It will be hard to top the amount of upsets that we had in Week 9. If you poll anyone who put in their picks for this weeks games, I have a feeling most will tell you they went 1-3. That kind of week can only mean one thing, a shuffle of the power rankings.
Let’s get started.
- Philadelphia Soul 7-2 (LW #1, Change –)
I’m sure others will argue that if you lose, you don’t deserve to stay in the top spot, but who else are you going to put here. All three of our top three teams lost this week and no, a four loss team is not going to jump Philly or Orlando just over one win. Look, Philadelphia was coming off an impressive win against Arizona and let off the gas a little bit playing a team who went to overtime the prior two weeks in a row. Philly will be fine, they are still the best team in the league at this point and I truly believe it will show come Saturday on CBS Sports Net when they take on the red hot Jacksonville Sharks.
- Orlando Predators 7-2 (LW #2, Change –)
There was a point in their loss to Jacksonville where I pondered if Varmah Sonie had Joe Hills on his fantasy team. Eight touchdowns given up to the same player is absolutely unacceptable for a team who was undefeated just two weeks ago. Yes, Orlando lost at home to Jacksonville and those who cried “FRAUD” when this team barely beat Tampa Bay three weeks ago are all relishing in the two game skid, but this is still the team that knocked off Arizona a couple weeks ago. Randy Hippeard threw two ill-advised interceptions, but other than that this loss was on the defense. I think Keef gets those guys back on track and you will see a different Orlando team out in LA this week. If not, it might get ugly in the jungle… for the home team.
- Jacksonville Sharks 4-4 (LW #5, Change +2)
Something was said or done during the bye week to finally light a fire under this team. Why it took almost half a season, I don’t know. But this is the Sharks team we were hyping at the beginning of the season. After destroying Portland last week, Jacksonville goes into the jungle and takes care of Orlando to get back to .500. They decided to peak at the perfect time as six of their final eight games are on national television starting this week against Philadelphia. If Grady can continue to feed Hills like he did against the Predators, there won’t be many teams able to match touchdown for touchdown the rest of the season.
- Arizona Rattlers 6-3 (LW #3, Change -1)
How the mighty have fallen. Just a few weeks ago we were talking right here on our power rankings “Who is going to beat Arizona this year”, then the injury bug made its way to the desert and ravaged this team. Let’s count them, Kerry Reed, Antaj Hawthorne, Arkeith Brown, Maurice Purify, Kenny Spencer, and Cliff Dukes. All these players have missed substantial time at different points of this season. Arizona was 21.5 point favorites going to Tampa Bay this past Sunday. Obviously the odds makers don’t read the injury report. I told a friend that the game will be close, to not expect a blowout and not only because of the injuries. Going into that game Arizona was 1-2 on the East Coast with their only win being an overtime victory against a struggling Sharks team. For whatever reason, Arizona isn’t traveling well this year. Due to their division, they should still get a #1 or #2 seed, but if they have to travel out East in the playoffs, it may be an early exit for coach Guy’s team. Having only a one game lead on Cleveland this far into the season is not how people saw this season going, but a win at the Q this week will go a long way to getting their confidence back.
- Cleveland Gladiators 5-4 (LW #6, Change +1)
Don’t look now, but Cleveland is on a three game win streak capped by an impressive win over the league’s best team, the Soul. It looks as though Cleveland is the new Orlando, struggle against the bad teams, and beat the good teams. After back to back overtime games against the two winless teams in the league, Cleveland comes out on Saturday and basically controlled the entire game against the Soul. I think they caught Philadelphia in the best case scenario coming off big wins against Arizona and Orlando in consecutive weeks. You only have so much juice to keep that going. I’m not taking anything away from Cleveland here, they made all the plays when needed. A mark of a good team isn’t always dominating, sometimes it’s being able to take advantage of the other team’s miscues, which is how I would categorize Cleveland’s win against the Soul on Saturday. They need to keep the magic going as they get an upset Arizona team traveling to town after giving Tampa Bay their first win of the season.
- Los Angeles KISS 4-4 (LW #4, Change -2)
It’s tough to drop a team two spots after a win, but let’s be honest, they probably should’ve lost to Portland on Saturday night. They made the plays when necessary late in the fourth quarter, but there is no excuse for allowing a slumping Shane Austin to play like the Austin we saw in 2014 when Cleveland was in the Arena Bowl. Austin came into the game throwing 12 interceptions in his prior three games combined and finished with only one interception against the KISS. I understand it was Pete Thomas’ first start of the season, but LA wasn’t in a dog fight because of the offense, it was the defense who kept Portland in the game. The Steel finished the game going 2 for 3 on fourth down. That is unacceptable for a team who wants to shed the stigma of being a bottom dweller team in the league. The good (maybe?) news is, LA just matched their win total from last year, one more win and they will have set a team record for wins in a season. If that is going to be this week, Coach Smith better get a better performance from his defensive backfield because you know Randy Hippeard is going to throw early and often to try and end their two game slide.
- Tampa Bay Storm 1-7 (LW #1, Change –)
The 2008 Detroit Lions can pull out the corkscrew, we at least won’t have TWO winless teams this year. That’s right, not only did the Storm finally erase the goose egg, but they did it against a perennial power in the Arizona Rattlers. This was an impressive performance all the way around. From holding a late lead, to stopping Davila late, to Toliver’s ridiculous catches at the end. Everything that had to go right for Tampa to win this game, happened. But it almost didn’t, late in the second quarter QB Jason Boltus was slammed against the boards on a short running play and took quite a while to get up. Long enough to allow Adam Kennedy to come in and get an easy TD on the next play. But Boltus shook it off and looked as sharp as ever late. Even though it looked like a hope and a prayer, his pass to a streaking Toliver was in perfect position. If that ball is thrown anywhere else, it’s either incomplete or intercepted. I am very happy for Tampa Bay, but I was already thinking of a preview video for the “Game of the Weak” when Tampa travels to Portland this week to face the Steel. But alas, not all good things are meant to be.
- Portland Steel 0-8 (LW #8, Change –)
Another week, another way to lose. After holding a lead for much of the game against Los Angeles, Portland found a new way to lose; by giving up two bar balls in a row late in the fourth quarter. The effort is much improved for Coach James, but this team still lacks a certain swagger that Tampa Bay has shown (and why I think they were able to pull off the impossible against Arizona). Shane Austin looked much better than he did in his prior three starts and the Steel will need him to continue that level of play to beat a suddenly relevant Tampa Bay team this week. Look for Portland to pull out all the stops as this may be their last chance at victory this season.
Biggest Jump – Jacksonville – +2
Biggest fall – Arizona and Los Angeles – -2
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