Week 12 Power Rankings

1. Michigan Stags (11-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Louisville Cougars – 24-21

Michigan was in a very physical fight against a Louisville squad that made it a focus to get more physical, but the stags were able to grind their way to the victory and clinch the Central Division with the win. They are very close to clinching home field advantage too. They are playing great football and don’t have many flaws. It’s a broke record describing this team, but it’s true. They may not have the greatest individual parts, but it all works together greatly.

2. New York Marauders (10-2) – No Change
Last Week: W – Pittsburgh Forge – 25-17

It was supposed to be a shootout between the two best passing offenses in the league, but it ended up being a defense slobber knocker. And without a doubt, when the Marauders get into a defensive slugfest, they absolutely love it. NaVorro Bowman, John Ojo and Tye Smith each picked off Jonathan Jennings and Will Hill and Eric Reid cleaned up all the rest of it defensively. Vad Lee only completed nine passes, but his scrambling ability and Jacquizz Rodger’s explosiveness out of the backfield did enough to get New York their first win over the new Forge.

3. New Orleans Nightmare (8-4) – Up 5
Last Week: W – @ Seattle Orcas – 17-14

Winners of eight-straight games, and this one the most signature win of them all, what’s not to love about the New Orleans Nightmare right now? They are playing some great football both offensively and defensively. Aaron Murray didn’t had the best of games, but he got the job done and had more than enough help from Steven Ridley, who rushed for 133 yards, to balance out the offense. And while the defense got run over by Isaiah Crowell, as everybody has all year long, they limited Ryan Griffin to just 9-for-26 passing, a completion rate that made it impossible for the Orcas to win with. New Orleans is the hottest team in the league because they are playing some of the most complete football around right now.

4. Seattle Orcas (8-4) – Down 1
Last Week: L – New Orleans Nightmare – 17-14

Isaiah Crowell can lead the Seattle Orcas over any team, but there is some precedent to say that Ryan Griffin can’t cut it in these big games. He completed only nine of 26 passing attempts and had an interception. It didn’t matter how dominant Isaiah Crowell was, rushing for 190 yards and a touchdown, that passing effort was too poor against a Nightmare team that is playing some of the best football in the league right now.

5. Orlando Rockets (9-3) – Down 1
Last Week: W – Carolina Generals – 37-21

Carolina put a lot of emphasis on trying to stop Eric Rogers. It didn’t really work, but what it also di was open things up for Devonta Freeman. Because Rogers has been so great, people may have forgotten about their great running back, but he sent out a league-wide reminder of who he is with 113 yards and three touchdowns against the Generals.

6. Atlanta Firebirds (9-3) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Columbus Explorers – 17-12

Maybe the offense wasn’t as dynamic as the Atlanta Firebirds would have wanted to see, but their defense really stepped up and had a great game to lead their team to w win. All season long the Firebirds defense had underwhelmed for the most part, but they proved how great of a group they could be. Telvin Smith did a great job slowing down Joshua Dobbs, who had been running wild all over opponents this season.

7. Dallas Six-Shooters (9-2-1) – Down 1
Last Week: W – Minnesota Freeze – 16-6

Josh McCown certainly has the ability to take over a game, but the Dallas Six-Shooters held him out of the endzone and his team to only two field goals. The Six-Shooters themselves struggled offensively too, and James Franklin suffered an injury that will keep him out for the rest of the regular season. That isn’t good for a team still fighting for their division, but they at the very least have enough of a cushion to probably make the playoffs.

8. San Antonio Marshalls (7-4-1) – Down 3
Last Week: L – @ Philadelphia Bulldogs – 42-28

Early in the year we saw the San Antonio Marshalls dominate some great teams, but they have really tapered off these past few weeks. That doesn’t mean the San Antonio Marshalls aren’t still a team that can beat just about anybody, but they have been pretty inconsistent this year. Their issues might be due to a lack of elite receivers. Bo Levi Mitchell makes them a lot better, but not all the time. But this game against Philadelphia, their defense just fell apart and it got worse and worse and worse. They got caught in quick sand. At last it only counts as one defeat.

9. Boston Dragons (8-4) – No Change
Last Week: W – Mississippi Cottonmouths – 10-7

It was a very ugly game, but a win is a win. Boston used their defense to grind out a victory and put them even closer to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The one bit of a highlight they had was a touchdown pass from Cooper Rush to Jordan Matthews. Otherwise, it was the physical, slow, grinding team that we have come to know in Boston. They aren’t exciting, but they are 8-4.

10. Utah Raptors (8-4) – Up 1
Last Week: W – @ Los Angeles Stars – 35-24

In Week 12, the Utah Raptors had their best offensive output of the season, scoring 35 points. Mike Reilly only had 192 yards but was remarkable with 15 of 19 completion and four touchdown passes. Roger Lewis has made a big impact on this offense, providing a reliable, and athletic option opposite Dede Westbrook, and the team’s willingness to just let Reilly air it out has paid it’s dividends. While behind on the tie-breaker, with four weeks left in the season they are tied for the best record in the Pacific Division.

11. Pittsburgh Forge (7-5) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ New York Marauders – 25-17

After their loss to the Marauders, Pittsburgh Forge owner publicly berated his offensive line, calling them “trash” and saying he doesn’t even expect his team to do much the rest of the season because of how poor they have played. Those are some terribly harsh and uninspiring words for a team trying to make a push into the playoffs. If those players check out after being promised an offseason youth movement things could get really ugly down the stretch.

12. Philadelphia Bulldogs (6-6) – Up 1
Last Week: W – San Antonio Marshalls – 42-28

A few weeks ago, we couldn’t imagine the Philadelphia Bulldogs approaching 40 points in a game. Now, we’ve seen their offense explode back-to-back weeks since letting Nate Sudfeld’s leash loose. We knew Jay Ajayi was a tremendous running back, but when you have a player like that and a quarterback able to move the ball efficiently, it makes a team so dangerous. The only question is whether Sudfeld really is this good or if he’s just having some beginners luck. We’ve seen so often guys come in and catch fire, but sustaining it is another thing.

13. Carolina Generals (6-6) – Down 1
Last Week: L – Orlando Rockets – 37-21

While still alive in the playoffs, suffering their sixth loss of the season gives them very little room for error. Orlando was always going to be a tough opponent, but the Generals can’t afford to have their defense picked on like they were. It was air and ground dominance for Orlando against the Generals.

14. Houston Wranglers (6-6) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Memphis Bombers – 48-41

Matt Nichols had another huge week, throwing for 342 yards and three touchdowns. He really looks like the answer in Houston, and with Aaron Jones coming out of the backfield this team had a tremendous one-two punch. We won’t learn anything from their defense from this game, but hey, for a team trying to hard to get some offense going, they will have to be thrilled with this win.

15. Omaha Express (6-6) – Up 1
Last Week: W – @ Washington Wave – 27-20

All season long, the Omaha Express have lived and died by the performance of Matt Moore. He is what he is. He’s inconsistent and he has his disappointing games. But against Washington, he played pretty well and the team won. There is no secret about this team’s key to success. They have great running backs and a tough defense, but all year long it’s been about Matt More.

16. Louisville Cougars (6-6) – Down 2
Last Week: L – Michigan Stags – 24-21

The Cougars really could have used an upset win over the Michigan Stags. They didn’t get it, but they really played well. Last week, they made it a focus to get more physical and they needed up their offensive line. That mission was accomplished, but the Stags were just the better team, as they have been against pretty much everybody all season long. It’s a hard loss to swallow for a team that needed to win, but there were still positives to see from it.

17. St. Louis Stallions (5-7) – Up 3
Last Week: W – Birmingham Predators – 27-17

Angry with their slump, St. Louis Stallions owner Alex Gray spent some big bucks to improve his secondary, signing NFL veterans Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, TJ Ward and Will Davis. It really worked considering Dak Prescott was held to just 50-percent passing and under 200 yards. With an improved secondary in a division that even still with a losing record they could win, the Stallions are going to be a team to watch these last few weeks.

18. Birmingham Predators (5-7) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ St. Louis Stallions – 27-17

Inconsistency has plagues the Predators all season long and while they have talent, they just haven’t been able to put it all together. Their offensive line is still a work-in-progress and along with a lack of depth is their biggest detriment. Until those things get fixed, it it going to be tough for all the top-end talent to matter as much.

19. Washington Wave (4-8) – Down 1
Last Week: L – Omaha Express – 27-20

Cardale Jones’ debut really wasn’t bad, and that is pretty encouraging as it’s his show for the final few weeks of the season. Jones didn’t have the most accurate of days passing the ball, but his 229 yards and two touchdowns showed off his big arm, especially to rookie Keelan Cole, who had a breakout performance with 108 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches. Their problem has been their miserable offensive lien that allowed five sacks and hasn’t help Samaje Perine to ever get going this season really.

20. Iowa Threshers (4-8) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ San Diego Diablos – 30-24

While the Threshers are still alive in their division with a 4-8 record, the loss at San Diego is a really tough loss for them as it puts them two games back with four games to go, but moreover, the fact that they couldn’t beat the Diablos, means they probably aren’t going to grind out games against quality teams coming up on their schedule that they would need to get to get to the playoffs. But at least this team is starting to fill in some gaps. Orleans Darkwa certainly looks like the answer at running back after rushing for 136 yards and two touchdowns in his second game with the team.

21. Memphis Bombers (3-9) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Houston Wranglers – 48-41

Virtual Jed Clampett actually isn’t too upset with the loss during a pretty lose season already because his team’s offense at least scored 41 points. He might have also set a spark under AJ McCarron, who after being bench last week and starting out on the bench this week, ended up throwing for 296 yards and four touchdowns. The defense couldn’t slow anybody down, but it does at least look like their offense has settled in.

22. Los Angeles Stars (3-9) – No Change
Last Week: L – Utah Raptors – 35-24

After it was clear the Stars postseason hopes were done, the team decided to give a shot to Cody Kessler. That quarterback move wasn’t necessarily the end of Case Keenum, but Kessler certainly made an amazing case for himself after passing for 381 yards and two touchdowns in his debut. It wasn’t enough for a win as their defense was unable to slow down the Utah Raptors, but there may be some excitement in LA because of Kessler moving forward.

23. San Diego Diablos (3-9) – No Change
Last Week: W – Iowa Threshers – 30-24

It wasn’t Trevone Boykin this time. This time it was Alex Collins, who rushed for 165 yards and a touchdown to lead the San Diego Diablos to a hard-fought win over the Iowa Express. The Diablos are much more competitive than they were earlier in the season, but let’s be honest, they aren’t going to compete with good teams.

24. Mississippi Cottonmouths (2-10) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Boston Dragons – 10-7

Nick Montana got another opportunity for Mississippi and it wasn’t anything particularly good. He does not look like a starting-quality SFL quarterback, not really even in relief like he has been. With Boston’s tremendous defense never allowing Jeremy Langford to get going, the Cottonmouths had no shot at a win on Montana’s arm.

25. Columbus Explorers (2-10) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Atlanta Firebirds – 17-12

While Kony Ealy leads the league with 15 sacks, nine of them have come in two games. That is a bit of a double-edged sword. It shows he’s capable of greatness, but it also says he’s not too consistent since they come in bunches. But the real disappointing part is that he had four sacks and the team still lost their game to the Atlanta Firebirds. Few teams have had the sort of defensive success Columbus did against Atlanta, but their own offense never got going. Joshua Dobbs threw the ball maybe the best he’s had all year long, but he was shut down trying to run the ball and the Explorers couldn’t get it moving.

26. Minnesota Freeze (0-12) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Dallas Six-Shooters – 16-6

It’s impossible to figure this team out. One week their offense looks tremendous and you just know they are going to get a win before the season is up. The next week they struggle from start to finish. In Minnesota’s defense, they did play one of the best teams in the league this week and held them to just one touchdown, but a 16-6 loss certainly isn’t inspiring anybody. Remarkably, the team only makes minimal changes week after week and isn’t getting their young players into games much at all.

Weekly Awards

Offensive Player of the Week
QB Matt Nichols, Houston Wranglers
24-for-34, 341 Pass Yards, 3 Pass TDs, 1 INT

Defensive Player of the Week
LB Vontaze Burfict, Omaha Express
10 Tackles, 1 PD, 1 TFL

Special Teams Player of the Week
K Alex Henery, Michigan Stags
3-for-3 FG (45, 25, 39), 1-for-1 XP, 10 Points

Rookie of the Week
WR Keelan Cole, Washington Wave
7 Receptions, 108 Rec Yards (15.4 YPC), 2 Rec TDs

Playoff Watch

Empire Conference
1. New York Marauders (10-2) – Atlantic Division leader
2. Orlando Rockets (9-3) – Southeast Division leader
3. Omaha Express (6-6) – Midwest Division leader
4. Atlanta Firebirds (9-3)
5. Boston Dragons (8-4)
6. Pittsburgh Forge (7-5)

Eliminated from playoff contention: Mississippi Cottonmouths, Minnesota Freeze

Western Conference
1. Michigan Stags (11-1) – Central Division Winner
2. Dallas Six-Shooters (9-2-1) – Mid-South Division leader
3. Seattle Orcas (8-4) – Pacific Division leader
4. New Orleans Nightmare (8-4)
5. Utah Raptors (8-4)
6. San Antonio Marshalls (7-4-1)

Eliminated from playoff contention: Memphis Bombers, Los Angeles Stars, San Diego Diablos, Columbus Explorers

Record Watch

Team Rushing Yards – Current Record: Seattle Orcas – 3,144 (2017)
Seattle Orcas on pace for 3,517 Rush Yards

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 3,022 Rush yards

Rushing Attempts – Current Record: Isaiah Crowell – 444 (2017)
Isaiah Crowell (Seattle Orcas) on pace for 493 Rushing Attempts

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

Total Offense – Current Record: Isaiah Crowell – 2,786 (2017)
Isaiah Crowell (Seattle Orcas) on pace for 3,218 Total Yards

Rushing Yards by a Quarterback – Current Record: Tim Tebow – 1,241 (2015)
Colin Kaepernick (Carolina Generals) on pace for 1,124 Rushing Yards
Joshua Dobbs (Columbus Explorers) on pace for 1,105 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 2,649 Receiving Yards

Receiving Touchdowns – Current Record: Allen Hurns – 23 (2016)
Eric Rogers (Orlando Rockets) on pace for 24 Receiving Touchdowns

Kick Return Yards – Current Record: LaMichael James – 1,838 (2016)
Tyreek Hill (Washington Wave) on pace for 2,040 Kick Return Yards

Punt Return Yards – Current Record: Brandon Banks – 982 (2016)
Garry Brown (Philadelphia Bulldogs) on pace for 1,450 Punt Return Yards
**Garry Brown has already broken the previous season record, currently has 1,088 Punt return Yards

Kicker Points – Current Record: Justin Tucker – 157 (2015)
Alex Henery (Michigan Stags) on pace for 154 Kicker Points

SFL News

James Franklin done for the regular season, RGIII times coming to Dallas

While the Dallas Six-Shooters were able to improve to 9-2-1 with a 16-6 victory over the Minnesota Freeze, they were dealt a major blow as James Franklin suffered an injury and had been declared out for the rest of the season. Franklin will miss five weeks, making him eligible to return for the second round of the playoffs. With their nine victories, they are very likely to get to the playoffs, but would need to rely on former Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III as their starting quarterback.

The Six-Shooters traded Johnny Manziel earlier in the season to leave the backup job left for Griffin without contestation. Franklin was having a very good season, having completed 59.3-percent of his passes for 2,477 yards and 12 touchdowns with only one interception so far this season. Griffin came in late against Minnesota and was 3-for-7 for 21 yards.

Griffin, once the No. 2 overall pick and NFL Rookie of the Year, has since been a bust in professional football. He toiled around in Philadelphia last season and won a title with the Bulldogs, but never played in a game. However, he has notably matured over the past few seasons after falling from grace. At 28-year-old, and still with superior athletic ability, there is little season to believe he couldn’t take advantage of his opportunity to make a comeback.

Grand Finale MVP Dennis Dixon set for SFL return

After three years away from professional football, Dennis Dixon has signed to make his return in the league, inking a deal to finish the season with the Dallas Six-Shooters. He will serve as the backup for Robert Griffin III in the wake of an injury to James Franklin.

Dixon won a title in 2011 with the Philadelphia Bulldogs and later was the backup for the Six-Shooters when they went ot the 2014 Grand Finale.

Dixon played for five SFL teams from 2009 to 2015 — the Chicago Crusaders, Philadelphia Bulldogs, Michigan Stags, Dallas Six-Shooters and New Orleans Nightmare.

Dixon had 10,782 passing yards and 53 touchdowns in his career. He also ranked ninth all-time with 1,428 rushing yards by a quarterback to go with six more touchdowns on the ground.

The 33-year-old returned to football this year in the American Flag Football League, where he quarterbacked team “Fighting Cancer”. Of course, it is a limited contact flag football league in which many players were never actually active football players, but Dixon still showed a great zip on his passes and decent mobility.

Week 13 Preview

Orlando Rockets (9-3) @ New York Marauders (10-2)
You know, even though the New York lead the Empire Conference with a 10-2 record, they still might have a bit more to prove, and a victory over the powerhouse Orlando Rockets would certainly prove they are absolutely elite. Orlando has the best offensive trio in the league with Trevor Harris, Eric Rogers and Devonta Freeman and it’s hard for teams to figure out how to defend and where their focus should be. However, New York has a loaded defense, with top-notch talent all over the field. If they want the upset, they will have to do it with their defense more than their offense.
Pick: Orlando Rockets

New Orleans Nightmare (8-4) @ Atlanta Firebirds (9-3)
What a huge game for both teams. Both New Orleans and Atlanta are playing very well and have opportunities down the stretch to win their respective divisions. A victory in this game would also help set a team up with an opportunity for a first round bye in the playoffs too. Last week, Atlanta didn’t win very pretty but their defense had their best effort in quite a while. New Orleans has been playing some great football and have won eight-straight games. Can they keep red hot of will the Firebirds defense be what cools them down?
Pick: Atlanta Firebirds

Washington Wave (4-8) @ Pittsburgh Forge (7-5)
On paper, Pittsburgh is the better team, but their owner publicly shamed their offensive line. That could either light a fire under those guys or make them check out. We’ll have to see which response those players have, but it figures to have a big impact one way or another for a team trying hard to stay in position for the playoffs. The Wave are quite interesting though. They are a team with pretty much nothing to lose and a quarterback in Cardale Jones that is looking to take advantage of an opportunity to showcase himself as a starting-caliber quarterback.
Pick: Pittsburgh Forge

Philadelphia Bulldogs (6-6) @ Birmingham Predators (5-7)
Philadelphia’s offense has exploded the last two weeks with Nate Sudfeld unleashed. The Bulldogs have one of the very best running backs in the league in Jay Ajayi, but now with teams unable to stack the box the Bulldogs are putting up 40 points per game back-to-back weeks. Is going to be a very tough test, though. They have a ton of talent on their roster and upset the New York Marauders not too long ago. They are inconsistent, but really could beat just about any team they face.
Pick: Philadelphia Bulldogs

Memphis Bombers (3-9) @ Columbus Explorers (2-10)
AJ McCaaron might have gotten the much-needed spark last week. It might have come a little late as the team is out of the playoff picture, but he could be looking to prove he is still capable of being the franchise quarterback for the Bombers after being benched for Trevor Knight. The Explorers have been out of it for a while, but Joshua Dobbs has been playing much, much better the past few weeks.
Pick: Memphis Bombers

Boston Dragons (8-4) @ Louisville Cougars (6-6)
Neither of these teams are particularly pretty to watch, but both are physical teams who grind their ways to victory. Louisville is much more desperate for this team, though, and took the Michigan Stags to the limit last week. They looked more physical in the trenches with their offense after beefing it up with some free agent acquisitions. The Dragons defense will be a huge test for them though, but their offense is always a worry for their success.
Pick: Louisville Cougars

Mississippi Cottonmouths (2-10) @ Minnesota Freeze (0-12)
If Minnesota wants to get a win, this has to be the game. Mississippi’s quarterback situation is a terrible mess without Ricky Ray. Neither Nick Montana nor Casey Therriault look like starting-quality quarterbacks. But we’ve also been saying the Freeze have too good of a quarterback and passing attack to not have a win yet, and they are 0-12. The Freeze have a ton of problems. But this has to be their win if they want one this season.
Pick: Minnesota Freeze

Omaha Express (6-6) @ San Antonio Marshalls (7-4-1)
Both of these teams have notable stars on both sides of the ball but both teams have struggled to be consistent. This game is very important for both teams but maybe more important for a slumping Marshalls team that have some tough teams breathing down their necks trying to steal their Wild Card spot. But the difference might be San Antonio’s No. 2 pass rush. That could really trouble the Express.
Pick: San Antonio Marshalls

Michigan Stags (11-1) @ Utah Raptors (8-4)
Utah is coming off their best offensive performance of the season, but the Stags are a tremendous team that are playing with very few weaknesses. The Raptors could pull off an upset here is Mike Reilly gets hot throwing the ball, but expect this to be a physical battle between two teams with talented defenses.
Pick: Michigan Stags

San Diego Diablos (3-9) @ Seattle Orcas (8-4)
The last time the Orcas lost a game they came back with a vengeance and beat a team that has all season long been in the conversation as a championship favorite. The Diablos are playing a lot better than they were early in the season, but they certainly aren’t a team that looks like they can pull off this upset.
Pick: Seattle Orcas

Carolina Generals (6-6) @ Los Angeles Stars (3-9)
Is Cody Kessler legitimate or did he catch the Raptors off guard since there was no film on him? The Stars offense got a very nice performance out of him last week and if he plays like that again then the Stars could pull off the upset, but the Generals have been playing pretty well lately and with playoff hopes still there for them, they will be on a mission to get this win.
Pick: Carolina Generals

Iowa Threshers (4-8) @ St. Louis Stallions (5-7)
Amazingly, both of these teams are still in contention to win their division, but the Stallions have shown a bit more urgency and got a very good win last week after significantly improving their secondary. The Threshers already aren’t too much of a threat throwing the ball. CJ Beathard might be set for a miserable game against the Stallions re-tooled secondary.
Pick: St. Louis Stallions

Dallas Six-Shooters (9-2-1) @ Houston Wranglers (6-6)
It will be RGIII time for Dallas. What should be expect? Really, we don’t know what to expect out of them. The Wranglers, meanwhile, are coming off a tremendous offensive effort and have been very dangerous with Matt Nichols back at quarterback. If RGIII can avoid turnovers and let the Six-Shooters be a defensive team that outlasts opponents like they have been all year, they could get their 10th win of the season. But if RGIII makes mistakes, the Wranglers could be due for their fourth-straight victory over the Six-Shooters since the franchises’ return.
Pick: Houston Wranglers