Tag Archives: Orlando Predators

AFL Power Rankings, Week 17

Hey, only one week to go in the season, assuming the league doesn’t change the rules again this week! Arizona annihilated the Gladiators, launching them beyond the Soul into the top spot as they wrapped up their regular season.

Tampa Bay’s victory over the Steel also vaulted them into a tie for last place with one game left for each squad. No worries for either team, as each will have its season ended in the first round of the playoffs.

Here’s this week’s Power Rankings:

  1. Arizona (1.17)
  2. Philadelphia (1.15)
  3. Orlando (1.07)
  4. Jacksonville (1.06)
  5. LA (1.05)
  6. Cleveland (0.92)
  7. Tampa Bay (0.80)
  8. Portland (0.80)

Continue reading AFL Power Rankings, Week 17

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AFL Power Rankings, Week 11

I don’t have enough fun and interesting facts for a full post, so here are a few to tide you over until next week.

  • Until Week 10, no team had surrendered a safety all season. The LA KISS have now given up two in two weeks (no one else has surrendered one).
  • Jacksonville’s three defensive TDs against Tampa Bay exceeded their non-offensive output for the rest of the season combined (they had one defensive TD and one special teams TD).
  • Tampa Bay reached 10 touchdowns surrendered first, getting all the way up to 11 in just 10 games. Yes, opposing defenses average more than a touchdown per game against the Storm.

Here are your power rankings:

  1. Philadelphia (1.21)
  2. Arizona (1.12)
  3. Jacksonville (1.10)
  4. Orlando (1.02)
  5. Cleveland (0.99)
  6. Los Angeles (0.93)
  7. Tampa Bay (0.81)
  8. Portland (0.78)

Jacksonville improved their ranking by annihilating Tampa Bay. Portland couldn’t capitalize on the Storm’s poor performance, losing by a lot to Arizona. Orlando and Cleveland’s dead-even battle resulted in almost no movement for both teams. And Philadelphia has started running away with No. 1 honors.

This is a big week for our rankings – the No. 1 and 2 teams will battle, as will 3 and 4. The biggest disparity in a matchup this weekend is between Cleveland and Portland, and the first game between those two teams went to overtime. Enjoy the games and hopefully we’ll shake things up next week!

AFL Fun Facts, Post-Week 10

I’ve lost my ability to use Photoshop, so no cool graphs or .gifs anymore. All I have for you are fun facts about the Arena Football League as the regular season heads into its homestretch.

  • Two teams have yet to surrender a defensive touchdown – Arizona and Jacksonville.
  • One team has yet to score a defensive touchdown – Tampa Bay.
  • The LA KISS lost their game against the Orlando Predators via a botched FG snap that bounced through the end zone. It was the first safety recorded of 2016.
  • Because of Brandon Thompkins’ two kickoff return TDs in the fourth quarter that kept the Predators in it, the Predators offense took the field for only five drives. The next fewest drives in a game this season is seven, achieved by the KISS (in this game), and the Storm in Week 5. (Portland had the most, 15, in a Week 1 loss to Arizona.)
  • Speaking of Thompkins, he leads a Predators special teams unit that has EIGHT special teams touchdowns in 10 games. Tampa Bay has the second-most with three.
  • Portland’s maligned defense has come up with lots of stops recently. After having three combined stops against first team offenses in their first four games combined, the defense has come up with 3+ stops in three of their last four games, including six stops of Tampa Bay last week (plus two special teams fumble recoveries).
  • On the other hand, Orlando’s defense has melted down recently. After getting more than one stop in each of their first seven games, they’ve managed just one stop in each of the last three. They’re 1-2 in those games, with the win being due to an unforced error on LA’s part.
  • The Philadelphia Soul now lead the league in weighted offensive and defensive success rate, which is why they’re my No. 1 team in my upcoming Power Rankings post.
  • …and Cleveland‘s offense has become pretty darn good under Arvell Nelson. Since he took over as starter, the Gladiators have had 70% or better scoring rates in every game, a number they failed to achieve even once in their first four games. Under Nelson’s leadership, the offense went from Tampa Bay-levels of production to slightly better than Jacksonville’s.

 

AFL Week 2 in Three .gifs

Since Monday’s game will be on CBSSN and therefore inaccessible to me, here are the highlights from the games I saw this weekend.

Tampa Bay at Cleveland: I think this is the only highlight in a game that was pretty ugly and marred by injuries and guys that were never supposed to play this year ending up playing QB for both teams. This interception sealed the win for the Gladiators.

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In fairness to the QB, the defender is nearly invisible in this .gif. Unfortunately for him, real life is not compressed for size and using only 64 colors, so he shouldn’t be quite so invisible.

Portland at Orlando: It was an ugly game considering that the only real stop was the interception on Portland’s last play of the game. The first half was full of slow, methodical drives, and the second half saw lots of penalties and lots more scoring. The Predators’ feed meant lots of camera cuts mid-play, which makes for confusing .gifs and a lot of the game’s best plays were lost to that production.

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The best kick return of the night ended in the returner nearly being carried off the field by the opposing team. The next play was an interception to seal the Predators’ win.

Arizona at Los Angeles: Sorry, this was after my bedtime. I see I didn’t miss much, as Arizona obliterated LA.

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I didn’t watch Arizona vs. Los Angeles. I’ll let this Predator shame me (and haunt you).

The War on I-4 in Three .gifs

The Predators beat the Storm by 51 points on Friday, the worst loss in Tampa Bay’s history. In case you missed the game, these three .gifs summarize it pretty well.

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DE Mike Lewis recovers the fumble for a Predators TD in the AFL Highlight of the Game.
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WR Brandon Thompkins makes the Cutters Catch of the Game for another touchdown.
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DB Varmah Sonie celebrates his first interception of the night. His second ended the game.

Facebook Cover Schedules, Vol. 1

Now that the Portland Steel have finally been named and their logo has been announced, I’m able to finish the home schedule graphics I’ve made as Facebook cover images. Of course, after using my template from last year to show what areas would be covered, it appears that Facebook has made it so even more of your profile pic will be in the way of the image, removing the 2016 part of the image.

I hope you’ll be able to live with having to remember what year it is. 😃

Anyway, here are the American Conference’s team schedules; you can see the National Conference schedules at this link.

2016 Jacksonville Sharks' home schedule.

2016 Orlando Predators' home schedule.

2016 Philadelphia Soul's home schedule.

2016 Tampa Bay Storm's home schedule.

 

Arena Football League Midterm Grades

All 12 Arena Football League teams have made it through the midpoint of their season, so it’s an ideal time to hand out mid-term grades.

I took the offensive and defensive success rates, added them up, then let the SaberCats set the curve, giving them an overall 100 percent grade. Everyone else gets their grades adjusted based on that 100-point scale.

The National Conference’s average grade was a 73.6; the American Conference tops that with an average grade of 75.3. However, the National Conference has a huge disparity, with both the two top teams and four of the five bottom teams. The American Conference is the AFL’s middle class, with four of their six teams earning Cs halfway through the year.

San Jose SaberCats A+ 100

They have the best offense and defense in the league, they’re 10-0, and they still have potential to do more. When they look sloppy and bad, they win by 20. What happens when they play well?

Arizona Rattlers B+ 88.3

Yup, the Sabercats are wrecking the league so badly that no one else scores in the A range. Arizona’s offense has had some hiccups while working through missing their receivers early in the season and then their quarterback problems with Davila’s injury and Coleman’s leaving the team. The Defense has been really good; San Jose’s defense has just been ridiculous. If this team gets healthy, they are definitely still a threat to the SaberCats. Continue reading Arena Football League Midterm Grades

Breaking Down: Portland Thunder vs. Road Crowds

In the last two Portland Thunder away games, there have been incidents where a player (or his equipment) initiates contact with the opposing crowd. Neither have been quite to the level of the Ron Artest Interactive Fan Experience*, but some are making it out to be a Thunder-related problem.

The situation reminds me of how Matthew Dellavedova has been getting pilloried as a dirty player by people unfamiliar with sports (and a media that likes creating narratives) after an event where Al Horford yanked him backwards over a player who had fallen, then Horford elbow-dropped him because when Dellavedova fell over Horford’s teammate, he had the temerity to fall into Horford’s legs (of course, this is what happens when a guy is pulling you toward him and you fall backwards over someone).

In this weekend’s game of Opposing Fans vs. Portland Thunder, Thunder wide receiver V’Keon Lacey caught a pass and turned the play upfield, where he was pulled into the wall by three or four Predators fans. After they successfully pulled him into the wall, stopping the play, one continued to hold him while another fan aggressively ripped at the ball. Lacey gave the guy ripping at the ball a push afterwards, getting himself ejected for the rest of the game.

You can’t call someone dirty or someone else out of control when others are the aggressors in the incidents. Dirty is Al Horford dropping an elbow to Dellavedova’s jaw (or leaping on him, then yanking on his arm and pulling him backwards until he falls over someone, for that matter). Fans are out of control when they’re reaching over the padding to tackle players.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Lacey, especially after his former teammate, Quincy Butler, got kicked off the team for actions that were more harmful and less provoked, but were also a complete accident, rather than intentional retaliation directed at a fan.

Player Quincy Butler V’Keon Lacey
Location Philadelphia Orlando
Incident Responded to a bad ejection call by throwing helmet; accidentally struck a fan. Responded to fans assaulting him on the field by pushing one; got ejected for pushing the fan.
Intentional? No Yes
Did the fan deserve it? No Yes
Damage Unknown; fan did leave game None
Reputation None; second AFL game Thunder’s top healthy WR
Result Kicked off team; anything beyond that is unknown at this point. ???

Will Lacey be fined, suspended, or even let go? Butler had zero capital built up in the league, so even though his incident was an accident, he was gone immediately. Lacey, hopefully, has built up enough goodwill that he’ll avoid a knee-jerk reaction punishment extending beyond what he’s already served.

One thing is for sure: Every one of the Predators fans involved should have been ejected from the game and have their season tickets revoked. Of course it will never happen, since front-row season tickets are expensive, the fans would want their money back, and every AFL team needs that income.

Unfortunately, this is where the league is right now – players, and the game itself, are less important to teams than a few out of control fans.

*Reference shamelessly stolen from the internet
**Thanks to shock_fanatic_06 on ArenaFan.com for finding video of the game online and thanks to Thomas O’Brien for uploading it to YouTube.

Game Preview: Portland Thunder (3-4) at Orlando Predators (4-4)

The Portland Thunder, fresh off a win against the Los Angeles KISS, head to Orlando in search of their first road win of the season on Saturday, May 23.

The Thunder are 3-0 against the worst two scoring defenses in the league, and 0-4 against the rest of their schedule…which happens to have contained the top four defenses in the league. The Predators are the third-worst scoring defense in the league, if you’re looking for signs that point to a Thunder win.

Wrong Way Sports' Game Day Breakdown, Thunder (3-4) vs. Predators (4-4). Orlando has an offensive advantage in everything but turnovers; Portland has a defensive advantage in everything but Drive Success Rate. Look out for Duane Brooks, who has two consecutive games with kick return touchdowns.

Continue reading Game Preview: Portland Thunder (3-4) at Orlando Predators (4-4)