Before I start, I’d like to tout my 8-0 record in picking games so far, since it’s not often I have this kind of prognostication prowess, and I’d like to do it before I lose a game.
Now that that’s done, here are some fun facts about Week 14 and the Arena Football League season so far:
- Philadelphia had the first 100% successful offensive week since Jacksonville’s Week 8 win. (Orlando is the only other team to have turned in a 100% week, having done so three times.)
- The league’s best offense (by success rate – surrender rate) can be found in the desert, with the Rattlers (80.5%) eking out the Predators (80.3%) and “whoever plays the Steel” (80.2%).
- The league’s best defense is still “whoever plays the Storm” with a 60.3% success rate. “Whoever plays the Steel” is No. 2 at 56.9%, and the Soul round out the Top 3 at 45.8%.
- Defensive touchdowns – your team either scores ’em a lot or they don’t. Arizona has 11, Cleveland has nine, and Philadelphia has eight…but no one else has more than four. Tampa Bay still hasn’t scored a defensive touchdown in 2016.
- On offense, there are three tiers: Portland and Tampa Bay’s offenses have given up 11 touchdowns each, and Arizona (0), Jacksonville (1), and Orlando (1) have surrendered just two combined. The remaining three teams have between 4-6 surrendered TDs.
- Tampa Bay converted nearly 72 percent of offensive possessions into touchdowns in weeks 7-9, culminating in their win against the Rattlers. Aside from those three weeks, the Storm offense has been stopped more often than it’s scored in every game.
- Why do I weight the rankings? If I didn’t, the last time a team passed another team (aside from LA and Cleveland dancing around the middle) would have been Week 4. Boorrrrrrrring!
This week’s Power Rankings:
- Philadelphia (1.19)
- Arizona (1.11)
- Orlando (1.10)
- LA (1.07)
- Jacksonville (1.04)
- Cleveland (1.00)
- Portland (0.76)
- Tampa Bay (0.70)
LA made the most of their game against Tampa Bay, leapfrogging two teams in one week. Cleveland’s drop came from giving up that 100% success rate against Philadelphia.
So who wins this week? Why not ask the guy who’s undefeated in picking games?
Philadelphia Soul at Tampa Bay Storm: The first time these teams met, the Soul spotted the Storm a 10-0 lead before winning 47-17. They could probably spot the Storm 30 pre-game and have a comfortable lead in this one by the fourth quarter.
Cleveland Gladiators at LA KISS: Good game alert! Too bad it’s on CBSSN, so no one will be able to see it. The KISS won the first matchup of the year by five points against the Dennis Havrilla-led Gladiators. The Glads will be using a much better quarterback in this one, but the game will be in Anaheim. The Gladiators are .500 on the road; the KISS are .500 at home. I’ll go with Cleveland to wrap up the fourth seed in the playoffs.
Jacksonville Sharks at Portland Steel: Jacksonville put together their 100% offensive outing the last time they played the Steel. They won’t find it as easy this time, but they’re still too much for a Portland team that just wants to get to next week’s game against the Storm.
Orlando Predators at Arizona Rattlers: 1.11 to 1.10 in weighted rankings. The Predators won the first game between the two by 18, but they were healthy in that game and Arizona wasn’t. This time, Arizona has the upper hand in health and home-field advantage. The Rattlers will want to win this game by 19+ to get the tiebreaker and potentially the No. 1 overall seed. Predators coach Rob Keefe is 6-3 in his career as a head coach against the Rattlers’ Kevin Guy, but all three of those losses have been in Arizona with the second-best quarterbacks on the roster getting the start, and all three came by more than 19 points. I’ll have to hold my nose and pick Arizona.