Week Thirteen Power Rankings
1. Michigan Stags (11-2) – Up 1
Last Week: W – @ Omaha – 17-10
This win won’t jump out at anybody, but it’s a really good victory because it showed a different side of the Stags and with Seattle losing, it helps them take over at the No. 1 team in the power rankings. Zach Collaros led the way in this won, not the running game. He had 269 yards passing and two touchdowns. Their backs did get them 115 yards on the ground combined, but it was a well-balanced passing attacking doing the damage this time.
2. Seattle Orcas (10-3) – Down 1
Last Week: L – Los Angeles – 30-9
What a shocker. The Orcas are not invincible, so losing to a team like Los Angeles wasn’t completely unfathomable, but getting blown out in their home stadium was completely unexpected. On the bright side, with 90 yards on the ground, Isaiah Crowell became the first running back in nine years to top 2,000 yards rushing, already breaking Kevin Barlow’s 16-game record with 2,062 yards through 13 games. His eyes are set on Barry Sanders’ 2,605 yards, set in an 18-game season.
3. Orlando Rockets (9-4) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Houston – 37-13
Orlando was a huge favorite over Houston and got a one-sided victory, holding a 30-0 lead at halftime. Devonta Freeman got a tremendous game, rushing for 164 yards and a touchdown. That’s the physical effort the Rockets need out of him to be successful. They are a run first team, especially right now with this continued revolving door at quarterback. This is so uncharacteristic of a first-class championship organization like Orlando to do this. You can never count them out but unless they settle on a quarterback it’s impossible to see them succeeding in the playoffs against top-flight opponents three weeks in a row.
4. Los Angeles Stars (9-4) – Up 4
Last Week: W – @ Seattle – 30-9
What a tremendous victory that had pretty much secured the Stars’ spot in the playoffs. They technically haven’t clinched yet, but they have a game lead on the Carolina Generals/Atlanta Firebirds, and the momentum of back-to-back victories, including this huge one. Buck Allen has gotten into a grove at the right time and led the team in both rushing and receiving with two touchdowns. Los Angeles took a 30-0 lead into the third quarter. They cruised to the big win.
5. Pittsburgh Forge (8-5) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ San Antonio – 32-29
Not the result the Forge wanted this week but they still control the Atlantic Division by tie-breakers. Jon Jennings was great again, but the Forge defense couldn’t stop another elite quarterback, Bo Levi Mitchell. Still, this expansion team is maybe the greatest story of this season currently looking very much like a team that could win a playoff game.
6. Philadelphia Bulldogs (8-5) – Up 2
Last Week: W – Atlanta – 35-32
Philadelphia needed this victory and they got it with a well-balanced effort, but a tremendous fourth quarter comeback. They blew a 21-0 lead over the Atlanta Firebirds, but after falling behind in the fourth quarter they were able to go on a five-minute drive, marking 71 yards in 16 plays, to get the victory. Michael Vick and Jay Ajayi each had two touchdowns. Adarius Bowman was the recipient of both of Vick’s throws into the endzone. When Vick is on, Philadelphia has perhaps the most complete offense in the league. The problem is at his age he’s getting pretty inconsistent. Right now, though, he’s rolling and the Bulldogs got a huge victory to stay in control of a playoff spot.
7. Atlanta Firebirds (8-5) – Down 2
Last Week: L – @ Philadelphia – 35-32
What a game, but Atlanta came up on the wrong end of it. They overcame a slow start, seeing the Bulldogs score the first 21 points of the game. Led by a four-touchdown effort by Matt Barkley, the Firebirds took the lead late in the fourth quarter. However, their defense just couldn’t get a stop late in the game as they suffered a close loss in the final minute of the game. Luckily for them, they still remain at the top of the division because of a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Carolina Generals, but they have a worse division record to this point.
8. San Antonio Marshalls (8-5) – Up 2
Last Week: W – Pittsburgh – 32-29
When Jon Jennings starts getting called the best quarterback in the league, Bo Levi Mitchell comes up huge to win the head-to-head matchup. And what a huge win it was. With New Orleans coming on strong with Tim Tebow, the Marshalls were able to stay ahead of the division with a victory. It was nice to see Jacquizz Rodgers with a pretty good game too. The pass rush has been disappointing this year, but the offense bailed out the defense in a shootout. They have that high-powered ability to do it at least.
9. Carolina Generals (8-5) – No Change
Last Week: W – Minnesota – 23-15
The Generals got a very important victory as they are fighting neck and neck against Atlanta for their division. With the series split, Carolina has the tie-breaker on Divisional record right now at the top of the Southern Division, but they need to keep their success going. This was just their first win in three tries. This win came at home against a bottom feeder, but they are only 2-4 on the road this year. But they’ll be on the next two weeks, and those will be crucial games for them.
10. New Orleans Nightmare (7-6) – Up 1
Last Week: W – @ Washington – 27-19
New Orleans is now 2-0 with Tim Tebow as their quarterback, great news for them as they continue to fight for the playoffs. The Mid-South race seems like it will come down to the wire, but a win at Washington was a big win for the Nightmare. Alfred Blue also had another solid game that really helped the push. Their defense also stepped up in a big way. To have this complete of a game on the road against a team that is in the playoff run, what a performance at the right time of the year for New Orleans.
11. Washington Wave (7-6) – Down 5
Last Week: L – New Orleans – 27-19
Washington is in a pretty big slump right now. They are still alive in both their division and in the wildcard race, but need to get something figured out. They had their most success when everything was revolving around Tyreek Hill. Now they might be learning putting it all on a rookie isn’t the best thing to do. But how can anybody complain about this Washington team after their turnaround this season?
12. Nashville Renegades (7-6) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Louisville – 48-14
Nashville outclassed their regional rival, getting a 42-0 lead in the fourth quarter. AJ McCarron had six touchdowns and with Jamison Crowder and Allen Hurns as his top targets, he’s proving to be one of the better quarterbacks in the league. He might not quite be elite, but he’s right there at the top of the next tier down. The Renegades offense is very balanced, the problem all year has been the back end of their defense and their miserable special teams. This game did not expose their secondary. RJ Archer’s struggles for Louisville included three interceptions. The Renegades had everything go right for them in this game, keeping them technically alive in the playoff hunt.
13. Columbus Explorers (7-6) – Down 1
Last Week: W – Dallas – 29-13
An absolutely dominant running game has gotten the Columbus Explorers to this point and will get them wins like this. However, their inconsistent passing game has really hurt the Explorers’ chances to make the playoffs. They aren’t out yet, but they’ll have to run the table and hope the Stars lose out to make it. Maybe they should move Terrelle Pryor to either running back or wide receiver? He’s a tremendous athlete and had 114 yards to lead the team’s 303 yard effort on the ground against Dallas, but his 147 passing yards per game just won’t cut it.
14. Birmingham Predators (6-7) – No Change
Last Week: W – Phoenix – 24-16
What’s going on with Dak Prescott? He’s in a major slump right now, but even in a down game the Predators did enough to get the victory. They were helped by a good game by Cardale Jones, but the man who needs some credit in this game is rookie Kenyan Drake. He had 126 kickoff return yards, setting the Predators up in very good field position the entire game. They cashed him and got a good win.
15. Dallas Six-Shooters (5-8) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Columbus – 29-13
It’s pretty safe to say that James Franklin has solidified himself as the team’s starting quarterback, but the Six-Shooter’s surge and playoff hopes have officially ended as their running game let them down. Dallas has had one of the best running games in the league all year, but only had 42 total yards on the ground in Columbus. Meanwhile, their defense got run through, allowing 303 yards rushing.
16. New York Marauders (4-9) – Up 4
Last Week: W – Charleston – 31-14
Other than New York owner Corey Johns, nobody could have imagined this would be the debut performance for quarterback Vad Lee. The James Madison product threw for three touchdowns and led the Marauders with 123 yards rushing and all to a big victory. But more than just Lee’s impressive debut, rookie defensive end Victor Ochi led the team with five tackles and had two sacks, fellow rookie defensive lineman Michael Pierce had four tackle and two sacks. Another rookie, cornerback DJ White, had two interceptions. If the young guys on this team continue playing like this then the Marauders have a lot to look forward to next year. But, it was only one game. We’ll have to see more of this team next week and see if their young players continue to play this well or not.
17. Phoenix Scorpions (5-8) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Birmingham – 24-16
Cardale Jones honestly couldn’t have been worse, completing only 6-of-28 passing attempts with two interceptions. The running game is hitting full steam right now and some defensive adjustments led to a very strong effort against Dak Prescott, but Jones’ performance killed them. He’s still young and the team is out of the playoffs now, but could they go back to Mike Reilly? Having Jones get his feet wet and then going back to watch a good veteran like Mike Reilly have help, but then it might kill Jones’ confidence. It’s a delicate situation the Scorpions must sort out.
18. Charleston Dragons (5-8) – Down 2
Last Week: L – @ New York – 31-14
The Dragons’ offense has been a major worry all year long, and while the Dragons seem to have given up on Kellen Moore, Aaron Murray is playing just as bad. It didn’t help that his offensive line gave up six sacks, but Murray threw three interceptions and the offense never got off the ground. The disappointing part of this game, though, will be that a virtually unknown rookie quarterback ripped their usually dominant defense apart. Part of that inability to run was a 20-0 hole they found themselves in. They had to play catchup, but just couldn’t. But things certainly are about to get interesting in Charleston. They have already announced they are turning to DII stud Jason Vander Lann, one of the best scrambling QBs in college football history. Sounds crazy, but they did just see Vad Lee have a pretty big game.
19. Minnesota Freeze (3-10) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Carolina – 23-15
Minnesota would have really benefited from some sort of running game helping them finish their series, but instead they had to settle for five field goals. They totaled just 19 yards on 21 rushes while Josh McCown had 377 yards passing. We know Minnesota is flawed this year, but they’ve been playing better. Still, it’s amazing they haven’t even tried to sign a new running back to give a test run to. Maybe just five D’Anthony Thomas a full workload considering how good he’s been as a return man.
20. Omaha Express (4-9) – Down 1
Last Week: L – Michigan – 17-10
Joe Callahan’s rookie struggles led to an early benching and a shot for veteran Kevin Glenn. He didn’t have much success, though. It is forgivable for both with all the talent the Stags have in their secondary. They also didn’t have much going in the running game. Omaha just wasn’t going to win this game. They did score 10 points in the fourth quarter to show some continued fight, but it was a struggling effort for them.
21. Louisville Cougars (2-11) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Nashville – 48-14
Louisville had given it a shot with Christian Ponder, Jeremiah Masoli and now RJ Archer. While Masoli had the most statistical success, none of them did particularly well or got them good wins. The Cougars have signed Dan LeFevour now. Maybe they give him a test run at quarterback. It can’t really hurt. They will probably give some young players chances too over these last three weeks.
22. Houston Wranglers (2-11) – No Change
Last Week: L – Orlando – 37-17
As Houston continues to play their slow-build game, they have dropped 11 straight, mostly in blowout fashion. Still, their organization is not freaking out. They won’t make and drastic changes to try to win a few games now when there just isn’t much talent or experience right now. Connor Cook looks like he’s going to be really good. Maybe he’s not the best right now, but they aren’t going to move away from him. He’s their future and he’s getting his lumps and experience in every situation imaginable now.
Week Thirteen Awards
Offensive Player of the Week
QB AJ McCarron, Nashville Renegades
19-for-28 (67.8%), 326 Pass Yards, 6 Pass TDs, 9 INT, 22 Rush Yards (5.5 YPC)
Defensive Player of the Week
DE Jake Metz, Carolina Generals
9 Tackles, 3 Sacks, 1 TFL, 1 Hurry
Special Teams Player of the Week
K Rene Paredes, Minnesota Freeze
5-for-5 FGs (48 yds, 23 yds, 48 yds, 34 yds, 50 yds)
Rookie of the Week
QB Vad Lee, New York Marauders
10-for-21 (47.6%), 198 Pass Yards, 3 Pass TDs, 123 Rush Yards (5.9 YPC)
1. Orlando Rockets (9-4) vs. 4. Philadelphia Bulldogs* (8-5)
2. San Antonio Marshalls (8-5) vs. 3. Pittsburgh Forge (8-5)
*Wildcard Watch: New Orleans Nightmare (7-6), Washington Wave (7-6), Birmingham Predators (6-7), Charleston Dragons (5-8), Dallas Six-Shooters (5-8)
1. Michigan Stags (11-2) vs. 4. Los Angeles Stars* (9-4)
2. Seattle Orcas (10-3) vs. 3. Carolina Generals (8-5)
*Wildcard Watch: Atlanta Firebirds (8-5)*, Nashville Renegades (7-6), Columbus Explorers (7-6)
Most Points Scored in a Season: 592 – Minnesota Freeze, 2014
Pittsburgh Forge – 477 (36.7 ppg) on pace for 587.0 Points
Most Rushing Yards in a Season: 2,741 – Columbus Explorers, 2016
Columbus Explorers – 2,566 (197.38 YPG), on pace for 3,158 Rush Yards
Seattle Orcas – 2,566 (197.38 YPG), on pace for 3,158 Rush Yards
Michigan Stags – 2,284 (175.69 YPG), on pace for 2,811 Rush Yards
Philadelphia Bulldogs – 2,258 (173.69 YPG), on pace for 2,770 Rush Yards
Pass Attempts in a Season: 640 – Christian Ponder, 2016
Josh McCown (MIN) – 558, on pace for 686 Pass Attempts
Case Keenum (LA) – 540, on pace for 664 Pass Attempts
Pass Completions in a Season: 411 – Kirk Cousins, 2016
Josh McCown (MIN) – 358, on pace for 440 Pass Completions
Dak Prescott (BIR) – 342, on pace for 420 Pass Completions
Ryan Fitzpatrick (WSH) – 334, on pace for 411 Pass Completions
Case Keenum (LA) – 333, on pace for 409 Pass Completions
Pass Yards in a Season: 5,314 – Bo Levi Mitchell, 2016
Jon Jennings (PIT) – 4,598, on pace for 5,659 Pass Yards
Rushes in a Season: 429 – Alfred Morris, 2016
Jordan Howard (NAS) – 397, on pace for 488 Rushes
Jay Ajayi (PHI) – 361, on pace for 444 Rushes
Isaiah Crowell (SEA) – 351, on pace for 432 Rushes
Rush Yards in a Season (16 Games): 2,004 – Kevin Barlow, 2008 – Broken
Rush Yards in a Season (18 Games): 2,605 – Barry Sanders, 2001
Isaiah Crowell (SEA) – 2,062, on pace for 2,537 Rush Yards
Rush Yards by a QB in a Season: 1,241 – Tim Tebow, 2015
Terrelle Pryor (CBS) – 1,076, on pace for 1,324 Rush Yards
Rush TDs in a Season: 22 – Lamar Miller, 2016
Isaiah Crowell (SEA) – 20, on pace for 24
Jay Ajayi (PHI) – 18, on pace for 20
Receptions in a Season: 132 – Luke Tasker, 2016
Julian Edelman (LOU) – 118, on pace for 145 Receptions
Kenny Stills (BIR) – 117, on pace for 144 Receptions
Receiving Yards in a Season (16 Games): 2,059 – Allen Hurns, 2016
Kenny Stills (BIR) – 1,668, on pace for 2,052 Rec Yards
Total Offense in a Season: 2,291 – Andre Ellington, 2015
Isaiah Crowell (SEA) – 2,194, on pace for 2,700 Yards from Scrimmage
Total Pancakes in a Season: 54 – Andrew Whitworth, 2014
Ryan Schraeder (SEA) – 44, on pace for 54
Kick Return TDs in a Season: 4 – Steve Smith, 2003
Tyreek Hill (WSH) – 3 KR TDs
Punt Return TDs in a Season: 4 – Trindon Holliday, 2013; Brandon Banks, 2016 – Tied
Rashad Greene (ORL) – 4 PR TDs
D’Anthony Thomas (MIN) – 3 PR TDs
Yearly Awards Watch List
Barry Sanders Most Valuable Player
1. RB Isaiah Crowell, Seattle Orcas – 2,062 Rush Yards (5.9 YPC), 20 Rush TDs, 24 Rec, 132 Rec Yards (5.5 YPC)
2. QB Jon Jennings, Pittsburgh Forge – 321-for-442 (72.6%), 4,598 Pass Yards, 41 Pass TDs, 10 Pass INTs, 281 Rush Yards (6.0 YPC), 3 Rush TU
3. RB Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Bulldogs – 1,880 Rush Yards (5.2 YPC), 18 Rush TDs, 29 Rec, 118 Rec Yards (4.1 YPC), 1 Rec TD
4. DT Almond Sewell, Orlando Rockets – 27 Tackles, 13 Sacks, 5 Hurries, 1 TFL, 2 PD
5. QB Matt Barkley, Atlanta Firebirds – 324-for-490 (66.1%), 4,142 Pass Yards, 32 Pass TDs, 4 INTs, 35 Rush Yards (1.8 YPC)
Clint Dolezel Offensive Player of the Year
1. QB Jon Jennings, Pittsburgh Forge – 321-for-442 (72.6%), 4,598 Pass Yards, 41 Pass TDs, 10 Pass INTs, 281 Rush Yards (6.0 YPC), 3 Rush TU
2. RB Isaiah Crowell, Seattle Orcas – 2,062 Rush Yards (5.9 YPC), 20 Rush TDs, 24 Rec, 132 Rec Yards (5.5 YPC)
3. QB Matt Barkley, Atlanta Firebirds – 324-for-490 (66.1%), 4,142 Pass Yards, 32 Pass TDs, 4 INTs, 35 Rush Yards (1.8 YPC)
4. RB Jay Ajayi, Philadelphia Bulldogs – 1,880 Rush Yards (5.2 YPC), 18 Rush Tds, 29 Rec, 118 Rec Yards (4.1 YPC), 1 Rec TD
5. WR/RB Tyreek Hill – 59 Rec, 960 Rec Yards (16.3 YPC), 6 Rec Tds, 453 Rush Yards (6.6 YPC), 12 Rush TDs
Antonio banks Defensive Player of the Year
1. DT Almond Sewell, Orlando Rockets – 27 Tackles, 13 Sacks, 5 Hurries, 1 TFL, 2 PD
2. LB Zach Kerr, Seattle Orcas – 36 Tackles, 11 Sacks, 13 Hurries, 5 TFL, 2 PD, 1 FF
3. LB Jeff Knox Jr., Seattle Orcas – 55 Tackles, 6 Sacks, 2 Hurries, 2 TFL, 2 PD
4. FS DaShawn Goldson, Washington Wave – 69 Tackles, 14 PD, 4 INTs
5. DE Jamal Westerman, Los Angeles Stars – 53 Tackles, 11 Sacks, 8 Hurries, 6 TFL, 2 PD, 2 FF
LaDainian Tomlinson Offensive Rookie of the Year
1. QB Dak Prescott, Birmingham Predators – 342-for-489 (69.9%), 3,842 Pass Yards, 27 Pass TDs, 11 INTs, 498 Rush Yards (5.4 YPC), 5 Rush TDs
2. WR/RB Tyreek Hill – 59 Rec, 960 Rec Yards (16.3 YPC), 6 Rec TDs, 453 Rush Yards (6.6 YPC), 12 Rush TDs
3. RB Jordan Howard, Nashville Renegades – 1,788 Rush Yards (4.5 YPC), 7 Rush TDs, 32 Rec, 277 Rec Yards (8.7 YPC), 0 Rec TDs
4. RB Devontae Booker, Pittsburgh Forge – 920 Rush Yards (3.0 YPC), 15 Rush TDs, 41 Rec, 469 Rec Yards (11.4 YPC), 4 Rec TDs
5. RB Jalen Richard, Dallas Six-Shooters – 923 Rush Yards (5.3 YPC), 4 Rush TDs, 38 Rec, 244 Rec Yards (6.4 YPC), 3 Rec TDs
Kirk Morrison Defensive Rookie of the Year
1. FS Brian Poole, Los Angeles Stars – 57 Tackles, 8 PD, 4 INTs
2. DT David Onyemata, Birmingham Predators – 26 Tackles, 8 Sacks, 8 Hurries, 2 TFL, 1 PD
3. DE Dean Lowry, Birmingham Predators – 51 Tackles, 2 Sacks, 10 Hurries, 14 TFL, 2 PD, 2 FF
4. FS Deon Bush, New Orleans Nightmare – 47 Tackles, 5 PD, 3 INTs
5. LB Tyler Matakevich, Houston Wranglers – 43 Tackles, 4 TFL, 1 FF
Trindon Holliday Special Teams Player of the Year
1. RET Tyreek Hill, Washington Wave – 45 KR, 1,415 KR Yards (31.4 YPR), 3 KR Tds, 11 PR, 146 PR Yards (143.3 YPR), 1 PR TD
2. RET Trindon Holliday, Atlanta Firebirds – 40 KR, 1,118 KR Yards (28.0 YPR), 1 KR TD, 26 PR, 298 PR Yards (11.5 YPR), 2 PR Tds
3. RET D’Anthony Thomas, Minnesota Freeze – 43 KR, 1,175 KR Yards (27.3 YPR), 1 KR TD, 44 PR, 691 PR Yards (15.7 YPR), 3 PR Tds
4. RET Rashad Greene, Orlando Rockets – 24 PR, 492 PR Yards (20.5 YPR), 4 PR Tds
5. RET LeGarrett Blount, Omaha Express – 38 KR, 1,276 KR Yards (33.6 YPR), 2 KR Tds
Steve Hutchinson Offensive Lineman of the Year
1. OT Ryan Schraeder, Seattle Orcas – 44 Pancakes, 3 Sacks Allowed, 5 Bad Blocks
2. OG Brandon Fusco, Michigan Stags – 30 Pancakes, 0 Sacks Allowed, 5 Bad Blocks
3. C Matt Paradis, Philadelphia Bulldogs – 31 Pancakes, 3 Sacks Allowed, 4 Bad Blocks
4. C Richie Incognito, Dallas Six-Shooters – 24 Pancakes, 2 Sacks Allowed, 1 Bad Block
5. OG Todd Herremans, Phoenix Scorpions – 27 Pancakes, 3 Sacks Allowed, 2 Bad Blocks
Jim Zorn Coach of the Year
1. Dan Campbell, Pittsburgh Forge (1st Year) – 8-5 (Expansion Team)
2. Ralph Friedgen, Washington Wave (2nd Year) – 7-6 (0-16 in 2016)
3. Chris Jones, Michigan Stags (3rd Year) – 11-2 (10-6 in 2016)
4. Mark Hudspeth, Los Angeles Stars (1st Year) – 9-4 (7-9 in 2016)
5. Jim Zorn, Seattle Orcas (18th Year) – 10-3 (9-7 in 2016)
Week Fourteen Preview
Philadelphia Bulldogs (8-5) @ New York Marauders (4-9)
New York loves the dual-threat quarterback Vad Lee, who took away Rookie of the Week honors after quite an impressive debut start, but Michael Vick is going to be out there looking to prove he is still the man when it comes to dual-threat quarterbacks. New York is fearless right now, but the Bulldogs are fighting for their lives.
Pick: Philadelphia Bulldogs
Birmingham Predators (6-7) @ Orlando Rockets (9-4)
Birmingham snapped a three-game losing streak with a victory over Phoenix, but Dak Prescott is still in a deep funk. The Predators coaching staff never followed through with threats to bench him, nor should they, but this is going to be a tough opponent for him to get back into the swing of things against. Even with their revolving door at quarterback, the Rockets are just one victory away from officially securing their division.
Pick: Orlando Rockets
Charleston Dragons (5-8) @ Pittsburgh Forge (8-5)
Charleston isn’t officially eliminated, but with a miracle being needed for their chances at the playoffs they have already announced they are going to give Jason Vander Laan a look at quarterback. Neither Kellen Moore nor Aaron Murray have been good for them, so after seeing a small school dual-threat player like Vad Lee have so much success against them they figure they’ll see what they got in their prolific DII quarterback. He’ll have a cushy matchup against a Pittsburgh Forge defense that has struggled all year long defensively, but at this point it’s impossible to predict the Charleston offense could keep up with Pittsburgh’s even with their proven ability to shut prolific offenses down.
Pick: Pittsburgh Forge
Carolina Generals (8-5) @ Washington Wave (7-6)
While not against a top-flight opponent, Carolina will take last week’s victory that keeps them in the lead of the Southern Division. Washington is a much tougher opponent, but the Wave are in a slump, having lost four of their last six games, including their last two games. Considering how both teams are performing, this is a coin-flip, but even at home, Washington’s 21st-ranked scoring defense and 19th-ranked pass defense don’t seem favorable against even a slowing-down Erik Meyer.
Pick: Carolina Generals
Nashville Renegades (7-6) @ Columbus Explorers (7-6)
Both teams are still technically alive in the playoffs but would need miracles to make it. There are rumors that Columbus might be making a change at quarterback but nothing has been confirmed yet. We’ll have to wait until gameday to see how that situation develops. With that situation in Columbus, it’s really hard to pick against Nashville, which just saw AJ McCarron throw for six touchdown passes last week.
Pick: Nashville Renegades
Atlanta Firebirds (8-5) @ Louisville Cougars (2-11)
Atlanta is fighting hard for their playoff lives and will have a great opportunity to pick up a victory against a hapless Louisville Cougars squad. At 2-11, Louisville is certainly mixing things up and should have a new quarterback. Both Christian Ponder and RJ Archer have been cut and veterans Dan LeFevour and Travis Lulay are in. They have not announced who they intend to start, but those two guys do make Louisville a bit interesting considering the receiving weapons they have. Can the worst o-line in the league allow any quarterback change to matter though?
Pick: Atlanta Firebirds
Los Angeles Stars (9-4) @ New Orleans Nightmare (7-6)
What a shocker last week with the Stars throttling the Seattle Orcas, but this game is a huge non-conference game between two teams really pushing for their divisions. New Orleans is moreso fighting because they are also a game behind for the Wildcard. Los Angeles’s strong surge has been led by a figured out running game, but Tim Tebow has also provided New Orleans with a huge spark and they are 2-0 together. This might be a classic letdown game for the Stars after their big win.
Pick: New Orleans Nightmare
Seattle Orcas (10-3) @ Omaha Express (4-9)
The Orcas won’t be happy after last week’s game, but Isaiah Crowell will also look for a huge performance against one of the league’s worst run defense to not only get his team back on track but also get him back on pace to break Barry Sander’s rushing record.
Pick: Seattle Orcas
San Antonio Marshalls (8-5) @ Phoenix Scorpions (5-8)
Cardale Jones was horrible last week and Phoenix has to be worried about seeing that from a guy they dubbed their future. Will it lead to a change back to Mike Reilly? That’s a tough call to make, but with that much uncertainty there is no way there should be a projected upset in this one. San Antonio is in a tight race for their division and the playoffs. This is a favorable opponent for them to take another step toward securing a postseason trip.
Pick: San Antonio Marshalls
Minnesota Freeze (3-10) @ Michigan Stags (11-2)
Michigan has ascended to the top of the power rankings for the first time this year, but this is a rivalry game between the two Great Lakes teams. One thing rivalry games had taught us, it’s that records and numbers need to be thrown out. Minnesota is coming off a loss but are 3-1 over their last four games. Michigan have won eight in a row, but saw what kind of fight they could be in last week against Omaha. Still, the Stags have to be a pretty heavy favorite.
Pick: Michigan Stags
Houston Wranglers (2-11) @ Dallas Six-Shooters (5-8)
Despite 11-straight losses, the Houston Wranglers have shown no sign that they are going to make drastic moves for now that will hurt their future. It’s still Connor Cook’s team and they are going to continue to go with the young guys around him. Dallas is going through a rebuilding year, but have it a bit more figured out.
Pick: Dallas Six-Shooters
Isaiah Crowell breaks 16-game rushing records
With three games remaining in the season, Isaiah Crowell has already broken Kevin Barlow’s rushing record set in a 16 game season. Barlow rushed for 2,004 yards in 2008. Crowell had 90 yards to reach 2,062 yards on the year. Now his sights are set on Barry Sanders’ league record of 2,605 yards set in an 18-game season back in 2001. Crowell was on pace to break that record, but is now on pace to finish a bit shy, at 2,537 yards. However, Crowell has a tremendous matchup against Omaha, one of the league’s worst run defenses, to put himself in a great position to break it.
After Vad Lee’s big debut, is Vander Laan next?
Vad Lee has quite an impressive debut for the New York Marauders, throwing for three touchdowns with no interceptions and showing off his dual-threat ability with 123 yards rushing. This all came against one of the best defenses in the league too, the Charleston Dragons. After seeing his athleticism cause so much trouble, combined with their own futility at quarterback, the Dragons are turning to their own small-school scrambler under center. Jason Vander Laan, one of the most accomplished running quarterback in NCAA history, hailing from Division II Ferris State, was drafted as a tight end by the Dragons but has been announced as the their starting quarterback in Week 14. Vander Laan is the NCAA’s all-division record holder for rushing yards by a quarterback with 5,953 in his career. He also set the NCAA Division II rushing record for a quarterback with 1,607 yards in 2013. Vander Lann finished his career as a passer with 8,240 yards, 85 touchdowns and only 29 interceptions
Out with the old, in with the older
The Louisville Cougars have a lot of problems, mostly due to their miserable offensive line, but with the talent they have at quarterback they can only be disappointed with the constantly struggles they’ve seen from their quarterbacks. After their Week 13 loss, both quarterbacks Christian Ponder and RJ Archer were released and the Cougars signed SFL and CFL veterans Dan LeFevour and Travis Lulay. LeFevour was in the SFL the last two seasons but had only 30 completions for 352 yards and three touchdowns split between the Dallas Six-Shooters (2015) and Columbus Explorers (2016). Lulay has had stints with Los Angeles, Dallas and Miami, last playing in the SFL in 2014. For his career in the league he has completed 549 of 923 passes for 6,513 yards, 25 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.
SFL announced winter D-League
The SFL front office has announced after many years of owner interest the league will sponsor a winter developmental league in which incoming SFL Rookies other young prospects can get looks and scouted on the football field in real-game situations at the pro level. Each owner is being contacted with more details of the rules of the d-league. The D-League will kick off this winter.