really doesn't.
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1: Philadelphia Soul (9-2) (LW: 1) - Dan Raudabaugh only threw three incomplete passes on Saturday in Trenton, and the Soul had no problem running away from LA in the process. Raudabaugh is now completing just a tick under 70 percent of his passes with 65 TDs against eight picks. His raw numbers aren't quite as good as those of Nick Davila, but his case for another MVP award is certainly improving with each passing week.
2: Arizona Rattlers (8-3) (LW: 2) - You just had the feeling on Saturday night that Arizona was going to emphatically take care of business, and business was most certainly taken care of. The Rattlers were efficient with the ball, scoring on each of their first eight possessions before getting stood up at the goal line in a game which was finished being competitive. The Latin Laser spread the ball all over the field all night long. If there's a concern, it's still that Arizona doesn't look great in the back, but give Jeremy Kellum another week or two to get acclimated to the speed of the game again, and this unit will be significantly better.
3: Orlando Predators (9-2) (LW: 3) - Another week. Another tight Orlando victory. That's five wins this year by three points or fewer for the Preds, and we just don't know how much longer all of this can keep up. The biggest play of the game came on the last play of the first half when a returning Randy Hippeard found Greg Carr in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Otherwise, what was once a two-stop lead was going to turn into a disaster for the hosts.
4: Jacksonville Sharks (5-5) (LW: 4) - Even without Derrick Ross in the fold, the Sharks did the job emphatically against Tampa Bay. Greg Reid was back in the lineup and scored a pair of touchdowns on defense, and Joe Hills was outscoring his former team through three quarters. If this team could just find a pass rush, it will be really scary, and if the Sharks hang out here as the No. 4 seed with Cleveland at No. 5, whichever team ends up at No. 1 at the end of the year is going to have a really tough matchup on its hands in the semifinals.
5: Cleveland Gladiators (5-6) (LW: 5) - Go back and watch the replay of the last play of the Orlando/Cleveland game. Had Arvell Nelson gotten just a little bit more air underneath his last pass, we'd be talking about a miracle of a victory. The Gladiators still aren't good enough to compete with the best teams in this league game in and game out, but coming back from down two stops against Orlando was quite impressive, especially on the road. Quentin Sims is a rising star in this league, and he'll forever be able to say he scored the 300,000th point in the history of the AFL.
6: Los Angeles KISS (4-6) (LW: 6) - Yuck. The Pete Thomas experiment really needs to come to an end in Tinseltown. He was able to chuck the ball deep to Donovan Morgan! But aside from that, drives were pretty much non-existent in Trenton. To LA's credit, it was a tough roadie on a short week after losing a game to Orlando on a safety to end the game. That's tough for any team to overcome. But the KISS all of a sudden look like they might have the worst offense in the AFL. That's not a good sign going forward, and a home playoff game is starting to feel like it's out of the question.
7: Portland Steel (1-9) (LW: 7) - I give Ron James and his team a lot of credit for the way they played against Arizona. Down 62-31 with a quarter to play, the Steel could've just let the Rattlers score from 1st and Goal from the 1-yard line. Instead, they held firm, got the ball back for their offense and scored a TD on a tough run by Shane Austin. Portland scored on its last two possessions as well to at least have something positive to build off of. Are the Steel winning a playoff game? Of course they aren't. But at least they've got a pulse and play hard. That's more than I can say for…
8: Tampa Bay Storm (1-9) (LW: 8) - The Storm have now lost five of their 10 games by 30+ points this season. On top of that, three times this season, the last competitive offensive snap of the game the team took resulted in a touchdown for the other team. If you want to know how Tampa's season has gone, just look at the last three plays against Jacksonville. T.T. Toliver caught a pass in which he fell just short of the goal line. Jason Boltus was stuff on a QB keeper. And finally, a bad handoff as time ran out led to Greg Reid running down the field with no one chasing after him for an uncontested touchdown. That's Tampa Bay's season in a nutshell right there. And it isn't likely getting any better from here.
ArenaFan Fan Power Poll
1. Philadelphia Soul (92.7 Power Points)
2. Orlando Predators (90.9 Power Points)
3. Arizona Rattlers (77.7 Power Points)
4. Jacksonville Sharks (65.5 Power Points)
5. Cleveland Gladiators (61.8 Power Points)
6. Los Angeles KISS (51.4 Power Points)
7. Portland Steel (43.2 Power Points)
8. Tampa Bay Storm (41.8 Power Points)