By Kyle Sander | firstname.lastname@example.org
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on April 18, 2017 at 6:30 PM
Before getting into the rankings, I want to bring up the horrible officiating in the Philadelphia at Tampa Bay game. What in the world was that? Between inadvertent whistles and blind reviews, that was NOT a good showing for the AFL. I believe the league will review that tape and make sure calls like the incomplete pass don’t happen again.
Now that I got that off my chest, let’s dive right into the power rankings!
- Philadelphia Soul – (1-0) / LW: 2 / Week 2 – W at TB 56-52
Philadelphia entered the Amalie Arena as the defending Arena Bowl champions and at times looked every bit as good as the team that traveled to Arizona last August and unseated the Rattlers. But there were also times the rust was still very much a factor as Raudabaugh turned the ball over twice, one fumble and one interception.
This is still the team to beat after narrowly edging the Storm in their season debut. The Soul look to shake off more rust this Saturday as they travel to D.C. to take on the 1-0 Valor.
2. Tampa Bay Storm – (1-1) / LW: 3 / Week 2 – L vs PHI 52-56
There is no way around it. The Storm got robbed Saturday night on national television. How the officials missed the review citing “No visual evidence” is atrocious and something the league should be looking in to. It was clear to everyone watching the game and even Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh that it was a backwards pass and should’ve been a touchdown on the field, but at least Tampa ball due to the play being called dead.
Not a lot of people felt the Storm was even going to put up the fight they did against the Soul. Most would’ve said it would take a magical night by Randy Hippeard and Joe Hills, but it was actually Kendrick Ings who stole the show. Ings finished the game with three touchdowns, two receiving and one kick return. Ings is proving once again how much of a mismatch he truely is and as long as the offense in Tampa Bay stays healthy, Ings will continue to be more and more of a factor.
Tampa Bay will welcome the reeling Cleveland Gladiators in week three, a rematch of week one when Tampa Bay edged the Gladiators 46-40 at the Quicken Loans Arena.
3. Washington Valor – (1-0) / LW: 1 / Week 2 – Bye
After thoroughly disposing of the Brigade in week one, the Valor enjoyed their first bye of the season. Their drop in the rankings is more to do with the resiliency of the Soul after beating Tampa Bay than it is an indictment on the Valor.
Saturday’s game versus Philadelphia should shed more light on whether week one was a a matter of playing a quarterback who had no business starting (Chase Cartwright) or if this is the team to challenge the defending champions.
4. Baltimore Brigade – (2-0) / LW: 5 / Week 2 – W at CLE 52-49
The story of the 2017 Brigade has already been started by backup quarterback Shane Carden. Since replacing Cartwright in week one against the Valor, the Brigade has outscored their opponents 90-73. Carden’s numbers may not impress you when looking at the stat sheet, but clearly his leadership and all around play has sparked this club in their inaugural season.
If Carden can continue to find his favorite target wide receiver Reggie Gray (leader in yards, touchdowns, and receptions) the Brigade will continue to rise in the rankings.
Week three is Baltimore’s time for a rest as they see their first bye of the season before heading to face Philadelphia in week four.
5. Cleveland Gladiators – (0-2 ) / LW: 4 / Week 2 – L vs BAL 49-52
By far the most disappointing start of the season goes to Cleveland and their quarterback situation. After not bringing back Arvell Nelson (Cleveland’s leading passer in 2016), they have run full circle and seem to be going back to Nelson. Both Shane Boyd and Tanner Marsh have failed to show any signs of sustained success. The defense was decimated by injury in week two as three starting defensive backs were ruled out before the game which only helped Gray pad his stats.
It has only been two weeks, so we are far from seeing Cleveland press the panic button, but they need to choose a quarterback and stick with him through the ups and downs of the season. I personally feel Nelson showed last year he could be a dynamic player in this league. Give him the keys to the offense and let the chips fall where they may.
The schedule never really gets easy as Cleveland was a unanimous pick for dead last, but if there is a chance to steal a win, it would be in week three. If the Gladiators can get ahead early and the Storm let the Soul beat them twice, Cleveland could get the confidence they so desperately need.
- Philadelphia Soul – 23 (3)
- Tampa Bay Storm – 20 (2)
- Washington Valor – 17
- Baltimore Brigade – 10
- Cleveland Gladiators – 5
()=First Place Votes
The AFL Fan Zone power rankings contributing members are:
Kyle Sander @ArenaFBOutsidrs, Scott Soares @AFLSlasher, Stephen Ur @writingfanatic2, Joran Palacio @Joran_Palacio16, Ryan Knowles @rykno52, and Jesse Mattson @LocalBigTime1