Week 8 Power Rankings

1. Orlando Rockets (7-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Atlanta Firebirds – 37-34

While he’s had a few more quiet games, Eric Rogers is actually on pace to beat his yardage mark from last year. The scary part is Robby Anderson has more involved as well as a second target. Meanwhile, Devonta Freeman is just quiet and dominant as always. This offense is as complete and well-rounded as they come with Trevor Harris having only thrown two interceptions so far as well. The defense, as always, is full of playmakers.

2. Michigan Stags (7-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – Columbus Explorers – 16-10

The Stags have the best defense in the league once again. Their run defense shuts down every opponent and their pass rush is a huge challenge for any team to pace. Za’Darius Smith and Matt Judon are by far the best duo coming off the edge and it’s making everybody on their defense even better. The offense is running very smooth. Zach Collaros isn’t stellar, but you can’t complain with just on interception through eight games. Marlon Mack has taken over a bigger role on the offense leading the way.

3. Birmingham Predators (7-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – Mississippi Cottonmouths – 29-17

If any defense rivals the Michigan Stags’ it’s the Birmingham Predators with Tim Williams stepping up in a huge way in his second year with plenty of others helping out creating the best pass rush in the league. That defense has given their offense something they really needed. But that offense as well is full of playmakers. Dak Prescott has always had the great ability, but with the best o-line in the league in front of him he is able to do a lot more and with Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara both making plays behind him, the Predators running game is just do dangerous. And in yet another connection, Justin Blackmon, SJ Green and Josh Malone are making big plays outside. SJ Green was a great trade acquisition to give a different sort of big-bodied receiver to the group.

4. San Diego Diablos (7-1) – No Change
Last Week: W – @ Los Angeles Stars – 20-9

Nobody saw this coming. The Diablos were one of the worst teams in the league this year, but this year they are one of the best and they are not even playing their future franchise quarterback Luke Falk. It’s been Alex Collins playing with a huge chip on his shoulder after a pre-season arrest made him a villain out there to fans. Trevone Boykin has only thrown five touchdowns so far, but he’s been amazing on the ground. Defensively, it’s been Justin Capicciotti dominating. He has 11 sacks already and isn’t slowing down. Maybe they have been helped by an easy looking schedule, but when the good teams have lined up across from them they have taken care of business more often than not too.

5. New York Marauders (6-2) – Up 1
Last Week: W – Philadelphia Bulldogs – 38-20

Last season was the Vad Lee show. He was tremendous, but this year he’s fallen back down to reality and is nowhere near as dynamic as he was in 2018. But that has not stopped the Marauders from proving they are still one of the best teams around. Jacquizz Rodgers have stepped up in a major way to be much more of a leader on the offense and Stefon Diggs is still perhaps the most explosive player in the league, capable of making plays any time the ball is thrown his way. it’s all led to the third highest scoring offense in the league. Defensively, the Marauders have been without Eric Reid for some time now, but after getting Will Hill back from Miami and adding Jeremy Lane from Houston, they have beefed up their always-great secondary while NaVorro Bowman is locking things down in the front-seven behind a tremendous defensive line.

6. Nashville Renegades (6-2) – Up 3
Last Week: W – @ Louisville Cougars – 38-3

Despite constant criticism of AJ McCarron, the Renegades are 6-2. Now that is mostly due to the dominance of running back Jordan Howard, who is already at 920 yards rushing with six touchdowns this year. He’s been great and has a tremendous line he’s been running behind. But the Renegades just got so much more explosive right before the trade deadline with the trade acquisition of Tyreek Hill. Yes, the explosive receiver, runner, returner Tyreek Hill. What a power move. Now, the only slight concern might be that the Renegades were 6-2 and are now going to have to figure out how to work in a new star midway through the year, but who is going to complain about having a new star playmaker?

7. Dallas Six-Shooters (5-3) – Up 5
Last Week: W – @ San Antonio Marshalls – 19-13 (OT)

Has the Josh McCown payday paid off like Dallas had hoped? Probably not. The team is actually performing worse than they were last year and the giant salary cost them some great defensive players. The team is still very good, but their defense ranks just 27th in the league. Most disappointingly is their running game. Last year, they were among the vest best in the league at running and with Jalen Richard and Austin Ekeler still going, they have the ability, but with McCown there is more of an unbalanced emphasis on passing and they rank just 29th in the league on the ground. Dallas will remain a tough playoff contender throughout the year, but midway through the season, they still do not have a true identity.

8. San Antonio Marshalls (5-3) – Down 3
Last Week: L – Dallas Six-Shooters – 19-13 (OT)

San Antonio’s remarkably deep group of pass rushers is still there and it’s made them really a force this year. The Marshalls are winning more because of their defense this year with the stalwarts Teddy Jennings, Sam Acho, Alex Okafor, Hassan Ridgeway and Jonathan Bowman taking care of business. This isn’t to say the Marshalls still don’t have tremendous talent on offense, it’s just a bit different. The last few years the talent has mostly been with the passing game. Ricky Seals-Jones is an elite tight end as well, and a tremendously reliable target for Bo Levi Mitchell, as has Ricky Collins has been, but the elite talent isn’t really out there making plays at wide receiver. This is more of a short-to-medium passing attack with their running game leading the way on offense. D’Onta Foreman and Khiry Robinson are just the tip of the iceberg at running back. Chris Carson could be starting on most teams.

9. Pittsburgh Forge (5-3) – Up 1
Last Week: W – New Orleans Nightmare – 42-39 (OT)

Pittsburgh is still the passing power they have been. Midway through this year they yet again lead the league in passing, and that is odd considering they have tried to get more done on the ground with a pair of very talented running backs. James Conner and Devontae Booker have become guys the team really loves and wants to get going, but when Jonathan Jennings drops back and throws the ball to one of his many of reliable receivers, it’s just beautiful. Bryan Burnham, Rob Housler, Charles Johnson, Booker, Brad Sinopoli, any of them can lead the team in receiving that day

10. Philadelphia Bulldogs (5-3) – Down 2
Last Week: L – New York Marauders – 38-20

In a “down” year for Isaiah Crowell, Jay Ajayi is taking over and has over 1,000 yards already halfway through the season with eight touchdowns. He’s been great and has made the Bulldogs one of the toughest teams in the league once again. They just physically grind down opponents. It’s bully ball in Philadelphia. Nate Sudfeld hasn’t been overly amazing, but with Ajayi dominating on the ground, he just has to manage the game, and he’s excelled in that regard. Then there is their defense, which is always a very physical group. Carl Nassib and Terrance Taylor are bullies in the middle shutting down opposing running games.

11. Boston Dragons (5-3) – No Change
Last Week: W – Washington Wave – 19-14

The Dragons are boring, and the Dragons don’t stand out in any way, but they are on track to make the playoffs because the whole is better than the sum of the parts. The Dragons muck it up and they are hard to play against. Who do you really gameplan against? Nobody really, but they can win in a variety of ways. Their defense is tough, they have a running back who can take over a game, their quarterback isn’t a playmaker but can make plays. All-in-all, they are a solid team full of solid players that make it tough for teams to play against.

12. Iowa Threshers (5-3) – Down 5
Last Week: L – Minnesota Freeze – 23-17

Currently leading a pretty competitive division, the Iowa Threshers are another one of those teams that isn’t sexy at all, but has some really solid players making up a solid team. They do have a true elite talent, though. George Kittle has been unstoppable at tight end. His over-the-middle reliability has given CJ Beathard a great chain mover. Orleans Darkwa and Akrum Wadley are also pairing together very well on the ground. The defense, has no true stars, but is another super tough group. And if you have to name a star, it is budding star Samson Ebukam, who has 12 sacks already this year.

13. Atlanta Firebirds (4-4) – No Change
Last Week: L – Orlando Rockets – 37-34

Atlanta continues to be a frustrating team. The team continues to be loaded with talent, but they struggle to put it all together every week. At 4-4, they are outside the playoffs looking in, but it absolutely would not shock anybody if they made a run to the playoffs and further. Matt Barkley is playing very well and has some very good weapons to throw to, particularly Cameron Meredith. Their trade to acquire Danielle Hunter really stabilized their defense as well with a top pass rusher. The one thing holding the Firebirds might be their running game. Matt Breida is talented and has a great future, but he does not seem ready to be the featured back yet, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry so far. However, the Firebirds, for better or worse, are committed to him.

14. Los Angeles Stars (4-4) – No Change
Last Week: L – San Diego Diablos – 20-9

Phillip Lindsay has been electric, and sometimes he hasn’t been. Like all rookies, he’s been a bit inconsistent, but when he’s going, he’s unstoppable. On the other side of the ball, the Stars have a good group of pass rushers and a secondary that is among the best in the league with Fabien Moreau making a more into an elite level at cornerback, and the All-SFL safety Brian Poole. Those things make the Stars dangerous. The passing game is steady and can make plays with Cody Kessler dropping back. He just doesn’t have the greatest of weapons after Joe Hills. It’s a major drop off after him.

15. New Orleans Nightmare (4-4) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Pittsburgh Forge – 42-39 (OT)

We all know what New Orleans did last season, so at 4-4, there is no reason to give up on them. The Nightmare have really been hitting their stride lately too. Aaron Murray is having another great year and the addition of Trent Taylor gives the Nightmare a great chain-mover to pair with the dynamic Rueben Randle. Former first round draft bust Tyler Higbee seems to be turning his career around too. But the team is a running team. Jeremy Hill has been a tremendous addition and paired with Stevan Ridley, there aren’t many better, more physical duos. The defense has been struggling, though. Last year they were great, but and part of it has been a step back by perennial All-SFLer Brent Urban. Their secondary lacks a real playmaker too. But the offense is good enough to make it.

16. Omaha Express (4-4) – Up 3
Last Week: W – St. Louis Stallions – 51-30

They are inconsistent and non particularly scary, but if you look past them, they will make you pay. Rex Burkhead and Terrelle Pryor are fantastic talents, but who else is a worry on offense? Stack the box, the Express might have some trouble. Defensively, Vontaze Burfict and Kwaku Boateng are tremendous, but after them, there is nothing particularly threatening.

17. Houston Wranglers (4-4) – Down 1
Last Week: L – Oklahoma Roughnecks – 24-20 (In Monterrey, Mexico)

Houston is another team that is hard to figure out because on paper, they should be rocking it, but they have been inconsistent and sit at 4-4. That certainly is not a spot to think they can’t make a run to the playoffs or even in their division, they certainly can and it would not be a surprise either. They just don’t stand out too much with an exception for their pass defense. They have found a gem in Holton Hill and a pair of moves to get Miles Killebrew and Derrick Kindred at safety have been wonderful for them. Jamaal Westerman has dropped off a bit as a pass rusher from his elite status, but rookie Duke Ejiofor has done very well, there just isn’t a ton of threat behind them. Offensively, it was going to be impossible for Matt Nichols to play at the lightning pace he did for a period last year, but he’s been very good with Aaron Jones is a tremendous running back who has to be the focal point for them.

18. Minnesota Freeze (4-4) – Up 4
Last Week: W – @ Iowa Threshers – 23-17

Some soft opponents have boosted up the Freeze’s record, but a recent win over Iowa proved they can be a threat to beat some better teams. The Freeze are just a team growing. After all, last year was abysmal so having four wins is a massive improvement. Mike Reilly has been a huge part of that, and a much improved offensive line has help keep the offense going this year. Reilly has some talented weapons in Rookie of the Year contender Antonio Callaway and veterans Jaron Brown and Robert Foster. Corey Clement has been very disappointing, however, and the offense just has not been balanced. Defensively, Mike Catapano, the long-time veteran who was drafted in the first round back in 2013, is having one of the best years of his career leading an improving defense.

19. Carolina Generals (4-4) – Up 1
Last Week: W – @ Virginia Admirals – 10-9

Carolina’s unorthodox offense always makes them a tough team to beat, but it also always makes a win tough for them to get. They win close games. Leading that is a running game led by their quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He’s able to get some passes out there, but he’s a run-first guy anymore. Tarik Cohen has also done very well in his second season and is averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Even Kenneth Dixon, while not as involved, is getting some good short-yardage usage. While not having a passing quarterback, having a pair of over-the-middle type of receivers leading things in Zach Miller and Jamison Crowder isn’t helping them much. Dez Bryant has been a major bust with only 2 catches through eight games. The running game is a major boost to their defense as well, keeping opposing offenses off the field. But the defense has some quality players on it too, led by their d-line with Will Sutton, Cleyton Liang and Jake Metz.

20. Mississippi Cottonmouths (3-5) – Down 3
Last Week: L – @ Birmingham Predators – 29-17

Ricky Ray has proven he’s not done yet, but he’s certainly not the man he once was. He is showing his age and does need a bit more help. The running game just isn’t getting it done this year. James Flanders leads the team with only 269 yards. The defensive is totally uninspiring as well, which doesn’t help make the Cottonmouths a threat. They are just an old team. Ray and Jeff Cumberland are leading their offense while George Selvie is their top pass rushing threat.

21. Washington Wave (3-5) – Down 3
Last Week: L – @ Boston Dragons – 19-14

When they fell to 3-5, the Wave seems to have cashed their season in by trading Tyreek Hill, just an electrifying player who needs no introduction. Hill has has some major off-the-field issues that may have led to this move despite the team’s commitment to standing behind him previous weeks. Hill was their leading rusher, receiver and return man. Now the Wave will have to recreate their offense to figure out how to move forward. At least their defense has been figured out. That is a good unit led by a tremendous inside linebacker Blake Martinez.

22. St. Louis Stallions (3-5) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Omaha Express – 51-30

Zach Mettenberger is still flinging the ball all around, but the rest of the team has been disappointing. Really, though, a better balance on offense could serve them well. Alfred Blue is averaging nearly five yards per carry but just isn’t getting the touches he probably needs as they drop back a lot. The o-line is also struggling mightily and the defense has very little to be happy about.

23. Seattle Orcas (2-6) – Up 3
Last Week: W – @ Utah Raptors – 13-3

What happened to Seattle? They have crashed and burned, mostly because the team just got old fast on both sides of the ball. They still have Isaiah Crowell, but the man can’t do everything and has seen too many offensive linemen year-after-year leave. He’s running behind one of the worst guard duos in the league this year. The defense is still tough, but the offense is just so miserable right now they are bringing the entire team down.

24. Oklahoma Roughnecks (2-6) – Up 4
Last Week: W – @ Houston Wranglers – 24-20 (In Monterrey, Mexico)

Back-to-back wins have gotten some confidence in Roughnecks locker room. They aren’t going to make a run to the playoffs or anything, but Landry Jones has hit his stride and Mark Andrews looks like a future stud. The defense has a few pieces who look like they will be really good. They aren’t exactly slow-playing it, but it’s slow-play enough to get their good young players developing.

25. Louisville Cougars (2-6) – Down 1
Last Week: L – Nashville Renegades – 38-2

The Jeremiah Masoli experiment has probably run it’s course, but there doesn’t really appear to be anybody to turn things over to. The Cougars probably should give Karlos Williams more touches but they do have to play catchup a lot. And without Julian Edelman, it’s just barren out there at wide receiver. Gabriel Knapton and Ryan Glasgow are coming together very well as a trench duo, but they need more talent around those guys on defense.

26. Columbus Explorers (2-6) – Down 1
Last Week: L – @ Michigan Stags – 16-10

Joshua Dobbs is improving, but he’s just not ready quite yet. That does not mean the Explorers should pull the plug either. They have to stick with him. The disappointing part is the Explorers just don’t have a lot to help him. They will never not regret trading away Alvin Kamara. Jeremy Langford isn’t bad this year actually, but he’s no Kamara. Dobbs needs more playmakers helping him. Despite the defensive talent, the lack of offense is putting their defense right back out on the field and seeing them struggle.

27. Oakland Odyssey (2-6) – No Change
Last Week: W – Miami Mustangs – 20-15

Oakland has picked on two bottom dwellers for wins, but they understand what is going on here. The Odyssey are not deviating from the plan and thrusting their young players into the starting lineup before they are ready. Case Keenum, despite all the talent, has not done what people expected him to do. Maybe we just need to lower the expectations. Dexter McCluster has been a very nice all-around threat, though. He’s not young, but he’s a guy who will help out.

28. Utah Raptors (2-6) – Down 5
Last Week: L – Seattle Orcas – 13-3

The Ryan Nassib experiment is already over and he’s out of town already. The Raptors problem is their offense just has almost nothing outside Dede Westbrook. They thought Jamaal Williams would be their featured back, but he has shown no signs of becoming that. They also traded Jesse James, and oh year, fired their coach. The Raptors are clearly going to be looking to what they have for next season. Vernon Adams, Jr. will have every opportunity to solidify himself as their quarterback.

29. Miami Mustangs (1-7) – No Change
Last Week: L – @ Oakland Odyssey – 20-15

Miami made some missteps before the season starter, signing a bunch of old guys to big contracts. Those were guys who might supplement a playoff contender, not a new expansion team. The o-line has been pretty disappointing as well. Another potential misstep might be giving up on Brad Kaaya. Bart Houston is an interesting d-league guy, but Kaaya is supposed to be a franchise quarterback and was not playing well. Now he’s on the bench watching a guy who last played in the d-league.

30. Virginia Admirals (0-8) – No Change
Last Week: L – Carolina Generals – 10-9

The Admirals are the last team to have yet found a win. It’s not a shock either, one paper, there isn’t much to love. They will get a win this year. They nearly had one against Carolina, but it has not come together. They are very much slow-playing things and not in a rush.

Week 8 Awards

Offensive Player of the Week:
WR Bryan Burnham, Pittsburgh Forge
7 Receptions, 164 Rec Yards (23.4 YPC), 2 Rec Tds

Defensive Player of the Week:
ILB NaVorro Bowman, New York Marauders
6 TKLs, 2 SKs, 2 FF, 1 FR, 1 TD (32 Yard FR)

Special Teams Player of the Week:
P Anthony Fera, Virginia Admirals
4 Punts, 213 Punt Yards (53.3 YPP), 3 In20, 71 Long

Rookie of the Week:
WR Antonio Callaway, Minnesota Freeze
8 Receptions, 153 Rec Yards (19.1 YPC), 1 Rec TD

2019 Playoff Standings

Empire Conference
1. Birmingham Predators (7-1)
2. New York Marauders (6-2)
3. Iowa Threshers (5-3)
4. Orlando Rockets (7-1)
5. Philadelphia Bulldogs (5-3)
6. Boston Dragons (5-3)

Metropolitan Conference
1. Michigan Stags (7-1)
2. San Diego Diablos (7-1)
3. Nashville Renegades (6-3)
4. San Antonio Marshalls (5-3)
5. Dallas Six-Shooters (5-3)
6. Los Angeles Stars (4-4)

Draft Order

1-2. Sacramento Bandits / Jacksonville Stingrays
3. Virginia Admirals (0-8)
4. Miami Mustangs (1-7)
5. Oakland Odyssey (2-6)
6. Oklahoma Roughnecks (2-6)
7. Seattle Orcas (2-6)
8. Louisville Cougars (2-6)
9. Utah Raptors (2-6)
10. Columbus Explorers (2-6)
11. Mississippi Cottonmouths (3-5)
12. St. Louis Stallions (3-5)
13. Washington Wave (3-5)
14. Minnesota Freeze (4-4)
15. Houston Wranglers (4-4)
16. New Orleans New Orleans (4-4)
17. Atlanta Firebirds (4-4)
18. Carolina Generals (4-4)
19. Omaha Express (4-4)
20. Pittsburgh Forge (5-5)

Mid-Season Awards

Most Valuable Player
QB Trevor Harris, Orlando Rockets
159-for-231 (68.8%), 2,151 Pass Yards, 18 Pass TDs, 2 INTs

Offensive Player of the Year
WR Eric Rogers, Orlando Rockets
73 receptions, 1,157 Receiving Yards (15.8 YPC), 8 Rec TDs

Defensive Player of the Year
DE Za’Darius Smith, Michigan Stags
38 Tackles, 10 Sacks, 11 Hurries, 7 TFL, 1 PD, 1 FF, 1 FR

Special Teams Player of the Year
K Will Lutz, Atlanta Firebirds
14-for-14 FG (100%), 6 40+, 2 50+, 53 LG, 21-for-22 XP (95.5%), 63 Points

Offensive Lineman of the Year
C Matt Paradis, Philadelphia Bulldogs
24 Pancakes, 1 Sack Allowed, 0 Bad Blocks

Offensive Rookie of the Year
OT Brandon Parker, Carolina Generals
23 Pancakes, 2 Sacks Allowed, 4 Back Blocks

Defensive Rookie of the Year
DE Duke Ejiofor, Houston Wranglers
34 Tackles, 5 Sacks, 7 Hurries, 6 TFL, 2 PD, 2 FF, 1 FR

Comeback Player of the Year
CB Pacman Jones, Houston Wranglers
35 Tackles, 3 PD, 3 INTs, 1 Hurry, 1 TFL, 16 KRs, 333 KR Yards (20.8 YPR), 21 PRs, 134 Pr Yards (6.4 YPR)

Newcomer of the Year
RB Kareem Hunt, Birmingham Predators
155 Carries, 659 Rush Yards (4.3 YPC), 6 Rush TDs, 24 Rec, 183 Rec Yards (7.6 YPC)

Breakout Player of the Year
OLB Samson Ebukam, Iowa Threshers
34 Tackles, 12 Sacks, 4 Hurries, 2 TFL, 3 PD, 5 FF, 2 INTs

Coach of the Year
Lane Kiffin, San Diego Diablos
7-1 Record, 3-13 in 2018

Executive of the Year
Logan Eachus, Birmingham Predators
7-1 Record, 8-8 in 2018

Week 9 Preview

Philadelphia Bulldogs (5-3) @ Boston Dragons (5-3)
Pick: Philadelphia Bulldogs

New York Marauders (6-2) @ Washington Wave (3-5)
Pick: New York Marauders

Los Angeles Stars (4-4) @ Carolina Generals (4-4)
Pick: Los Angeles Stars

Utah Raptors (2-6) @ Orlando Rockets (7-1)
Pick: Orlando Rockets

Atlanta Firebirds (4-4) @ Miami Mustangs (1-7)
Pick: Atlanta Firebirds

Oakland Odyssey (2-6) @ Mississippi Cottonmouths (3-5)
Pick: Mississippi Cottonmouths

Virginia Breakers (0-8) @ Michigan Stags (7-1)
Pick: Michigan Stags

Birmingham Predators (7-1) @ Columbus Explorers (2-6)
Pick: Birmingham Predators

St. Louis Stallions (3-5) @ Minnesota Freeze (3-5)
Pick: Minnesota Freeze

Oklahoma Roughnecks (2-6) @ Iowa Threshers (5-3)
Pick: Iowa Threshers

Nashville Renegades (6-2) @ Omaha Express (4-4)
Pick: Nashville Renegades

New Orleans Nightmare (4-4) @ Dallas Six-Shooters (5-3)
Pick: Dallas Six-Shooters

Louisville Cougars (2-6) @ San Antonio Marshalls (5-3)
Pick: San Antonio Marshalls

Seattle Orcas (2-6) @ San Diego Diablos (7-1)
Pick: San Diego Diablos

Pittsburgh Forge (5-3) @ Houston Wranglers (4-4)
Pick: Pittsburgh Forge