Week 7 Power Rankings
1. Orlando Rockets (5-2) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Birmingham Predators – 27-3
Despite only nine completions out of Trevor Harris the guy threw for 216 yards and a touchdown, one that went 78 yards to Derel Walker. Devonta Freeman effectively grinding down the Birmingham Predators defense and opened up the big plays. Eric Rogers continued his torrid pace with another six-catch, 135 yard effort. Defensively, allowing just three points for a team with some good weapons was a tremendous effort. Captain Munnerlyn has elevated this already strong pass defense to one of the league’s elite.
2. San Antonio Marshalls (6-1) – Up 1
Last Week: W – San Diego Diablos – 26-13
In a week where Jon Jennings got back on track, Bo Levi Mitchell led his own team to a strong victory. Mitchell passed for 348 yards and three touchdowns, hitting Ricky Collins, Ricky Seals-Jones and Khiry Robinson all in the endzone. As good as D’Onta Foreman has been, this team will win based on Bo Levi Mitchell.
3. Michigan Stags (6-1) – Up 2
Last Week: W – Louisville Cougars – 31-14
Thomas Rawls and Marlon Mack worked as a tremendously effective 1-2 punch out of the backfield. That is how the Stags have built their team for so long, between a deep backfield and tenacious defense, and that is how they beat the Louisville Cougars. Rawls and Mack combined for four touchdowns on the ground while their defense had two sacks and picked Jeremiah Masoli off. That secondary is a good as they come.
4. New York Marauders (6-1) – Up 2
Last Week: W – @ Atlanta Firebirds – 26-20
In overtime, Vad Lee throw a third touchdown pass to get the New York Marauders past the tough Atlanta Firebirds, which have now lost back-to-back games. New York, meanwhile, is on fire with six-straight victories, the longest active winning-streak in the league. Lee completed fewer than half his passes, but saw Brandon Coleman and Tim White both break free into the endzone during regulation and then Ricard in the endzone at the end of the game. Meanwhile, their defense is playing at the level the team has expected. NaVorro Nowman and Eric Reid are both playing elite football.
5. Seattle Orcas (5-2) – Down 3
Last Week: L – Houston Wranglers – 24-20
Even elite teams have these sort of shocking loses. Isaiah Crowell still proved to be unstoppable, and Ryan Griffin really wasn’t the team the team lost. Simply, Houston made a few more plays then the Orcas did and it handed them their second loss of the season. Still, they should be favored over just about every opponent they face.
6. Atlanta Firebirds (5-2) – Down 3
Last Week: L – New York Marauders – 26-20
Matt Barkley has underperformed this season and another week with less than a 50-percent completion percentage has put him on the hot seat. Head coach Rob Ryan has said that if he doesn’t turn it around like he does when about to walk out of a strip club, then Matt Nichols could take over as the team’s starter. But disappointingly, it was more the defense that gave up the big plays. Typically, Atlanta’s defense has been very strong, but the Marauders were able to have a lot of breakaway plays for big gains.
7. Pittsburgh Forge (5-2) – No Change
Last Week: W – Philadelphia Bulldogs – 41-10
The Forge got back going with their epic offense after a few down weeks. Clearly still, the Forge are as dangerous as anyone. Jon Jennings had nearly 500 yards to go with four touchdowns. He made elder statesmen Nate Washington and Rob Housler look like All-SFL players in the game as both caught eight passes and at least one touchdown. Washington topped 200 yards receiving with two scores. The Forge look like they’ve made the adjustments and are back, which is very scary for every team in the league.
8. Dallas Six-Shooters (6-1) – Up 1
Last Week: W – @ Los Angeles Stars – 19-0
Los Angeles was starting to their their offense going, but the Six-Shooters completely shut them down this week, picking Case Keenum off three times. LaDarius Gunter had two of the interceptions. While the Six-Shooters offense was nothing to write home about, it was once again a showcase of how they team can win in a variety of different ways. This time, following their defense’s lead.
9. Louisville Cougars (5-2) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Michigan Stags – 31-14
If any offense can be more physical than the Louisville defense it’s the Michigan Stags, and they sure were in Detroit. The Cougars played tougher than the score might show, but it was just one of those games where the better team won. Louisville is still dangerous, just not near elite yet.
10. Utah Raptors (5-2) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Washington Wave – 29-13
It’s been a long trek up the rankings for the Raptors to finally get into the bottom of the top 10, but they are showing they have some good weapons. The biggest reason they are succeeding is because of Mike Reilly getting going. He had 266 yards and a touchdown pass in the game. Rookie Jamaal Williams has also been much better since his first couple games. But look at Ryan Nassib getting another touchdown for the Raptors and against his old team that gave up on him super quick no less. Reilly had to sit out after having the training staff tend to him on the field. The Raptors did a fake and Nassib went deep to Dede Westbrook for the touchdown. The other big thing is their defense. Early in the year the unit just wasn’t performing up to expectations, but with Johnathan Hankins in the middle, everything has improved. They has five sacks against Washington. That’s almost a sure victory.
11. St. Louis Stallions (4-3) – Up 5
Last Week: W – Minnesota Freeze – 24-14
Zach Mettenberger got the Stallions back in the win colum with a pair of touchdown passes while Alfred Blue bulldozed through the Minnesota Freeze defense, averaging 5.6 yards per carry for 152 yards on the ground. Brice Butler was the recipient of the two Stallions touchdown passes, taking advantage of his only two catches in the game. Defensive, Deiondre Hall looks like he was a very smart and big addition to their secondary after he led the team with seven tackles and helped limit Josh McCown to only 186 yards passing and one touchdown.
12. Boston Dragons (4-3) – Down 2
Last Week: L – @ Iowa Threshers – 16-13
Boston’s been able to win more then they lose, but it hasn’t usually been pretty. This was kind of coming, a poor effort leading to a loss against one of the lowly teams in the league. But it can also be chalked up as one of those rookie games by Cooper Rush. He only completed nine passes, but expect this team to bounce back. Their defense still performed quite well and will help them win more then they will lose.
13. Memphis Bombers (3-4) – Up 5
Last Week: W – @ Carolina Generals – 24-10
John Kuhn may be the best fullback in the history of football. He’s a 10 and that helped him get a touchdown and a couple key fourth-and-short conversions. Jordan’ Howard just happens to be a little younger and is the workhorse of this team (but don’t forget, Kuhn is his blocking back running in front of him). With that backfield, AJ McCarron was able to pick his throws and move the ball down the field and the Bombers got a win over the defending Metropolitan Conference champions.
14. Houston Wranglers (3-4) – Up 5
Last Week: W – @ Seattle Orcas – 24-20
Should we be talking about Houston like they are bottom of the barrel anymore? Their incoming owner Ryan Clark has made a lot of changes to this team over just a few weeks and now the Wranglers are looking like a serious threat. Johnny Manziel is now the starting quarterback and sure, he was terrible passing the ball, but he added a lot with his legs and scrambling ability, running in a touchdown himself. But this team is becoming dangerous because of Aaron Jones. He might be a front-runner for Rookie of the Year after another 159 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. With an improving pass defense, the Wranglers are no longer an opponent teams circle on their schedule.
15. New Orleans Nightmare (3-4) – Up 2
Last Week: W – @ Columbus Explorers – 30-13
After falling to 0-4 to start the season and making a coaching change, Jack Del Rio has the Nightmare 3-0 under him. It helps Aaron Murray is able to play competently at quarterback, but their running game, whether it’s Steven Ridley or whether it’s James Wilder, is leading this team to their success. They were way too pass-happy earlier in the season. Del Rio has provided some balance and defensive discipline and has them on a winning-streak.
16. Carolina Generals (3-4) – Down 4
Last Week: L – Memphis Bombers – 24-10[/b]
No. 1 overall draft pick Tarik Cohen has some serious holes in his game and the commitment to him might be hurting the Generals. Cohen is an explosive player, but a guy who probably should be working more off their bigger grinding back Kenneth Dixon. The ineffective running game is really hurting Colin Kaepernick, who appeared to be continuing a trend up before this game.
17. Philadelphia Bulldogs (3-4) – Down 4
Last Week: L – @ Pittsburgh Forge – 41-10
Jay Ajayi is going very strong, but Mark Sanchez was never going to beat Jon Jennings in a passing game. As the Forge built their lead, it just got worse for the Bulldogs as Sanchez simply couldn’t throw with Jennings. Even with 167 yards and a touchdown, a running back isn’t going to be the equalizer when an opponent is passing for nearly 500 yards.
18. Omaha Express (3-4) – Down – 4
Last Week: L – Mississippi Cottonmouths – 24-14
Omaha might have some soul-searching to do after dropping below .500 with a loss to a Brock Osweiler-led Cottonmouths team. The offense just didn’t click like it usually does and their defense, which is typically strong, didn’t have too much success stopping the pass. Tight ends have hurt Omaha this year. Jeff Cumberland was the latest with a big game, catching nine passes for 117 yards and a touchdown.
19. Birmingham Predators (3-4) – Down 3
Last Week: L – Orlando Rockets – 27-3
The Predators need more than just the Dak o Chris Williams/Justin Blackmon exhanges. Their running game has been very disappointing. And clearly, it is going to take a bit more time for their offensive line to improve. They made some trades to beef it up, but they allowed another four sacks and couldn’t get a good enough push to help out Langford. Defensively, they put their team in position to be competitive against an elite team, but the offense just didn’t have them in the game.
20. Mississippi Cottonmouths (2-5) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Omaha Express – 24-14
Ricky Ray suffered a bad injury that will keep him out for the duration of the regular season, but at least the Cottonmouths hedged their bets a little bit after their huge trade by signing Brock Osweiler. Osweiler never got an opportunity in Houston, but in his debut with the Cottonmouths, replacing Ray, he had 183 yards and a touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland, leading the Cottonmouths to a victory over the Omaha Express.
21. Iowa Threshers (2-5) – Up 3
Last Week: W – Boston Dragons – 16-13
George Kittle is showing off his ability for the team and while once again Alfred Morris wasn’t effective, the team’s willingness to continue running the ball helped the offense stay a little balanced. Morris only averaged 2.6 yards per carry, but both times he’s gotten a heavy workload the team win.
22. Columbus Explorers (1-6) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ New Orleans Nightmare – 30-13
Rookie Joshua Dobbs was bench and veteran Jordan Lynch came in, but Lynch wasn’t any better. Expect a switch to be made again as Lynch had just 96 yards passing and two interceptions. He’s never been a true passer, always more just an elite athlete that can throw a pass when needed. The Explorers jut couldn’t get it going against the Nightmare and that led to a rout.
23. Los Angeles Stars (2-5) – Down 1
Last Week: L – Dallas Six-Shooters – 19-0
After starting 2-5 and a three interception game, it looks as if the Stars will be going with Cody Kessler, even putting former starter Case Keenum on the trade block. They did attempt to add to their running game by trading for Paul Perkins. He was very ineffective in Houston, but also didn’t get much of a change against the Six-Shooters either since their passing game provided next to nothing.
24. Washington Wave (1-6) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Utah Raptors – 29-17
Tyreek Hill set a record with a 97 yard touchown run this week, but even his explosiveness wasn’t enough to truly spark the Wave offense. Everette Golson is no worse then Ryan Nassib was in that offense. Maybe it’s time they start tinkering with their offensive gameplan and trying out new things.
25. Minnesota Freeze (0-7) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ St. Louis Stallions – 21-9
The Freeze have a lot of holes. Will they at any point sell some of their valuable pieces? It doesn’t look like their owner is willing to. Getting rid of your best players certainly wouldn’t make sense when you’re trying to win a game, but sticking with the same lineup week to week with minimal changes also doesn’t make much sense either.
26. San Diego Diablos (0-7) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ San Antonio Marshalls – 26-13
There are no moral victories, but certainly this was about 13 points closer than anybody could have expected. The Diablos have made some good efforts to improve their team, spending some money they certainly had available. It was a tough matchup for them, but Trevone Boykin and Alex Collins are an explosive duo. They will just continue tinkering until they get the win.
Offensive Player of the Week
QB Jon Jennings, Pittsburgh Forge
25-for-42, 497 Pass Yards, 4 Pass TDs
Defensive Player of the Week
CB LaDarius Gunter, Dallas Six-Shooters
6 Tackles, 1 PD, 2 INTs
Special Teams Player of the Week
RET Terrence Magee, Mississippi Cottonmouths
2 KR, 119 KR Yards (59.5 YPR), 1 TD (94 Yards)
Rookie of the Week
RB D’Onta Foreman, Houston Wranglers
159 Rush Yards (6.9 YPC), 2 Rush TDs, 1 Rec, 5 Rec Yards (5.0 YPC)
Trade headline less than a Week away
The 2018 SFL Trade Deadline will be Thursday, June 21 at 8:00 am EST. Any trade not submitted by the deadline will be considered invalid.
Ricky Ray out 10 weeks
After trading their future away for a 38-year-old quarterback, the risk of having an old man under center showed it’s ugly face. Ray suffered an injury against the Omaha Express that will keep him out for the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs should the Cottonmouths find a way to make it that deep. But there is a slight bright side, though. Brock Osweiler performed quite well as his replacement despite just a few days in practices with Mississippi.
Omaha trades for WR Pryor and trades away CB Verner in separate deals
Looking to get their season back on track, the Omaha Express cleared cap space from their secondary by trading Alterraun Verner to the Mississippi Cottonmouths for a 2018 8th round draft pick while attempting to improve their passing attack by trading a 1st round draft pick and Malachi Jones for Terrelle Pryor. Pryor is a tremendous athlete but has struggles to transition from quarterback to wide receiver with both Memphis and Carolina this season. Mississippi traded Captain Munnerlyn for the now-injured quarterback Ricky Ray, but hopes Verner will help fill at least some of the giant hole left in the secondary by that move.
Kellen Winslow II released immediately after arrest
The New Orleans Nightmare released tight end Kellen Winslow II immediately after he was arrested on charges of rape and kidnapping on Thursday, June 14. Winslow, who purely on his career number is in the conversation as a Hall of Famer, has not caught a pass this season for New Orleans, mostly due to his age making it very difficult for him to comeback from his previous retirement. The Nightmare signed journeyman tight end Bear Pascoe in his place.
Week 8 Preview – Rivalry Week!
New York Marauders (6-1) @ Philadelphia Bulldogs (3-4)
New York has the best offense in the league while the Bulldogs are still trying to figure out who their quarterback is going to be moving forward after either Bryce Petty nor Mark Sanchez have solidified the position. The Marauders also had a much better defense, ranking seventh while the Bulldogs rank 22nd overall and 25th against the pass, and easy target for the No. 1 passing offense in the league.
Pick: New York Marauders
Pittsburgh Forge (5-2) @ Washington Wave (1-6)
Pittsburgh’s passing attack got back going last week, which is very good for them. Washington simply isn’t going to be able to keep up with them, not even with Tyreek Hill having his best of games. Washington’s offense has struggled, but more then anything, their 26th-ranked defense has killed their chances to win.
Pick: Pittsburgh Forge
Atlanta Firebirds (5-2) @ Orlando Rockets (5-2) (@ Camping Life Stadium in Orlando, FL)
The Rockets have moved this game to a bigger facility to accommodate a higher demand of tickets. While the Firebirds have lost back-to-back games, they are still very dangerous and Matt Barkley might be feeling the pretty to get him going. Orlando hasn’t gotten the great efforts they would have hopes out of Trevor Harris lately, but they have a tremendous running game an the best defense in the league too. They have won five-straight games and are red hot. Atlanta has lost back-to-back and are cold.
Pick: Orlando Rockets
Carolina Generals (3-4) @ Boston Dragons (4-3)
Neither team is particularly inspiring but this will be a tough and physical matchup, but while Colin Kaepernick did struggle last week, he’s by far the most explosive player on the field in this game and in a game where points will be at a premium, that kind of a playmaker could be a major difference.
Pick: Carolina Generals
Louisville Cougars (5-2) @ Memphis Bombers (3-4)
The former I-65 rivalry has taken back a bit with the move from Nashville to Memphis, but virtual Jed Clampett is desperate to get things going with the Bombers. His team had way too much talent not to be performing, but perhaps it’s the team’s approach and gameplan.. And while that team is trying to figure it out, the Cougars seem like they have figured it out with their five wins this year. Jeremiah Masoli with Julian Edelman has made for a quality passing attack, but Karlos Williams is leading a top-10 run-game.
Pick: Louisville Cougars
Birmingham Predators (3-4) @ Mississippi Cottonmouths (2-5)
Virtual Bo Jackson might freak out on his team if all those athletes don’t get a win over their new deep-south rival that just lost their starting quarterback. But he also can’t be happy with his No. 22-ranked rushing offense. That has been their big problem, along with the league’s worst offensive line. All is not lost for Mississippi. They lost Ricky Ray, but Brock Osweiler performed quite well in his debut action for the Cottonmouths and at the end of the day they are still a running team. It might be closer than expected.
Pick: Birmingham Predators
Iowa Threshers (2-5) @ Minnesota Freeze (0-7)
Two of the teams at the bottom of the league, maybe this is when Josh McCown says enough is enough and torches his opponent for a big win. Well, it sounds good and McCown certainly could do it against any team, but Iowa isn’t going to be easy with the fifth-ranked pass defense. However, they have one of the worst pass rushes in the league and that could make things easier for the legendary McCown who is really tired of losing.
Pick: Minnesota Freeze
Omaha Express (3-4) @ St. Louis Stallions (4-3)
Omaha’s run defense is great, but with the 22nd-ranked pass defense they have hit a wall after a very strong start. Zach Mettenberger has been proven capable of lighting up bad secondaries. This could be a game where goes out and shines and leads his team to a crucial divisional victory.
Pick: St. Louis Stallions
New Orleans Nightmare (3-4) @ Houston Wranglers (3-4)
New Orleans is 3-0 under Jack Del Rio. That is amazing, but the Wranglers are no longer the cupcake they were just a few weeks ago. The Wranglers have a tremendous threat at running back and now an explosive option at quarterback with Johnny Manziel. But Manziel was also terrible last week. Can he get things going? Can Aaron Jones dominate without the help? New Orleans does have a very poor run defense, so it looks like a juicy matchup for him. But oh why not, let’s keep riding the Del Rio Wave.
Pick: New Orleans Nightmare
Los Angeles Stars (2-5) @ San Diego Diablos (0-7)
Things have gotten so bad in LA that they are benching Case Keenum and turning things over to Cody Kessler. Now, Kessler has a lot of potential, so it’s not a total risk, but it’s still a big move to bench a highly-regarded quarterback like Keenum. But hey, the production just wasn’t there. The Stars have the second-worst scoring offense in the league and are coming off a shutout. They are trying to figure it out. But at least their defense has been decently strong, and against San Diego, that would be the difference. San Diego is playing much better with Trevone Boykin at quarterback. They are still looking for their first win, against a new quarterback it could be their best opportunity.
Pick: San Diego Diablos
Utah Raptors (5-2) @ Seattle Orcas (5-2)
Utah signed Johnathan Hankins after Isaiah Crowell dominated the Raptors last time out. Will that help their run defense? Can the Raptors finally be the team to slow Crowell down? Well, until a team actually proves capable of stopping Crowell, it’s impossible to assume he won’t dominate. Utah could win with their passing attack, but if they are stuck on the sideline, that is a tough things to face as well.
Pick: Seattle Orcas
Michigan Stags (6-1) @ Columbus Explorers (1-6)
The Stags are licking their lips for this rivalry game. Of course, it’s a rivalry game, so anything can happen, but the Explorers offense has really struggled and the Stags defense is among the best pass defenses around.
Pick: Michigan Stags
San Antonio Marshalls (6-1) @ Dallas Six-Shooters (6-1) (@ The Cottonbowl in Dallas, TX)
Two 6-1 teams are going to go at it in the Cotton Bowl in front of what is expected to be a huge number in attendance. Both teams have some balance to their offense and tough defenses, but the Marshalls just seem to have more elite guys out there.
Pick: San Antonio Marshalls