ArenaFan Power Ranking: Week 14
Jacksonville and Tamps Bay trade spots in this week’s ArenaFan Power Ranking after the Sharks beat Cleveland by 33-points to move to No. 5 and the Storm lose to Philadelphia by 22 to fall to No. 6. San Jose, Philadelphia, Arizona and Orlando continue to hold the Top Four spots after picking up wins in Week 14 action.
NOTE: There are no games scheduled for Week 15.
Week 14 Power Ranking
1. San Jose SaberCats (13-1) (LW: W @ SPO 62-47) – San Jose is averaging nearly 60 points a game (59.5) while allowing just 36 to opponents this season and appear headed to meeting with Arizona that will decide the National Conference championship.
2. Philadelphia Soul (12-2) (LW: W vs. TB 64-42) – Philadelphia is the best team in the American Conference, but the Soul have a tougher road to the ArenaBowl than does the National Conference winner that will include two challenging games ahead of the league title game. While Philadelphia is the best team in the conference, there are three other teams (Orlando, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay) that have the ability to defeat them on any given day. The fact that the Soul’s two-game win streak is the longest active win streak in the American Conference says much about the competitiveness of the conference.
3. Arizona Rattlers (11-2) (LW: W @ LA 49-43) – Arizona extended their win streak to seven games, the longest in the AFL, but had a tougher time doing it then expected against a energized Los Angeles team. The win locked up the West Division title for the Rattlers. With four of their last five games coming against Los Angeles (2), Las Vegas, Spokane and Portland-teams with 14 wins between them-the best gauge of Arizona’s conference title chances will come when they visit San Jose in Week 19 for a game that will be a preview of the conference title game.
4. Orlando Predators (8-6) (LW: W vs. ORL 56-34) – Orlando leads Jacksonville by percentage points to sit atop the South Division and with three of their last four games coming against Tampa Bay (2) and Jacksonville, the Predators control their postseason destiny. Orlando has road games against Tampa Bay and Cleveland before a bye in Week 18 and then closes with home games against Jacksonville and the Storm.
5. Jacksonville Sharks (7-6) (LW: W vs. CLV 74-41) – Jacksonville played like a team refocused for the postseason push in their win against Cleveland last week. The 33-point win in combination with the Storm 22-point loss to the Soul was impressive enough to lift the Sharks past Tampa Bay in this week’s ranking. Jacksonville has five games remaining on the regular season schedule including division games with Tampa Bay and Orlando, both on the road, and games with Philadelphia and the Storm at home. Winning three of the five should be enough to put Jacksonville into the post-season, but to win the division they will need to beat Orlando when they visit the Predators for a big Week 19 game.
6. Tampa Bay Storm (6-8) (LW: L @ PHL 64-42) – After moving from No. 7 to No. 5 in the Week 13 ranking, Tampa Bay falls back a notch to No. 6 this week after losing by three touchdowns to Philadelphia in a loss that drops the Storm to third in the three-team battle for the South Division title. Tampa Bay is also third in the fight for one of two wildcard slots, trailing Jacksonville and Cleveland. Don’t let the loss to Philly fool you, Tampa is still playing as well as Orlando and Jacksonville and better than Cleveland. The Storm has five games remaining, three of which are division contests, and they need to win three of the five to have a legitimate chance of securing a wildcard spot.
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7. Cleveland Gladiators (7-7) (LW: L @ JAX 74-41) – Cleveland’s fifth loss in their last eight games has the Gladiators on the verge of falling into third place in the chase for a wildcard spot heading into the final quarter of the season. Cleveland holds onto the No. 7 spot in the ranking, but their playoff light is beginning to flicker. The Gladiators will need to win two of their four remaining games to stay in the postseason mix which is a challenging task considering that two of the games are against Philadelphia and one is with Orlando.
8. Las Vegas Outlaws (5-8) (LW: W vs. PO 48-46) – Las Vegas helped their cause by defeating Portland in a matchup of teams battling for a conference wildcard spot last week. The win keeps the Outlaws chance at a .500 season in their inaugural season alive. Las Vegas has five games remaining and should be competitive in all of them. A win against Los Angeles, Portland or Spokane should be enough to get Las Vegas a wildcard spot.
9. Spokane Shock (4-9) (LW: L vs. SJ 62-27) – Spokane currently has the second WC slot in the National Conference but to hold onto it the Shock will need to add a couple of wins. Los Angeles, Arizona, Portland, Cleveland and Las Vegas remain ahead for Spokane so picking up a couple of more wins is going to be a challenge. The game with the KISS in Week 16 is huge for Spokane because despite trailing Las Vegas, the Shock and Portland, Los Angeles has been playing like a better than .500 team over the last five weeks and is the team that is poised to make a run at the playoffs.
10. Los Angeles KISS (2-11) (LW: L vs. AZ 49-43) – Since opening the season with eight consecutive losses Los Angeles has played like a Top 6 team over the last five weeks. The 2-3 mark that the KISS has over that period doesn’t sound impressive until you realize that the three losses came against Jacksonville (No. 6), Philadelphia (No. 2) and Arizona (No. 3) by a combined 20 points and that one of the wins was against San Jose (No. 1), undefeated at the time. Los Angeles has momentum and is poised to make a serious run for a WC birth but their brutal schedule over the final five weeks of play is going to make that hard to do. Los Angeles has games with Spokane, Las Vegas, @ Arizona, @ Tampa Bay and San Jose remaining and need to win at least two of those.
11. Portland Thunder (3-10) (LW: L @ LV 48-46) – Portland had lost five straight games by an average spread of almost 20 points coming into Week 14 action, so a two-point loss on the road to Las Vegas is a better result. The Thunder is still mathematically in the chase for a postseason spot but is fading fast. Portland needs a minimum of two wins, more likely three, in their final five games to have a shot at a wildcard slot. With Jacksonville, @ San Jose, @ Spokane, Las Vegas and @ Arizona still to play, Portland will be hard pressed to pick up one more win this season.
12. New Orleans VooDoo (2-11) (LW: L @ ORL 56-34) – New Orleans is in the midst of a character building period that promises to get tougher before it gets better. The VooDoo have lost seven straight games and have @ San Jose, Tampa Bay, @ Las Vegas, @ Philadelphia and @ Jacksonville to close out the season. A win in any of those games would go a long way toward building confidence going into next season.
Week 15 Game of the Week: League Bye Week