By Kyle Sander
Follow on Twitter
on June 15, 2016 at 5:20 PM
Another week in the books for the Arena Football League and the playoff seeding is starting to take shape. Some teams look to be ready for the playoffs while others look to be ready for the offseason. In a season where everyone makes the playoffs, it’s interesting to see so many blowouts due to poor effort.
With all of that being said, let’s take a look how we rank the teams after Week 11.
- Philadelphia Soul 9-2 (LW – 1, Change –)
If this level of effort and execution continues throughout the season, I don’t see the Soul losing another game. This Friday at Arizona will be their last true test until the playoffs start. Yes, they do travel to Orlando Week 18 for what could end up being a defacto division championship, but unless there is a lapse in focus on the Soul’s part, I don’t see Orlando being able to win a close game against this team. The talent level is the best Coach Dolezel has had to work with and I think as good as Marco Thomas was last year, landing Darius Reynolds was key to this team’s success in 2016.
- Arizona Rattlers 8-3 (LW – 3, Change +1)
Arizona seems to have been able to settle in to the new makeup of the team after all the injuries and the return of Jeremy Kellem will only boost this team’s confidence. This isn’t the same team that went to Tampa Bay a few weeks ago and lost to a winless team. They absorbed Shane Austin’s best game as a Steel player and still won by 27 points. Nick Davila leads the league in yards, touchdowns, and passer rating. I understand who they were playing, but with a QB of Davila’s level playing as well as he has under all the circumstances will only bode well for this team once they hopefully start to get some of the injured players back.
- Orlando Predators 9-2 (LW – 2, Change -1)
It’s hard to drop a team who has only lost two games and continues to win, but the problem is how they continue to win. Two weeks in a row Orlando wins on the last play of the game. They are back to this style of winning. They were able to come out and hand it to Arizona after winning a few close ones early, they are going to need much better production if they want to challenge Philly at the end of the year for one of the top seeds. This team still reminds me a lot of the 2014 Cleveland Gladiators that won 17 games and hosted the Arena Bowl. Can they duplicate the success of that team? Only time will tell.
- Jacksonville Sharks 5-5 (LW – 4, Change –)
Here we go again, the up and down season of the Jacksonville Sharks hit it’s latest upswing with a dominant performance in Tampa Bay. The bad thing is, they usually follow that up with a stinker. I’ve said it at nauseum, this is one of the most talented teams in the league, but also one of the weakest in mental strength. When things are going good, this team is clicking, but when adversity strikes, this team folds under the pressure. They will not return to the Arena Bowl in 2016 if they don’t show more consistency. Was the performance again the Storm great? Of course, but until they can play like that against the Soul, Preds, or Rattlers, you have to take it with a grain of salt.
- Cleveland Gladiators 5-6 (LW – 6, Change +1)
I moved this team down last week because of a poor performance against the Rattlers, then they turn around and almost force the Predators into overtime. Was that a case of Cleveland playing well at the start of their upcoming road stretch or was it Orlando playing down to their competition again? They found themselves down by 14 a couple times on Saturday and were able to find a way back into the game. This is one of the most resilent teams in the AFL, they will need to lean on the ability with all of their remaining games on the road. This week finds the Glads heading to the Pacific Northwest to take on the 1-9 Steel.
- Los Angeles KISS 4-6 (LW – 5, Change -1)
Let’s face it, the KISS ran into a buzzsaw on Saturday. Philadelphia is the best team in the league with the best scoring defense. That was a no win scenario for an inexperienced QB and supporting cast (other than the Captain of course). QB Pete Thomas is steadily improving each week. He got out of Trenton with only on interception, better QB’s have thrown more interceptions to that defense than Thomas. The test will be on Saturday, the KISS desperately need to get a dominating win over a hapless Storm team. If they struggle, then I think it’s safe to pen the KISS in at the #6 spot on my rankings.
- Portland Steel 1-9 (LW – 7, Change –)
It’s not very often in this league that a QB can score 8 touchdowns, not turn the ball over, and the team still loses by over 25 points. That’s what happened on Saturday, QB Shane Austin turned in one of the more impressive stat lines of the season, but unfortunately got absolutely no help by the league’s worst rank scoring defense. At over 62 pts/gm, Portland gives up a full 6 more points per game than the Storm. Even with great QB play, you aren’t going to win many AFL games if you give up 62 points per game. Cleveland comes to town this week and they aren’t a team that is going to rack up a ton of points on a team. The Steel need another great performance by Austin against his former team if they want any chance to get win number 2.
- Tampa Bay Storm 1-9 (LW – 8, Change –)
I’m starting to feel bad for TT Toliver, I don’t normally use that term when speaking of pro athletes, but here is a guy who set a league record on Saturday during a bloodbath of a game where the Storm managed a paltry 14 points in the first half of the game. It’s sad to see a first ballet hall of fame player almost in his 40’s show the most effort on the field. You would think the younger guys would see Tolliver and not let an “old man” out hustle them, but that is clearly the case. The Storm need leadership and it’s not going to come from Coach Samuels or Jason Boltus. This team needs to be shaken up in the offseason and a reboot is needed for this team to compete in 2017 and beyond.
Biggest Jump – Arizona, Cleveland +1
Biggest fall – Orlando, Los Angeles -1
Always remember to keep it locked on AFL FanZone for the latest information for the Arena Football League.
YouTube: AFL FanZone on YouTube