If Week 8 taught us anything, it’s that Portland is still bad and Philadelphia isn’t messing around. The playoff seeding is starting to take shape, while the three separate groups continue to shape the league.
Here are the Week 8 AFL FanZone Power Rankings! Where do you rank the teams? Let us know in the comments section of the AFL FanZone Facebook page!
- Philadelphia Soul 7-1 (LW #2, Change +1)
In two consecutive weeks the Soul have taken down Arizona and Orlando. Sure, both were at home, but both were also in impressive fashion. Both games were the marquee game of the week knowing they were going to be getting the best shot of their opponent. Other than the one game against Jacksonville, Philadelphia is showing the league they are poised to avenge last year’s early playoff exit. Once again the Raudabaugh to Reynolds connection cannot be stopped. Philadelphia heads to play Cleveland for the 3rd time this season, as long as they don’t lay an egg, the Soul should walk out 8-1 and in the driver’s seat for the #1 seed in the American Conference.
2. Orlando Predators 7-1 (LW #1, Change -1)
Orlando ran into a buzz saw in Week 8. There is no shame in losing on the road to a good team. This loss may actually be what the doctor ordered for Orlando. They were skating by opponents like the Steel and Storm, but still beating the big boys. Losing to Philadelphia puts that bug into the team to let them know they aren’t invincible. They get cross state rival Jacksonville in Week 9, so there is no time to sulk, I have a feeling we are going to see Orlando’s best effort of the season this week.
3. Arizona Rattlers 6-2 (LW #3, Change –)
What is wrong with Arizona? They still won the game, yes. But something just seems off with this team. I don’t know if it’s the injuries or team chemistry. Davila is missing throws he doesn’t normally miss, the defense is giving up big plays that you don’t normally see them give up. When Nathan Stanley went down with the injury you would’ve thought the game was over, but the KISS actually played better with backup Pete Thomas under center. That is bad news for a team that seemed destined to host the Arena Bowl not even three weeks ago. They head back East this week to face the Tampa Bay Storm, but I’m not expecting a blowout like I feel I should. Tampa needs to win a game BADLY, so Arizona better be ready to go on Sunday or they could be in trouble.
4. Los Angeles KISS 3-4 (LW #4, Change –)
Some people might have moved the KISS down after losing to Arizona on Saturday, but I won’t. They went into the snake pit, a place they haven’t had any success in their history and went toe to toe with their backup QB. After Stanley went down, the team seemed to rally around Thomas and they found themselves a fourth down conversion away from the game coming down to an onside kick. Speaking of Thomas, he looked very impressive Saturday night. His ability to read the defense, make check downs, throw the ball away, and place the ball in the perfect spot are all things we haven’t seen from Stanley since Week 1 (other than the game against Portland). If Pete Thomas can continue to progress, Stanley’s unfortunate injury may be a blessing in disguise for a team looking for a break. Luckily they get the Steel at home this week to be able to work on expanding the playbook for the new young signal caller.
5. Jacksonville Sharks 3-4 (LW #6, Change +1)
Jacksonville was in a no win situation Saturday, a win and it is “ok, and…” and a loss may have gotten Coach Moss fired on Monday. The Sharks did exactly what they needed to do, blow a bad team out at home to save their coach. I’m not joking here, I believe the Sharks are one embarrassing game away from starting over. Jeff Bouchy has not minced words on his displeasure of the team’s effort thus far this season. Beating Portland may be a sigh of relief for a couple days, but if they lay an egg against Orlando this weekend, be ready for some heads to roll.
6. Cleveland Gladiators 4-4 (LW #5, Change -1)
It isn’t very often a team can go 2-0 in two games and drop both weeks, but Cleveland is also nicknamed “believeland” where anything can happen. Look, have the Gladiators won the last two weeks? Sure they have, but is anyone willing to bet they could beat any of the teams above them on this list even at home? I didn’t think so. Cleveland had a chance to really take it to their last two opponents, but instead found themselves in dog fights against two teams who are a combined 0-14. THAT is how you drop even when you win. I’m starting to lose faith in Arvell Nelson as a developmental QB, I liked what I saw early in the season, but you can’t put up those kinds of performances against horrible teams and expect anyone to be impressed. The Glads welcome a red hot Philadelphia team to Cleveland this week for their second to last home game of the season. If they think they can put up the same kind of effort they did the last two weeks, then they are sorely mistaken.
7. Tampa Bay Storm 0-7 (LW #7, Change –)
I admit it, I was wrong. I really thought Monday night’s game against Cleveland was going to be Tampa Bay’s first win of the season. And I was close, but this isn’t horse shoes or hand grenades, so I have to eat crow when it’s deserved. I still think Tampa Bay is trending upwards though. The comeback of Jason Boltus has ignited a fire under this team that will prove to be vital in the second half of the season. I think Tampa has the ability to surpass Cleveland in the Power Rankings, they just need to get the monkey off their back first. Could they shock the world this week and beat Arizona? Normally I would say “hahahaha”, but Arizona is ripe for the picking right now. Expect a close game on Sunday. I’m not bold enough to pick Tampa Bay again, but I also don’t see the game being a complete blow out either.
8. Portland Steel 0-7 (LW #8, Change –)
Portland’s overtime game against Cleveland was a fun, cute story for a few days, but the Steel came crashing back to Earth in their pounding at Jacksonville Saturday night. Shane Austin can’t continue to throw four interceptions a game if this team wants to win a game this season. At this point, I think it would be bolder to predict a win than 0-16. This team is bad and can’t wait for the season to end. Unfortunately, so are the Steel fans. Portland heads back to Los Angeles this week for a meeting with the KISS. I expect a game close to what we saw three weeks ago while Portland continues to look ahead to the offseason.
Biggest Jump – Philadelphia and Jacksonville – +1
Biggest fall – Orlando and Cleveland – -1
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