Week 3 Power Rankings
1. Birmingham Predators (3-0) – Up 3
Last Week: W – New Orleans Nightmare – 47-14
What is this? How is Birmingham the best team in the league? Atlanta, Orlando and New Orleans night be the toughest schedule in the league to start the year and they have gone through undefeated.
2. Orlando Rockets (2-1) – Up 4
Last Week: W – @ Michigan Stags – 24-9
Orlando’s one loss has been to the best team in the league and it wasn’t by much either. Otherwise, a dominant victory over Michigan in what might have been a preview of the Grand Finale shows just how great they are.
3. Michigan Stags (2-1) – Down 2
Last Week: L – Orlando Rockets – 24-9
Losing to Orlando isn’t something to fret about. They are still an elite team and tremendous performances by Minnesota and Atlanta showed how great of a team they can be.
4. Philadelphia Bulldogs (2-1) – Up 9
Last Week: W – San Antonio Marshalls – 32-29
After the Bulldogs lost the opening game to Orlando, they quickly bounced back and shut out Boston and dominated San Antonio. The game was not as close as the three point difference at the end. The Bulldogs defense is fierce and their running game as as dominant as any.
5. San Antonio Marshalls (2-1) – Down 3
Last Week: L – @ Philadelphia Bulldogs – 32-29
The Marshalls shouldn’t get down after their loss to the Bulldogs, this team still absolutely dominated the Dallas Six-Shooters not long ago and one of the most talented rosters in the league. The only thing that may hold them back is the lack of true playmakers at wide receiver, but their quarterback and tight ends and deep backfield can make up for it.
6. Dallas Six-Shooters (2-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Houston Wranglers – 37-34 (OT)
The Six-Shooters bounced back from a blowout loss to San Antonio with a quality win over Houston. They had a very hot start, but things got dicey in the end as they allowed a roaring comeback, but the Shooters scoring 37 points against them again showed how good they are.
7. Boston Dragons (2-1) – Up 9
Last Week: W – Los Angeles Stars – 27-24
Talk about being an up-and-down team, the Dragons have impressive wins over New York and Los Angeles with a shutout loss in between them. The youth on the Dragons will make them inconsistent, but they have proven they can beat elite teams, which last year just wasn’t the case despite the playoff appearance. They have talent the next step.
8. Los Angeles Stars (2-1) – Down 5
Last Week: L – @ Boston Dragons – 27-24
One close loss might seem like a drastic reason to drop Los Angeles five spots, but it proved that they are basically a one-team right now. Phillip Lindsay was used a tremendous amount the first two weeks and just looked really tired as he hit a wall in Week three. The Stars need to put a bit more faith in Cody Kessler and when that happens they won’t have to worry about stinkers like this.
9. New York Marauders (2-1) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Seattle Orcas – 20-13
Vad Lee is turning the ball over a lot, which was not the case the last two seasons. But let’s be honest, he was far over-achieving before. At least, he has perhaps the best receiving corp. in the league to help bail him out and they have. The Marauders talented at every spot surrounding Vad is among the best in the league.
10. Washington Wave (2-1) – Up 12
Last Week: W – Pittsburgh Forge – 31-17
Looking for a spark at quarterback the Wave turned to Cardale Jones and while he will make mistakes, he has a cannon or an arm and brings a dimension to the Wave they just haven’t had before. Their defense is one of the better units in the league and holding Pittsburgh to just 17 points is clear proof of that. With the offense able to get the ball down the field more than just Tyreek Hill, this team is going to be dangerous.
11. Pittsburgh Forge (2-1) – Down 3
Last Week: L – @ Washington Wave – 31-17
Two of the three weeks played the Forge failed to top 20 points. They only hit 31 points against an expansion Miami Mustangs squad. Their offensive line seems to be their biggest issue. The defense is improving, though still has problems. Winning with just an elite passing game isn’t as easy as it used to be for the Forge as defenses are building to stopping them. They will still do it, but might not be as feared as before.
12. Nashville Renegades (2-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – Minnesota Freeze – 37-9
Over the last two weeks the Nashville Renegades have really seemed to figure things out as they’ve picked up two pretty impressive victories. Combined the last two weeks, Nashville has allowed only 12 points. Now the competition hasn’t been great, but back-to-back blowout wins and improvement by AJ McCarron showed the improvement the Renegades have made.
13. San Diego Diablos (3-0) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Oakland Odyssey – 19-13
Nobody thought the Diablos would be a perfect 3-0 to start this season and they deserve some tremendous props for their great start. However, they will likely find the 13th ranking disrespectful considering they have not been bear, but their opponents have combined for just one victory. Their schedule has not been overly challenging, but they have something they have more talent than most thought. They just have to keeping proving themselves and use the momentum they have gotten from this strong start and build on it.
14. Mississippi Cottonmouths (2-1) – Up 7
Last Week: W – @ Omaha Express – 23-21
Ricky Ray is on a mission to show he isn’t finished and so far through three weeks he’s shown it. Ray threw three touchdowns early to give the Cottonmouths a 21-0 lead before halftime. While Omaha made their run to come back, the Cottonmouths defense came up big time and time again and had a game-winning safety.
15. Atlanta Firebirds (1-2) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Oklahoma Roughnecks – 26-10
It took longer than expected but three weeks into the season the Firebirds finally got their first win. They didn’t have the greatest of competition after playing two top teams, but the win and confidence boost was very needed. There really aren’t any black marks in the game for the Firebirds. They are happy and will look to carry the momentum going forward to get back to a winning record.
16. Omaha Express (2-1) – Down 5
Last Week: L – Mississippi Cottonmouths – 23-21
As dynamic as Terrelle Pryor is, teams will have to deal with it when he has down games. He has tremendous games, but every now and them we see he isn’t the greatest passer. Pryor went 11-for-30 passing. Their defense, especially their pass rush, along with Rex Burkhead is the head of the team. That is a good combination to win, but occasionally they will lay their eggs.
17. New Orleans Nightmare (1-2) – Down 10
Last Week: L – @ Birmingham Predators – 47-14
Jack Del Rio might rip apart his locker room if his team doesn’t turn things around quick. The Nightmare had a close loss to Dallas and a win over Louisville, but this blowout loss at Birmingham is a step back. The Predators are a really good team, but the Nightmare have title aspirations and need to be in these games more.
18. Iowa Threshers (2-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – Louisville Cougars – 23-3
Offensively, it was a bit of a challenge for the Threshers, but defensively, they absolutely dominated. This Threshers team is far from sexy, having a strong defense, strong running game, a great tight end and a game-manager quarterback, they are a bit reminiscent of the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, which we all know won the title. The Threshers might not be a clear favorite to win it all but they will make things very, very tough for opponents and will keep on grinding out wins.
19. Seattle Orcas (1-2) – Down 10
Last Week: L – @ New York Marauders – 20-13
What happened to Seattle? They are 1-2 with losses to some quality teams but they don’t even have the feel of the dominant squad they used to be. The problem is they are getting old and lack any playmakers on offense outside Isaiah Crowell. The defense and Crowell will still make this team capable of winning, but they might not be a shoe-in for the playoffs anymore. It will be a fight.
20. St. Louis Stallions (2-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – Columbus Explorers – 39-25
When Zach Mettenberger and Alfred Blue are hitting their stride the Stallions are as tough as they come. Their defense will still make things difficult for them, but they can outscore most teams any week.
21. Utah Raptors (1-2) – Up 6
Last Week: W – @ Carolina Generals – 31-30
Ryan Nassib had been struggling, so counter to what you’d expect after a 0-2 start, the Raptors put more on the former championship winning quarterback and threw a lot more. It apparently worked and gave the Raptors their first win of the year with 31 points scored.
22. Carolina Generals (1-2) – Down 5
Last Week: L – Utah Raptors – 31-30
Through three games the giant preseason acquisition of Dez Bryant has been targeted once. How is this possible? Well, they are a running team with a running quarterback and have Jamison Crowder and Zach Miller as options ahead of him. If the Generals want to get Dez Bryant more involved, they need to make up a gameplan that is more conducive to getting him involved. In the preseason, Bryant was great. Getting him more involved will make this offense better. Right now, it’s 100% Colin Kaepernick.
23. Houston Wranglers (1-2) – Down 4
Last Week: L – Dallas Six-Shooters – 37-34 (OT)
Having to mount a comeback after being down early Matt Nichols got to air it out more than usual and it nearly worked. The Wranglers were able to come back from down 24-7 and forced overtime, but disappointingly, he also threw three interceptions, including one in overtime that led to the immediate game-winning field goal by the Six-Shooters. Now remember, these mistakes happen when a quarterback has to force things in an effort to make a comeback, but as he showed he can wing it down the field well, maybe the team will take a bit off the load or Aaron Jones and let Nichols have a bigger role going forward.
24. Louisville Cougars (1-2) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Iowa Threshers – 23-3
That was a brutal game for the Cougars. Their defense put them in position to win, but their offense kept them far from it. That is the Cougars in a nutshell. They might get hot on offense and score, but more often than not this team will struggle offensively and leave their defense frustrated.
25. Columbus Explorers (1-2) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ St. Louis Stallions – 39-25
Josh Dobbs is showing improvement but the lack of running game helping he really isn’t helping the Explorers. However, they have addressed this. They will forever regret trading Alvin Kamara away for Kenyan Drake and Chris Williams. At least now they have added a former Offensive Rookie of the Year Jeremy Langford. Langford hasn’t exactly taken the next step since his good rookie year, but he also has yet to be a featured back, instead usually in the mix of a deep backfield rotation.
26. Miami Mustangs (1-2) – Up 2
Last Week: W – Virginia Admirals – 15-10
The Mustangs became the first of this year’s crop of expansion teams to get a win, but it sure was ugly. They were expected to win, but it wasn’t Brad Kaaya who has his coming out party. Instead, their defense held strong and mostly took advantage of Virginia mistakes while Nick Folk went 5-for-5 on field goal attempts to get the win.
27. Minnesota Freeze (0-3) – Down 3
Last Week: L – @ Nashville Renegades – 37-9
Ouch, brutal. Mike Reilly completed only nine passes, their defense was abysmal and they got destroyed by the Nashville Renegades. Minnesota seemed to be building a quality team, but the lack of depth is killing them. Unless they get a win soon, they may start offloading their guys with expiring contracts to get more draft picks.
28. Oklahoma Roughnecks (0-3) – Down 2
Last Week: L – Atlanta Firebirds – 26-10
Every team goes out with the intention of winning every game, but as an expansion team the Oklahoma Roughnecks certainly understood they would be hard to come back this year. But even with that in mind, they have to be disappointed in the performances of James Franklin and Thomas Rawls so far this year. Through three games they have scored just 37 points.
29. Oakland Odyssey (0-3) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ San Diego Diablos – 19-13
Jay Amado continues to be more and more disappointed and discouraged with his team, but he can’t keep getting down. He needs to stay the course and let his young guys develop and have this team go through growing pains. Wins will come in time, they just have to be patient.
30. Virginia Admirals (0-3) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Miami Mustangs – 15-10
That was bad. The Admirals might just get rid of LeGarrette Blount after rushing for only 18 yards on 12 carries. With a running game averaging just 1.7 yards per carry and totaling just 36 yards in a game, the Admirals won’t be able to get wins. They need to improve that. Alex McGough is too young and needs too much development to be a guy who can put a team on his back to get a win.
Week Three Awards
Offensive Player of the Week:
QB Dak Prescott, Birmingham Predators
16-for-19, 316 Passing Yards, 4 Passing TDs, 4 Rushes, 28 Rush Yards (7.0 YPC)
Defensive Player of the Week:
DE Willie Jefferson, Orlando Rockets
6 Tackles, 2 Sacks, 1 Hurry, 3 Forced Fumbles
Special Teams Player of the Week:
K Nick Folk, Miami Mustangs
5-for-5 FGs (20, 22, 23, 20, 20, 15 Points
Rookie of the Week:
CB Tre Flowers, Dallas Six-Shooters
7 Tackles, 1 PD, 1 INT
Week Four Preview
Houston Wranglers (1-2) @ New York Marauders (2-1) – At High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, NJ
The Wranglers need to start getting wins and a 2-1, but vulnerable New York Marauders team could be one for the upset. The Marauders run defense has been very disappointing and Aaron Jones has been running very well. That could be the key matchup in this game. However, at the same time the Wranglers defense has been very disappointing and the Marauders passing attack is much more dynamic. It will be a very close chess match of a game.
Pick: New York Marauders
Boston Dragons (2-1) @ Washington Wave (2-1)
Neither of the teams are very sexy but both are solid 2-1 teams. Washington’s second-ranked run defense will be a wall against Andre Ellington, putting a lot of pressure on Cooper Rush to step up and make plays.
Pick: Washington Wave
Virginia Admirals (0-3) @ Carolina Generals (1-2)
Virginia actually could get the upset here if the 29th ranked pass offense of the Carolina Generals struggled against the No. 4-ranked pass defense of the Admirals. Then again, the Admirals offensive line is probably the worst in the league and their running game as been putrid as well. The Admirals will likely make a change at running back to try to get something going, but the Generals are just a bit more proven.
Pick: Carolina Generals
Miami Mustangs (1-2) @ Atlanta Firebirds (1-2)
We thought Miami might be 1-2 by this point, but it was hard to figure the Firebirds would be as well. Atlanta has had a rough schedule and while they are just 1-2, they are the far superior team here.
Pick: Atlanta Firebirds
Birmingham Predators (3-0) @ Mississippi Cottonmouths (2-1)
Mississippi has probably over-achieved with a 2-1 record. They are a quality quad and Ricky Ray has taught them how to win, but the Predators are on a roll with three wins over three tremendous teams. They have a boatload of talent and it’s finally all come together.
Pick: Birmingham Predators
Oakland Odyssey (0-3) @ Louisville Cougars (1-2)
While they are 1-2, Louisville’s front-seven has been great, evident by their fifth-ranked run defense and third-ranked pass rush. They have plenty of other problems but those things are likely enough to stop the Odyssey from picking up their first win of the year.
Pick: Louisville Cougars
Nashville Renegades (2-1) @ New Orleans Nightmare (1-2)
Expect a very close, hard-fought game here between these two teams. Nashville has really started t figure things out and are playing well, but desperation might be coming into play for a Nightmare squad that is way more talented than their 1-2 record.
Pick: New Orleans Nightmare
Columbus Explorers (1-2) @ Minnesota Freeze (0-3)
Expect a lot of mistakes and turnovers here in a sloppy game. Both teams have a lack of depth that hurt them as well as mistake-prone players, but when that is the game Mike Reilly gets the advantage over Josh Dobbs.
Pick: Minnesota Freeze
Omaha Express (2-1) @ St. Louis Stallions (2-1)
The rivalry between these two owners and teams is escalating so we’ll see if that shows on the field. Both teams have holes in their game, but the Stallions third-ranked passing attack going against a bottom-half pass defense might be the difference.
Pick: St. Louis Stallions
Iowa Threshers (2-1) @ Oklahoma Roughnecks (0-3) – At Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium in Tulsa, OK
The Roughnecks are introducing their team to their Tulsa fans this week. They are still looking for their first victory and Iowa could be had with an offense that doesn’t really scare anybody, but their defense across the board is among the best in the league and that will make things very tough for the Roughnecks.
Pick: Iowa Threshers
Orlando Rockets (2-1) @ Dallas Six-Shooters (2-1)
Just like how Orlando played a possible championship preview last week, this too could be a championship preview. It’s always tough to pick against the Rockets in any game, and while being on the road against the legendary Josh McCown is tough, they still might have enough to get the win and prove they are still top dogs.
Pick: Orlando Rockets
Utah Raptors (1-2) @ San Antonio Marshalls (2-1)
The Raptors put more on Ryan Nassib last week and it worked with them getting their first win of the year. But even though Nassib has a championship ring, we’re going to hold off on picking a team led by him over a team led by Bo Levi Mitchell.
Pick: San Antonio Marshalls
Michigan Stags (2-1) @ Seattle Orcas (1-2)
These two teams are build very similar, with dominant defenses and a strong running game leading the way. Neither team has a game-changing quarterback, but Zach Collaros is better than what the Orcas have going on.
Pick: Michigan Stags
Los Angeles Stars (2-1) @ San Diego Diablos (3-0)
Who would have thought this game would be between the two top teams in their division with just one loss between them? The Diablos have a great offensive line and their running game has been great as well, but while the Stars hit a wall last week, they have looked like the better team.
Pick: Los Angeles Stars
Pittsburgh Forge (2-1) @ Philadelphia Bulldogs (2-1)
The Quaker State battle is always a good one. These two teams are built pretty different with the Forge having a great passing offense and the Bulldogs getting it done on the ground. The Forge are more explosive, but the Bulldogs have a much better defense.
Pick: Philadelphia Bulldogs