Week 3 Power Rankings
1. Atlanta Firebirds (2-0) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Los Angeles Stars – 29-3
It was another dominant performance for the Atlanta Firebirds, this time on the road and against a team ranked in the top 10 of the power rankings. The Firebirds had a tremendously balanced offensive and we saw last week they have more than just DeMarco Murray in the backfield as rookie Matt Brieda had 69 yards and two touchdowns. But Barkley dominated the game with his arm and is quickly ascending to the very elite n the league among quarterbacks. But that defense makes this team. In two weeks, they have shut down two of the better quarterbacks in the league.
2. Michigan Stags (2-0) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Minnesota Freeze – 32-14
It’s two weeks in a row and Zach Collaros has been great. Maybe he’s taking that very nice and positive step forward from game manager to a quarterback who can lead a team to success with his arm. And with that defense still looking like one of the very elite units in the league, the Stags are as dangerous as ever.
3. San Antonio Marshalls (2-0) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Memphis Bombers – 38-7
After just one week of Khiry Robinson struggling as the lead runner, the Marshalls immediately found success turning the main job over to the much more explosive rookie D’Onta Foreman, and returning Robinson back to his role as the short-yardage powerback. If Foreman does it again next week, having quickly figuring out how to get the running game going without Jacquizz Rodgers will bode very well for the Marshalls going forward.
4. Seattle Orcas (2-0) – No Change
Last Week: W – San Diego Diablos – 27-10
It took the Orcas into the second quarter to get on the board and into a rhythm, but once they did they didn’t look back, but we still need to see more out of this offense. Isaiah Crowell was completely unstoppable with 255 yards and two touchdowns in the game, averaging a remarkable 8.2 yards per carry.
5. Pittsburgh Forge (2-0) – Up 2
Last Week: W – Omaha Express – 48-13
Pittsburgh keeps piling on the points with their tremendous offense. Jon Jennings may be on his way to another MVP season after passing for 400 yards and three touchdowns against a team that the week prior pitched a shutout. Those three scores were added to three touchdowns the ground. This offense is just so dangerous in so many different ways it’s impossible to plan a defense to stop them. The defense also held strong again and if that side of the ball is vastly improved from last year, the Forge are going to keep moving up the rankings.
6. Philadelphia Bulldogs (2-0) – Down 1
Last Week: W – @ Iowa Threshers – 40-20
It looks already that another epic battle between Jay Ajayi and Isaiah Crowell is going to happen. Crowell got him this week, but Ajayi was still great as he rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns. That is needed because yet again, Bryce Petty did not look good, but despite poor quarterback play they managed 40 points, which needless to say is pretty remarkable. Garry Brown also adds a great threat to the team’s return game, which makes things so much easier for them too.
7. Dallas Six-Shooters (2-0) – Up 2
Last Week: W – New Orleans Nightmare – 26-20
Dallas’ defense should have been licking their chops when it was announced Zach Terrell would be starting at quarterback for the New Orleans Nightmare, but their defense had a lot of trouble in this much closer than expected game. Terrell threw two touchdowns and they got punished by Steven Ridley. The couldn’t really get their own run game going either, but the Six-Shooters still managed to score 26 points against a defense that is playing very well and James Franklin has done a really good job for them.
8. Carolina Generals (1-1) – Up 4
Last Week: W – @ Columbus Explorers – 21-17
Once again, Colin Kaepernick has fewer than 10 completions and didn’t even have 100 yards passing, but his legs are something to worry about and they quickly figured out that Tarik Cohen is a dangerous weapon they have to commit to. The No. 1 overall pick has 105 yards rushing in the game. That, combined with the Generals strong defense and intense pass rush makes them capable of winning tough games, just maybe not against the elite teams.
9. Columbus Explorers (1-1) – Up 1
Last Week: L – Carolina Generals – 21-17
Well, it turns out Alvin Kamara wasn’t as unstoppable as we thought. He was held to just 64 yards against the Carolina Generals strong defensive line, and Josh Dobbs just couldn’t get the team past them by himself. Dobbs has two touchdowns and showed off his legs with 80 yards, but made his fair share of bad passes. They’ll have their fair share of ups and downs with their quarterback and running back both being rookies.
10. Orlando Rockets (0-2) – Down 4
Last Week: L – Mississippi Cottonmouths – 20-17
When was the last time the Orlando Rockets were 0-2? What’s most insane is this team lost to a team quarterback by Bryce Petty, and a team quarterbacked by Chad Kelly. Their pass defense hasn’t been the biggest problem, though, it’s been their run defense. It’s forgivable to give up that huge game to Jay Ajayi, but giving up 262 yards and three touchdowns on the ground to the Mississippi Cottonmouths is quite worrisome. That might actually be the bigger issue than Ricky Ray’s poor performances through two weeks. But the fact that Trevor Harris could still turn their offense around keeps them in the top 10.
11. Omaha Express (1-1) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Pittsburgh Forge – 48-13
The team that pitched a shutout in the first week got hammers in the second week as they saw the Pittsburgh Forge pile on 48 points, scoring six touchdowns in the game. They were able to get Rex Burkhead more involved this week, but the running game is the strength of this team and seeing their defense fail like it did made it nearly impossible to stay committed to the ground game. Matt Moore just couldn’t handle it. After a very good first week, he threw two interceptions this week. But that is who he is. He’s an inconsistent quarterback who will occasionally look brilliant and other times look really bad.
12. St. Louis Stallions (2-0) – Up 5
Last Week: W – Washington Wave – 35-20
Zach Mettenberger and Alfred Blue once again had fantastic performances. Mettenberger had 353 yards and four scores, hitting Brice Butler in the endzone twice as well as Harry Douglas and Nate Iese each once. Blue has 119 yards and a score in the game. Maybe it’s the offensive system the Stallions are employing, but those two are performing better than they ever were in New Orleans and it’s made this expansion franchise 2-0 and hopeful to make the playoffs their first season.
13. Boston Dragons (2-0) – Up 5
Last Week: W – @ Birmingham Predators – 23-6
Cooper Rush definitely looks like a rookie, and it’s going to take some time for him to get his feet under him, but Andre Ellington is providing the explosiveness the Dragons have been looking for since their inception. Ellington had 150 yards in the game. That aided helped Rush find openings that resulted in two touchdowns. Their defense also performed very well, holding Dak Prescott out of the endzone.
14. Los Angeles Stars (1-1) – Down 6
Last Week: L – Atlanta Firebirds – 29-3
What is wrong with the Los Angeles Stars offense? After two weeks they have yet to score a touchdown and only have a total of 12 points. Case Keenum seemed to be on the bring of stardom coming into the season, but he hasn’t been able to do much of anything despite what only appeared to be an improved group around him. This team’s offense has a lot of talent, so it’s not impossible to see this team turn it around quickly, but they have to turn it around soon.
15. New York Marauders (1-1) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Houston Wranglers – 28-7
Jacquizz Rodgers had a terrible debut for New York, but in Week 2 he busted off for 167 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Rodgers busted off some really big plays in the game and after establishing himself early in the game, Vad Lee was able to get going and had two touchdowns of his own, including one to Stefon Diggs to go with his 123 yards. And while the offense got going the way the team wanted it to go, the defense also looked like the dominant unit that they had hoped it would be.
16. Mississippi Cottomouths (1-1) – Up 9
Last Week: W – @ Orlando Rockets – 20-17
Is Mississippi that good? Probably not, but a victory over the Orlando Rockets is certainly something to celebrate for a long time. The 262 yards and three touchdowns on the ground was eye-opening and perhaps will quickly become the identity of the Cottonmouths. Chad Kelly was just okay, but he’s hurt the team at all. But what an upset and a great win for the Cottonmouths?
17. New Orleans Nightmare (0-2) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Dallas Six-Shooters – 26-20
It’s not really a good sign that first round draft pick Brad Kaaya already got skipped over by Zach Terrell, a D-League signing, but the Western Michigan quarterback performed quite admirably despite a tough situation. They’ll have to try to get a win next week without Aaron Murray again to avoid going 0-3 to keep their playoff hopes alive. At least Steven Ridley has performed very well. Expect an even bigger role for him moving forward. The defense has also been stellar. Once Murray comes back, this could click. They just have to hope it’s not too late.
18. Washington Wave (1-1) – Down 4
Last Week: L – @ St. Louis Stallions – 35-20
The conundrum of Ryan Nassib continues, but the defense is what the Wave has to be disappointed in. It was figured that unit would be much better this year as their players got more experienced, but it’s not very good and teams have seemed to figure out how to stop Tyreek Hill. Without him exploding like he was on offense and Nassib being nothing more than average, the Wave have some things to worry about. However, Samaje Perine looked great in the game at least.
19. Louisville Cougars (1-1) – Up 5
Last Week: W – @ Utah Raptors – 13-3
The Cougars spoiled the Raptors debut in Salt Lake City as Karlos Williams grinded down the opposing defense. Meanwhile, Gabriel Kampton and Taylor Mays held down the trench and secondary, respectively, and the Raptors were never able to get going. The defense looks like it’s turned things around from last season, though. Their pass rush is much improved.
20. Utah Raptors (1-1) – Down 7
Last Week: L – Louisville Cougars – 13-3
Through two weeks the Raptors only have one touchdown and 16 points. Mike Reilly has much better weapons this season, he just needs to perform better.
21. Minnesota Freeze (0-2) – Down 1
Last Week: L – Michigan Stags – 32-14
Josh McCown rebounded a little bit, but definitely isn’t his old self. The running game was terribly disappointing as Corey Clement had only 22 yards on 18 carries, but we’ll give that group the benefit of the doubt as they went up against Michigan. Weston Dressler looks as dangerous as ever, though, shredding a tremendous secondary with seven catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
22. San Diego Diablos (0-2) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Seattle Orcas – 27-10
Going against Seattle was an impossible task for a team trying to figure out what they wanted to do offensively, but in that first quarter before the Orcas pulled away and forced the Diablos to play catch up they were trying to establish the run with a dual-headed backfield of Dexter McCluster and Alex Collins. It worked to an extent and Collins ended up in the endzone to put San Diego ahead of the Orcas. But Seattle locked down after that and Crowell controlled the entire game. San Diego has to abandon what was working for them.
23. Memphis Bombers (0-2) – Down 4
Last Week: L – San Antonio Marshalls – 38-7
When the Bombers constantly have to go 80-plus yards to score and their opponent only had to go about half the length of the field, it just makes things impossible. Ty Long is perhaps the worst punter in the league and Shakir Bell and Trent Taylor might be the two worst return men. The Bombers had no chance to beat a high-powered Marshalls offense with a terrible disadvantage in the field position battle.
24. Houston Wranglers (0-2) – Down 2
Last Week: L – @ New York – 28-7
In the words of the late Denny Green: They are who we thought they were. The Wranglers played tough against their division rival San Antonio Marshalls last week, but then got walloped by the New York Marauders. Connor Cook looked really terrible, though granted, against a tremendous defense. The running game only had 62 total yards. And the defense couldn’t slow down the Marauders run game.
25. Birmingham Predators (0-2) – Down 2
Last Week: L – Boston – 23-6
As much talent as Dak Prescott has, this team lacks good enough weapons around him and their defense and special teams are among the worst in the league. The Predators might have to start moving away from a relatively ineffective Jeremy Langford and over to the more explosive Kenyan Drake just so they can get some more speed and athleticism out on the field.
26. Iowa Threshers (0-2) – No Change
Last Week: – L – Philadelphia – 40-20
Ouch. The Threshers got blown out two weeks in a row and without two late and meaningless touchdowns, this one would have looked even uglier. The Threshers defense just isn’t helping anything. That unit really, really needs a lot of work to be done to it while the offense needs to figure something out. Kevin Glenn looks his age and Alfred Morris clearly isn’t what he used to be.
Offensive Player of the Week
RB Isaiah Crowell (SEA) – 255 Rush Yards (8.2 YPC), 2 Rush TDs, 2 Rec, 8 Rec Yards
Defensive Player of the Week
DE Teddy Jennings (SA) – 6 Tackles, 3 Sacks, 1 TFL, 1 Hurry, 1 FF
Special Teams Player of the Week
RET Garry Brown (PHI) – 3 KRs, 73 KR Yards (24.3 YPR), 11 PR, 308 PR Yards (28.0 YPR)
Rookie of the Week
RB D’Onta Foreman (SA) – 87 Rush Yards (4.8 YPC), 2 Rush TDs, 1 Rec, 3 Rec Yards, 1 Rec TD
Terrelle Pryor traded to Carolina
After two disappointing weeks, Terrelle Pryor was quickly shipped out of Memphis and sent to Carolina for a package of players and draft picks. Pryor was attempting a transition from quarterback to wide receiver after being traded from Columbus in the offseason. But the transition was coming along slower than desired as he only had three catches for 40 yards after two games. With the Bombers falling to 0-2, they could not continue waiting for him to transition and had to add other players they felt could improve their team. Pryor was traded for some draft picks and three players – cornerback James Romain, punter Matt Wile, and offensive lineman Landon Turner. But are those players enough to help Memphis? Turner is purely depth, which is needed, while Wile will improve the team’s putrid punting, but Romain, while a starting cornerback, is nothing overly special.
Carolina has enough depth in the secondary to deal with the loss and they immediately signed punter Donnie Jones to replace Wile. If Pryor does click as a receiver, he will be a very welcome addition to the team.
LaMichael James quickly back in the league with Memphis
With little doubt, LaMichael James is one of the very best return men in the league, but he was cut from the Utah Raptors after both Keenan Reynolds and DJ Foster showed very good return ability and better ability as running backs. But with one of the worst return units, the Memphis Bombers needed a guy like James to give them better field position. Last season, James had 1,514 kick return yards at a 29.1 yards per return average, while also having a 9.1 yards per punt return average.
Mike Reilly put on notice in Utah
For two seasons when they were in Phoenix, the Utah Raptors franchise struggled putting up points but Mike Reilly was given the benefit of the doubt that the poor performances were because the expansion team was unable to get him much offensive help. But this year the team does not feel there is any excuse and are very unhappy with only 16 points and one touchdown through two weeks. While Mike Reilly is often listed among the most talented quarterbacks in the league, there is a lot of pressure on him to get things turned around in a hurry and start putting up more points. Next week might be a tough game to get it turned around in too with the Seattle Orcas coming to town.
Week 3 Preview
Minnesota Freeze @ Atlanta Firebirds
Atlanta’s No. 1 defense and No. 2 offense will be going up against a Minnesota team that is in the middle of a rebuild. This one might get ugly early.
Pick: Atlanta Firebirds
Memphis Bombers @ Washington Wave
This is a very important game for both of these teams as a 0-3 start pretty much takes a team out of a playoff hunt. Washington’s defense has been an Achilles Heel for them while Ryan Nassib hasn’t been anything more than average. But Nassib may be able to pick on a terrible secondary the Memphis Bombers have. Then again, the Bombers offense should have success against Washington’s defense.
Pick: Memphis Bombers
New Orleans Nightmare @ Carolina Generals
Expect an ugly defensive battle between these two teams, but ugly is what New Orleans needs without Aaron Murray. Colin Kaepernick can still go off, and needs to quickly. This might not be the defense he gets going against, but you’d have to have more faith in him than either Zach Terrell or Brad Kaaya against a tough defense.
Pick: Carolina Generals
Orlando Rockets @ Boston Dragons
You’d have to imagine the Rocket will turn things over to Trevor Harris and that should help their offense significantly improve, but this is also Andre Ellington’s big chance to get revenge on the team that gave up on him in his prime. Ellington will have some extra juice for this one, and he’ll be going against an offense that has been run through by running the running backs they’ve faces so far.
Pick: Boston Dragons
Los Angeles Stars @ Birmingham Predators
Despite being 0-2 with the worst special teams in the league, the Predators aren’t making any changes. Then again, things might be easier for them against an LA Stars offense that is really struggling. Both Case Keenum and Dak Prescott will look to get things going in this game, but the Stars defense at least has performed very well. The Predators defense has not.
Pick: Los Angeles Stars
San Diego Diablos @ St. Louis Stallions
Two expansion teams with opposite records after two games. The Diablos has higher expectations coming into the season, but the Stallions have far exceeded theirs as Zach Mettenberger and Alfred Blue has dominated.
Pick: St. Louis Stallions
Michigan Stags @ Houston Wranglers
Ouch, it hasn’t been a good start of the schedule for the Houston Wranglers. They performed well against San Antonio, but lost. Then they got blown out by New York and couldn’t get going against their star-studded defense. Now, they have to face one of the best defenses in the league again.
Pick: Michigan Stags
Philadelphia Bulldogs @ Omaha Express
Until a team stops Jay Ajayi, it’s impossible to go against the Bulldogs, no matter how bad Bryce Petty is. But he will have a really difficult time against the Express defense. The Bulldogs just have to hope Petty doesn’t end too many drives with bad passes against the Express defense, which have some very talented running backs of their own.
Pick: Philadelphia Bulldogs
Mississippi Cottonmouths @ Dallas Six-Shooters
Coming off an incredibly shocking upset victory over the Orlando Rockets, the Mississippi Cottonmouths have to be swimming in confidence, but the Dallas Six-Shooters have been performing better than expected too. The Six-Shooters are 2-0 because James Franklin has done very well so far. But they also have a below average run defense and will be going against a very good rushing offense. The Cottonmouths could grind down Dallas for a win.
Pick: Mississippi Cottonmouths
Louisville Cougars @ Iowa Threshers
Louisville got a big win last week and will look to go above .500 for the first time in a LONG time against the 0-2 Iowa Threshers. Iowa has been really bad the first two weeks. Could they make a change at QB? Even if they do, their defense just doesn’t look to have enough talent on defense.
Pick: Louisville Cougars
Seattle Orcas @ Utah Raptors
Utah’s offense has been one of the very worst in the league the first two weeks of the season and they’ll be going up against one of the very best defenses around. Utah also ranks 21st in run defense against maybe the best running back in the league. This one might get really ugly.
Pick: Seattle Orcas
Pittsburgh Forge @ San Antonio Marshalls
What a great game this one will be. The two best quarterbacks in the league will lead two of the most high-powered offenses in the league in a tremendous showdown. This one might be first to 50 wins, and even that might not be enough. Um, let me flip a coin.
Pick: San Antonio Marshalls
New York Marauders @ Columbus Explorers
A rivalry game between these two owners that go way back, it’s an interesting matchup that could go either way. Columbus has a tough defense, and the best pass defense that should make things quite difficult for Vad Lee, but the Marauders also have a really good defense and a tremendous pass rush. That will make things really difficult for rookie quarterbacks Joshua Dobbs when facing one of the most talented secondaries in the league.
Pick: New York Marauders