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AFL Exchange: Mix-up in the middle

Brian Beaudry
Friday May 17, 2013

Well, that was apparently an awful time to debut the rankings. Week 8 featured the most upsets of any week, with several heretofore poor teams upsetting teams that had recently looked like contenders. After this week’s games, there’s some huge movement in the top half of the rankings. We’ll try this again this week, hoping for some better results.

San Jose had the best all-around performance against their opponent for the second week in a row, destroying Tampa Bay. Not only are they fifth overall for the season, the addition of Russ Michna at QB has paid huge dividends. So we’ll have to assume they’re a good team until they prove otherwise.
It was a week for the meek, as four of the bottom five teams pulled off upsets. The exception, of course, was New Orleans, which sunk to new depths with their 62-16 loss to a pretty good, but not elite, Iowa team. The gap between them and the next worst team, Pittsburgh, more than tripled after Week 8.
Spokane, which is now coming off its third consecutive loss, continues to coast on the great numbers they posted in their five-game win streak to open the season, and remains in second thanks to Jacksonville’s poor performance in San Antonio.
Week 8 Top OFF+: San Jose
Bottom OFF+: New Orleans
Week 8 Top DEF+: San Antonio
Bottom DEF+: Spokane
Week 8 Top TOT+: San Jose
Bottom TOT+: New Orleans
Week 9 matchups
Well, adding my comments to last week’s matchups was embarrassing enough that I’ll keep it simple with picks.
New Orleans at Spokane:  If Spokane can’t win this one, then it’s time to panic in the Lilac City. The Orlando game was terrible, but at least the Predators have been fairly competent since acquiring Garcia. New Orleans really doesn’t have anything going for it.
Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh: Can Tampa Bay figure out what team it is? Is it the team that beats Utah and Spokane on the road or is it the team that gets annihilated by San Antonio and San Jose? Oh, they’re both the same team? I’ll take the Storm again. 
San Antonio at Cleveland: It’s the stoppable force vs. the movable object! San Antonio has a terrible offense. Cleveland has the league’s worst defense. Cleveland has offensive issues, though, too, and San Antonio, as they showed against Jacksonville, doesn’t have problems on defense. Talons. 
San Jose at Jacksonville: Two top-five teams! Marquee battle of the week, I suppose! Let’s ride the hot hand and take the Sabercats.
Orlando at Philadelphia: On the one hand, Philadelphia is supposedly the better team. On the other hand, both Cleveland and Pittsburgh beat the Soul, so why not Orlando? Predators in an “upset.”
Iowa at Utah: Can Utah’s defense stop Iowa’s offense? It should be a lot easier than the last two weeks, where they performed better than average against Spokane and Arizona’s No. 2 and No. 1 offenses. Can Utah’s offense stop Iowa’s defense? Every time the Blaze offense has gotten through a game without giving up defensive points, QB Tommy Grady tosses multiple pick-sixes the next game. Bad news for the Blaze: They got through the game against Arizona without giving away defensive points. I’ll take the Barnstormers.
Arizona at Chicago: Arizona is the best team in the league, and they’re consistent. Chicago is basically happy to discover that they’ll probably make it through the season. Rattlers win.
Last week: 2-5. Season: 2-5.

Brian Beaudry has been both an intern and a Director of Communications within the AFL and occasionally provides analysis of the league and the Portland Thunder as an Oregon resident. He maintains a blog, Wrong Way Sports, and you can reach him with research or graphic design suggestions on Twitter at @BeaudryPDX.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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