AFL Exchange: The Dregs Get Stirred Up
The AFL has a new worst team! Congratulations, Power, on claiming the dual title of “worst team in the league” and “still somehow sort of alive in the hunt for a playoff spot.”
In other recurring stories:
Western Division: 40 wins (20 losses – this winning percentage (.667) would give them HFA in the American conference)
American Conference: 43 wins (62 losses)
In-division season series: 4 sweeps, 11 splits
Out-of-division season series: 12 sweeps, 2 splits
And now, let’s look at pretty lines:
Cleveland not only got out of the cellar, but they posted their first “Best of” performance of the season, earning top OFF+ numbers for their performance against the Power (who have a decent defense).
Week 16 Top OFF+: Cleveland
Bottom OFF+: Chicago
Week 16 Top DEF+: Philadelphia
Bottom DEF+: Pittsburgh
Week 16 Top TOT+: Philadelphia
Bottom TOT+: Chicago
On to Week 17!
Utah at Philadelphia: While Philadelphia has the worst home-field disadvantage in the league (they’re 11 points/game worse at home than on the road, opponent-adjusted)…the Blaze have been bad recently everywhere – they’re now the worst they’ve ever been, according to EXCH+, and they just lost fairly handily to a bad New Orleans team. Utah does play a smidge better on the road, but it won’t be enough to overcome a Philly team on a hot streak.
San Jose at Pittsburgh: San Jose could start Mitch Mustain and would still probably win this game easily. Pittsburgh is bad. They’re worse at home. San Jose’s roughly 20 points/game better than Pittsburgh…I’m going to stick with the SaberCats again.
Iowa at Orlando: Hey, a game where either team could actually win without a series of bizarre events taking place! Iowa is a few points better than Orlando, and Orlando’s surge toward mediocrity seems to have hit a plateau. But Iowa is on a downward slide – if they don’t win this one, they know their season is over…and I don’t think they have anything left in them to fight for that last spot. Predators get this one.
Spokane at Jacksonville: Jacksonville shouldn’t be on the receiving end of a huge beatdown like last game…but now seems like a good time to point out that the Sharks are 1-5 against the National Conference, with the win being a struggle against the Barnstormers. The Shock have wisely chosen to spend the week in Florida rather than spending two of their days traveling from and back to the state. Based on some of their check-ins, it looks like the biggest threat to a Shock win in this game is Waffle House.
Cleveland at Chicago: Both of these teams basically need this game – technically Chicago can get by as long as San Antonio loses, too…but you can’t give away games against teams like the Gladiators and expect to make the playoffs. Kudos to the Glads for posting their second-best game of the season (besides the upset of Philly) last week to keep themselves alive for another week, but the run ends here.
Tampa Bay at San Antonio: Every time San Antonio looks like they’re going to get passed up by Orlando, they rally and play well. Tampa Bay’s on a four-game skid, they’re a worse team at home, San Antonio’s a better team on the road…not a lot to like here for the Storm. Well, except for the whole “They’re a better team” thing, which I think is enough this week.
New Orleans at Arizona: WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT PICKING AGAINST ARIZONA? WE’RE NOT DOING IT, OKAY?
Last week: 6-0. Season total 38-22.
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.