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AFL Exchange: For America!

Brian Beaudry
Friday July 5, 2013


 Like the War of 1812, this week in the AFL is full of rematches, with five of the six games being between teams that battled earlier this season. Of the 24 already completed two-game sets, 11 have ended in a 1-1 tie; 13 have ended in 2-0 sweeps. One game doesn’t seem to affect the other…unless you break it down a little more.

With 18 games and 14 teams, each team also plays home-and-homes with teams outside their division in the AFL. In inter-division home-and-homes, a sweep is MUCH more likely:

 

2-0 sweeps

1-1 splits

Division series:

4 (AZ/Utah,JAX/ORL,SPO/SJ,SJ/Utah)

10

Non-division series:

9

1 (NO/PIT)

 

With several repeat matchups over the next few weeks, I won’t draw too many conclusions now but we’ll keep an eye on this trend in the future.

With so many teams out and most of the teams that did play playing what could be described as “adequately,” there wasn’t much movement in the rankings this week, with the lone position swap being at positions 7 and 8, where Iowa’s negative performance against the Talons was enough to sink them to their lowest EXCH+ of the year and beyond the Storm.

We can also see that Cleveland has almost made up the whole gap between itself and New Orleans while Pittsburgh stayed a nose ahead of the other two thanks to the teams from the rest of its schedule playing well (specifically Jacksonville, who the Power have played twice).

Week 15 Top OFF+: Jacksonville

Bottom OFF+: Iowa

Week 15 Top DEF+: San Antonio

Bottom DEF+: Orlando

Week 15 Top TOT+: Jacksonville

Bottom TOT+: Iowa

As predicted, Week 15 was a weak week – Jacksonville’s top TOT+ for the week was 1.044, the lowest it’s been all season. Iowa’s -1.541 bottom TOT+ was the second least-bad TOT+ of the year. Statistically, no one did anything all that unexpected. As a weird coincidence, each of Week 15’s statistical outliers will have Week 16 off.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland: Well, good thing this is a “rivalry,” because if it were based on the actual teams’ performance, there’s really nothing to entice the average fan to watch this game. Who will win this matchup of the league’s worst offense vs. the league’s worst defense? Let’s say Cleveland, since division foes tend to go 1-1 against each other.

Arizona at Orlando: Just when Orlando was making a strong case to be considered a legitimate 4-seed in the American Conference, it gets beaten by the reeling Sharks and its former QB Kyle Rowley. Now it gets to follow that up with a fun week getting thrashed by a Rattlers team coming off a bye. Fortunately for the Predators, Arizona will probably take care of its opponents’ playoff chances as well in coming weeks. Rattlers win easily.

Chicago at Philadelphia: If I ran the AFL, I’d be doing everything I could to make an annual Independence Day game in Philadelphia happen. The NFL has Thanksgiving, the NBA is Christmas, the NHL and college football have New Year’s Day…why wouldn’t you capitalize on an in-season holiday? Since the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, they luck out and get the free boost the league already gives them. As for this game, I’m invoking the stat from earlier – interdivisional series tend to end in sweeps, and Philly put the hammer down on Chicago in the first meeting. It is even the higher-rated team this time. Have to go with the Soul.

Spokane at Tampa Bay: Here’s another inter-division matchup! But Tampa Bay isn’t the team it was earlier in the year when it came into Spokane and upset the then-undefeated Shock. Spokane needs this to hang on to the 3-seed in the National Conference and an extremely unlikely chance that it'll get the No. 1 seed. Tampa Bay’s pretty much set in its seed in the American Conference, win or lose – unless Orlando shocks the (AFL) world and upsets Arizona. Spokane to take care of business.

New Orleans at Utah: One of these teams is .007 points per exchange from being the worst team in the league. One of these teams has been eliminated from playoff contention. And thanks to the current league setup, one isn’t the other. Utah’s season is over with four games left as it continues to draw to a dead hand. New Orleans has something to play for…but isn’t as good. I’ll go against everything the numbers tell me and say that Utah gives this game away to New Orleans as a “thank you” for the Jazz.

San Antonio at San Jose: San Antonio couldn’t beat San Jose at home, going against a pick-happy Aaron Garcia in Week 1. Why would I believe that it could beat the SaberCats this week?

Last week: 3-2 Season total: 32-22


 
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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