Week Thirteen Power Rankings
1. Michigan Stags (12-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Utah Raptors – 24-14
On the road against a tough Utah Raptors defense was going to be a challenge for the Michigan Stags, but they continued to show why they are the best team in the league right now with an impressive victory. The game wasn’t ever that close either. The Stags defense was top-notch and as usual, they leaned on that side of the ball and then saw Marlon Mack showcase his explosive ability on offense while Zach Collaros made the easy and available throws to move the ball. The Stags already clinched their division and are on the cusp of clinching a first round bye and likely even home field advantage (all the way through the playoffs too since the Grand Finale will be hosted in Detroit).
2. New York Marauders (11-2) – No Change
Last Week: W – Orlando Rockets – 35-32
Maybe the game would have been different if Eric Rogers didn’t get hurt for Orlando, but the Rockets were still able to move the ball and had a 17-0 lead, but the Marauders rallied and got a big victory. The success was actually more on the running game with Jacquizz Rodgers rushing for 221 yards. That allowed Vad Lee to had a remarkably efficient passing game against a defense that didn’t know what to key in on. But the win over the Rockets, even a Rockets team that didn’t have Eric Rogers for most of the game, proved New York as the clear top team in the Empire Conference.
3. Atlanta Firebirds (10-3) – Up 3
Last Week: W – New Orleans Nightmare – 28-17
Matt Barkley felt the heat under him before and now he’s really picked things up. Against the hottest team in the league, he threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns, hitting Albert Wilson twice and Cameron Meredith once. Those two have been a deadly combination for teams. Both are top-notch weapons. Defensively, the Firebirds have tremendous athletes but they showed their physical side as they slowed down the Nightmare.
4. Seattle Orcas (9-4) – No Change
Last Week: W – San Diego Diablos – 25-0
The Seattle Orcas were not supposed to be challenged by the San Diego Diablos, but they made it look so easy. Isaiah Crowell just can’t be stopped. It’s simply, and their defense, it’s among the elite groups in the league. They may get caught in a few games here or there, but they are certainly a title contender.
5. Orlando Rockets (9-4) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ New York Marauders – 35-32
A close loss at New York without Eric Rogers for most of the game isn’t something that will drop the Orlando Rockets down the power rankings. The Rockets did, however, prove they are more than just a one-man show. Rogers made a huge play early but after he was hurt Derel Walker, Robby Anderson and Travis Rudolph all proved they are more than capable weapons.
6. Dallas Six-Shooters (10-2-1) – Up 1
Last Week: W – @ Houston Wranglers – 27-17
When James Franklin went down it looked like their might be some room left open for another team to take the Mid-South Division, and while San Antonio still could, Robert Griffin III stepped up and performed very well to give the Dallas Six-Shooters a crucial victory in their efforts to seal up a division crown. All it will take is one more win in the final three games to do that. Griffin did show a little rust early on, but heated up down the stretch and ended up throwing two touchdown passes. But don’t mistake it, this is a team led by one of the best defenses in the league and the combination of running backs Jalen Richard and Austin Ekeler on offense. They got the job done and Dallas continues to be prove be a very tough opponent for everyone.
7. New Orleans Nightmare (8-5) – Down 4
Last Week: L – @ Atlanta Firebirds – 28-17
The tremendous winning streak finally game to an end, but the Nightmare are still one of the best teams around. They have the defense. They have the passing game and they have the running game. Against Atlanta, they just got beat by the better opponent on the road.
8. San Antonio Marshalls (8-4-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – Omaha Express – 31-28
Just when you start forgetting about the Marshalls, their offense shows they can score against even the best defenses around. Bo Levi Mitchell had the team moving down the field but it was touchdown machine Khiry Robinson who tied a single-game record with four rushing touchdowns, all from close range. When a team has as many weapons as the Marshalls do, they are a threat to everybody.
9. Boston Dragons (9-4) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Louisville Cougars – 23-3
As usual, it wasn’t the pretties of wins for the Boston Dragons, but their defense did a great job of shutting their opponent down and their offense supplemented it for the win. Louisville Cougars quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was not able to get settled because of the ferocious Dragons defense and Karlos Williams was a non-factor. The Dragons took the Cougars two big weapons out of the game and they nearly had the shutout.
10. Pittsburgh Forge (8-5) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Washington Wave – 32-17
The ownership call out didn’t sink the Forge this week, but their switch to James Conner as their lead back with Devontae Booker playing more of that scat-back role did look to be a solid move by the team. Conner was able to grind a bit more against a defense that is becoming increasingly better week-to-week. But it is still Jon Jennings’ team and with more help from the running game he was able to have a very efficient passing game. Efficiency is often better than flashy.
11. Utah Raptors (8-5) – Down 1
Last Week: L – Michigan Stags – 24-14
Utah’s defense did what they could against the Michigan Stags, but their offense once again proved to not be all that threatening. The Raptors will probably make the playoffs, but without the necessary weapons they probably don’t do much against the better teams in the league.
12. Carolina Generals (7-6) – Up 1
Last Week: W – @ Los Angeles Stars – 30-24
While the defending Metropolitan Conference champions has very slim hopes to make the playoffs, their push took a major hit with an injury to Colin Kaepernick. The explosive quarterback suffered an injury in the second half of the game and will miss the rest of the regular season. While their had slim hopes of making the playoffs as it was, it will not be up to Nick Davila to lead the team. But he did come in and secure the victory against the Los Angeles Stars at least. That was mostly because of the ground-game, though. Tarik Cohen has been showing off his explosive ability lately and this time Kenneth Dixon came in and finished for a pair of short-yardage touchdowns. Along with their physical defense, it was a winning formula even without Kaepernick.
13. Birmingham Predators (6-7) – Up 5
Last Week: W – Philadelphia Bulldogs – 27-24
As this Dak Prescott and Alvin Kamara backfield continues rolling this Birmingham Predators team is going to be a really tough squad in the future. Birmingham has micro-thin playoff hopes for this year, but they are building nice momentum to build on for next season. Meanwhile, they pretty much broke the Bulldogs hearts and likely ended their postseason hopes with this final minute win.
14. Philadelphia Bulldogs (6-7) – Down 2
Last Week: L – @ Birmingham Predators – 27-24
It was only a matter of time before Nate Sudfeld came back down to earth. He was playing way better than imagined the past few weeks. He’s still showing quality ability, but it’s Jay Ajayi’s team and he’s the supplement. The Bulldogs still nearly pulled off the win, but at the very end the Predators were able to get the victory, all but ending the Bulldogs postseason hopes.
15. Omaha Express (6-7) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ San Antonio Marshalls – 31-28
Omaha holds a lead in their division because of a tie-breaker, and they are probably the most consistent team in their division, but the team won’t surprise anybody. They simply are what they are and that is a mediocre team. They have pieces, but nothing really scares anybody. They had three rushing touchdowns, but their secondary has been a bit of a let down ever since they traded Alterraun Verner and that proved to bite them in this game. Clevan Thomas is a legend, but has been targeted by opposing quarterbacks for good reason.
16. St. Louis Stallions (6-7) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Iowa Threshers – 31-10
As Atlanta Firebirds owner Chris Dunn commentated, the St. Louis Stallions may not be as consistent as the Omaha Express, but they certainly have a way higher ceiling. That assessments seems very correct. The Stallions are behind the Omaha Express right now on a tie-breaker, but they certainly feel like the more dangerous team because they have Zach Mettenberger playing at a high level and a very strong backfield to pair with him. But these past two weeks the vastly improved Stallions secondary has paid big dividends and that might be what was needed to push them into the playoffs as the Mid-West Division champions down the stretch.
17. Houston Wranglers (6-7) – Down 3
Last Week: L – Dallas Six-Shooters – 27-17
A loss at NRG Stadium against a team led by Robert Griffin III was the final straw for Rex Ryan. Despite the team showing massive improvements from the start of the season, ownership felt it was more because of the numerous moves they have made to improve the team than it was because of Ryan’s ability as a coach. Actually, they felt he held them back when they felt the could have run the table to make the playoffs. After dropping to 6-7, Ryan was fired, as was Bryan Cox, the team’s former head coach who stepped down to take over a job as the defensive coordinator. The team’s defense has been miserable the last two weeks and that was inexcusable for two defensive-minded coaches.
18. Louisville Cougars (6-7) – Down 2
Last Week: L – Boston Dragons – 23-3
After five-straight losses the once promising Cougars season is all but finished as they will need to win out and get help to make the playoffs. That is very disappointing for them and after getting more physical up front this looked like it could be a game to get the Cougars back on track, but all year long injuries have hurt them. Against Boston, they had to play without two interior offensive lineman and it killed them from the beginning. The Cougars haven’t had luck on their side the last few weeks, but they will also need to start preparing for Julian Edelman’s inevitable jump to the NFL. These last few weeks could be used to get some of their receivers important looks in preparing for next season. While in a loss, Darius Fleming did tie a single-game record with 17 tackles against the Dragons.
19. Washington Wave (4-9) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Pittsburgh – 32-17
It was another solid performance by quarterback Cardale Jones, but his team was just beat by a much better opponent. The disappointing thing for their offense has to be their offensive line. If only this team could get Samaje Perine more heavily involved, but all year long it’s been a failure to launch with him, and it hasn’t entirely been his fault really.
20. Iowa Threshers (4-9) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ St. Louis Stallions – 31-10[/b]
Simply, it’s just going to take some time for Iowa to become a competitive team. The down division kind of made it seem like they were better than they were, but really, the Threshers are nothing more or less than a first-year expansion team that has some nice pieces but many holes that will need to be filled as they team is being built. They are on schedule. They are fine. They have some good players to build around.
21. Columbus Explorers (3-10) – Up 4
Last Week: W – Memphis Bombers – 27-13[/b]
The Explorers season has long been over, but Joshua Dobbs is really approaching the record for rushing yards in a season by a quarterback. He’s played much better down the stretch. The problem is there is such little around him to take pressure off of him. Ownership admitted it may have been a mistake to trade Alvin Kamara, but at least Dobbs has really turned it around and is providing explosiveness.
22. Memphis Bombers (3-10) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Columbus Explorers – 27-13
Like Virtual Jed Clampett said, we can make excuses after excuses for Memphis, but the simply fact is AJ McCarron isn’t playing well this year. That happens sometimes. The team made so many changes all season long, and big changes at that, and there has been no time for the team to ever gel. Recently, a coaching changed was even added in. Maybe he’ll settled down now that his team is 3-10. The team is probably just going to start getting looks to some younger guys, but drastic changes need to be avoided if this team ever wants to get on the same page.
23. Los Angeles Stars (3-10) – Down 1
Last Week: L – Carolina Generals – 30-24
Cody Kessler is definitely going to force an interesting decision for the Stars whether they stick with Case Keenum or move forward with him. He’s showing some promise but as expected with a young quarterback who hasn’t had much playing time he is a bit inconsistent and rough around the edges. With Brian Hill showing up in the backfield and Joe Hills out wide, the Stars have pieces in place, they just need to fill in their holes. It just happens that there are a lot of them.
24. Mississippi Cottonmouths (3-10) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Minnesota Freeze – 27-13
If Brock Osweiler was going to prove himself as a capable starter ever this was the game, but he didn’t perform well at all. At last Jeremy Langford is getting back into a big rhythm. But this team dominated Minnesota because of their pass rush. They had eight sacks in the game. Minnesota’s offensive line hasn’t been good, but still, eight sacks is eye-opening for any team.
25. San Diego Diablos (3-10) – Down 2
]Last Week: L – @ Seattle Orcas – 25-0
The Diablos have been fun the past few weeks but at the end of the day they do really lack a lot of talent. It was an impossible opponent for them at Seattle. They weren’t going to win that game. The shutout is very disappointing of course, but the result was pretty much what was expected.
26. Minnesota Freeze (0-13) – No Change
Last Week: L – Mississippi Cottonmouths – 20-13
If the Minnesota Freeze wanted to taste victory this season, this was the game they were going to have to win, but their offensive line was been so terrible that they never had a chance. Josh McCown was sacked eight times and Corey Clement never was able to get going because he was hit in the backfield so much. The Freeze had plenty of talented skill position player, but without the line, nothing really matters. It can happen, but it’s hard to see this team picking up a win in their final three games at this point.
Offensive Player of the Week
WR Brice Butler, St. Louis Stallions
5 Rec, 116 Rec Yards (23.2 YPC), 2 Rec TDs
Defensive Player of the Week
DT Tobi Atingha, Mississippi Cottonmouths
5 Tackles, 3 Sacks, 1 TFL
Special Teams Player of the Week
P Mike Scifres, Boston Dragons
6 Punts, 297 Yards (49.5 YPP), 4 In20, 53 Long
Rookie of the Week
QB Joshua Dobbs, Columbus Explorers
13-for-23, 202 Pass Yards, 1 Pass TD, 1 INT, 23 Rushes, 120 Rush Yards (5.2 YPC), 1 Rush TD
1. New York Marauders (11-2) – Atlantic Division Leader – X
2. Atlanta Firebirds (10-3) – Southeast Division Leader – X
3. Omaha Express (6-7) – Midwest Division Leader
4. Orlando Rockets (9-4)
5. Boston Dragons (9-4)
6. Pittsburgh Forge (8-5)
Eliminated from Playoff Contention: Washington Wave, Mississippi Cottonmouths, Minnesota Freeze
X – Clinched Playoff Berth
1. Michigan Stags (12-1) – Central Division Champion – Y
2. Dallas Six-Shooters (10-2-1) – Mid-South Division Leader – X
3. Seattle Orcas (9-4) – Pacific Division Leader
4. San Antonio Marshalls (8-4-1)
5. New Orleans Nightmare (8-5)
6. Utah Raptors (8-5)
Eliminated from Playoff Contention: Columbus Explorers, Memphis Bombers, Los Angeles Stars, San Diego Diablos
Y – Clinched Division Championship
X – Clinched Playoff Berth
Team Rushing Yards – Current Record: Seattle Orcas – 3,144 (2017)
Seattle Orcas on pace for 3,561 Rush Yards
Rushing Yards – Current Records: Isaiah Crowell (16 Games) – 2,562 (2017) / Barry Sanders (18 Games) – 2,605 (2001)
Isaiah Crowell (Seattle Orcas) on pace for 3,063 Rush yards
Rushing Attempts – Current Record: Isaiah Crowell – 444 (2017)
Isaiah Crowell (Seattle Orcas) on pace for 493 Rushing Attempts
Rushing Touchdowns – Current Record: Isaiah Crowell – 24 (2017)
Jay Ajayi (Philadelphia Bulldogs) on pace for 22 Rushing Touchdowns
Total Offense – Current Record: Isaiah Crowell – 2,786 (2017)
Isaiah Crowell (Seattle Orcas) on pace for 3,248 Total Yards
Rushing Yards by a Quarterback – Current Record: Tim Tebow – 1,241 (2015)
Joshua Dobbs (Columbus Explorers) on pace for 1,168 Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards – Current Records: Allen Hurns (16 Games) – 2,059 (2016) / Demetrius Allen (18 Games) – 2,175 (2001)
Eric Rogers (Orlando Rockets) on pace for 2,415 Receiving Yards
**Eric Rogers has broken Allen Hurns’ 16-game record with 2,093 Receiving Yards already.
Receiving Touchdowns – Current Record: Allen Hurns – 23 (2016)
Eric Rogers (Orlando Rockets) on pace for 21 Receiving Touchdowns
Kick Return Yards – Current Record: LaMichael James – 1,838 (2016)
Tyreek Hill (Washington Wave) on pace for 1,964 Kick Return Yards
Punt Return Yards – Current Record: Brandon Banks – 982 (2016)
Garry Brown (Philadelphia Bulldogs) on pace for 1,419 Punt Return Yards
**Garry Brown has already broken the previous season record, currently has 1,153 Punt return Yards
Kicker Points – Current Record: Justin Tucker – 157 (2015)
Alex Henery (Michigan Stags) on pace for 150 Kicker Points
Rex Ryan sent packing from Houston
A 27-17 loss to the Dallas Six-Shooters to put the Wranglers back below .500 at 6-7 was the final straw for head coach Rex Ryan. Barely any time passed after the game before the team announced his firing.
Ryan’s standing with ownership had been shaky as it was as Ryan Clark took over the team mid-season. Ryan was hired by former owner Chris Dunn.
Clark made numerous roster changes and the Wrangler went from 1-4 to a playoff contender with a string of victories, but the dip back below .500 to essentially take them out of playoff contention was finally enough for Clark to fire him. The biggest disappointment was giving up 27 points to a Six-Shooters team that had lost starting quarterback James Franklin and had to start Robert Griffin III, a notable NFL bust who had not played in a football game in three years. This was after the defense gave up 41 points to the struggling Memphis Bombers just a week prior and 37 points to the San Antonio Marshalls a week before that.
Despite Ryan’s defensive expertise, the Wranglers ranked 24th out of 26 teams in total defense, last in run defense and second to last in sacks. They were 21st in the league in pass defense.
Bryan Cox, who was the team’s defensive coordinator this season after stepping down from his head coaching position he held last season, was also fired.
Offensive coordinator Dayemune Craig was promoted to interim head coach while the recently hired quarterback coach Ken Dorsey was promoted to interim offensive coordinator. Dorsey served as the offensive coordinator of the Utah Raptors franchise for the last two and a half seasons before they made a coaching change. Former Florida State coach Odell Haggins was hired as the defensive coordinator.
Colin Kaepernick to miss remainder of the regular season
While he struggled early in the season, Colin Kaepernick’s surge since the middle of the season had the Carolina Generals in position to make the playoffs. However, they will have to continue their push for to return to the postseason without him after sustaining an injury that will force him to miss the rest of the regular season. The Generals have not placed Kaepernick on injured reserve because he could return for the playoffs should the team make it there.
Nick Davila will take over as the team’s new starter. He was 12-for-23 for 179 yards with two touchdowns coming in for Kaepernick last week. Kaepernick has thrown for 2020 yards with 15 touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing for 859 yards and six touchdowns. He led all quarterbacks in rushing yards through 13 weeks and looked like he could possibly break Tim Tebow’s record for rushing yards by a quarterback.
Week 14 Preview
Washington Wave (4-9) @ Philadelphia Bulldogs (6-7)
Philadelphia’s secondary has been a problem for them all season long and now without Brandon Browner it’s even worse. Cardale Jones has been able to show off is huge arm for the Wave the past few weeks and he might be a real challenge for the Bulldogs. If Philadelphia can establish the run early then they should be able to hold off the Wave, but if Washington gets in a groove and is able to build a lead, that does not bode well for a team that may have to play catch up.
Pick: Washington Wave
Birmingham Predators (6-7) @ Carolina Generals (7-6)
This would be a tough game for Carolina with Colin Kaepernick healthy, but with him on the sidelines, the Predators look like a big favorite here. Since getting Alvin Kamara to pair with Dak Prescott in the backfield, the Predators have pulled off some nice wins and look to keep on their wave of momentum.
Pick: Birmingham Predators
Boston Dragons (9-4) @ Orlando Rockets (9-4)
While Eric Rogers is going to have to miss this game, the Rockets proved last week they have plenty more than just one guy to throw the ball to. Boston’s defense is very strong, but their secondary is just middle of the road. If Trevor Harris is able to sling the ball around the field, the Dragons probably don’t have enough firepower to play catchup.
Pick: Orlando Rockets
Atlanta Firebirds (10-3) @ Mississippi Cottonmouths (3-10)
Mississippi may have had eight sacks against Minnesota, but they won’t have that sort of success against Atlanta. The Firebirds have a full game lead in their division, but it’s a tough division and this game cannot be a disappointment for them. It might actually be a nasty blowout.
Pick: Atlanta Firebirds
New York Marauders (11-2) @ Louisville Cougars (6-7)
As much has been going against the Louisville Cougars lately, that much has been going for the Marauders. New York can clinch their division with a victory, and their offense doesn’t look like it will be slowed down by Louisville. After seeing Jacquizz Rodgers finally go off, the New York offfense just got even more dangerous.
Pick: New York Marauders
Columbus Explorers (3-10) @ Michigan Stags (12-1)
This is a terrible mis-match on paper, but it’s one of the league’s most storied rivalries and that always means it can be a fun game. Michigan still have homefield advantage to play for and they are far and away the better team here, but Joshua Dobbs has been lights out lately and if he can have a brilliant game anything can happen. Plus, Columbus’ pass defenses is one of the very best in the league, so Michigan might have a tougher time than usual moving the ball.
Pick: Michigan Stags
Utah Raptors (8-5) @ Iowa Threshers (4-9)
Utah got beat by a great Stags team last week, but look for them to get back on track at Iowa this week. The Raptors are inching closer and closer to securing a playoff spot. Their defense should help them do that this week.
Pick: Utah Raptors
St. Louis Stallions (6-7) @ Omaha Express (6-7)
This game very well may determine the Midwest Division. It’s crucial for both teams, but even more for St. Louis since Omaha has beaten them once already this season. But the Stallions, with their much improved secondary, could be a real problem for the Express and their 17th-ranked passing offense. Meanwhile, St. Louis has proven they can explode on offense and Omaha’s pass defense rankes last in the league.
Pick: St. Louis Stallions
Pittsburgh Forge (8-5) @ Seattle Orcas (9-4)
This is going to be an air vs. ground battle. Seattle certainly has the better defense, but even the best defenses around have had trouble stopping Jon Jennings, and nobody has been able to slow down Isaiah Crowell for the Orcas. The defenses might not matter as much. Pittsburgh has seemed to have balanced out their offense a bit more with John Conner getting more involved, but this is still going to be a tough cross-country trip for them against a league powerhouse.
Pick: Seattle Orcas
Houston Wranglers (6-7) @ Los Angeles Stars (3-10)
Will getting rid of Rex Ryan spark the Wranglers or cause them to quit for the rest of the season? With the young talent they have, you’d figure they will still be going out to prove themselves. Los Angeles is giving more young guys time as well, and they are certainly giving a strong effort to keep their spots on the roster for next year. And if Houston can’t straighten out their defense, Cody Kessler might give the Stars a victory. Kessler has been good, but has come up short the past few weeks.
New Orleans Nightmare (8-5) @ San Diego Diablos (3-10)
After seeing their eight-game winning streak snapped expect the New Orleans Nightmare to come back out on fire, especially against an opponent like the San Diego Diablos. The Nightmare still have a lot to play for and want to secure their spot in the playoffs. This is a game they will have to win to make sure that happens. San Diego has some
Minnesota Freeze (0-13) @ Memphis Bombers (3-10)
Well, Memphis isn’t an unbeatable opponent for Minnesota, but their offensive line has given up 53 sacks this season, 11 more than the next team in the league. Memphis does have a lot of pass rush talent on their defensive line. Even though the team has struggled and ranked only 18th in the league, Mississippi wasn’t exactly lighting the league on fire with their pass rush before getting right against the Freeze last week.
Pick: Memphis Bombers
Dallas Six-Shooters (10-2-1) @ San Antonio Marshalls (8-4-1)
It’s part two of the great Texas rivalry. Last time the game ended in a tie, but these teams won’t want that to happen again. San Antonio is now at home and have a big advantage this time going against Robert Griffin III instead of James Franklin. But they can’t let them get them over-confident. RGIII heated up down the stretch last week in his first start for the injured Franklin and the Six-Shooters don’t rely on their quarterback for their victories. Expect another physical defensive battle, but the Marshalls will be making it a point to get their offense going early in this one.
Pick: San Antonio Marshalls