AFL ArenaFan Power Ranking: Week 1
With one big exception, Week 1 of the 2015 Arena Football League season unfolded as anticipated. Four of the top five teams in the preseason power ranking won with Jacksonville being the exception. The Sharks fell to New Orleans on the road resulting in a two-spot drop in this week’s ranking for Jacksonville and a two-point climb for the VooDoo.
Week 1 Power Rankings
1. Arizona Rattlers (1-0) (LW: W vs. SPO 60-43) – Arizona outscored Spokane in every quarter on the way to a 17-point victory margin to open the season. Spokane battled and did keep the game close but four turnovers (three fumbles and an interception) was too much to overcome on a night that saw Rattler quarterback Nick Davila throw four TD passes, three to Chase Deadder, without a pick. Arizona will travel to Las Vegas to play the Outlaws this week.
2. San Jose SaberCats (1-0) (LW: W @ LV 59-41) – San Jose went on the road to play Las Vegas in the Outlaws first game in the AFL and came away with an 18-point victory. Former Spokane quarterback Erik Meyer tossed six TDs in his debut as the Cats' field general. San Jose will be home against Los Angeles this Saturday.
3. Philadelphia Soul (1-0) (LW: W @ ORL 70-63) – Philadelphia came out on top in a slugfest with Orlando that saw the Soul holding a seven-point advantage when the dust cleared in the Power Ranking Game of the Week. Philly will be on the road against Spokane on Saturday.
4. Jacksonville Sharks (0-1) (LW: L @ NO 51-50) – In the upset of the week, Jacksonville fell behind quickly and found itself trailing New Orleans 20-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Sharks fought back, outscoring the VooDoo 50-31 over the final three quarters, but came up a point short to take the loss. In a game that matched teams trying to rebound from disappointing seasons last year, the outcome is a setback for Jacksonville, a team with much higher expectations for this season than New Orleans. The Sharks will host Orlando on Friday.
5. Orlando Predators (0-1) (LW: L vs. PHL 70-63) – Despite a disappointing home loss to Philadelphia in Week 1, Orlando played like a playoff level team. The Predators play another top team this week when they go on the road to take on Jacksonville in a big Southern Division game. Both teams are coming off losses and need to get a W.
6.Cleveland Gladiators (1-0) (LW: W @ TB 60-44) – Cleveland took an 18-point lead to the locker room at the half against Tampa Bay on the way to a 16-point victory margin in Week 1. The Storm helped the Gladiator cause with four turnovers (three fumbles and an interception) but Cleveland looked solid on both sides of the ball. Shane Austin totaled seven touchdown passes that was spread between four receivers, three of which had two each, in the win. Cleveland will play New Orleans on the road this week.
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7. Spokane Shock (0-1) (LW: L @ AZ 60-43) – As expected, Spokane had trouble scoring consistently in Week 1 in a 17-point loss to Arizona. The Shock managed just 16 points in the second half and tallied four turnovers in the loss. Spokane will have to play better on both sides of the ball to pick up a W against Philadelphia when they meet on Saturday.
8. Portland Thunder (1-0) (LW: W vs. LA 42-37) – Portland showed steady improvement in their inaugural season and that continued with a win opening night against last year’s other first-year club, Los Angeles. The Thunder will have to score more points to knock San Jose from the top of the Pacific Division, but with the steady improvement this team has shown they could become a contender sooner rather than later. Portland will be home against Tamps Bay in Week 2.
9. New Orleans VooDoo (1-0) (LW: W vs. JAX 51-50) – New Orleans came out of the locker room on fire and grabbed a 20-0 first quarter lead against Jacksonville and then held on to knock off the No. 2 team in the preseason ArenaFan Power Ranking. New VooDoo head coach Dean Cokinos returned to the AFL with a splash and energized the home fans that are looking for a more competitive team than the 16-38 mark of the last three seasons. New Orleans will be home against this week trying to record their second straight upset W.
10. Tampa Bay Storm (0-1) (LW: L vs. CLV 60-44) – Tampa Bay stayed within striking distance of Cleveland but four turnovers (3 F, 1 I) were too much for the Storm to recover from. The reworked roster, including quarterback Jason Boltus who threw for 383 yards and six TDs, is improved over last season but it will take some weeks for this unit to gel as a unit. Tampa Bay travels to Portland for a road game this week. The Storm will have to reduce their mistakes to beat a Portland team that protects the ball well for their first W of the young season.
11. Las Vegas Outlaws (0-0) (LW: L vs. SJ 59-41) – Las Vegas started slowly in their first AFL game, falling behind 21-0 in the opening quarter of play and trailing at the half 42-13, but rebounded to outscore San Jose by 11 in the second half in the 18-point loss. The Outlaws led in first downs and time of possession but need to finish drives. After facing the preseason No.3 SaberCats in the franchise’s first game, Las Vegas will square-off with No. 1 Arizona this week.
12. Los Angeles KISS (0-1) (LW: L @ PO 42-37) – Los Angeles looks better on paper than they did last season, yet still managed just 37 points against Portland in a game where the KISS led in total yards (265-222) as well as time of possession (33:22-26:38) while not turning the ball over. The offense has quick score capability with Adrian McPherson at QB and Thyron Lewis as the No.1 receiver but must stay out of third-and-long to improve on the three-for 11 conversion rate. The duo will add scoring but there are many more positions that have to be upgraded before this team can be competitive on a weekly basis. The KISS will be on the road for the second week in a row, this week against San Jose.
Game of the Week: No. 5 Orlando @ No. 4 Jacksonville
The team with the higher power ranking won five of six games in Week 1.