Week 5 Power Rankings; Can’t Miss Random Pick

29 03 2007

With all of yesterday’s Deadspin-related excitment, we failed to write what’s turning into our most regular feature: re-post ESPN’s AFL Power Rankings, and then (since last week) be total wise-asses in bold-face. After the rankings, we’ll see if we can improve to 3-1 (after a week-1 bye) on the CMRP.

AFL Power Rankings
(Heading into Week 5)

1. (1) Dallas (4-0) 
Last week: Beat Orlando 70-49
This week: vs. Austin
Orlando had no answer for the Clint Dolezel-to-Will Pettis combination and the Desperados pressured QB Shane Stafford all night for a huge statement win. Jerry “Football Mastermind” Jones is mildly considering sending Brad Johnson back to MN in favor of Dolezel for the Cowboys’ starting position and Tony “Previously Banged Carrie Underwood” Romo’s mentor.
2. (2) Philadelphia (3-0)
Last week: Beat Colorado 71-47
This week: at New York
Despite playing with a banged-up receiving corps, Soul QB Tony Graziani still took over the game and threw eight TD passes. DB Eddie Moten leads a defense that is really starting to gel. Scouts Inc is getting tired of us harping on them for ranking Philly at #3 after a Week 1 bye, and has no problem reminding us they’re undefeated. Also, DB Eddie Moten has a sweet hookup at Garnier Fructis.
3. (3) Georgia (4-0)
Last week: Beat San Jose 64-62
This week: at Columbus
A big rushing game by FB Matt Huebner (43 yards and one TD) and a huge receiving game by WR Chris Jackson (185 yards and three TDs) kept the Force undefeated. In all fairness (and not to slight Matt Huebner) any game where a single player has more than 10 yards rushing is a ‘big rushing game’.
4. (5) Chicago (3-1)
Last week: Beat Columbus 55-47
This week: vs. Los Angeles
The Rush defense controlled the line of scrimmage and the pace of the game in win over Columbus. Chicago got a big game from PK Dan Frantz and once again, the tandem of Matt D’Orazio-to-Bobby Sippio was nearly unstoppable. Would the Bears either a) reverse their off-season slide, or b) put the final nail in the off-season coffin by signing D’Orazio and Sippio? You decide.
5. (8) Utah (3-1)
Last week: Beat Grand Rapids 83-42
This week: at Las Vegas
The Blaze always move the ball on offense and score points, but they finally played a solid defensive game, featuring a great pass rush and solid pass defense. They either ‘played a solid defensive game’ or Grand Rapids ‘totally blows’. Props to Scouts Inc. for not making some lame pun involving the word ‘fire’ or phrase ‘lit up’.
6. (10) Los Angeles (2-1)
Last week: Beat New Orleans 48-36
This week: at Chicago
Avengers QB Sonny Cumbie has yet to throw an interception, and DB Damen Wheeler was the ultimate playmaker as LA scored another big win on the road. Cumbie has just been doomed to have a TERRIBLE game.
7. (4) Orlando (2-2)
Last week: Lost to Dallas 70-49
This week: at New Orleans
QB Shane Stafford played a gutsy game versus constant Dallas defensive pressure, but it wasn’t enough. The Predators were beaten up physically by the Desperados. Other Gruden on Monday Night (Arena) Football – 0-2. Too bad Peach Shirt couldn’t come through in the second half.
8. (6) Colorado (2-2)
Last week: Lost to Philadelphia 71-47
This week: vs. Nashville
QB John Dutton threw three interceptions, and the Crush defense had no answer for Soul QB Tony Graziani (eight TD passes) and WR Charles Pauley (four TD catches) in a road loss. Read the score and recap, and then try to figure out why Colorado deserves to be ranked above Nashville. Beats the hell out of us.
9. (13) Nashville (2-2)
Last week: Beat Austin 70-63
This week: at Colorado
The Kats held on in a wild offensive game filled with penalties, turnovers and some sloppy play. Still, they made plays when they had to in a big road win. Well, okay, I guess Scouts Inc. got this one right – it’s better to get mildly whooped by a good team (see: Orlando) than to eek by a not-so-good team.
10. (9) New Orleans (2-2)
Last week: Lost to Los Angeles 48-36
This week: vs. Orlando
The VooDoo got behind early, struggled to convert on third and fourth downs and never could catch up as Los Angeles time and again made the big defensive play. For some reason that recap makes me think of the Raiders. The previous sentence is not intended as a joke, I can’t think of any witticisms here – it’s just a statement of fact.
11. (17) Arizona (1-3)
Last week: Beat Las Vegas 68-41
This week: at Kansas City
After playing explosive offensive football for three weeks but still going winless, the Rattlers finally discovered a defense and made some key stops to beat the Gladiators. Arizona is finally getting a little credit for not losing by less than a touchdown like the first three weeks of the season.
12. (7) San Jose (1-2)
Last week: Lost to Georgia 64-62
This week: vs. Tampa Bay
The SaberCats played hard versus a good Georgia defense and moved the ball well on offense, but they could not make enough defensive stops to pull out a win. San Jose is last week’s Arizona. Give them credit for helping Georgia stay at #3.
13. (12) Austin (1-3)
Last week: Lost to Nashville 70-63
This week: at Dallas
Fading Wranglers continue to move the ball on offense, but sloppiness, poor ball security, too many penalties and not enough defensive stops spells 1-3. Again, I’ll accuse Austin of inexcusable lousiness. You’re in Texas. Go down to any middle school and upgrade your team.
14. (15) Kansas City (1-2)
Last week: Bye
This week: vs. Arizona
The Brigade are coming off a bye and are a tough team to get a handle on right now. They face an explosive Arizona offense this week. “We’re not positive, but we’re pretty sure the Brigade kinda suxors.”
15. (11) Columbus (1-2)
Last week: Lost to Chicago 55-47
This week: vs. Georgia
Pass protection was shabby and the Destroyers were pushed around in the trenches. They had no answer for Rush WR Bobby Sippio, but they never quit. Give it to Columbus (also inexcusably lousy despite being in Ohio) for hanging in there with Chicago. I’ve decided that from here on out we’ll occasionally refer to Bobby Sippio as “AFL’s Jerry Rice”.
16. (14) Las Vegas (1-3)
Last week: Lost to Arizona 68-41
This week: vs. Utah
The Gladiators were not equipped to slow down the high-flying Arizona offense. Las Vegas was never really in this game and its offense just couldn’t get anything going. Apparently, you can take Las Vegas out of the game AND take the game out of Las Vegas.
17. (19) New York (1-2)
Last week: Beat Tampa Bay 59-52
This week: vs. Philadelphia
The Dragons got a solid six-touchdown performance from QB Rohan Davey and they fought through adversity to beat the Storm in the last 31 seconds. Don’t get too excited about Rohan Davey yet – look at where Tampa Bay ends up in the rankings.
18. (16). Grand Rapids (1-3)
Last week: Lost to Utah 83-42
This week: Bye
The pass protection struggled, QB Michael Bishop threw three costly interceptions and the defense could not make any key stops in lopsided loss. What do you expect? Their QB is a 62-year-old science fiction writer.
19. (18) Tampa Bay (0-4)
Last week: Lost to New York 59-52
This week: at San Jose
The Storm moved the ball on offense but made mistakes at critical times and struggled to cover the talented Dragons receivers in a tough home loss. It must have hurt Scouts Inc. to use the word ‘talented’ about New York without being ironic.

CAN’T MISS RANDOM PICK: CMRP’s are currently at 2-1 (following a week 1 bye), and we hope to extend the winning streak to 3, because let us tell you, those victory parties leave you with quite the delightful hangover.This weeks’ pick: COLORADO 56, NASHVILLE 52: In honor of my currently-office-winning-NCAA-bracket (picked all Final Four teams, have Florida (ugg) winning over Georgetown), where the possible winnings would be enough to either give my car a tune-up or have a pretty good time across the street (not that we’re gambling)(Mom, I promise I won’t actually go there if I win), I’ve picked the 8-9 match-up. Not too sure about this one, but I think Colorado, playing at home, will have a little bit of an edge over Nashville. Plus, I think I’d definitely rather backpack in Colorado with religious nuts than sweat in Nashville with a bunch of country-music enthusiasts. Except Tennessee girls are pretty damned hot. Damn, I might have totally screwed myself on this one. Anyhow, don’t look for the NCAA-esqe 9-8 upset, but do plan on the final minutes of the game taking forever.

You know what, screw it. I’m taking babes over backpacking. This week’s NEW pick: NASHVILLE 56, COLORADO 52. Take the 9-8 upset, and I’ll take the Chaser Plus in prep of the victory party with all my Southern belles.

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