Week One Power Rankings
1. San Antonio Marshalls (1-0) – No Change
Last Week: W – Atlanta – 38-17
We shouldn’t be surprised that Bo Levi Mitchell and Aaron Jones led a high-octane and balanced offense. Mitchell’s three passing touchdowns was a big part of San Antonio’s quick strike ability while he and Jones combined for 220 yards on the ground. Not known for his legs, Mitchell rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown while Jones had 135 yards and a score. When the Marshalls got out to a bit lead they were able to limit the clock for the Firebirds to prevent any hope for a comeback. Defensively, they dominated the Firebirds, led by four sacks and seven more hurries.
2. Birmingham Predators (1-0) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Orlando – 17-3
Birmingham remarkably held Orlando to just three points. It is strange to see Dak Prescott only pass for 78 yards, but the Predators running game with Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara and their defense are tremendous. The Predators can beat anybody and shutting down Orlando in week one is a great way to start a title defense.
3. New York Marauders (1-0) – Up 2
Last Week: W – @ Pittsburgh – 31-20
Dating back to last year’s playoffs, the Marauders seem to have figured out the key to slowing down the Pittsburgh Forge offense. They are holding on tight to that strategy, but holding Pittsburgh to just 20 points is a remarkable feat, especially considering their defense was without star defensive tackle Michael Pierce most of the game. Offensively, Mike Reilly gave them a very good performance with 269 yards and three touchdowns, but it was their running game that helped grind the Forge down and open up the passing attack. Things went pretty perfect for New York.
4. Michigan Stags (1-0) – Up 3
Last Week: W – @ Milwaukee – 30-28
What a comeback! Michigan and Milwaukee were locked in a battle all game long but in the final two minutes when Milwaukee pulled ahead the Stags looked to be headed for a loss. But, the Stags got down the field in a hurry and Vernon Adams passed the ball to Marlon Mack, who exploded forward for the game-winning touchdown with just eight seconds left. The Stags made a gutsy decision to move on from Zach Collaros, who rarely ever made a mistake, but the team also didn’t think he gave them enough explosive ability. They decided to go with the unproven Vernon Adams, who everybody knew had ability but hasn’t had many opportunities to show it. Adams, in his debut for the Stags, did have three interceptions, but he also had 363 yards passing, three passing touchdowns, and 79 yards rushing. That is the explosive ability the Stags have felt they were missing at quarterback and it was huge for them in week one.
5. Pittsburgh Forge (0-1) – Down 2
Last Week: L – New York – 31-20
Losing to one of the best teams in the league isn’t something to be too upset about. The Forge played well, but their defense, which is much improved, still isn’t top notch and if a team does succeed in slowing their offense down, they really need to have their defense play better in those types of games. Pittsburgh is still a heavy favorite against most opponents, however.
6. Orlando Rockets (0-1) – Down 2
Last Week: L – @ Birmingham – 17-3
Looking back in history, Orlando doesn’t have great early-season success. Losing week one and even week two is fairly common for the Rockets. Then they go on a huge run after getting out some early season kinks. The Rockets are figuring that out. Their offense just didn’t do too much in their season debut. Also in their defense, they lost to the defending champions. Scoring only three points is a worry, but allowing just 17 points to a team that was putting up over 50 a game on even great opponents last year is something to build on.
7. Washington Wave (1-0) – Up 7
Last Week: W – @ Boston – 41-29
Since their return to the league the Wave have been looking for consistency at quarterback. Now, they look to have it, and more. Zach Collaros played with a huge chip on his shoulder after being thrown out of Michigan. He passed for 302 yards and five touchdowns, finding tight end Jordan Thomas three times in the game. Another former Stag, Jalen Saunders, was the team’s leading receiver with six catches for 95 yards. We know the Wave have high-end players on defense with Blake Martinez and Yannick Ngakoue, but if Collaros does just half of what he did week one throughout the rest of the season the Wave could be serious contenders.
8. Columbus Explorers (1-0) – Up 16
Last Week: W – @ Nashville – 38-30
If you see 38 points scored by Columbus, you might guess it was Josh Dobbs going crazy. Dobbs did have three touchdowns, all three going to the 6-foot-6 RedZone threat Dan Arnold, but he only passed the ball 16 times for 147 yards. Dobbs completed 14 of those passes, but it was the ground game that carried Columbus to victory. Dobbs had 71 yards but it is the addition of Austin Ekeler that looks like it’s a huge one. He had 120 yards and two scores while the team in total had 218 yards. The defense is also better than the 30 points they allowed might suggest. The Explorers are a throw-back kind of defense and running game team, but with a dynamic and consistently improving quarterback they can pop on offense now.
9. Nashville Renegades (0-1) – Down 1
Last Week: L – Columbus – 38-30
Nashville suffered a disappointing upset loss against Columbus. It was a weird showing. They scored 30 points, so that is something to be happy with, but their defense, which is loaded with talent, gave up 38 points. The star of their team, Jordan Howard, also only had 16 yards rushing. It’s impossible to think this will be the Renegades story throughout the season. Howard and the defense will be better.
10. Milwaukee Warriors (0-1) – No Change
Last Week: L – Michigan – 30-28
This just in: Antonio Brown is fantastic. Is anybody surprised that maybe the best wide receiver in the game was huge in his SFL debut? Not only did Brown make eight catches for 179 yards and a touchdown, but he really opened up Antonio Callaway for two touchdowns. The Warriors played a great game, but at the very end just couldn’t stop the Stags. It is an upsetting loss to have. The Warriors might benefit from playing any team that isn’t Michigan because their defensive line and pass rush is so great. Matt Barkley had 300 yards passing despite being hurried so much and being sacked four times.
11. Carolina Generals (1-0) – Up 15
Last Week: W – New Orleans – 31-17
Colin Kaepernick completed only eight of 20 passes for 151 yards with one touchdown and one interception. That is not a pretty game and not a state line from a quarterback that one would ever expect to have been victorious. However, Kaepernick rushed for an incredible 133 yards and two touchdowns while Frank Gore had 102 yards and a score on the ground. The Generals ground game just couldn’t be stopped as they totaled 246 yards. If you’re running that well, it just wears out the opposing defense.
12. Dallas Six-Shooters (1-0) – Up 1
Last Week: W – @ Mississippi – 27-10
While Josh McCown had 243 yards and two touchdowns, it was pretty clear the heart of the Six-Shooters offense is now Chris Carson. He only had 3.5 yards per carry, but his 98 yards and score were huge in setting up the passing game. McCown was able to use the running game’s presence to pass for 243 yards and two touchdowns, hitting Tavon Austin in the endzone twice. They also have to be happy to see their defense perform the way it did. Their secondary really shut down the Gators passing game and made it impossible for Mississippi to compete.
13. Louisville Cougars (1-0) – Up 2
Last Week: W – @ Sacramento – 33-27 (OT)
Despite some hype for the Cougars offense, nobody would have expected the aging Arrelious Benn and fullback Sam Rogers to be the Cougars two best receiving weapons. Benn had nine catches for 131 yards while Rogers took advantage of plenty of space with four catches for 86 yards. Jeremiah Masoli had two interceptions, but his 413 yards and three touchdowns to go with it showed his gunslinger mentality. He’s a playmaker and will make up for his mistakes. The Cougars defense did struggle early, but they did much better towards the end and were able to pull out a win in overtime.
14. New Orleans Nightmare (0-1) – Down 5
Last Week: L – @ Carolina – 31-17
Despite 245 yards and two touchdowns from Aaron Murray, there are rumbles the Nightmare are considering turning things over to P.J. Walker. The loss is a tough one to swallow for the Nightmare. Josh Gordon and Josh Malone did great in the game, but the points just didn’t accumulate. Their running game struggled but their run defense crumbled. The Nightmare have more talent on their defensive line than 246 rushing yards against show. They need to tighten up that defense more than work on their offense.
15. Jacksonville Stingrays (1-0) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Miami – 23-10
Jacksonville got an impressive win, but against a struggling Miami team, expectations and hype must be tempered, at least for now. The Stingrays have turned things entirely over to Matt Nichols without hesitation and his 336 yards and touchdown showed that might have been the right move. Their defense dominated Miami with six sacks. Will that sort of success keep up? Can it keep up?
16. Atlanta Firebirds (0-1) – Down 10
Last Week: L – @ San Antonio – 38-17
Okay, we can give a bit of a pass to Atlanta’s defense giving up 38 points to San Antonio. The Firebirds were supposed to have maybe the league’s best defense, but the Marshalls offense is tremendously explosive. The problem is, it’s already clear their team isn’t set up to play from behind. The Firebirds were planning on having a game-manager quarterback and an offense that would control tempo and the clock. Then they fell behind and Arbuckle just couldn’t lead the comeback with his arm as the Firebirds just didn’t have enough time to keep running the ball.
17. Boston Dragons (0-1) – Down 6
Last Week: L – Washington – 41-29
For a team that is built around their defense, the Dragons got shredded against Boston. That is a disappointing game, allowing 41 points and five passing touchdowns. Cooper Rush actually didn’t perform too poorly, two interceptions in forced situations aside, but the Dragons aren’t going to be high-scoring or high octane. Their defense needs to be better.
18. Omaha Express (1-0) – Down 1
Last Week: W – Indianapolis – 24-21
Omaha was able to do two things very well in their season debut, and debut for new owner Red Georges. The Express were able to completely destroy any hope Indianapolis had of running the ball. They held their opponents to just 31 yards on the ground at 1.8 yards per carry. They were also able to run the ball with great success on their own. The Express has 124 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. There were many drives in the second half where they were able to just get down the field on long drives that ate up clock to keep Indianapolis from coming back. Winning in the trenches is still a great way to win games.
19. Los Angeles Avengers (1-0) – Down 3
Last Week: L – @ San Diego – 24-13
Mark Andrews certainly looked great. Jacob Dolegala took having a tight end as a rookie quarterback’s best friend to a new level in his debut. It led to a victory, but he had nine of his 12 completions going to Andrews. Andrews had 138 of Dolegala’s 171 yards. The running game did manage 154 yards, but only 74 yards and one score from Phillip Lindsay at just 3.2 yards per carry. The Avengers had a win, and it needs to be celebrated, but moving forward this offense needs to be more balanced.
20. Buffalo Gunners (1-0) – Up 3
Last Week: W – @ St. Louis – 30-7
So many things went perfect for Buffalo in their debut. Their defense shut the Stallions down, holding them to just seven points that game in the second half as their secondary held Zach Mettenberger to just 14-for-31 passing. Offensively, the Gunners racked up 203 rushing yards and three scores. Orleans Darkwa rushed for 111 yards and two scores as the Gunners offense just wore down the Stallions. Rookie Gardner Minshew didn’t need to do a ton, but just just what was needed as the Gunners blew St. Louis out. They will need to prove themselves over a more balanced and better opponent, though.
21. Virginia Admirals (1-0) – Up 4
Last Week: W – @ Philadelphia – 23-6
In the preseason we saw what McLeod Bethel-Thompson brought to Virginia. He played great and the Admirals dominated the Bulldogs. Their secondary, led by Captain Munnerlyn and Ryan Smith, was also huge in their success. The Admirals might not do this every week, but they are vastly improved from last year. That is already very clear.
22. Utah Raptors (1-0) – Up 8
Last Week: W – @ Seattle – 31-13
The Raptors far exceeded expectations in week one. Their defense is very talented and their front-seven made up for their youth in the secondary. Offensively, they executed a perfect game plan to protect Easton Stick. He managed 264 yards and two touchdowns, but was making smart and safe passes and had a committed running game taking pressure off of him. And this happened when the running game averaged only 2.3 yards per carry against a a very talented Orcas defense.
23. San Diego Diablos (0-1) – Down 5
Last Week: L – Los Angeles – 24-13
In their week one loss it didn’t seem that last year’s easy schedule did play into their great record, but the Diablos did see some decent performances. And their defense is pretty legitimate. They just need a bit more explosiveness. Their two top receivers were Rueben Randal and Mychal Rivera. Neither bring much explosiness to their team. They need younger guys to step up to become more dynamic on offense.
24. Indianapolis Speed (0-1) – Down 5
Last Week: L – @ Omaha – 24-21
A complete inability to run against a stout Express run defense made things very difficult for the Speed. Nyheim Nines was abysmal. He’s a flashier, more dynamic back, but he was shut down by the Express. Samajae Perine’s yards per carry wasn’t the best, but his size and power held up more and while he only had 24 yards, the Speed did see their offense pick up after he got put in. Keenum finished the game with 256 yards. He had some mistakes, but he did have to force more than he would have wanted to in the comeback effort. The run defense of the Speed was a problem because they couldn’t slow the Express down on the ground. That needs to improve. If it does, the Speed have ability to win games.
25. Seattle Orcas (0-1) – Down 4
Last Week: L – Utah – 31-13
Seattle isn’t as bad as they were in the first week. They are coming off a bad year, but they just need to figure out their passing game. The running game and defense are there, but they don’t have explosive players at wide receiver and rookie Brett Rypien couldn’t make a lot out of it. They’ll keep tweaking their offense more and more to try to mask their passing game, which is much improved over last years group.
26. Philadelphia Bulldogs (0-1) – Down 14
Last Week: L – Virginia – 23-6
The Bulldogs have to be terribly disappointed. While the preseason has to be taken with a grain of salt, they dominated a game where both teams put their entire starting units out there. Then, they completely blew it against a team that had improved, but was really bad last year. The Bulldogs have to be better. It’s hard to imagine them playing this poorly the rest of the year.
27. Mississippi Gators (0-1) – No Change
Last Week: L – Dallas – 27-10
It’s probably too early for the Gators to be saying all is lost. Week one wasn’t a good showing, though. Nick Brosette tried to get things started on the ground, but Dallas’ defense just wouldn’t allow him to get anywhere on the ground as he was stuffed for just 1.3 yards per carry. That left everything on Vad Lee. He’s a talented guy, but he just doesn’t have the elite level help he had in New York. That doesn’t mean he can’t be successful, it just means the Gators need to be able to run more to open up the passing game. We’ll see if they are able to do that moving forward.
28. Miami Mustangs (0-1) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Jacksonville – 23-10
It really doesn’t make sense why Mike Gillislee struggles like he does. Maybe the Mustangs have to do what Utah did last year after Jamaal Williams struggled to get going on the field. Everybody could see Williams’ talent, but it wasn’t until the Raptors just decided to completely commit to handing the ball off to Williams, despite only moderate success on the field, that Williams took off. Bart Houston is a decent game manager but unless the Mustangs get the ground game going it will be tough for him to carry the team.
29. Sacramento Bandits (0-1) – No Change
Last Week: L – Louisville – 33-27 (OT)
The Bandits are probably better than their 29th place ranking, but they did lose and it’s difficult to move up after a loss. Blake Bortles had some highs and some lows but outside Cameron Meredith, he didn’t have a lot of help. Meredith was great, with 122 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions in the game. Defensively, the Bandits have to be a little disappointed, but Louisville also needs credit for the success they had.
30. St. Louis Stallions (0-1) – Down 10
Last Week: L – Buffalo – 30-7
St. Louis had as bad of a Week 1 as a team could have. Their entire team is based on their passing offense. They won’t win with their running game nore their defense, and their passing game totaled just 141 yards with less than 50-percent of the passes being completed. The Stallions really only have one way to win and that one way didn’t look good at all.
Week One Awards
Offensive Player of the Week:
QB Zach Collaros (Washington Wave)
23-for-37 (62.2%), 302 Pass Yards, 5 Pass TDs, 2 Rushes, 12 Rush Yards (6.0 YPC)
Defensive Player of the Week:
DE Dorance Armstrong (Omaha Express)
5 tackles, 3 Sacks, 1 FF
Special Teams Player of the Week:
RET Tyreek Hill (Nashville Renegades)
4 KR, 188 KR Yards (47.0 YPR), 1 TD (85 Yards)
Rookie of the Week:
QB Easton Stick (Utah Raptors)
24-for-31 (77.4%), 264 Pass Yards, 2 Pass TDs, 2 Rushes, 10 Rush Yards (5.0 YPC)
Week Two Preview
Boston Dragons @ Virginia Admirals
Virginia got a huge, dominant win last week while Boston got blown out, but the Admirals offense isn’t the Wave’s offense and the Dragons will be out to prove themselves in week two.
Pick: Boston Dragons
Philadelphia Bulldogs @ Atlanta Firebirds
Philadelphia should be better moving forward, but it’s hard to ignore their blowout loss to Virginia. Atlanta was blown out as well, but it was against San Antonio. Atlanta’s defense should rebound against a struggling bulldogs squad.
Pick: Atlanta Firebirds
Birmingham Predators @ Michigan Stags
This is going to be a great game and after seeing Vernon Adams perform like he did in Week one it is a tougher call that we might have thought last week, but until a team beats the Predators it’s hard to pick against them.
Pick: Birmingham Predators
San Antonio Marshalls @ Mississippi Gators
Mississippi needs to get things going in a hurry, but it’s hard to imagine they will use San Antonio as a springboard to success.
Pick: San Antonio Marshalls
Omaha Express @ Dallas Six-Shooters
Oh the storylines here between these owners and franchises, it’s crazy to think this is already happening in week two. Both teams won in very different ways last week but Dallas with Josh McCown at home is a tough one to pick against in an otherwise even match.
Pick: Dallas Six-Shooters
Pittsburgh Forge @ Los Angeles Avengers
Pittsburgh was held in relative check last week against New York. The Avengers aren’t the team the Marauders are. It’s hard to imagine Jacob Dolegala outdualing Jonathan Jennings.
Pick: Pittsburgh Forge
St. Louis Stallions @ Indianapolis Speed
Both the Stallions and Speed are coming off disappointing week one losses but the Speed showed a lot more positives than St. Louis did in their loss.
Pick: Indianapolis Speed
Carolina Generals @ Washington Wave
Can Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore have the success on the ground they had in week one? If they do, will that be enough to keep up with an all-of-a-sudden explosive Washington Waves team led by Zach Collaros?
Pick: Washington Wave
Jacksonville Stingrays @ Orlando Rockets
Orlando managed only three points in week one. Jacksonville played very well in their franchise debut. Could we see another disappointing week two performance from Orlando? They do usually take some time to get going and we saw that from them against Mississippi a few years ago. It could happen, but it’s very hard to pick. Devonta Freeman has to get going soon.
Pick: Orlando Rockets
Columbus Explorers @ Louisville Cougars
Two of the more surprising week one offenses will meet week two. Both teams have mobile and dynamic quarterbacks and hard-nosed defenses. This is a very close game but Jeremiah Masoli has led the Cougars to early season success before and they are at home so they get the edge.
Pick: Louisville Cougars
Milwaukee Warriors @ New York Marauders
Antonio Brown vs. Stefon Diggs, what a treat of a matchup. This one should be a good one, though the Marauders did hold the high-powered Pittsburgh Forge in relative check last week. Milwaukee is definitely better than a potential 0-2 start, but games against Michigan and New York are tough to open with.
Pick: New York Marauders
Nashville Renegades @ New Orleans Nightmare
Both teams will be out there with a purpose in week two after losing week one. Both teams need to get their running games going more and both teams have strong run defenses. This is another coin-flip matchup but Nashville has Jordan Howard. As solid as Jeremy Hill and Stevan Ridley are, Howard is much more likely to explode for a huge game.
Pick: Nashville Renegades
San Diego Diablos @ Buffalo Gunners
San Diego’s defense could pose some trouble for Buffalo and rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, but one of these teams is coming off a performance where their gameplan went perfectly to plan and the other is coming off a loss where they were unable to get their offense going.
Pick: Buffalo Gunners
Seattle Orcas @ Sacramento Bandits
Seattle is going to be on a mission to prevent another bad start to the year and Sacramento has to be where they do that after losing to Utah in week one. They almost don’t have a choice to lose this game. It’s hard to say a week two game is a must win, but considering what Seattle went through last year and Sacramento’s expansion status, they need this win. Sacramento had some success in week one, though in a loss, expect the Orcas to feed Isaiah Crowell early and often in an attempt to grind down the Bandits.
Pick: Seattle Orcas
Utah Raptors @ Miami Mustangs
Things went nearly perfect for Utah in their season opener, except their running game wasn’t as efficient as they would have wanted. Still, even struggling to pick up bulk yards on carries didn’t hurt the Raptors offense. Miami doesn’t have nearly the run defense Seattle had.
Pick: Utah Raptors