AFL Power Rankings, Week 16

As I predicted, my prediction record took a hit last weekend as Portland continued its three-year streak of getting a win over Jacksonville and LA holding on to defeat Cleveland. I’m down to a mere 10-2 record (11-2 if you count my predicting that I would lose games!) on the season.

My bad week reminds me a bit of Orlando’s week. First, they went from “driving to take the lead” to “down three touchdowns” in a couple of minutes of gameplay against the Rattlers. Since they clinched a tiebreaker advantage over Arizona by losing by less than 18 points, their late field goal to cut the final margin to 17 seemed like a great save.

Then the league decided to change the postseason rules (with one game left in the season for each team) so Orlando and Philadelphia are set to play each other in the second playoff round regardless of what happens – the saving grace was rendered largely moot.

And, to top things off, LA leaped over them into third place in this week’s weighted power rankings. Here they are:

  1. Philadelphia (1.15)
  2. Arizona (1.11)
  3. LA (1.09)
  4. Orlando (1.07)
  5. Jacksonville (1.04)
  6. Cleveland (0.98)
  7. Portland (0.79)
  8. Tampa Bay (0.76)

So who will win this week?

Portland at Tampa Bay: Portland has been a much better team as the season has moved along. MLB KC Obi was nearly unblockable against Jacksonville, causing plenty of pressure and bad throws by Grady as the Steel edged out a win. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, played Philadelphia tightly…but lost their quarterback for the remainder of the season. Portland will get their second two-game win streak over Jacksonville and Tampa Bay in the last three years.

Los Angeles at Jacksonville: Jacksonville got embarrassed in Portland and their coach was fired. That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in this squad. Meanwhile, LA is riding a two-game hot streak. I’ll say both streaks continue; LA wins this.

Cleveland at Arizona: Arizona already won twice this week, beating Orlando and escaping the possibility of matching up against Orlando or Philadelphia. Cleveland has to beat Arizona just to have a chance to host a first-round game. That’s…unlikely to happen. Arizona wins, easily.