The number in parenthesis corresponds to the respective team’s change in the ranking from last week.
1. Orlando Apollos (-)
There is one thing that is certain in this Alliance, the Apollos will be in the playoffs. This was a get-right matchup for Orlando as they dominated the Atlanta Legends. QB Garrett Gilbert had a 85.7 completion percentage and continues to be an MVP candidate for the Alliance. RB De’Veon Smith showed an unusual amount of production in this game, rushing for three touchdowns on the ground. It gave some much needed rest for Gilbert and RB D’Ernest Johnson as they thumped the Legends. Next up the Apollos are set for a rematch with the Memphis Express, who just upset the Birmingham Iron.
2. San Antonio Commanders (-)
The Commanders showed off their defensive prowess in this one. They needed the defense to carry the team, for the offense only scored 19 points against the Stallions. RB Kenneth Farrow, once the premiere running back of the league, only managed four yards on eights carries. Luckily, the Commanders were able to stave off the offensive attack of the Stallions to firmly take the lead of the Western Conference. This weekend, they’ll need the offense clicking to keep up with the Hotshots.
3. Arizona Hotshots (+2)
The Hotshots asserted themselves over the San Diego Fleet to lock in second place in the Western Conference. RB Jhurrell Pressley continued to roll with 64 yards on the ground. The real story of this game was on the defensive side of the ball. DB Shaquille Richardson lead the team to victory with eight tackles and an interception. The Hotshots got consistent production on defense while keeping the ball out of the other team’s hands. If they continue to play like this, they’re going to provide real competition for the San Antonio Commanders this weekend.
4. San Diego Fleet (-)
The Fleet endured a hiccup by flopping in the second half against he Hotshots. They were held scoreless after halftime and were not able to keep up. QB Mike Bercovici, once benched for Phillip Nelson, put up another 300-yard passing game, but turnovers continue to be his downfall. He tossed two interceptions and spoiled any chance of giving the Fleet momentum. Still, I do believe the Fleet can compete for a playoff spot down the stretch. We’ll see if they can get back on track this weekend when they travel to Salt Lake City to take on the Stallions.
5. Birmingham Iron (-2)
Call it an over-reaction, but the Iron have now gone 1-3 over their last four games and just allowed 31 points to the last place Memphis Express. Granted QB Ben Silvers took over under center and reinvigorated the offense, but the Iron have struggled to develop a consistent offense of their own. The Iron’s rushing attack continues to struggle and QB Luis Perez, who is as good as any other quarterback in the league, is being asked to do too much. We’ll see if the Iron’s freefall continues next week as they host the floundering Atlanta Legends.
6. Memphis Express (+2)
Though playoffs seem to be out of reach for the Express, they’re going to cause some trouble down the stretch with Silvers under center. Silvers tossed 266 passing yards and two touchdowns to elevate the Express over the Iron in the Alliance’s first ever overtime affair. They capitalized on the media exposure QB Johnny Manziel brought the team, but ultimately the game was won by Silvers. The running game needs to become a staple for this team again however, with their three running backs combining for 21 yards on 17 carries. Next, the Express look to play spoiler on the Orlando Apollos and keep alive their meager playoff hopes.
7. Salt Lake Stallions (-1)
The Stallions can’t seem to summon enough offense, even when they nearly dominate every stat in the game. They were overcome by the Commanders’ defense to fall to 2-5 on the season, with playoffs now looking like a pipe dream. That is likely to happen if your team cannot break 30 points in any game during the season. The Stallions are now on the outside looking in, despite DE Karter Schult leading the league in sacks and having the number two overall defense. Next, they look to capitalize on a San Diego Fleet team coming off of a tough loss.
8. Atlanta Legends (-1)
What once looked like a promising young quarterback leading a strong offensive attack, the Legends have now only scored six points in each of their last two games and have also only broken 20 points in one game this season. QB Aaron Murray looked to be primed for a breakout season once he look over under center, but has now thrown five interceptions in two games. Things don’t look to be getting much better, as they go into Birmingham to play an Iron team that desperately needs to get back on track.