Week One Power Rankings
1. Seattle Orcas (1-0)
Last Week: W – Minnesota – 27-0
Minnesota might be under new ownership, and may not have the dominant roster they had in previous years, but the Freeze still have some good players. But the Orcas made them look like nothing as they shut them out on Saturday night. The Orcas secondary is even better than we thought. They held Josh McCown to only 160 yards. Their pass rush also go to him three times and their front seven held the Free to minus-seven yards rushing in the game. You read that right, minus-seven yards. Defense and a running game, led by Isaiah Crowell, who has 134 yards and two touchdowns, and a game managing quarterback are a proven recipe for success. It’s how Seattle built their team.
2. Michigan Stags (1-0)
Last Week: W – Louisville – 38-10
Zach Collaros got a commitment from the Stags in the offseason with a multi-year deal and rewarded them with a very big game in the opener, passing for 341 yards and three touchdowns. Michigan is still going to be a team that will lean on their deep running game and amazing secondary that shut the Cougars down from the opening kickoff, but if Collaros is going to be able to pass like he did then this team is even better than we though.
3. Orlando Rockets (0-1)
Last Week: L – @ New York – 28-22
Is there reason to be concerned with Orlando or was New York’s opening night victory just a big and unexpected upset? Orlando should be given the benefit of the doubt but Ricky Ray needs to do better or it is fair to question whether he’s losing a big step. They also need more from their receivers not named Derel Walker. With such a dominant group of running backs, it seemed like more should be put on them as a whole, and more just Devonta Freeman. They should be mixing it up more.
4. San Antonio Marshalls (1-0)
Last Week: W – Nashville – 29-24
Maybe the defense has some concerns on the backend but the front seven is aggressive and got three sacks in the game. Bo Levi Mitchell is still airing it out and led the Marshalls to a last minute comeback victory. He has a much more experienced and dangerous group to work with. The real impressive part was the offensive line that allowed only one sack against a unit that is loaded with guys who had double-digit sacks last year. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year John Chick was neutralized and held to only one tackle in the game.
5. New York Marauders (1-0)
Last Week: W – Orlando – 28-22
New York had the biggest upset of Week 1 on opening night based on how they and the Orlando Rockets played last year, but they somehow pulled it off. Still, the Marauders will have to prove it again and that it wasn’t just a big upset. Based on his first game, Stefon Diggs looks like he’s officially ascended to the elite of the elite at wide receiver. He had six catches for 168 yards.
6. Birmingham Predators (1-0)
Last Week: W – @ Charleston – 20-12
Dak Prescott looked awesome in his professional debut and showed the hype was founded. He led the Predators to a very good win in their debut since being re-founded this season. Not much went wrong for them in the game. Maybe Jamaal Charles looked a little over the hill, but that passing game looks deadly.
7. Atlanta Firebirds (0-1)
Last Week: L – @ Carolina – 35-29
Maybe it seems odd to have Atlanta over Carolina when they lost to them in the 2016 opener, but the Firebirds are still loaded with talent and seem more dangerous offensively. Cameron Meredith’s emergence is huge for this team and makes for one of the best tandems in the league, maybe they best. The questionable decision was starting Matt Barkley over the proven Aaron Murray. Sure, his 294 yards and four touchdowns at the end of the game are very impressive, but maybe that was more because of the receivers he has to work with. The defense does need to tighten up fast, though. Erik Meyer can’t be throwing for 300 yards and three touchdowns like that.
8. Nashville Renegades (0-1)
Last Week: L – @ San Antonio – 29-24
It was a gutsy performance against San Antonio, but the Marshalls were able to come back in the final minute for the victory. The secondary doesn’t look overly strong here, but let’s wait until they don’t go up against one of the very best quarterbacks in the league before we pass judgment on that unit. They will need much more out of Jordan Howard moving forward. It was very interesting that Karlos Williams did not get a single touch on the football.
9. Los Angeles Stars (1-0)
Last Week: W – @ Pittsburgh – 41-38
Case Keenum isn’t Kirk Cousins, but he’s pretty darn good. He tore Pittsburgh up with 337 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Tim Wright, Chad Owens, Denarius Moore, Griff Whalen, Joe Hills… he has a very deep group of receivers to work with. The backfield didn’t look overly great and the defense clearly got ripped through by a fairly mediocre looking offense, but the Stars will be a dangerous team because of their ability to move the ball and score.
10. Philadelphia Bulldogs (1-0)
Last Week: W – Washington – 24-14
After giving up 14 points to start the game the Bulldogs came together and scored 24 straight to get the win. Jay Ajayi finally looks like he’s ready for the big time after a rather poor rookie year. Michael Vick might not really help the team at this point, but if Ajayi is running like he did against the Wave then they’ll be fine.
11. Columbus Explorers (1-0)
Last Week: L – @ Omaha – 27-14
It was not a good week for the Explorers but it’s not clearly why they lost the way they did. Obviously something is wrong, but they should get another week to rebound. We assume Omaha isn’t great because they are an expansion team, but who knows. We’ll need to see more of both teams.
12. Carolina Generals (1-0)
Last Week: W – Atlanta – 35-29
With three touchdowns and 299 yards, Erik Meyer led a tremendous Carolina comeback. Marques Colston showed he still has a lot left in the tank as he finished with 133 yards and three touchdowns. The running game also got the job done in the team’s opener. But the real victory was holding Allen Hurns to only 84 yards on three catches. He had two touchdowns and averaged 28 yards per catch, yes, but only three catches and less than 90 yards still seems like a victory.
13. New Orleans Nightmare (1-0)
Last Week: W – Phoenix – 30-10
The hope coming into the year was that Zach Mettenberg would be more consistent, but the way the defense just destroyed the Scorpions makes thing ridiculously interesting. If that group continues to dominated the way they did then the offense won’t have as much on them. Brent Urban looks like he can have an All-SFL type season after how he opened the season.
14. Omaha Express (1-0)
Last Week: W – Columbus – 27-14
Was it the emotion of this franchise finally getting off the ground or what is them being a really good team that we just didn’t know what to expect? Tim Tebow and LeGarrette Blount are two great veterans leading the way but rookie Tanner McEvoy was simply incredible with 138 yards and a touchdown on just three catches. We’ll still have to see this team do it again, but a win over Columbus is a fantastic start.
15. Washington Wave (0-1)
Last Week: L – @ Philadelphia – 24-14
The Wave are clearly a lot better than last year, but they’ll still have to wait at least another week to get their first victory in the franchise’s second run. Tyreek Hill is a huge weapon, but the offense needs to be less cute and should look to cut down on the trick plays. They were great when they worked but hurt when they didn’t. The defense is much better, especially at linebacker.
16. Pittsburgh Forge (0-1)
Last Week: L – Los Angeles – 41-38
We’ll have to wait and see if Jonathan Jennings is actually going to be as prolific a passer as he was against Los Angeles or if it was a weak defense that helped him put up some impressive numbers, but Devontae Booker does look like he can be something special out of the backfield. But there just isn’t much speed at receiver and against a better secondary that could be an issue. Also, their defense was just atrocious.
17. Houston Wranglers (1-0)
Last Week: W – Dallas – 14-10
Can you think of a better way to restart the Houston franchise than with a victory over the in-state rival and big dog Dallas Six-Shooters? Dallas is a different team that last year, but Connor Cook was great in the first half. While he slowed down, running back Paul Perkins took over and helped grind down the clock and wore down the Six-Shooters for the win.
18. Charleston Dragons (0-1)
Last Week: L – Birmingham – 20-12
Luke Tasker picked up where he left off last year with a big 2017 opener, but Kellen Moore looks no better or no worse than Josh Freeman. The problem is the running game was just non-existent. As a team they totaled just 35 rushing yards, and it was on 23 rushing attempts. If the Dragons are stuck with purely a one-dimensional offense they will continue to struggle.
19. Minnesota Freeze (0-1)
Last Week: L – @ Seattle – 27-0
It’s too early to give up on the Minnesota Freeze already after being shutout by the Seattle Orcas, but things could not have gone worse for them. Josh McCown is clearly losing a step and what happened with their running attack was completely unacceptable, but the Orcas are also a dominant team. Minnesota will have to play better, but we’ll have to reserve some judgment until after they play another team.
20. Phoenix Scorpions (0-1)
Last Week: L – @ New Orleans – 30-13
The start of the Adrian Peterson era was not pretty. Instead, the defensive front of the New Orleans nightmare completely dominated a strong looking Scorpions offensive line. Phoenix was supposed to have one of the best interior lines in the league but gave up six sacks. If that doesn’t get sured up then this team just does not have the explosive players it needs on offense to make up for it.
21. Dallas Six-Shooters (0-1)
Last Week: L – @ Houston – 14-10
It was actually pretty foolish to overlook all of the massive number of changes to the Six-Shooters offense when penciling them in at number two in the preseason poll. Trevon Boykin has potential but he’s no Tim Tebow. He looked like a rookie in his debut. Jalen Richard does look explosive out of the backfield, but Dallas will need to rely more on that unit. Their defense last year also wasn’t great outside interceptions and they didn’t get any in this game and lost.
22. Louisville Cougars (0-1)
Last Week: L – @ Michigan – 38-10
As good as Julian Edelman, Wes Welker and Maurice Purifoy are, the poor play of Christian Ponder and a non-existent running game just won’t let them be utilized correctly. If Christian Ponder is throwing the ball over 50 times a game, it is going to be a disaster. They need to make a trade for a running back asap. But let’s also see if they go with a more explosive sort of quarterback like Jeremiah Masoli coming up soon. His ability to run will at least make the Cougars offense a little more unpredictable.
Week One Awards
Offensive Player of the Week
QB Case Keenum, Los Angeles Stars
26-for-33 (78.8%), 337 Pass Yards, 4 Pass TDs, 2 Rushes, 10 Rush Yards (5.0 YPC), 1 Rush TD
Defensive Player of the Week
DT Brent Urban, New Orleans Nightmare
6 Tackles, 4 Sacks, 4 Hurries
Special Teams Player of the Week
K/P Sean Whyte, New York Marauders
5-for-6 FG, 1-for-2 XP, 16 Points, 4 Punts, 145 Punt Yards, 36.3 YPP, 1 In20
Rookie of the Week
QB Dak Prescott, Birmingham Predators
27-for-36 (75.0%), 343 Pass Yards, 2 Pass TDs, 1 INT, 9 Rushes, 26 Rush Yards (2.9 YPC), 1 Rush TD
Week Two Preview
New York Marauders (1-0) @ Washington Wave (0-1)
The Marauders came up with a huge opening night upset over the defending champions but left with some injuries to key players. Still, even though their offense got bailed out by their kicker quite a bit, their defense was tremendous, holding the Rockets for much of the game. Washington is bound for a win and played well last week, but their offense will have to be more consistent than it was last week.
Prediction: New York Marauders
Pittsburgh Forge (0-1) @ Birmingham Predators (1-0)
Two expansion teams, each built in very different ways. Pittsburgh is going to want to run, but last week it was Jonathan Jennings that tore it up. However, their defense also got shredded by Case Keenum. Dak Prescott had a marvelous debut and could have another huge game in Week 2.
Prediction: Birmingham Predators
Houston Wranglers (1-0) @ Charleston Dragons (0-1)
Houston got a huge win last week over Dallas and Charleston really struggles last week, but the Dragons are still a tough team and should be better. Houston, it’s hard to still be completely sold on them. We’ll have to see more from them before they become a popular pick to win.
Prediction: Charleston Dragons
Nashville Renegades (0-1) @ Carolina Generals (1-0)
Carolina was a huge surprise last week with an offense that was far more explosive than it ever was last year. Can that continue or will the Renegades get things figured out on defense? They nearly won their debut, but failed to stop Bo Levi Mitchell in the final minute.
Prediction: Nashville Renegades
Philadelphia Bulldogs (1-0) @ Minnesota Freeze (0-1)
This will be an interesting game for both teams. It really is not fair to give up on Minnesota already because Seattle is such a great team, but they’ll have to prove themselves before we can pick them to beat a team like Philadelphia that showed great resolved, coming back from 14-points down to get a win on opening weekend.
Prediction: Philadelphia Bulldogs
Dallas Six-Shooters (0-1) @ New Orleans Nightmare (1-0)
Dallas’ defense showed they need those interceptions but with all of the changes to their offense this might be a year of growing pains. And with how Brent Urban dominated the Scorpions, we have to imagine they’ll name things a real nightmare for Trevone Boykin.
Prediction: New Orleans Nightmare
Louisville Cougars (0-1) @ Omaha Express (1-0)
Omaha got a huge win in the franchise’s debut over a very good Columbus Explorers team. They’ll be at home for their second game to start the year and will be carrying some great emotion against a struggling Cougars team. Louisville will need something to spark their offense that was just abysmal last week. Could we see a switch at quarterback?
Prediction: Omaha Express
Columbus Explorers (0-1) @ Phoenix Scorpions (0-1)
Both teams are coming off disappointing openers. But it is really hard to now what to think about either team. Columbus never should have gotten almost doubled up by an expansion team like Omaha. Phoenix played a much better opponent, but also played much worse. It’s really a coin-flip, but the Explorers get the edge in the pick.
Prediction: Columbus Explorers
Seattle Orcas (1-0) @ Los Angeles Stars (1-0)
This game might be the most interesting one of the week because we have an offense that put up a league-best 41 points last week going against a defense that shut out their opponent. It’s the classic battle and we’ll see who wins this chess match.
Prediction: Seattle Orcas
Michigan Stags (1-0) @ Atlanta Firebirds (0-1)
Michigan dominated their game and did not even heavily lean on their running game. That was pretty unthinkable. Atlanta had a great week one passing the ball, but their defense is a big worry right now. Their struggles much lead to a 0-2 start to the year.
Prediction: Michigan Stags
San Antonio Marshalls (1-0) @ Orlando Rockets (0-1)
Is Ricky Ray slowing down or is he still an elite quarterback? It would be shocking to see the defending champion Rockets fall to 0-2 on the year, but Bo Levi Mitchell has picked up where he left off the past two seasons. Considering how the Marauders were able to move the ball against Orlando, one would have to assume a more explosive Marshalls defense can also have a big week.
Prediction: San Antonio Marshalls
With the St. Louis Stallions having already been confirmed as one new franchise for next season, the league office has announced there will be three more teams added to the league next year, bringing up a total of four new teams for a third straight season.
Two more new expansion franchises have officially been declared with one more opening to be filled for expansion.
Los Angeles Stars owner Eric Murray has been granted a second SFL franchise for the 2018 season. His franchise will play in Des Moines/Ames, Iowa. The team has not officially been named yet.
“I think it is incredibly exciting that we are expanding to Iowa,” Commissioner Corey Johns said. “Iowa is a great football state. They love the sport and are a very underserved in sports. Iowa is going to be a tremendous place to play and will be perfect coming in with St. Louis at the same time.”
The other expansion team will be issued to Terrill Weil, the long time owner of the New Orleans Nightmare. The SFL failed recently in their attempted expansion to Jackson, Mississippi after Joe Gruber was stripped of his right for a team. Weil, though, is ready to save the city from losing the team before it ever even got it. Weil will take over a team that will indeed play in Jackson at Mississippi Veteran’s Memorial Stadium. Weil has announced the team will be called the Mississippi Cottonmouths after the highly venomous snake from the southeastern United States.
“I was heartbroken when I had to announce Jackson, Mississippi was going to lose their franchise that we proudly awarded before,” Johns said. “But I can’t think of a better man to take over a team in the football-crazed state than Terril Weil, who has proudly represented himself and this league as the owner of New Orleans for the past decade.”
Johns said he is really pushing for the fourth spot in 2018 to be given to an owner looking to expand to the West Coast. Oakland / San Francisco, San Diego and Salt Lake City remain at the top of the list for the home of the league’s newest team.