Week Fifteen Power Rankings

1. Michigan Stags (14-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – San Diego Diablos – 21-10

Michigan can join an elite club this week of 15-1 teams. In the 19 year history of the league five teams have won 15 games. The last one was the Minnesota Freeze in 2014. Michigan has nothing left to play for and could bench their starters, but going for that history could be a great gift for the ravenous fans that have been there with them since the beginning.

2. New York Marauders (13-2) – No Change
Last Week: W – Philadelphia Bulldogs – 31-19

The Marauders shocked a lot of people when they went with the recently signed Arvell Nelson at quarterback over their normal backup Josh Woodrum as Vad Lee has to miss his first game of the year with an injury. The move worked and Philadelphia struggled to contain the read-option the Marauders were able to continue to run even without Lee available. With homefield advantage in the playoffs wrapped up, Week 16 could be the game we see Woodrum and other backups.

3. Atlanta Firebirds (12-3) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Washington Wave – 42-24

Everything comes down to this final game of the regular season for both Atlanta and their opponent that sits just on spot behind them on these power rankings and in the Southeastern Standings. Atlanta has historically been a little brother to Orlando, but they are playing like the better team down the stretch and will be at home. If Atlanta can step up and win this game, they will have proved they are a legitimate championship contender.

4. Orlando Rockets (11-4) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Birmingham Predators – 37-21

Orlando goes into the final week of the season without already having their division wrapped up. It’s hard to think the last time that was the case, but Orlando still has a chance to win their division yet again. They will be on the road, but they will also have Eric Rogers back and we all know that with Rogers, the Rockets are one of the best offenses in the league.

5. Dallas Six-Shooters (11-3-1) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Boston Dragons – 7-3

Dallas had a rough go last week with a physical loss to Boston in a defensive battle, but they have had their division and first round bye wrapped up. This week, they will just look to continue to see what they can get out of Robert Griffin III and their running game on offense. Their defense has been as dominant as any all season long.

6. Seattle Orcas (10-5) – No Change
Last Week: W – Louisville Cougars – 20-16

Will Seattle win the Pacific Division for a fourth-straight year and sixth season out of eight? They need one more win to do it, or a Utah loss to do it. The Orcas still have something to play for in this final week, which means Isaiah Crowell should still be a major feature in the offense and with him having 2,844 rushing yards already through 15 games, it is very possible that professional football sees it’s first-ever 3,000 yard rusher.

7. New Orleans Nightmare (10-5) – No Change
Last Week: W – Omaha Express – 9-7

Despite some terrible luck last week, the New Orleans got a big win. They were already without starting quarterback Aaron Murray. Then, early in their game first round draft pick Brad Kaaya suffered an injury that left them only with Zach Terrell. Steven Ridley also got hurt. But, the fact that the Nightmare still beat a division champion showed just how great a team they are. They are very balanced with great depth at running back, arguably the league’s best offensive line and a tremendous defense. More adversity hit them, and they rolled through it.

8. Pittsburgh Forge (10-5) – No Change
Last Week: W – Columbus Explorers – 38-33

It was a great rivalry game, but Pittsburgh really does need to worry about their defense once they get into the playoffs and really play offenses that can score. Columbus has struggled all year long but were able to put up major points on the Forge.

9. Boston Dragons (10-5) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Dallas Six-Shooters – 7-3)

Boston’s defense showed it can really play at an elite level. Sure, they were facing a backup quarterback, but the Six-Shooters have been able to be effective even without James Franklin, but Dallas was unable to ever get going because Boston dominated with their defense. Their offense may struggle once they get into the playoffs, but hey, the team clinched their spot in the postseason. They and their fans in Boston are celebrating.

10. Utah Raptors (10-5) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Houston Wranglers – 35-28

Roger Lewis got some big revenge on his former team the Houston Wranglers as he caught two of Mike Reilly’s five touchdown passes. Reilly has been playing some great football lately and Terrance West has given some balance with their running game. The Raptors can even win their division this week, they just need that offense to bring it again. They’ve been inconsistent on that side of the ball much of the season.

11. San Antonio Marshalls (8-6-1) – Down 2
Last Week: L – Los Angeles Stars – 30-17

Despite their loss, the San Antonio Marshalls clinched another trip to the playoffs. But what happened to this team? It wasn’t long ago they looked like a big-time title contender but they have stumbled a lot the last few weeks and are now 8-6-1. It’s hard to give up on them based on how much talent they have on the roster, but they need to live up to it every week.

12. Birmingham Predators (7-8) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Orlando Rockets – 37-21

If only Birmingham would have headed up a week or two earlier, they could really be in a nice spot for the playoffs. They were not supposed to beat Orlando, and they didn’t, but their were a lot of things that they can be happy about from the game. Even without Alvin Kamara, Tre Mason showed he is a big-time playmaker. The Predators are building some nice momentum heading into the offseason.

13. Philadelphia Bulldogs (7-8) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ New York Marauders – 31-19

Philadelphia’s pass defense has mostly been a problem for them this season, but their run defense could not slow down Jacquizz Rodgers. Their season was over anyway, but that New York upset would have been so satisfying. Instead, Jay Ajayi was slowed down yet again by the Marauders defense and their own run defense crumbled.

14. Omaha Express (7-8) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ New Orleans Nightmare – 9-7

Omaha really does not want to have a losing record heading into the postseason. They really don’t. That means they must win this week. If not, they will have one of those infamous teams that always is called back on when debating about whether division winners should automatically get home playoff games. Their running game has to continue to be the focus for them.

15. Houston Wranglers (7-8) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Utah Raptors – 35-28

Houston was able to have some relative offensive success even without Aaron Jones, but their defense just wasn’t good enough this season. The good part is they know exactly what to focus on this offseason.

16. Carolina Generals (7-8) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Memphis Bombers – 45-7

The Generals didn’t have anything to play for, and were without Colin Kaepernick again, but a 45-7 loss is about as terrible a result as they could have had, especially considering the two owners’ histories. It’s going to be a long offseason for the Generals owner having to deal with Memphis’ owner.

17. Memphis Bombers (5-10) – Up 2
Last Week: W – Carolina Generals – 45-7

Will week 16 be the last time we see AJ McCarron as the Memphis Bombers’ starting quarterback? After seeing him throw four touchdown passes and putting up 45 points, just one week after lighting up the Minnesota Freeze for another big week, McCarron is making a tremendous case for himself to stick with the team for the future.

18. St. Louis Stallions (6-9) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Minnesota Freeze – 42-20

St. Louis is so crushed right now they not only are going to miss out on the playoffs, but that they also became the first and only team this year to lose to the Minnesota Freeze. And they didn’t just lose, they got blown out. Their defense couldn’t stop Minnesota at all, which is especially disappointing considering they signed multiple NFL veterans recently to improve their secondary. But it didn’t work. They will all have one more week to prove they have a future with this team. This last week will be crucial in determining who might be around next season.

19. Louisville Cougars (6-9) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Seattle Orcas – 20-16

Will this be the last game Joker Phillips coaches for the Louisville Cougars? Rumors are pretty heavy that it will be and if it is, this Cougars team might be really energized to get him that win to go out after his years of service with the team. He may not have been too successful when it comes to wins and losses, but he’s been a class-act and great representative for the team.

20. Los Angeles Stars (4-11) – Up 3
Last Week: W – @ San Antonio Marshalls – 30-17

Finally! Cody Kessler got a win as the stars starting quarterback, and it was a tremendous win over he San Antonio Marshalls, a team loaded with talent. That is a great win the Stars can feel good about near the end of a very down season. Can they carry that into Week 16 and get him another win?

21. Mississippi Cottonmouths (4-11) – Up 3
Last Week: W – Iowa Threshers – 20-14

Through quarterback woes, Jeremy Langford was a monster and ran the Cottonmouths to a very nice win. This team has some things to figure out (and some things to pray for) but their effort has never dropped off. Jeremy Langford and Terrence Magree and James Flanders make up a very deep running back group that just needs a quarterback. Hopefully, this offseason, Ricky Ray heals up. Until then, the Cottonmouths will keep on giving difference quarterbacks opportunity to show themselves off.

22. Washington Wave (4-11) – Down 2
Last Week: L – Atlanta Firebirds – 42-24

Disappointingly, Cardale Jones had a decent run down the stretch interrupted by an injury that cost him almost all of the game against Atlanta and will cost him next week too. But that means it is Tuel Time again. Jeff Tuel never goes away and will have yet another chance to show why he should stick around on another roster for owner Chuck McBrearty. Just don’t expect the world out of the guy.

23. Iowa Threshers (4-11) – Down 2
Last Week: L – @ Mississippi Cottonmouths – 20-14

Things really were not pretty without CJ Beathard. Austin Davis completed only eight out of 21 passes for just 74 yards. Yikes. Only a performance that bad could waste what Orleans Darkwa did, rushing for 259 yards at a 7.0 yard per carry average.

24. Columbus Explorers (3-12) – Down 2
Last Week: L – @ Pittsburgh Forge – 38-33

It was a loss, but Columbus has to be happy about putting up 33 points on a team they were never supposed to even compete with. Can Joshua Dobbs break the record for rushing yards by a quarterback in Week 16? That is the most notable storyline for this team heading into the final week. He needs 88 yards. It will be close.

25. San Diego Diablos (3-12) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Michigan Stags – 21-10

For the Diablos to put up 10 points against Michigan might actually be a win for them. Giving up only 21 points to Michigan might be an even bigger win for them. That was supposed to be a major blowout but it was close at the end.

26. Minnesota Freeze (1-14) – No Change
Last Week: W – St. Louis Stallions – 42-20

Minnesota finally got a win! While their season has been miserable, one of the worst in league history, they have to be happy to know they have avoided the dreaded winless season. Corey Clement broke out in a huge way with 123 yards and three scores. Their pass rush also dominated St. Louis and had Zach Mettenberger on the ground constantly. It added up to a win, a win this team can be very happy to finally get, even despite all the misery that came before it.

Weekly Awards

Offensive Player of the Week
RB Corey Clement, Minnesota Freeze
25 Rushes, 123 Rush Yards (4.9 YPR), 3 Rush TDs

Defensive Player of the Week
DT Willie McGinnis, New Orleans Nightmare
5 Tackles, 2 Sacks

Special Teams Player of the Week
RET Trindon Holliday, Atlanta Firebirds
3 KRs, 101 KR Yards (33.7 YPR), 1 TD (91 Yards)

Rookie of the Week
RB Corey Clement, Minnesota Freeze
25 Rushes, 123 Rush Yards (4.9 YPR), 3 Rush TDs

Playoff Watch

Empire Conference
1. New York Marauders (13-2) – Atlantic Division Winner
2. Atlanta Firebirds (12-3) – Southeast Division Leader
3. Omaha Express (7-8) – Midwest Division Winner
4. Orlando Rockets (11-4)
5. Boston Dragons (10-5)
6. Pittsburgh Forge (10-5)

Metropolitan Conference
1. Michigan Stags (14-1) – Central Division Winner
2. Dallas Six-Shooters (11-3-1) – Mid-South Division Winner
3. Seattle Orcas (10-5) – Pacific Division Leader
4. New Orleans Nightmare (10-5)
5. Utah Raptors (10-5)
6. San Antonio Marshalls (8-6-1)

Rookie Draft Order Watch

1. Oakland Odyssey (Expansion)
2. Miami Mustangs (Expansion)
3. Virginia Admirals (Expansion)
4. Oklahoma Roughnecks (Expansion)
5. Minnesota Freeze (1-14)
6. San Diego Diablos (3-12)
7. Columbus Explorers (3-12)
8. Mississippi Dragons (4-11)
9. Iowa Threshers (4-11)
10. Los Angeles Stars (4-11)
11. Washington Wave (4-11)
12. Memphis Bombers (5-10)
13. Louisville Cougars (6-9)
14. St. Louis Stallions (6-9)
15. Birmingham Predators (7-8)
16. Houston Wranglers (7-8)
17. Philadelphia Bulldogs (7-8)
18. Carolina Generals (7-8)

Record Watch

Team Rushing Yards – Current Record: Seattle Orcas – 3,144 (2017)
Seattle Orcas on pace for 3,531 Rush Yards
**Seattle has broke the previous record with 3,311 yards through 15 games

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 3,034 Rush yards
**Isaiah Crowell has broken both records with 2,844 rushing yards this season through 15 games

Rushing Attempts – Current Record: Isaiah Crowell – 444 (2017)
Isaiah Crowell (Seattle Orcas) on pace for 476 Rushing Attempts
**Isaiah Crowell has broke the previous record with 466 rushing attempts through 15 games

Rushing Touchdowns – Current Record: Isaiah Crowell – 24 (2017)
Jay Ajayi (Philadelphia Bulldogs) on pace for 21 Rushing Touchdowns
Currently at 20 Rushing Touchdowns

Total Offense – Current Record: Isaiah Crowell – 2,786 (2017)
Isaiah Crowell (Seattle Orcas) on pace for 3,208 Total Yards
**Isaiah Crowell has broken the previous record with 3,008 yards through 15 games

Rushing Yards by a Quarterback – Current Record: Tim Tebow – 1,241 (2015)
Joshua Dobbs (Columbus Explorers) on pace for 1,229 Rushing Yards
Currently at 1,153 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 2,232 Receiving Yards
**Eric Rogers has broken Allen Hurns’ 16-game record with 2,093 Receiving Yards through 15 games.

Receiving Touchdowns – Current Record: Allen Hurns – 23 (2016)
Eric Rogers (Orlando Rockets) on pace for 20 Receiving Touchdowns
Currently at 19 Receiving Touchdowns

Kick Return Yards – Current Record: LaMichael James – 1,838 (2016)
Tyreek Hill (Washington Wave) on pace for 2,018 Kick Return Yards
***Tyreek Hill has broken the previous record with 1,892 kick return yards through 15 games

Punt Return Yards – Current Record: Brandon Banks – 982 (2016)
Garry Brown (Philadelphia Bulldogs) on pace for 1,396 Punt Return Yards
**Garry Brown has already broken the previous season record with 1,309 Punt Return Yards through 15 games

SFL News

Playoff teams set, two division crowns still up for grabs

With one week remaining in the regular season there is no drama left to see which teams will make an appearance in the postseason, but two of the league’s four divisions are still up for grabs. The Southeastern Division will be on the line when the Atlanta Firebirds host the Orlando Rockets and both the Seattle Orcas and Utah Raptors have an opportunity to win the Pacific Division crown this weekend. The Southeastern Division is pretty straight forward with the winner of the game not only winning the division, but also earning the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and a first round by. The Pacific Division favors going back to Seattle as a win for them over Los Angeles would clinch their fourth straight crown. A Utah loss would also clinch the Orcas the title. The Raptors would need to win at Dallas and see Seattle lose.

Vince Young to start for Houston in finale

The 35-year-old Vince Young likely has one last chance in the SFL, a chance that may not quite be deserved, but one that he will be looking to take advantage of. Young returned to professional football just last week when Wranglers owner Ryan Clark decided to bring him on as the team’s fourth quarterback. But despite being the fourth quarterback on the depth chart last week, his name recognition has vaulted him all the way up to starter in the meaningless game for the Wranglers against St. Louis.

Terrelle Pryor getting shot as Express quarterback

For years, Terrelle Pryor was an exciting quarterback for the Columbus Explorers, nearly breaking records for rushing yards as a quarterback while there. This season, the Explorers traded him to the Memphis Bombers and say him become a wide receiver. Midseason he was moved to Carolina and again moved to Omaha just weeks later. Pryor has not quite been as dynamic as desired as wide receiver, but with nothing to play for and up-and-down quarterback play out of Matt Moore, the Express have no problem giving Pryor an opportunity back at quarterback.

Phillips possibly coaching final game, other coaches on the hot seat?

Rumors are heavy out of Louisville that Joker Phillips will not be retained as the Cougars head coach after the team failed to make the playoffs despite a very strong start to the season. Phillips has yet to have a winning season with the team and is just 14-33 heading into the final game of his third season.

Phillips is the only clear coach on the hot seat after Raph Friedgen (Washington), Teryl Austin (Memphis), Rex Ryan (Houston) and John Grass (New Orleans) were all fired mid-season. It is unknown what will happen to Mike Jones after a season that sees the Freeze just 1-14 so far, with the win coming just last week. Jones has been one of the best coaches in league history since joining the Freeze in 2008, and considering long-time owner Patrick Tanis is set to return to the team, his positive history with Jones may keep him in town, but a 1-14 record certainly is a terrible look for him. Los Angeles Stars Mark Hudspeth could be fired after his second season with the Los Angeles Stars. The Stars were viewed possibly even as a favorite to win the Pacific Division before the year, but are just 4-11 through 15 games.

Expansion lottery give Oakland top rookie pick

The Oakland Odyssey won the rights to the first pick of the 2018 SFL Rookie Draft while the Oklahoma Roughnecks won the first pick in the expansion draft. The two drafts will flip order. For the rookie draft Oakland will pick first while Miami and Virginia will follow before Oklahoma picks fourth. The expansion draft will be the reserve order.

Week 16 Preview

New York Marauders @ Washington Wave
New York has nothing to play for so this could be a game where they rest their key players to avoid injury, but they do recognize that they have a bye week and don’t want their guys to get too rusty with two weeks off either. Expect a mix out of them in terms starters sitting and getting rest. But after seeing what Arvell Nelson could efficiently do, the Marauders probably should eke out a win over the Wave, which have had little to play for, for weeks out pride.
Pick: New York Marauders

Pittsburgh Forge @ Philadelphia Bulldogs
The Quaker State battle part 2, Philadelphia is out of the playoffs and will likely entire a tank job that their owner is well known for. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has playoff positioning to fight for and shouldn’t take their foot off the gas at all.
Pick: Pittsburgh Forge

Orlando Rockets @ Atlanta Firebirds
Everything is on the line in this game. The winner, wins the Southeast Division and gets a fire round bye while the loser will have to play in the opening weekend of the playoffs and settle for division runner up. Orlando has typically owned Atlanta in the past, but this is an Atlanta team that is built to win now and has been playing very, very well lately. In their home stadium, they could be considered the close favorites.
Pick: Atlanta Firebirds

Michigan Stags @ Carolina Generals
The Stags have already announced they will be benching most of their key players at halftime to get some younger guys time. Carolina could entire a classic tank job by their owner with their postseason hopes having ended last week. That first half of the Stags started should give them a big enough lead. But we are very excited to finally see Brandon Bridge at least, even if it is just for a half.
Pick: Michigan Stags

Omaha Express @ Boston Dragons
Omaha has wrapped up their division and the No. 3 see in the playoffs, but they really want to avoid a losing record for the regular season. Meanwhile, Boston has payoff positioning to play for. Oddly enough, losing this game would benefit them more because they would have the easier matchup against the Express in the first round of the playoffs instead of having to play at Orlando or Atlanta. But Boston isn’t a team that has it in them to throw a game. They are proud and covet wins.
Pick: Boston Dragons

Mississippi Cottonmouths @ Birmingham Predators
Alvin Kamara is out, but Tre Mason played remarkably well last week and showed he can provide that explosiveness out of the backfield to balance out the offense for Dak Prescott. This Birmingham team is trying to build as much momentum as possible to carry into next season. Mississippi is just looking to find a quarterback who won’t get hurt.
Pick: Birmingham Predators

San Diego Diablos @ Columbus Explorers
Columbus is going to give Joshua Dobbs as much of an opportunity as possible to make plays and get comfortable running the offense even with the team having long been out of the playoffs. This game actually will determine a draft spot between these two teams with the same record. San Diego on the road might have a tough time slowing down Dobbs when he scrambles out of the pocket.
Pick: Columbus Explorers

Memphis Bombers @ Louisville Cougars
The boarder war battle isn’t quite as fantastic as the I-65 battle that will be returning next year when the Bombers go back to Nashville, but these two owners still aren’t particularly fond of each other and a win for either, even in a busted season for both teams, would mean something to them. Louisville took the win in Week 8, Memphis will want to even the score with their passing attack that is seeming to be clicking finally. Louisville has really struggled, but it might be the final time we see Joker Phillips on the sideline, especially if he loses this game.
Pick: Memphis Bombers

San Antonio Marshalls @ New Orleans Nightmare
New Orleans is going to want to secure their home game in the first round of the playoffs while San Antonio is going to want to get things clicking enough to get them on track with a win heading into the postseason. San Antonio has a remarkable amount of talent, but haven’t quite been able to dominate games. New Orleans has been among the very best in the league when healthy. Aaron Murray will be back this week, but will the Nightmare risk him getting hurt again when their postseason homes are secure? Maybe at the very least there will be a halftime change, but it is very doubtful there will be enough of a blowout to see New Orleans pulling anybody.
Pick: New Orleans Nightmare

Houston Wranglers @ St. Louis Stallions
Without Aaron Jones and Corey Graham the Houston Wranglers will be without possibly their best offensive and defensive players in this game. They also said they will start Texas Longhorns Legend Vince Young, for whom it is been years since he started a professional football game. That is a major risk, especially against a Stallions secondary that has loaded up with star players looking to make an impression to get back in the NFL or a big SFL contract.
Pick: St. Louis Stallions

Minnesota Freeze @ Iowa Threshers
Minnesota got their first taste of victory last week, could they make it two in a row to end the season? Iowa has to do everything without their starting quarterback CJ Beathard and Austin Davis certainly didn’t impress much last week. Orleans Darkwa will take the lead, but if Josh McCown gets into a groove, the Threshers may not be able to keep up.
Pick: Minnesota Freeze

Utah Raptors @ Dallas Six-Shooters
Dallas has everything wrapped up as the second seed in the playoffs while Utah is fighting for playoff seeding and possibly a division crown if Seattle were to lose their game. But even despite Mike Reilly’s five touchdowns last week against Houston, the Raptors might not have strong enough offense to battle the dominant Dallas defense we have seen this year.
Pick: Dallas Six-Shooters

Seattle Orcas @ Los Angeles Stars
It’s simple if the Orcas win, they win the Pacific Division yet again and secure a home game as the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. Los Angeles hasn’t been good this year, though Cody Kessler did finally get a win last week over San Antonio. But Seattle is a team that just out-physicals even great opponents.
Pick: Seattle Orcas