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Participation Trophies All Around!

Brian Beaudry
Sunday July 26, 2015

Hey, there’s a surprise at the bottom of the chart this week, as Spokane’s performance against Arizona was aided with a net recovery and they didn’t actually score on a particularly high percentage of drives. New Orleans, however, went WAY outside their typical performance and hung points on the Storm on every single drive.­ The top three teams all fell thanks to losses (or near-losses). Jacksonville and Orlando rose. And Los Angeles is officially in the top half of the league’s teams in terms of play right now. Unfortunately for them, they’re very unlikely to make the playoffs.

The lesson, as always: Don’t start the season 0-9.

This week I numbered the weeks properly at the bottom for your convenience. There’s no longer a CLEAR worst team; Spokane is at 0.85 weighted success rate (offensive success rate plus defensive success rate) while Portland leads the pack of five teams at…0.89 WSR.

It’s also a pretty dead week, with half the league’s teams on vacation, including the VooDoo and Outlaws, which is very likely to create some problems for the league in a couple of weeks when it comes time to determine if “earned a tie because the owners don’t want to pay for two broke teams to play in front of no one” is really a good reason to give a team a playoff spot. I have confidence that it will be handled poorly, as per AFL tradition.

Anyway, here’s this week’s chart, plus another.

Tampa Bay at Jacksonville
: Well, Tampa kinda sucks (see that orange line slipping into the abyss?), but they have some weird power over the Sharks, whom they’ve beaten twice for some inexplicable reason. They’re the figurative team that fans speak of – “I don’t care if we go 2-14 as long as those two wins are against (rival name).”* I’m going to pick the better team and hope that works out for me. Sharks finally figure it out, 70-48.
Portland at Spokane: Huge game for everyone in the Western Conference. Let’s check out the remaining schedules:
Team (record)
Week 18
Week 19
Week 20
Las Vegas
Tied New Orleans
@ Portland
9-21 (.300)
@Las Vegas
16-30-1 (.351)
@ Spokane
Las Vegas
22-23-1 (.489)
Los Angeles
@Tampa Bay
San Jose
33-13 (.717)
Hey, two of the three lowest-rated teams this week are in position to make the playoffs, while a Top-6 team won’t. Once again, sucks to be Los Angeles. Sixth best team in the league in terms of weighted ranking. Worst position and most brutal schedule by far remaining. Portland and Spokane hold their own fate in their hands. If both of them beat Las Vegas (very possible, even without the league’s probable desire to not have Vegas in the playoffs), and Portland beats Spokane this week, they’ll both make the playoffs almost regardless of what happens in their other games. Unless LA sweeps through Arizona, a cross-country game on a short week, and an angry San Jose team that may be able to keep them out of the playoffs, that is.

Both teams enter the game looking frisky, as well, with the Shock upsetting Arizona and the Thunder nearly taking down the SaberCats themselves. Head Coach Mike Hohensee is 2-6 in his career against the Shock, with several huge losses in Spokane. Those were definitely better Shock teams than this incarnation, but I’ll give Spokane the edge here, 52-46.

New Orleans at Las Vegas
: I predict a 0-0 tie!

Los Angeles at Arizona: What did I say last week when I said Arizona was going to destroy Spokane? C’mon bro? Yeah, let’s do that again and hope for another upset. That said, the loss of Joe Madsen to the NFL is going to be huge – the KISS started getting solid when they shored up the offensive line and defense and now the line is back to being a question. And obviously the Rattlers are going to be upset. Unless it was their goal to ensure Spokane and Portland get into the playoffs. That would mean they were just planning things out to keep the KISS out, and they’ll therefore be back to trying this week. Either way, bad news for Los Angeles. Rattlers, 70-39.

*Using the NFL’s season, since it’s impossible to know how many games you’re going to play against someone in the AFL on a year-to-year basis, especially since there’s a good chance you or your opponent won’t be around.

**Remaining Opponent Record

***Tiebreaker over Los Angeles due to 2-1 head-to-head record

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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