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ArenaFan Power Ranking: Week 9

Mike Delrio
Thursday May 28, 2015

Spokane and New Orleans swap spots in the ArenaFan Week 9 Power Ranking after the Shock beat Las Vegas on the road while the rest of the ranking remains unchanged after last week’s action. Look for movement in the top half of the ranking next week if Cleveland falls to Orlando in their Week 10 matchup.

Week 9 Power Ranking

1. San Jose SaberCats (9-0) (LW: W @ CLV 70-58) – With eight of San Jose’s final nine games coming against Portland (2), Spokane (2), Los Angeles (2), New Orleans (1), and Las Vegas (1), the SaberCats have a legitimate shot at an undefeated season. The Week 19 home game against Arizona looks like the toughest contest remaining on their schedule, but San Jose will have to guard against a letdown along the way that could result in an upset. San Jose will travel to Portland for a Saturday game.

2. Philadelphia Soul (8-1) (LW: W @ TB 71-27) – Philadelphia is setting the bar in the American Conference and looks like they will be making a conference title game appearance. The loss to Jacksonville, a team that has now won four of their last five games, last week reenergized the Soul and they bounced back by putting 71 points on the board in a big win over conference rival Tampa Bay. Philadelphia will be home against Las Vegas this week.

3. Arizona Rattlers (6-2) (LW: BYE) – Arizona will win the West but looks to be the second best team in the National Conference heading into the second-half of the season. The Rattlers will be in Washington to take on Spokane this week.

4. Cleveland Gladiators (5-4) (LW: L vs. SJ 70-58) – Cleveland continues to lack a win against a higher-ranked team this season (0-3) and appears headed for a second-place finish in the East. The Gladiators have also lost to Jacksonville and had to come from behind to beat Orlando in OT with the other wins coming against Tampa Bay (2) and New Orleans (2). Cleveland is home against Orlando this week in a game they must win to hold on to the No.4 spot in the ranking. While clearly the second-best team in their division, the Gladiators have to be better than Orlando and Jacksonville if they hope to advance beyond a first-round appearance in the post-season.

5. Orlando Predators (5-4) (LW: W vs. PO 69-43) – Orlando will travel to Ohio to take on Cleveland in a battle between the Nos. 4 and 5 teams in the ranking. Orlando and Jacksonville are both playing better than Cleveland right now, but the Predators defense is going to have to slow down the Glads offense to knock Cleveland out of the No. 4 slot in the ranking. Orlando had a big lead and lost it in the last meeting, so the defense knows that they have to slow down the Cleveland offense to come away with road W this week.

6. Jacksonville Sharks (4-5) (LW: W @ NO 70-41) – Jacksonville had a strong month after starting 0-4 and is playing as well as anyone heading into Week 10. The Sharks had wins against Philadelphia (Week 8) and Cleveland (Week 7), both higher-ranked teams, on the way to a 4-1 mark over the last five weeks and are playing the way they had been projected to during the preseason. With teams ranked seventh thru tenth all losing (including Tampa Bay getting hammered by Philly by 44 points), Jacksonville is secure at No. 6 and could find themselves moving up if Cleveland falls to Orlando and the Sharks take care of business against the winless KISS when they visit Los Angeles in Week 10 action.

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7. Tampa Bay Storm (3-5) (LW: L vs. PHL 71-27) – With wins over Portland and New Orleans to go along with a blowout of Jacksonville, Tampa Bay needs to defeat a Top 5 team to move into the top half of the ranking, but a 44-point loss to Philadelphia last week to go with two losses to Cleveland as well as losses to San Jose and Orlando suggest Tampa Bay may be as high as they are going to climb in the ranking this season. Tampa Bay will be home on Saturday against New Orleans in what has to be considered a must-win game for the Storm the week ahead of a road game with Arizona in Week 11.

8. Las Vegas Outlaws (3-5) (LW: L vs. SPO 63-56) – Las Vegas took a step backwards in a loss to Spokane in Week 9 in a game that could impact the postseason status of both teams. Four of the six teams in each conference advance to the playoffs and Arizona and San Jose are the likely division champions, meaning that Las Vegas, Spokane, and Portland are playing for the two wildcard spots. The loss did not drop the Outlaws in the ranking because Portland and New Orleans both lost as well.

9. Portland Thunder (3-5) (LW: L @ ORL 69-43) – Portland is part of the three-team battle with Spokane and Las Vegas for the wildcard spots from the National Conference making the head-to-head games between the teams critical. The Thunder defeated the Shock back in Week 3 by a 47-43 count and will play them again in Week 18. The first meeting between Portland and Las Vegas comes on June 28 in Nevada. Portland will be home against San Jose this week.

10. Spokane Shock (3-5) (LW: W @ LV 63-56) – Spokane pulled off a big road win against Las Vegas last week that suggests they will compete for a wildcard spot until the final weeks of the season despite struggling to reach .500 on the season. The Spokane defense is allowing 58 points a game and will struggle for wins, but the victory over the Outlaws keeps them in the chase for now. Spokane is home against Arizona in Saturday’s late game.

11. New Orleans VooDoo (2-7) (LW: L vs. JAX 70-41) – New Orleans continues to work toward the future. Don’t look for the VooDoo to pick up many more wins this season, but they have the potential to play spoiler with games against both Philly and Cleveland remaining. New Orleans travels to Florida to play Tampa Bay this week.

12. Los Angeles KISS (0-8) (LW: BYE) – Los Angeles comes off a bye week with a home game against a hot Jacksonville team this week. The KISS are still looking for their first win of the 2015 season.

Week 10 Game of the Week: No.5 Orlando @ No. 4 Cleveland

The team with the higher power ranking won four of five games in Week 9, 38 of 49 (77%) for the season.

Mike began his third season reporting on the Georgia Force in March, 2012. Coverage includes weekly game previews and recaps, exclusive interviews and AFL news. Mike has been a Gwinnett County resident (the home of the Force) for two decades and provides coverage of the counties other pro sports franchises, the Gwinnett Braves (Braves Triple-A affiliate) and the Gwinnett Gladiators (ECHL, player development deals with both the Phoenix Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres) as well.
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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