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AFL Exchange: The VooDoo and the Curse of Threes

Brian Beaudry
Friday June 21, 2013

Bad things come in threes, and in this case to No. 3s. For the third consecutive week, the No. 3 team in the Exchange rankings lost, with Chicago missing out on an opportunity to virtually seal a division championship by losing to the Talons in San Antonio.

That brings us a new No. 3 team – welcome back to the top five, Philadelphia! It’s been a crazy ride on the rankings for the Soul, having dipped from fifth all the way down to 10th before their turnaround. Several teams are nipping at their heels, however, including the last three No. 3s, all of whom are within .15 points per exchange of Philadelphia’s pace (which works out to roughly 1.5 points per game of separation, assuming 10 possessions per team).
Look at those VooDoo casually climbing through the lower section of the rankings, now that Kurt Rocco and Donovan Morgan are healthy at the same time! Meanwhile, Arizona pushed out their lead over everyone in the league and thanks to the Talons’ upset, the Shock still maintain nearly a point per exchange (roughly 10 points/game) advantage over anyone else in the league.
This will be the last week of everyone playing for a couple of weeks, so let’s enjoy the full slate!

There was no dominant offensive performance, but Tampa Bay’s defense getting dismantled by New Orleans’ newly-good offense cost them, and Arizona’s stuffing of the league’s top offense won them honors for the week.
Week 13 Top OFF+: San Jose
Bottom OFF+: Pittsburgh
Week 13 Top DEF+: Arizona
Bottom DEF+: Tampa Bay
Week 13 Top TOT+: Arizona
Bottom TOT+: Tampa Bay
Yikes. Last week I felt conflicted about the New Orleans-Tampa Bay matchup and chose the wrong team and then picked Spokane even though I admitted Arizona was probably going to win (and I made a rule saying “Don’t pick against Arizona”). That was enough to flip me from my usual 5-2 record back to my worst record since the first week I did these. Let’s do better this week.
Utah at Spokane: Utah finally got a win last week and they’re facing a team that they held to its worst offensive outing of the season. On the other hand, Spokane is the No. 2 team and has a more than one-point advantage per exchange over the Blaze. I think Spokane gets a measure of revenge and all but erases Utah’s chances at a playoff spot.
Pittsburgh at Orlando: Pittsburgh, no matter who they start at QB, is not a good team. Orlando isn’t either, but they should have enough to get by Pittsburgh, potentially allowing the VooDoo to edge out the Power for 12th in next week’s rankings.
Cleveland at Jacksonville: I told you, we’re not picking Cleveland to win anything. Jacksonville has a negative TOT+ in five of the past six weeks, but Cleveland has a negative TOT+ in 10 of 12 games this season.
Iowa at Philadelphia: Anyone have a read on this Philly team? This is a really inconsistent club. Then again Iowa nearly lost to Cleveland and then beat San Jose. I’m invoking the Curse of No. 3 and picking Iowa to “upset” Philadelphia.
Chicago at Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay can’t wait for that bye week. After starting off as one of the best teams in the league, the team is riding a two-week streak of being the worst team in the league in TOT+. Chicago’s been stronger on the road than they have been at home all season as well. Rush win.
San Antonio at New Orleans: If this was taking place in San Antonio, the Talons would be an easy pick. But the VooDoo are making a move late in the season, having posted three consecutive weeks with positive TOT+ scores (the longest current streak in the league). San Antonio, meanwhile, had their TOT+ drop for three straight weeks prior to righting the ship against Chicago. These are the two worst non-Pittsburgh offenses in the league; which can get enough points to keep up in their conference’s playoff race? I’m taking San Antonio simply because they’re rated higher.
Arizona at San Jose: Why would you pick against Arizona? They just easily took down the only team anywhere sort of near them in relation to the league. They have a TOT+ two standard deviations above the mean. A San Jose loss keeps Utah’s playoff door ajar. Arizona, meanwhile, can officially clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win, heading into their bye week with everything wrapped up. Yikes.
Last week: 3-4. Total: 24-18.

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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