Week 9 Power Rankings

1. Orlando Rockets (7-2) – No Change
Last Week: W – Washington Wave – 40-21

Orlando gave up some big plays to Tyreek Hill, but outside those three game-breaking plays, the Rockets rolled over the Wave. Their defense never let Washington get into a rhythm and Trevor Harris throwing to Eric Rogers just continues to be a beautiful thing that is clicking on all cylinders right now. They’ve won seven in a row and don’t look like they are slowing down.

2. Michigan Stags (8-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – Philadelphia Bulldogs – 17-10

Maybe it wasn’t the prettiest win, but historically, the Stags don’t care about winning pretty. They’d rather win with their defense and a grinding offense. Marlon Mack and Thomas Rawls continue to split the backfield work and they are each effective together. That gives Zach Collaros some time he needs on the offense to move the ball, but this defense has so much talent and skill, they are able to trouble any offense enough to give their team the opportunity for the win.

3. New York Marauders (8-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – Iowa Threshers – 33-10

While Vad Lee only had 178 yards passing, his touchdown numbers continue to climb at a high rate with three more passing touchdowns, hitting Will Tye twice and Brandon Coleman once. The Marauders weapons are clearly among the best in the league. Even with Stefon Diggs being held to only one catch, they were able to pile on the points. Defensively, NaVorro Bowman had three sacks and nine tackles while John Ojo had an interception in the game. That side of the ball is also loaded. The Marauders have the league’s top winning-streak at eight in a row.

4. San Antonio Marshalls (7-1-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – Utah Raptors – 35-10

We know the San Antonio Marshalls have offensive power but their defense has really shined the past two weeks. Utah tried a different sort of attack, but the Marshalls held them to only 10 points, largely because of their five sacks in the game.

5. Seattle Orcas (7-2) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Omaha Express – 30-24 (OT)

While Isaiah Crowell continues to be unstoppable, the Orcas were able to get some clutch passes completed by Ryan Griffin in their fight in Omaha. Krishawn Hogan caught two touchdowns from Griffin, including a walk-off in overtime. The Orcas were in a fight, and it was Griffin’s arm that got them through.

6. Atlanta Firebirds (6-3) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Memphis – 30-17

The Firebirds got a big bounce-back win in their efforts to stay in the race for the Southern Division, snapping a three-game slide. They proved they didn’t need three wide receivers fighting for who would get all the targets. Cameron Meredith was huge in this game, catching eight passes for 168 yards and a touchdowns. Both Matt Brieda and DeMarco Murray finished in close, but while Brieda didn’t have the huge game, he’s just more explosive.

7. Pittsburgh Forge (6-3) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ St. Louis Stallions – 52-31

Jon Jennings was back with a gigantic effort to lead the Pittsburgh Forge to another huge win over a tough opponent. The Stallions may have fallen below .500 with the loss, but they have been proven as an offensive threat, but when a team scores 31 points and still gets blown out, it’s almost hard to comprehend. But that is what happens when Jennings passes for six touchdowns and 432 yards. They know how to move the ball and outscore everybody. They have a pretty one-dimensional offense, but nobody can stop it.

8. Dallas Six-Shooters (7-1-1) – Up 1
Last Week: W – @ San Diego Diablos – 20-14

Dallas has a really difficult time against the San Diego Diablos and the running ability to Trevone Boykin. On the legs of Jalen Richard and Austin Ekeler, they were able to grind to a victory, but it certainly wasn’t a pretty one that a one-loss team would want to have against a one-win team this deep into the season.

9. Boston Dragons (6-3) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Birmingham – 26-17

Andre Ellington is on a mission this season and he’s got the Dragons in not just a playoff push, but a push for the division crown in perhaps the most competitive division in the league. And while he’s dominating on the ground, Cooper Rush is able to just move the ball as efficiently as he can, and the running game helps keep the defense fresh on the sidelines.

10. Louisville Cougars (6-3) – Down 2
Last Week: L – Los Angeles Stars – 22-16

Injuries to Anthony Spencer and Gabriel Knapton in the game really hurt the Cougars slow down the Stars rising back Brian Hill. The Cougars typically have won in their trenches, but lost that battle this time. Still, they are a very good team. Maybe this exposed their lack of depth, but they are still a tough out for all opponents when full healthy.

11. New Orleans Nightmare (5-4) – Up 1
Last Week: W – @ Minnesota Freeze – 37-31

Back from the grave, New Orleans has won five-straight and put themselves in position as the No. 6 seed in the Metropolitan Conference. Changing over to a brand new coaching staff was a huge risk, but when it pays off, it pays off, and Jack Del Rio has brought great balance to his team and Aaron Murray was able to keep it going. They were in a tough fight against Minnesota, but Josh McCown still has that ability. The Nightmare resolve was more impressive.

12. Utah Raptors (5-4) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ San Antonio Marshalls – 35-10

Utah hasn’t been inspiring at all this season and while they tried a new offensive approach this week, attempting to get a scat-back like DJ Foster into more space rather than going straight ahead with their more traditional backs, it still didn’t work. The Raptors have just one touchdown in two weeks. Ken Dorsey could be fired as their offensive coordinator this week.

13. Omaha Express (4-5) – No Change
Last Week: L – Seattle Orcas – 30-24 (OT)

Of course they gave up over 200 yards to Isaiah Crowell, but the Omaha Express put up a tremendous fight against the Seattle Orcas, taking them into overtime. They couldn’t get the job done. Maybe it was just because they went against Seattle their defense looks like ti was exposed, but really, it wasn’t. They played well and had their team in the game. They just got bested by the better team.

14. Houston Wranglers (4-5) – Up 3
Last Week: W – Mississippi Cottonmouths – 24-14

Give incoming owner Ryan Clark a lot of credit, he’s done a great job acquiring more talent for this offense. In just a few weeks, they went from having Connor Cook throwing to Brandon Marshall, to Johnny Manziel throwing to Aldrick Robinson and Duron Carter. Now this team has weapons outside just Aaron Jones and it got them enough for a critical win.

15. St. Louis Stallions (4-5) – Down 1
Last Week: L – Pittsburgh Forge – 52-31

The Stallions put up a good fight, but their depth of receivers isn’t as good as Pittsburgh. After Brice Butler and Harry Douglas there are few options on the outside. Still, they managed to put up 31 points and were pretty great offensively. But the continues lack of depth for this first-year expansion team continues on the other side of the ball. Maybe next year they’ll be in a position where they could win this game, but it was a tough outing for them against the Forge.

16. Carolina Generals (4-5) – Up 3
Last Week: W – Columbus Explorers – 31-27

It was really great seeing No. 1 overall pick Tarik Cohen have his signature performance of the season in a tough win against the Explorers. They neded him to do that too, but with 134 yards and two touchdowns, with another three catches, the Generals made great adjustments to get him going for his best game of the year.

17. Birmingham Predators (4-5) – Down 2
Last Week: L – @ Boston Dragons – 26-17

Virtual Bo Jackson has been furious with his team losing. Despite all the big trades and moves he’s made to get Dak Prescott and Alvin Kamara out o the same backfield, it just isn’t getting them above .500 right now. They struggled against a tough team that is build quite similar to them, but were still in a position to win late in the game. They just couldn’t break the Dragons defense.

18. Memphis Bombers (3-6) – Down 2
Last Week: L – Atlanta Firebirds – 30-17

It hasn’t been pretty in Memphis, and after just a brutal effort against the Firebirds, AJ McCarron was benched. Trevor Knight came in and he was just okay, but did have two touchdowns, both thrown to Mitchell, their former player who was traded to Atlanta and then back to their franchise. What was killer, though, was Jordan Howard being shut down. Without him leading the charge, the Bombers couldn’t put together long drives.

19. Philadelphia Bulldogs (3-6) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Michigan Stags – 17-10

After hitting their heads against the wall with Bryce Petty and Mark Sanchez for half a season, the Bulldogs made a trade and have turned things over to Nate Sudfeld. In his first start, he looks pretty good. The Bulldogs were very conservative with him, but the talent and are are clearly there. As they slowly let him loose, the Bulldogs look like they could have a talent under center.

20. Los Angeles Stars (3-6) – Up 3
Last Week: W – @ Louisville Cougars – 22-16

Brian Hill has given this offense some balance and it really helped them against a tough defense this week. The Stars have a prolific passing game on paper, but for weeks, opponents could only focus on that. Now, with Brian Hill having another big game, the passing attack was opened up a bit more and the Stars got the big upset. If Hill keeps going, the Stars should be able to pick up more and more wins.

21. Washington Wave (2-7) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Orlando Rockets – 40-21

Tyreek Hill is a game-changing player, but the Wave just didn’t have the firepower to really compete in this game. Outside three big quick plays by Hill, the Wave were shutdown and then shutout in the second half while the Rockets piled it on.

22. Iowa Threshers (3-6) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ New York Marauders – 33-10

Simply, Iowa didn’t have the weapons to compete with the Marauders, but they would be wise to quickly go back to their rookie CJ Beathard at quarterback after neither Kevin Glenn nor Austin Davis looked too good.

23. Mississippi Cottonmouths (2-7) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Houston Wranglers – 24-14

The very unfortunate Ricky Ray injury killed the Cottonmouths and it is still a question whether Brock Osweiler can be the answer. He’s what they have now, so they’ll have to continue testing him, but Jeremy Langford at least looked like a very nice piece coming out of the backfield.

24. Columbus Explorers (1-8) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Carolina Generals – 31-17

Josh Dobbs showed off his athleticism in this game, but he’s still struggling to connect with his receivers out there. There is no reason for Columbus to rush anything at this point. They’ll get better as he gets more reps. They just have to give them to him and be patient.

25. San Diego Diablos (1-8) – No Change
Last Week: L – Dallas Six-Shooters – 20-14

While close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, the Diablos put up a great effort and were just one yard away in the final second away from scoring a victory for a second-straight week. Boykin didn’t put up prolific passing numbers, largely because his weapons aren’t overly explosive, but he is and he’s making plays with both his arm and legs and making the Diablos dangerous.

26. Minnesota Freeze (0-9) – No Change
Last Week: L – New Orleans Nightmare – 37-31

It was a heart-breaker for Minnesota. They did what they needed to do to put themselves in position to win as they scored 31 points in Josh McCown’s best effort of the year, but their defense couldn’t hold the Nightmare back and they remain without a win.

Weekly Awards

Offensive Player of the Week
QB Jon Jennings, Pittsburgh Forge
26-for-34 (76.4%), 432 Pass Yards, 6 Pass TDs

Defensive Player of the Week
ILB NaVorro Bowman, New York Marauders
9 Tackles, 3 Sacks, 1 TFL

Special Teams Player of the Week
RET Tyreek Hill, Washington Wave
8 KRs, 313 KR Yards (39.1 YPC), 1 TD (103 LG), 2 PR, 85 PR Yards (42.5 YPR), 1 TD (80 LG)

Rookie of the Week
RB Tarik Cohen, Carolina Generals
29 Carries, 134 Rush Yards (4.6 YPC), 2 Rush TDs, 3 Rec, 53 Rec Yards (17.7 YPC)

Playoff Standings

Empire Conference:
1. New York Marauders (8-1) – Atlanta Division
2. Orlando Rockets (7-2) – Southeast Division
3. Omaha Express (4-5) – Midwest Division
4. Pittsburgh Forge (6-3)
5. Atlanta Firebirds (6-3)
6. Boston Dragons (6-3)

Metropolitain Conference:
1. Michigan Stags (8-1) – Central Division
2. San Antonio Marshalls (7-1-1) – Mid-South Division
3. Seattle Orcas (7-2) – Pacific Division
4. Dallas Six-Shooters (7-1-1)
5. Louisville Cougars (6-3)
6. New Orleans Nightmare (5-4)

SFL News

Six-Shooters over-pay for a mediocre kicker

While Six-Shooters owner Dallas Hartwell has made it clear he no longer prioritizes the SFL Rookie draft, sending five draft picks to a team for a kicker, in the final year of his contract, who only has made less than 85-percent of his kicks, just doesn’t make much sense. The Six-Shooters traded five 2018 draft pick to Houston for Blair Walsh. Walsh is 11-for-13 on field goals this season. Last season he was only 9-for-11. Fera has struggled kicking this season for the Six-Shooters, making only 11-of-16 field goals and missing four extra points as well. A free agent option likely would have been a better direction to go for the Six-Shooters. Houston replaced Walsh with Eric Medina, who kicked very well in the D-League and just barely lost a preseason kicking battle to a kicker who was just more successful.

NOLA acquires Chester Rogers, cuts Dwayne Bowe

It’s clear that Dwayne Bowe’s diminished athleticism and speed was giving nothing to the New Orleans Nightmare. After no interest from him as a trade piece, the Nightmare released him after acquiring reserve wide receiver Chester Rogers from Seattle. Rogers has played sparingly since being an eighth round draft pick in Seattle two years ago, but in a system where passing is more of a focus the former Grambling State receiver could be a good gamble.

Week 10 Preview

Boston Dragons (6-3) @ Atlanta Firebirds (6-3)
While this game won’t knock the loser out of the playoffs, it will likely knock the loser out of contention to win the division. This is going to be a very interesting chess match between two teams that are built very different from each other. The Firebirds have a flashy passing game and a tremendous run defense but a great pass rush that supplements a talented secondary. The Dragons are all about their running game with a game-manager rookie at quarterback, but they are very physical on the back end. It’s really more of a coin flip them you’d think.
Pick: Atlanta Firebirds

Minnesota Freeze (0-9) @ Washington Wave (2-7)
This one could be pretty exciting despite the two teams records. Minnesota made some adjustments to their passing attack last week that seemed to spark it against New Orleans. Their defense just couldn’t hold up, though. Washington has two shocking wins this year, showing they can compete with anybody when they are on, but they have to be on.
Pick: Minnesota Freeze

Memphis Bombers (3-6) @ Pittsburgh Forge (6-3)
Memphis is getting sick of losing, but this is a very tough matchup for them against perhaps the best passing attack in the league seeing their quarterback come off a six touchdown performance. The Forge can light anybody up. It’s hard to pick against them.
Pick: Pittsburgh Forge

Louisville Cougars (6-3) @ Columbus Explorers (1-8)
Louisville is going to be way too physical defensively for the struggling rookie Joshua Dobbs. The Cougars are also going to be angry after their loss to Los Angeles last week. Expect a big bounce back type of effort out of them.
Pick: Louisville Cougars

New York Marauders (8-1) @ Birmingham Predators (4-5)
Any Dak Prescott / Alvin Kamara led-offense is going to be dangerous, and the Predators have one of the best defenses set to face the Marauders coming. But is Justin Blackmon enough of a weapon outside to beat the No. 3 pass defense in the league? And can Birmingham’s 21st-ranked defense pressure Vad Lee behind an offensive line that has only allowed seven sacks all year long?
Pick: New York Marauders

Orlando Rockets (7-2) @ Mississippi Cottonmouths (2-7)
Remember in Week 2 when the Cottonmouths shocked the Rockets? These two teams are way different than they were back then. The Rockets have rattled off seven-straight wins and the Cottonmouths are trying to figure things out after former Rocket QB Ricky Ray went down with an injury.
Pick: Orlando Rockets

San Antonio Marshalls (7-1-1) @ Michigan Stags (8-1)
A powerhouse battle here, possibly even a championship preview between two teams that are some of the most complete in the league. But San Antonio’s defense has been on fire and they just have more explosive upside offensively. Still, expect a very close fight.
Pick: San Antonio Marshalls

Carolina Generals (4-5) @ Houston Wranglers (4-5)
Houston is a much different looking team than they were just two weeks ago and a big part of that is Aldrick Robinson, who was just acquired through a trade with Carolina. He’s certainly not the only reason. Johnny Manziel and Duron Carter and Aaron Jones look like special offensive talents too out there for the Wranglers. Carolina will need to keep their running game going after Tarik Cohen broke out.
Pick: Houston Wranglers

Omaha Express (4-5) @ Iowa Threshers (3-6)
Believe it or not, the winner of this battle between sub .500 teams could lead the division next week. But Omaha is the better team. They have hit a skid against tough opponents, but they are much more solidified at key positions, while Iowa might go back to CJ Beathard after benching him, but realizing their weren’t better options.
Pick: Omaha Express

Seattle Orcas (7-2) @ Dallas Six-Shooters (7-1-1)
Expect a physical game here, but Seattle will always win those. Dallas will need James Franklin go become Superman again like he was easier in the season. Since he’s slowed down, the Six-Shooters haven’t been as impressive. Still, they amazingly have fewer losses than the Orcas, but Seattle has the best player in the league without little doubt. Isaiah Crowell is always good to make them the favorite.
Pick: Seattle Orcas

Philadelphia Bulldogs (3-6) @ Los Angeles Stars (3-6)
Nate Sudfeld looked good in his debut for the Bulldogs. Will they let his leash out a little bit longer? The Stars seemed to have gotten their offense balanced with the emergence of Brian Hill. That will bode well for them in the second half of the season.
Pick: Los Angeles Stars

San Diego Diablos (1-8) @ Utah Raptors (5-4)
What will the Utah Raptors offense look like next week? Will Mike Reilly be their quarterback? Will Ken Dorsey be their coordinator? Their defense is still very strong, which gives them a great chance to succeed. San Diego is as dangerous as they’ve been all year long with Trevone Boykin playing quarterback. Maybe he has some more magic.
Pick: San Diego Diablos

St. Louis Stallions (4-5) @ New Orleans Nightmare (5-4)
The Stallions have hit the skids, suffering now five losses in their last six games. Meanwhile, the Nightmare are on fire with five-straight wins. Still, the Stallions have offensive firepower and Zach Mettenberger is going to want to show his former team they were wrong for giving up on him. This one could be interesting.
Pick: St. Louis Stallions