Halfway Through the Season, Half the League’s Seasons Are Over
We’re halfway through the 2015 AFL season!
The SaberCats are ready for the postseason, the KISS are still waiting to start their year, and the rest of the league is in varying stages of convincing themselves “Well, if we can make the playoffs, stranger things have happened…”.
Last week, the Predators took a slight disadvantage on the defensive side heading into the game and all but eliminated it by overpowering the Gladiators en route to a 63-42 win in Cleveland. They also boosted their offensive advantage over Cleveland by the same margin.
Elsewhere, the Los Angeles KISS defense showed up for a game! Unfortunately, their offense gave up the opportunity for a win within the final seconds. Part of the problem with this not being the NBA is that you can’t just get the ball to your superstar in the clutch; he’s going to be covered. Teams aren’t going to let you beat them with Donovan Morgan; it’s up to him and the team to make sure other guys make teams pay.
The SaberCats played a hideous game in Portland, but somehow increased their success rates on both sides of the ball. The Rattlers scored on over 80 percent of their drives with Shane Boyd at QB. New Orleans and Tampa Bay played horrific football. The Soul got off to a slow start, but eventually figured out the Outlaws and sent them packing.
The average success rate for an offense is now 67.8 percent; looking at the chart, any team below that is just playing out the season and hoping to luck into a playoff spot. That means the average success rate for a defense is 32.2 percent – but the distribution is so wrecked that the fifth-ranked Sharks are closer to the KISS in last place than they are to second-place Arizona.
All in all, this was the worst offensive week of the season, as teams succeeded on a mere 63.5 percent of drives. That number is even misleading, as Orlando (90 percent), San Jose and Arizona (81.8 percent), and Philadelphia (75 percent) were the only teams above the week’s average.
I went with the overall numbers instead of the offense last week, losing the Orlando/Cleveland game. That puts me at 10-1 on picks.
Week 11 picks
Spokane at San Jose: Oh good, the best team in the league against an overmatched team, and it’s going to be at the best team in the league’s arena. Should be exciting. San Jose. But Spokane probably stays within 56 this time.
New Orleans at Philadelphia: Oh good, the second-worst team in the league against one of the best. And again, it’s at the better team’s arena. Philadelphia.
Orlando at Jacksonville: Here’s our sole split game of the week. Orlando has the offensive advantage; Jacksonville sports a defensive advantage. Last week I took Cleveland to defeat Orlando on the strength of their superior defense and the fact that they were at home – I won’t make the same mistake twice. Orlando’s on a hot streak of their own and have beaten Jacksonville already this season and the better offense has beaten the better defense two-thirds of the time this season (8-4). I’ll take the Predators.
Tampa Bay at Arizona: The only thing that sort of makes it so Tampa Bay has a chance here is the fact that Shane Boyd is still playing. That said, Tampa Bay doesn’t inspire anyone to believe in them and Arizona has enough around Boyd to keep bad teams from getting upsets. Arizona.
Cleveland at Las Vegas: Cleveland’s been decidedly mediocre over the last month, losing percentage points every week. Las Vegas has been slipping less, but they also started from mediocre beginnings. Someone might look good, but it’s time for Vegas to decide if they’re a decent team or a bad team that happened to get one lucky upset early in the season. I’m taking the Gladiators.
Portland at Los Angeles: This Los Angeles team reminds me of a worse version of the 2013 Blaze, a team that had a phenomenal coaching staff but couldn’t manage to get to .500. They have a lot of the pieces; they have talented coaches. For whatever reason, though, they’re just not getting anything done. Last week against the Sharks, the defense looked good and the offense, which had been solid the previous two games, sealed their ninth loss. This game is probably the KISS’ only chance at a win for another month, too, as they play San Jose, Arizona, and Philadelphia before the July 4 bye. It seems like the pressure is the busting pipes variety in Los Angeles, not the diamond-producing kind. I’ll take the Thunder.