Success Rate: High Enough
Let’s be frank. I’m 1-5 on picking games where one team is better at defense and the other is better at offense. And you probably don’t care much about the charts. So let’s do something a little different this week. Pep it up a little, y’know?
Tampa Bay did a nice job managing the clock to beat Cleveland in a rare case where the team with worse drive stats won – they did it without turnover touchdowns or kick return touchdowns, too, which is even rarer. They just managed to end each half with the ball, earning an extra possession which won them the game. Other than that, the team that was better at everything was, well, better at everything. A nice, easy 4-1 week in picking games for me.
I suspected that a weighted rate would result in some more movement among teams’ ranking, and I was right. There have been more lines crossing in this graph in the past four weeks than there were in the previous six of the simple season-long percentages.
We can see that Nick Davila has had an effect on Arizona as they’ve gone from the third-best team to a second-and-it’s-not-close level. San Jose bounced back against the Outlaws to keep the Rattlers in their dust, too.
Los Angeles “moved ahead” of Las Vegas by staying at its previous success rate. The Shock, however, jumped both teams in this week’s rankings by hanging 69 points on the Thunder. Orlando was the No. 4 team in the league three weeks ago; now they’re down to sixth. It’s been bad times in Portland, but a solid showing in relief from Kyle Rowley seemingly set the squad on the right track as they head to Vegas for another big matchup in the National Conference playoff picture.
When looking at the following graph, keep in mind that a 1.00 is an average score. So this week we’re back to five above-average teams and seven below-average groups, although Orlando has a good chance to turn things around with the VooDoo coming to town.
Weighted Success Rate, Weeks 9-13
Tampa Bay at Philadelphia: I thought that Tampa Bay had a recent history of somehow beating Philadelphia like they’ve done to Jacksonville this year, but then I saw the score from their earlier meeting. Perhaps the choking superpower transferred to the Sharks. I’ll take Philadelphia because they’re just better. Let’s say 63-49.
San Jose at Spokane: After scoring an average of 27 points each time they’ve played the SaberCats, I’ll say the Shock will exceed that average. They’re not going to win or anything because, c’mon. San Jose had been getting sloppy and it cost ‘em one. They’re not going to let it happen again that quickly. SaberCats, 70-49.
New Orleans at Orlando: New Orleans is flatlining on the charts and on the field. Orlando had a pretty bad performance but it’s easily explained by facing a really good Arizona team on the road. This week they get the VooDoo at home? Time to get right. Predators, 61-47.
Cleveland at Jacksonville: Cleveland has a better overall ranking on offense and defense by a fingernail in each. Jacksonville has been better every week of the weighted rankings. This ain’t Week 3 anymore. I’ll take the Sharks, 62-56.
Arizona at Los Angeles: It’s a good thing Los Angeles got better on their bye since the schedule keeps slapping them in the face, saying “Why are you hitting yourself?” After No. 1 San Jose and No. 3 Philadelphia, the KISS get No. 2 Arizona and they’ll do well to continue to keep games close. Arizona’s looked like the best team in the league in recent weeks and I’m sure Coach Guy would love to stick it to new KISS leader Joe Windham. Rattlers win, 63-41.
Portland at Las Vegas: It’s this week’s split game! Portland has a slight edge in offense; Vegas has an advantage on defense. Both teams’ recent spikes in performance can be attributed to facing Spokane. Who the hell knows what’s going to happen? I’m gonna take Portland in an upset, 50-49.
I’d like to add this photo I made for fun while I was still a Thunder employee as my good-bye present to the Rose City, as after this week’s column, I’ll be relocating to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Thanks to everyone with the team that continued to allow me to stay connected with the team and this league for a while.
I’ll still tune in to games on ESPN3 and occasionally throw some numbers your way, ArenaFan.
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.