Week 5 Power Rankings

1. San Antonio Marshalls (5-0) – No Change
Last Week: W – Seattle Orcas – 26-20 (OT)

Bo Levi Mitchell has let the running game lead the team the past few weeks, but against a dominant defense like the Seattle Orcas, Mitchell took back over and threw for three touchdowns, all to Ricky Collins, including one deep into overtime to win the game. San Antonio has the two biggest statement victories of the season, beating both the Pittsburgh Forge and Seattle Orcas.

2. Atlanta Firebirds (5-0) – No Change
Last Week: W – Mississippi Cottonmouths – 28-21

Atlanta is perfect and has dominated their opponents but just don’t have the strength of schedule like the Marshalls have. But there is nothing that says Atlanta isn’t in the conversation as the best team in the league. They have weapons. Last week it was Albert Wilson. This week, while he was facing double teams the entire game, it was Cameron Meredith and Malcolm Mitchell coming up big. And their running game has a nice thunder and lightning with DeMarco Murray. But also look at their defense. They did great against a very good rushing attack, and held Ricky Ray in check.

3. Orlando Rockets (3-2) – Up 2
Last Week: W – @ Michigan Stags – 19-7

The Rockets have officially moved on from Ricky Ray, trading him to Mississippi, and Trevor Harris threw two interceptions and no touchdowns. But Devonta Freeman was able to grind down a tremendous defense, which played it’s part in making Harris look worse than he is, and the Rockets won a tough road game against another one of the league’s most powerful teams. They have now won three-straight since their 0-2 start. They are clearly back in the elite group of teams.

4. Seattle Orcas (4-1) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ San Antonio Marshalls – 26-20 (OT)

Their defense is remarkable, Isaiah Crowell is dominant. Maybe Ryan Griffin just didn’t give them enough, but the Orcas had the Marshalls on the ropes in the Alamodome until the very end and deep into overtime. The Orcas are still a dominant team until proven otherwise.

5. Michigan Stags (4-1) – Down 1
Last Week: L – Orlando Rockets – 19-7

Michigan was in a matchup of greats this week, but came up just short. There is no reason for them to hang their head over this game. Their defense was tremendous, Orlando’s was just a little bit better in the end. The Stags should bounce back quickly from this game.

6. Pittsburgh Forge (3-2) – No Change
Last Week: W – Iowa Threshers – 30-7

Pittsburgh is still considered the gate-keeper until further notice. Their head-to-head blowout win over the New York Marauders in week one still gives them the No. 6 spot over them here. This week, they bounced back from back-to-back losses with a 30-7 victory over Iowa, which was a shutout until the final three minutes of the game. It was very expected considering the ability of the two teams.

7. New York Marauders (4-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – St. Louis Stallions – 55-24 (in Buffalo, NY)

New York has tremendous weapons, but if their offense really this good, putting up over 50 points back-to-back weeks? The Marauders efforts might be more of a product of playing two bad defenses the past two weeks, but they certainly have one of the best trios of receivers, and the best receiving running back in the league. They can score. The defense might need to show a little bit more considering how much high-end talent they have.

8. Louisville Cougars (4-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – Carolina Generals – 41-24

Easily, Jeremiah Masoli is playing the best he ever has. This past week, he threw four touchdown passes in the game. Julian Edelman is certainly helping his cause, catching 140 passes with two touchdowns. That opened Maurice Purifoy up big time for 150 yards and two more scores. And Gabriel Knapton is entering Defensive Player of the Year conversation early on with 10 tackles and two more sacks. He’s dominating and made things difficult for Colin Kaepernick.

9. Dallas Six-Shooters (4-1) – Up 1
Last Week: W – @ Memphis Bombers – 37-17

With James Franklin continuing to play superb football and running back Jalen Richard getting his feet under him, the Six-Shooters find themselves 4-1. This past week they held a big 30-3 lead over the Memphis Bombers midway through the fourth quarter. As Richard gets going strong, the Six-Shooters will be more and more dangerous. But look at their defense showing strong efforts out on the field. Dallas is a team with few holes.

10. Omaha Express (3-2) – Up 1
Last Week: W – @ Minnesota Freeze – 49-10

While the Minnesota Freeze are really struggling, any time a defense can hold a Josh McCown offense to just 10 points is a major success. Omaha’s defense is a tremendous unit and offensively, they are letting LeGarrette Blount and Rex Burkhead lead the way. Matt Moore just has to do his job and the Express will have success.

11. Carolina Generals (2-3) – Down 2
Last Week: L – @ Louisville Cougars – 41-24

Carolina’s secondary has been getting picked on this season and Jeremiah Masoli had a huge day against them, passing for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. Of course, Julian Edelman is tough for any team to defense, but his presence made it tough for them to stop Maurice Purify as well. All in all, the Generals never had a chance to win with how the Cougars were able to pass all over the place like that.

12. Boston Dragons (3-2) – Up 3
Last Week: W – @ San Diego Diablos – 21-14

Cooper Rush had a nice game with 226 yards and two touchdowns to push the Dragons to 3-2 on the season. Andre Ellington is getting more and more involved and helping things out too while Luke Tasker is back with a vengeance this season. This week he caught nine passes for 123 yards and another touchdown. Beating the San Diego Diablos, making a cross-country trip, was expected, but it was still a good win for them. They are figuring things out and seem to be on a nice positive swing up.

13. St. Louis Stallions (3-2) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ New York Marauders – 55-24 (in Buffalo, NY)

The Stallions were going to drop back down to reality, but that one was a hard fall. With 219 yards and two touchdowns, Zach Mettenberger put his team in position to win, but Alfred Blue got slowed down by a really good defense and the Stallions defense just got shredded by a red-hot passing attack loaded with dangerous weapons of the Marauders. They still are a playoff contender, especially considering the division they are in, but this one showed a big weakness in the secondary.

14. Utah Raptors (3-2) – Up 2
Last Week: W – Los Angeles Stars – 27-21

By getting a victory and putting up some points, Mike Reilly likely saved both his and his coaches job. The biggest difference was putting Chris Moore out as a starter. He only had two catches for 30 yards in the game, but his explosiveness is out on the field across from Dede Westbrooks. That opened ups Kenny Shaw, Marquess Wilson and Jesse James for all the underneath stuff. Moore is an inconsistent threat, but the explosiveness he provides helped.

15. Birmingham Predators (3-2) – Up 3
Last Week: W – @ Columbus Explorers – 18-17

Birmingham’s defense doesn’t look good on paper, but they are actually a really good unit, one of the best in the league. That is why they are 3-2, not because of their offense. They clearly have talent on the offense, but they have allowed more sacks than any other team in the league and the terrible offensive line has prevented the Predators from ever getting started. If they sure up their offensive line, they can be a really good team.

16. Philadelphia Bulldogs (2-3) – Down 4
Last Week: L – @ Washington Wave – 34-33 (OT)

Jay Ajayi had 173 yard and three touchdowns on the ground, but even that wasn’t enough for a Bulldogs victory. Now, it did take them all the way to overtime, but Bryce Petty completed only three passes for 17 yards. The Bulldogs still have an opportunity to win the game, but just couldn’t get the job done no matter how great Ajayi was. That also shows maybe their defense isn’t quite as good as we thought it was. Expect a switch back to Sanchez soon.

17. Memphis Bombers (2-3) – Down 3
Last Week: L – Dallas Six-Shooters – 37-17

Memphis’ defense just isn’t cutting it, but their offense should be scoring more considering how they have been able to move the ball. This is a group that ranks 19th in the league in run defense and 14th in the league in sacks. Considering the amount of talent the team has, they should be significantly better in those areas, but something just is a bit off.

18. New Orleans Nightmare (1-4) – Up 2
Last Week: W – Houston Wranglers – 35-21

The Jack Del Rio era in New Orleans started with the team’s first win of the year. Aaron Murray did just enough on offense while the team rushed for 245 yards. James Wilder had 137 of those yards and four touchdowns on the ground. With Del Rio, there is a heavier emphasis of offensive balance and that success on the ground finally got their a much-needed win.

19. Mississippi Cottonmouths (1-4) – Up 2
Last Week: L – @ Atlanta Firebirds – 28-21

Cottonmouths owner TJ Weil isn’t the kind of guy who believes much in moral victories, but this one is something to take something positive out of, and is a rare loss that lets a team move up two spots in the rankings. They paid a massive price to get Ricky Ray as their quarterback, and he led them to a close game against perhaps the best team in the league. Ray had 254 yards and two touchdowns in his debut for Mississippi. Next week against less of a powerhouse will be more of a time for Mississippi to show what they are made of.

20. Columbus Explorers (1-4) – Down 3
Last Week: L – Birmingham Predators – 18-17

Josh Dobbs completed only nine passes and had only 50 yards, but their pass rush and defense kept them in the game the entire way, all the way until the final play of the game. On top of that, Alvin Kamara was heavily involved and looks like he’s going to be a tremendous player for the team. They just needs Dobbs to do better. When that happens, they will be a real threat.

21. Los Angeles Stars (2-3) – Down 2
Last Week: L – @ Utah Raptors – 27-21

Case Keenum threw two touchdowns, hitting Joe Hills and Austin Carr in the endzone. Both of those receiver has a lot of success with Hills catching 10 passes for 111 yards and Carr catching seven passes for 118 yards, but the complete and utter lack of a running game killed the Stars. While there is no official record, just three yards rushing in a game very well may be the lowest rushing total a team has ever had. Buck Allen had zero yards one six attempts.

22. Washington Wave (1-4) – Up 2
Last Week: W – Philadelphia Bulldogs – 34-33 (OT)

Keenan McCardell got the Wave their first victory of the season, and got Tyreek Hill much more involved in this game. Everett Golson was the winning quarterback over Grand Finale victor Ryan Nassib, but it was more that Hill had 93 yards rushing, including a 62-yard touchdown run, 73 yards passing, and 111 return yards in the game. He was quite for the first two weeks of the season, now he’s involved. That’s a great thing for Washington.

23. Iowa Threshers (1-4) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Pittsburgh Forge – 30-7

While anything can happen on any given game day, the Threshers were not going to win this game. They simply just didn’t have enough talent to compete with the Forge. But at least CJ Beathard didn’t crumble. That was a positive sign for the team. It was a blowout loss, but that was good to see.

24. Houston Wranglers (1-4) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ New Orleans Nightmare – 35-21

Is Connor Cook still the future of have we seen enough of what he’s made of? If they settle their passing game, Aaron Jones has proven in two weeks that he’s a home run threat type of running back, rushing for another 194 yards and two scores in the game. Big without the rushing, the Wranglers fell right back into the loss column.

25. Minnesota Freeze (0-5) – No Change
Last Week: L – Omaha Express – 49-10

Looking to spark their offense the Minnesota Freeze signed Dontrelle Inman. Then, Inman was buried on their depth chart. Josh McCown still clearly has ability, just not help. Playing from behind because of poor defensive play has made the Freeze have to give up on their run-game, which is a shame because Corey Clement is far more talented than a 20-yard game shows. There are just a lot of problems going on in Minnesota and until they start fixing some of them, it’s going to be hard for this team to rack up their wins.

26. San Diego Diablos (0-5) – No Change
Last Week: L – Boston Dragons – 30-14

San Diego was down 30-0 before Rod Windsor caught two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Seth Russell wasn’t bad, but the Diablos just don’t have the talent needed to really compete. They are building for the future. It just might be the distance future, especially now with Kellen Moore likely to take back over or maybe they go with Garrett Grayson after Russell’s injury.

Weekly Awards

Offensive Player of the Year
RE James Wilder, New Orleans Nightmare
137 Rush Yards (7.2 YPC), 4 Rush TDs

Defensive Player of the Year
LB Sam Acho, San Antonio Marshalls
6 Tackles, 3 Sacks

Special Teams Player of the Year
RET Kenyan Drake, Birmingham Predators
2 KR, 107 Yards (53.5 YPR), 1 TD (89 yards)

Rookie of the Year
RB Aaron Jones, Houston Wranglers
194 Rush Yards (7.8 YPC), 2 Rush TDs

SFL News

Ricky Ray traded after 14 years in Orlando

After 14 seasons and two titles, the Ricky Ray era officially came to an end in Orlando after they traded their legendary quarterback to the Mississippi Cottonmouths for seven draft picks and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. The Cottonmouths sent a King’s Ransom for the 38-year-old quarterback, but feel they are just a quarterback away from really competing this season, and were willing to make the move.

Freeze ownership announce McCown will not be traded

After seeing the giant haul Orlando got for Ricky Ray, it was thought Josh McCown might be on the move from the struggling Minnesota Freeze, but owner Carlton Jefcoat sent out a league notice that he is not trading the future Hall of Famer. Sources close to the 38-year-old McCown said the pending free agent is not excited with Jefcoat’s announcement of a two-year rebuilding process and he may demand the opportunity for public bidding this offseason.

QB Josh Freeman retires

Not long after Josh Freeman announced his intentions to retire, the Omaha Express released him, favoring to go with a backup quarterback who can grow in their system. Freeman has toiled in the SFL for a few seasons but started just one season in 2016 with the Charleston Dragons. He finished his NFL career with 4,086 yards, 24 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.

Struggling Ryan Clady cut as Birmingham re-worked o-line

His $2.5M price tag didn’t have any effect in the Birmingham Predators’ decision to cut a guy hurting their team. NFL veteran Ryan Clady signed with Birmingham on a big contract, but with only three pancakes with three sacks allowed and six bad blocks, the Predators released him as they look to improved the league’s worst offensive line. Clady will still be paid his $1.25M signing bonus.

Trevone Boykin given second chance in San Diego

Domestic assault allegations led to Trevone Boykin’s release from the Dallas Six-Shooters, but the quarterback desperate San Diego Diablos have brought him in to try to spark their team. The remarkably athletic Trevone Boykin showed great potential as a rookie as he completed over 60-percent of his passes for 805 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions, while adding another 164 yards on the ground. Eventually he was unseated by James Franklin for the starting job, but his starting experience and athletic ability stands out among the Diablos current group of quarterbacks.

Week 6 Preview

Washington Wave @ Carolina Generals
This is a matchup between two struggling defenses with electrifying playmakers on offense. For Washington, interim head coach Keenan McCardell got the Wave their first win of the year by getting Tyreek Hill involved more. For the Generals, Colin Kaepernick has been playing very well. It’s just going to be a matter of which guy has more help Samajae Perine has played very well for the Wave. But is Everett Golson really a guy who will win a lot? Can the Generals figure out how to get Kenneth Dixon and Tarik Cohen more involved?
Pick: Washington Wave

Atlanta Firebirds @ Philadelphia Bulldogs
Is Philadelphia going to go with Mark Sanchez after seeing a terrible effort out of Bryce Petty? Regardless, it’s hard to imagine either quarterback leading an upset win against the Firebirds.
Pick: Atlanta Firebirds

Michigan Stags @ Birmingham Predators
The Predators have really boosted their offensive line, but will it be enough to compete against a great defense and pass rush the Stags have? Until further notice, it’s impossible to think Matt Judon won’t have his way in this game.
Pick: Michigan Stags

Boston Dragons @ Mississippi Cottonmouths
This is a very interesting matchup between a team that is young and trying to figure out what they are and we’re trying to figure out how good they are, and an expansion team that just spent huge in a trade to acquire the legendary Ricky Ray. Which team is legit? Is either team really that legit? Boston’s defense has been pretty good but their weakness is certainly pass defense and they don’t rush the quarterback that well. That favors Ray and the Cottonmouths in this game.
Pick: Mississippi Cottonmouths

Memphis Bombers @ New Orleans Nightmare
This is a matchup between two desperate teams. Memphis has way more talent on paper than their team is living up to. They are making a few changes through trade and their coaching staff is devising a brand new scheme to figure out how to be better, but the Nightmare are a week ahead on that with Jack Del Rio having led NOLA to their first win of the season after taking over as their new head coach.
Pick: New Orleans Nightmare

San Diego Diablos @ Louisville Cougars
Are the Cougars for real or will they crash back down to earth? If they do crash, it’s hard to imagine they will against the Diablos. They are struggling as it is and now they’ll have to go back again to try to figure out who will lead the offense. Seth Russell wasn’t bad really, but is injured and out for five weeks. Do they really want to turn it over to the ineffective Kellen Moore? Is the untested Garrett Grayson a better solution? It’s not like he looks inspiring either.
Pick: Louisville Cougars

Iowa Threshers @ Houston Wranglers
A toilet bowl matchup here between two of the worst teams in the league. Neither one stand out in any way except Houston has Aaron Jones going off the last two weeks. The Iowa run defense is the best thing about them right now, but Jones has been fantastic.
Pick: Houston Wranglers

Columbus Explorers @ Dallas Six-Shooters
As much as the Explorers have struggled, their pass defense ranks third in the league. That might put some pressure on James Franklin, who has been very good to start the season, but the Six-Shooters do have other ways they can win with Jalen Richard and Austin Ekeler playing well. Simply, Dallas might just be able to out-score an offense that is really struggling, and might be able to with ease.
Pick: Dallas Six-Shooters

New York Marauders @ Omaha Express
New York’s offense is on fire, and they will be playing the 24th-ranked pass defense in the league in Week 6. Vad Lee is not as good as what we’ve seen him be, bit his weapons should take plenty advantage of this week secondary he’s about to face.
Pick: New York Marauders

Pittsburgh Forge @ Minnesota Freeze
This is a terrible mismatch. The Forge have the second-best scoring offense in the league right now and the Freeze are second to last in defense. And they only have 67 points scored through 67 points. The Forge could put up 50.
Pick: Pittsburgh Forge

St. Louis Stallions @ Utah Raptors
For a second-straight week owner Corey Johns will have a team play the St. Louis Stallions. The Stallions defense was exposed last week against the Marauders, but the Raptors don’t have an offense that has been able to take advantage of poor defenses this season. The Stallions can score and even against the No. 2 defense, might be able to do enough to out-score a struggling Utah offense.
Pick: St. Louis Stallions

San Antonio Marshalls @ Orlando Rockets
A major heavy-weight bought, Both Orlando and San Antonio had huge victories last week. This week one of them will pick up another huge win. The Rockets must see Trevor Harris bounce back, and need Devonta Freeman to have a big game. San Antonio has proven they can win by passing or running, and the last two weeks their defense has been completely dominant, but still, expect this one to be a really close game between two stories franchises playing at elite levels right now.
Pick: San Antonio Marshalls

Los Angeles Stars @ Seattle Orcas
Regardless of the standings or stats, this is a good Pacific Division matchup. Case Keenum finally picked things up last week against a defense that has played quite well lately, but the Orcas are a dominant unit, and LA’s inability to run the ball will be made even worse against a better run defense. The Orcas, meanwhile, will send out Isaiah Crowell against the 12th-ranked run defense. It’s a mis-match.
Pick: Seattle Orcas