Week 2 Power Rankings

1. Atlanta Firebirds (1-0) – Up 5
Last Week: W – Birmingham Predators – 41-7

The Firebirds may have beaten up on a team with a lot of problems, but that doesn’t take away from how great they looked doing it. They went for broke this offseason and have a tough backfield to pair with their dangerous passing attach. DeMarco Murray has two touchdowns in his debut while Matt Barkley has four touchdowns passing to four different receivers. Defensively, they held Dak Prescott in check while Grady Jarrett dominated inside. Plus with Trindon Holliday on returns, this team is very complete.

2. Michigan Stags (1-0) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Memphis Bombers – 37-14

Zach Collaros occasionally has these types of big passing performances against the weaker secondaries and it’s nice to see just when you doubt his ability to win a game for the Stags, but we need to see it against a better defense. The Bombers have a tough front seven but a very susceptible secondary. But give him credit for taking advantage of that matchup.

3. San Antonio Marshalls (1-0) – Down 2
Last Week: W – @ Houston Wranglers – 19-16

The Marshalls were supposed to have the blowout of the week against the Houston Wranglers but the tough divisional game proved to be a much closer contest than anticipated. Still, that doesn’t mean we should write off the Marshalls as a top team. Maybe the Wranglers are just more improved than we though. The Marshalls biggest problem was figuring out their running game without Jacquizz Rodgers. Expect some more tinkering in the future.

4. Seattle Orcas (1-0) – Up 1
Last Week: W – @ Carolina Generals – 19-6

Not that there was ever any doubt about the Seattle Orcas defense, but they help Colin Kaepernick to just nine completions on 39 attempts and picked him off twice. We all assumed Kaepernick would come in and have success, but the Orcas never let him get out of the blocks. Meanwhile, Isaiah Crowell looks as dominant as he’s been the past few seasons. Nothing wrong with a defense and run-game built team with a great game-manager like Ryan Griffin who won’t hurt anybody.

5. Philadelphia Bulldogs (1-0) – Up 3
Last Week: W – Orlando Rockets – 27-26

While they are the defending champions this one was a surprise as they took down the powerhouse Orlando Rockets despite all the changes that were made after the retirements of several key players from last year’s team. But one guy that hasn’t left is Jay Ajayi. After a dominant 2017 season, Ajayi picked up right where he left off and rushed for 240 yards and a touchdown. Bryce Petty wasn’t very good as he was picked of twice and had only 80 yards passing, but that didn’t matter with Ajayi leading the way.

6. Orlando Rockets (0-1) – Down 4
Last Week: L – @ Philadelphia Bulldogs – 27-26

Maybe the Rockets got a little too cute. It seemed pretty obvious that it was time to go with Trevor Harris, but they went with the legendary Ricky Ray one more time to start the season and he looked every bit his age with less than half of his passes being completed and two interceptions. Things will probably be better with Harris back in as the quarterback, but they certainly need to sure up their run defense. Even against a dominant back like Ajayi, 266 total yards rushing allowed is ridiculous.

7. Pittsburgh Forge (1-0) – Up 2
Last Week: W – New York Marauders – 38-17

Jonathan Jennings took the league by storm last season and doesn’t look like he’s taken any step back. For him to pass for 304 yards and four touchdowns against a Marauders defense that added John Ojo and Eric Reid to their secondary and NaVorro Bowman to the middle of that defense is probably the most impressive thing he’s done in his SFL career so far. If that group can’t stop him, it’s hard to see who can.

8. Los Angeles Stars (1-0) – Down 4
Last Week: W – @ New Orleans Nightmare – 9-6

It wasn’t pretty, but the Stars got a win. But while it’s easy to focus on the ugliness of their offense, let’s focus on that defense that held the Nightmare to only six points. The Stars had one of the worst defenses in the league last year. This year, that unit looks like it’s improved a great deal.

9. Dallas Six-Shooters (1-0) – Up 8
Last Week: W – @ Washington Wave – 36-20

James Franklin was in an intense quarterback battle during the preseason but solidified himself as the starter with a tremendous Week 1 performance against a team that was thought to be much improved. Franklin through for 265 yards and three touchdowns and ran another one in against the Wave. Meanwhile, their defense really held the explosive Tyreek Hill in check, with only 82 total yards of offense in the game.

10. Columbus Explorers (1-0) – Up 4
Last Week: W – @ Louisville Cougars – 20-6

Maybe it was against a poor Louisville Cougars team, but the Columbus Explorers looked really good in their opener. Josh Dobbs might need a bit more seasoning, but fellow rookie Alvin Kamara looks like an electrifying running back and Victor Cruz can clearly still make some plays. But look at what Kony Ealy did, getting five sacks. That is incredible. He probably won’t do that ever again, but the fact that he was able to means a lot for this Explorers defense.

11. Omaha Express (1-0) – Up 10
Last Week: W – Iowa Threshers – 35-0

Omaha never should have been rated in the 20s in the preseason poll. They made that clear in Week 1 with a dominant defensive effort, shutting out the Iowa Threshers. That defense held the Threshers to just 114 total yards of offense. Rookie Kwaku Boateng looks like he might be one of the next great pass rushers in this league and hes not even the start of the stacked unit. It’s a loaded group and if Matt Moore continues to play as well as he did, then this team will certainly continue to rise up the ranks.

12. Carolina Generals (0-1) – Down 5
Last Week: L – Seattle Orcas – 19-6

Okay, they had their offense shut down by the Orcas; everybody gets shut down by the Orcas. It’s no reason to write the Generals off this early but Colin Kaepernick really disappointed in his debut. The incredible athlete who once started in a Super Bowl didn’t take advantage of his opportunity for a fresh start in the SFL with only nine completions on 39 attempts for just 83 yards and two interceptions. That just killed their offense. He needs to be better.

13. Utah Raptors (1-0) – Up 2
Last Week: W – @ San Diego Diablos – 13-3

Mike Reilly is on a mission this year and despite a struggling run game, he got the job done for the season-opening road victory. The Raptors will need to find ways to get their running game going more, but their defense looks pretty good with Paul Kruger, Gabe Wright and Phillip Hunt significantly improving their pass rush.

14. Washington Wave (0-1) – Down 3
Last Week: L – Dallas Six-Shooters – 36-20

Even now in Washington it’s hard to know what to make of Ryan Nassib. He didn’t really hurt the Wave, but he didn’t really help them much either with less than 50-percent completions. But the Wave’s defense didn’t take the step forward this week that we thought they would have. It’s still mostly a young group, they will get better, but the Six-Shooters went off for 36 points against them in the Nation’s Capital.

15. New York Marauders (0-1) – Down 3
Last Week: L – @ Pittsburgh Forge – 38-17

The Marauders cannot be happy with their defense getting shredded like they did. Sure, it was against the incredible Forge passing attack that is led by Jon Jennings, but a group with that many starts should not be giving up 38 points. Meanwhile, their running game still struggled. They spent big money on Jacquizz Rodgers, but he had only 25 yards on 23 carries. He caught a lot of passes, but they need to get going on the ground more so their defense is on the field less.

16. New Orleans Nightmare (0-1) – Down 6
Last Week: L – Los Angeles Stars – 9-6

They lost a field goal fest, and lost their quarterback Aaron Murray for two more weeks, but you have to be impressed with what their defense was able to do against the Los Angeles Stars. The Stars have a tremendous offense but we held out of the endzone and to single digits. Moving forward, there expects to be a heavier run with Steven Ridley, who had a lot of success. It’s also just time for first round pick Brad Kaaya to step up. He had a rough go when he was forced to come in against LA, but now it’s his time to prove himself.

17. St. Louis Stallions (1-0) – Up 7
Last Week: W – @ Mississippi Cottonmouths – 34-12

Was it a little revenge on Terrill Weil, the Cottonmouths owner who sent both Zach Mettenberger and Alfred Blue packing from his other team New Orleans, or are they both finding new life in St. Louis? The Stallions have to be thrilled about what they saw from those two guys. Mettenberger was great, competing 20 of his 28 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns. Blue, meanwhile, provided great balance to the offense with 137 rushing yards and a touchdown, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. That led to a whoopin’ of the Cottonmouths. Their defense will need to prove it against better competition, but there is plenty of reason to believe in that offense.

18. Boston Dragons (1-0) – Up 5
Last Week: W – Minnesota Freeze – 16-13

Andre Ellington has already proven to be the most explosive player in Dragons franchise history with 149 yards rushing to go with eight catches, 59 yards and a touchdown receiving. He alone will keep the Dragons in some games, but they weren’t able to fly high against the Minnesota Freeze, which are improved but still not all that great. Cooper Rush appears to be going through some growing pains, as expected, but as he gets more experience the Dragons will be better.

19. Memphis Bombers (0-1) – Down 6
Last Week: L – @ Michigan Stags – 37-14

The Memphis secondary was completely exposed by a middle-level quarterback. Zach Collaros is typically a game-manager type of quarterback but had three touchdown passes in the game. The Bombers have a lot of top-heavy talent, but no depth and little help in the secondary. At least AJ McCarron appears doesn’t look like he’s called it in after getting a big contract in the offseason, passing for 310 yards and two touchdowns.

20. Minnesota Freeze (0-1) – Down 2
Last Week: L – @ Boston Dragons – 16-13

Perhaps it’s the time we see Josh McCown really take a step back. McCown didn’t look his old dominant self as he completed only 20 of his 45 passing attempts for 182 yards. He had a touchdown and no turnovers, but this team needs to turn things over to Corey Clement quickly. He was the best player on that offense, proven very quickly.

21. San Diego Diablos (0-1) – Down 2
Last Week: L – Utah Raptors – 13-3

There are already rumblings that Kellen Moore might get benched after just one week this season. Whether he sticks in the lineup or not, the Diablos needs to figure out more ways to get their offense going after managing to score only three points. Expect more of an emphasis on their running backs in Week 2 as it was very clear in the preseason that Alex Collins and Dexter McCluster are their two most explosive offensive players. Defensively, Justin Capiccotti and company performed better than expected, which is a good sign.

22. Houston Wranglers (0-1) – Up 4
Last Week: L – San Antonio Marshalls – 19-16

Give the Wranglers some major credit, they held in until they very end against perhaps the best team in the league but ultimately suffered the expected loss. They are building this team slowly and while they were a missed Blair Walsh field goal away from tying the game, they probably don’t be having these types of efforts every game as the season wears on.

23. Birmingham Predators (0-1) – Down 7
Last Week: L – @ Atlanta Firebirds – 41-7

Birmingham’s severe lack of quality depth and terrible special teams got them destroyed in their opener at Atlanta. They had horrible field position all game long and just couldn’t get their offense going because of it. Meanwhile, they constantly let Atlanta had great field position and their defense just couldn’t even slow them down. The Predators have major problems, but it is all made significantly worse by their terrible special teams unit.

24. Louisville Cougars (0-1) – Up 1
Last Week: L – Columbus Explorers – 20-6

Louisville really didn’t do enough to improve in the offseason and that was proven in Week 1. Expect them to lean more heavily on Karlos Williams in Week 2 so they can take some emphasis off Jeremiah Masoli, which also isn’t ideal because that takes will limit the number of passes thrown to Julian Edelman. But in order to help out their defense, which has a lot of talent, the Cougars can’t suffer through 8-for-28 passing like they did in the opener.

25. Mississippi Cottonmouths (0-1) – Down 5
Last Week: L – St. Louis Stallions – 34-12

It was a really rough performance by Joe Callahan. The former No. 2 overall draft pick of the Omaha Express, who was acquired by Mississippi though the expansion draft, will need to do better than his 10-for-23 with 80 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT line. He did much better than expected with 68 yards on the ground, but he needs to have better production with his arm. The inability to stay on the field and inability to get their offense going put a ton of pressure on their defense and they crumbled. The defense is better than they showed, allowing 34 points, but they won’t be successful if they are on the field most of the game.

26. Iowa Threshers (0-1) – Down 4
Last Week: L – @ Omaha Express – 35-0

CJ Beathard had some big expectations for him this season, but he’s clearly going to have to be going through some growing pains. How long will he be going through them? That’s a different question, but it is very clear Alfred Morris won’t be getting back to his old self this year and without that a ground game to lead the way this offense has little to feel good about, which showed as they were shutout in their opener.

Weekly Awards

Offensive Player of the Week
QB Jonathan Jennings (PIT) – 18-for-28, 304 Pass Yards, 4 Pass TDs, 4 Rushes, 25 Rush Yards (6.3 YPC)

Defensive Player of the Week
DE Kony Ealy (CBS) – 8 Tackles, 5 Sacks, 1 Hurry

Special Teams Player of the Week
RET Garry Brown (PHI) – 4 KR, 177 KR Yards (44.3 YPR), 1 TD (100 YDS), 2 PR, 31 PR Yards (15.5 YPR)

Rookie of the Week
DE Kwaku Boateng (OMA) – 4 Tackles, 2 Sacks, 2 Hurries

SFL News

Aaron Murray out two weeks

Aaron Murray was brought to New Orleans to lead a strong pass-happy offense, but in the first week of the season he suffered an injury that will keep him out two weeks. Now, the Nightmare need first round draft pick Brad Kaaya to step up to avoid a potential 0-3 start that might make their push to the playoffs nearly impossible.

Week 2 Preview

Houston Wranglers @ New York Marauders
Both teams are coming off losses, but two very different kinds of losses. The Wranglers are feeling quite confident after hanging in with the San Antonio Marshalls like the did. The Marauders meanwhile, have to be disappointed that their defense that they paid so much money on was beat up like it was in the first week. But the Wranglers don’t have the kind of offensive firepower that they Forge do capable of hurting the Marauders defense in that way.
Pick: New York Marauders

Mississippi Cottonmouths @ Orlando Rockets
The Rockets are going to come into this game furious after dropping their opener. But the question is whether it will be Ricky Ray getting another game or Trevor Harris taking over completely. Either guy could have success against the Cottonmouths. The Mississippi defense really isn’t bad, but until one of their quarterbacks steps up it’s going to be rough for them.
Pick: Orlando Rockets

Omaha Express @ Pittsburgh Forge
Omaha’s defense was fantastic last week, shutting out the Iowa Threshers, and they must be thrilled with what they saw out of Matt Moore, throwing three touchdown passes. However, the Forge’s offense will pose a much greater challenge than the Iowa Threshers did. The Forge beat up on a stacked Marauders defense because of the play of Jon Jennings. He doesn’t look like he’s going to be stopped any time soon.
Pick: Pittsburgh Forge

Carolina Generals @ Columbus Explorers
Colin Kaepernick should have a successful bounce-back game but it better be a significant one because he was awful in Week 1 against Seattle. Columbus will still be a tough matchup for him, but what will be really interesting is seeing how much work Explorers rookie Alvin Kamara will get. He’s no Isaiah Crowell, and Louisville is no Carolina, but seeing what he was able to do last week and Crowell was able to do against the Generals, he might be getting a bigger workload.
Pick: Carolina Generals

Boston Dragons @ Birmingham Predators
Birmingham’s terrible special teams just might haunt them again in this game. Alex Erickson averaged 24.3 yards per return against Minnesota. He should put the in good field position. Cooper Rush might not be able to take advantage of the weak Predators secondary like Matt Barkley was, but Andre Ellington should have a lot of success exposing their weak group of linebackers.
Pick: Boston Dragons

Philadelphia Bulldogs @ Iowa Threshers
The Bulldogs pulled off an upset over the Orlando Rockets while the Iowa Threshers were shutout by the Omaha Express. Don’t expect any big changes in what these teams can do in this matchup. The Threshers need a lot of work and growth, the Bulldogs should run right through them with Jay Ajayi.
Pick: Philadelphia Bulldogs

Washington Wave @ St. Louis Stallions
This is a major toss up between two teams coming off opposite results. The Stallions saw a tremendous performance out of Zach Mettenberger and Alfred Blue and on the surface of this matchup it looks like those two should be able to have a lot of success against a Washington Wave defense that just hasn’t come through yet. But Washington could also be headed for a nice bounce-back game. They have some explosive players, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to work this team that is going through big changes each offseason.
Pick: Washington Wave

New Orleans Nightmare @ Dallas Six-Shooters
Not having Aaron Murray this week is going to be really tough for the New Orleans Nightmare against a Dallas team that saw an incredible performance out of James Franklin against Washington. Rookie first round pick Brad Kaaya better grow up quick if they want to keep up with the Six-Shooters offense. He better just grow up quick if he wants his team to get a touchdown.
Pick: Dallas Six-Shooters

Louisville Cougars @ Utah Raptors
The Raptors didn’t really see their offense click like they would have liked to see it in Week 1 but they did get a good road win over the San Diego Diablos. This week they will look to improve to 2-0 and get a W in their first regular season game in Salt Lake City against a Louisville team that really lacks much firepower.
Pick: Utah Raptors

Atlanta Firebirds @ Los Angeles Stars
Two strong teams will meet up in Tinsletown, but while the Firebirds are coming off a tremendous blowout victory in Week 1, the Stars struggled mightily against New Orleans. Still, don’t expect this to be an easy win here for Atlanta. Los Angeles has one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he can go off any week. Maybe that will be this week, and considering how improved the Stars defense looks they could make things really tough for a team traveling across the country. But so far, the Firebirds have proven it. The Stars are a speculation.
Pick: Atlanta Firebirds

San Diego Diablos @ Seattle Orcas
This one might be a big blowout here. Seattle held Colin Kaepernick to only 9-for-39 passing in is debut in Carolina. Kellen Moore is nowhere near the athlete or quarterback Kaepernick is. The Orcas defense is a dominant unit that should completely shutdown the Diablos, but don’t count the Diablos completely out. We saw the Wranglers play tough against the San Antonio Marshalls. San Diego has some talented running backs that if they fully commit to might be able to control the clock and tempo of the game. But the odds are not very high of the Diablos being able to control anything against the Orcas.
Pick: Seattle Orcas

Michigan Stags @ Minnesota Freeze
This classic tundra rivalry looks pretty one-sided right now with the Stags among the elite teams in the league and the Freeze down near the bottom of the league. But can we ever completely count-out Josh McCown? He didn’t perform too well in the team’s opener at Boston but he can always go off. It might be tough against such a strong defense in Michigan though.
Pick: Michigan Stags

San Antonio Marshalls @ Memphis Bombers
San Antonio didn’t dominate the Houston Wranglers like they probably should have, but they still got a win. Meanwhile, the Bombers showed some problems against the Stags, mostly their secondary. Zach Collaros had a great deal of success against Memphis. Just imagine what Bo Levi Mitchell should be able to do.
Pick: San Antonio Marshalls