New York, welcome back your second-string QB.
Has it really been six months since I’ve peer-reviewed Grampa Gary Horton’s AFL Power Rankings, and supplemented that with a Can’t Miss Random Pick and a Weekend Pillow Fight? Poke Gramps with a stick and give him a scotch, it’s story time!
AFL Power Rankings (Week1)
|1. Chicago Rush (1-0) | Previous: 3 | Week 1: Beat San Jose 70-47 | Week 2: vs. Philadelphia
The Rush were in playoff form in Week 1 and appear to have no glaring weaknesses. They made big plays on both sides of the ball, dominated in the trenches and forced five San Jose turnovers. They dictated matchups all night. Blantant Homerism Alert: the Rush beat the defending Arena Bowl champs by three scores? Someone take Sherdrick Bonner to Second City, buy him a red hot, and help him spit on Bill Wirtz’ tomb.
|2. Philadelphia Soul (1-0) | Previous: 4 | Week 1: Beat Orlando 77-56 | Week 2: at Chicago
QB Tony Graziani was almost flawless with nine TD passes against a Predators defense that did not play up to expectations. New WR Chris Jackson was a hit, catching four TD passes. The Soul also played well on special teams and controlled field position. We agree Philly is damn good. We agree Graziani is almost without flaw. We disagree with any defensive expectations of the Preds that do not involve ‘make Philadelphia look really damn good and Graziani look almost without flaw’.
|3. Dallas Desperados (1-0) | Previous: 1 | Week 1: Beat Georgia 51-41 | Week 2: vs. Columbus
QB Clint Dolezel was off to a great start with seven TD passes, but then suffered a separated shoulder and will likely miss 4-6 weeks. It was not a real crisp game for the Desperados as their defense looked great early but struggled late. The pass protection must also improve and Dallas plays with backup QB Chris Sanders for the next month or so. Dr. Dolezel is not intimidated by a separated shoulder. Medical intern Sanders is not intimidated by rushing in the AFL, apparently. Owner Jerry Jones is definitely not intimidated by helping coach on the sidelines.
|4. Tampa Bay Storm (1-0) | Previous: 5 | Week 1: Beat Kansas City 51-49 | Week 2: vs. Georgia
The Storm did not play a great game, especially on third down conversions, and QB Brett Dietz did not put up huge numbers, but the run game in the red zone produced four Torrance Marshall TDs and LB Marvin Brown had two key interceptions to seal a tough road win. JM’s world is turning upside down – Dietz with only two TD passes and a SOLID RUNNING GAME IN THE AFL?
|5. Los Angeles Avengers (1-0) | Previous: 6 | Week 1: Beat New Orleans 59-42 | Week 2: at Arizona
QB Sonny Cumbie threw seven TD passes versus an overmatched New Orleans defense. Newly acquired free agent Timon Marshall had a solid opening game, with nine catches and three TDs, while the Avengers’ defense picked off three passes. Sonny Cumbie threw as many TDs as Dolezel, and yet, I’m not impressed. Props are due, though – I don’t remember LA having a defense last year.
|6. San Jose SaberCats (0-1) | Previous: 2 | Week 1: Lost to Chicago 70-47 | Week 2: at Grand Rapids
You cannot turn the ball over and make mistakes against a team like Chicago and that’s what the SaberCats did. They practically beat themselves. They allowed Chicago to produce five takeaways, which led to 35 points, and that won’t win any games. Theory: Since it took San Jose what seemed like three months of free-agency to resign their Arena Bowl MVP QB, he’ll show up around week 4.
|7. Georgia Force (0-1) | Previous: 7 | Week 1: Lost to Dallas 51-41 | Week 2: at Tampa Bay
The Force hung in a game that they shouldn’t have been in. While they got solid production out of QB Chris Greisen and WR Troy Bergeron, but they couldn’t make enough defensive stops and couldn’t convert on third down. Still, the Force played hard and aggressive. Is it me, or are the adjectives ‘hard and agressive’ slightly troubling? Like Georgia is going to mug me in the parking lot tonight?
|8. Cleveland Gladiators (1-0) | Previous: 13 | Week 1: Beat New York 61-49 | Week 2: vs. Utah
The Gladiators got off to a great start at home with a solid outing by QB Raymond Philyaw (240 yards and five TDs), but the defense was the star, producing four sacks, four tackles for loss, two interceptions and three forced fumbles in front of a sellout crowd. An inaugural game victory, solid defense, and a good outing by Raymond Sillyname? Everything’s coming up Kosar! Except in the ticketing office, apparently.
|9. Colorado Crush (1-0) | Previous: 10 | Week 1: Beat Columbus 50-47 | Week 2: Bye
QB John Dutton did a nice job of spreading the ball to his trio of receivers — Ben Nelson, Brad Pyatt and Willie Quinnie — and the Crush defense made some key stops. The new, versatile passing game seems to have everybody excited about the 2008 season.Grampa Gary has no opinion on this team.
|10. Arizona Rattlers (1-0) | Previous Rank: 15 | Week 1: Beat Utah 63-62 | Week 2: vs. Los Angeles
QB Lang Campbell had a great debut in his first start for the Rattlers, throwing for 319 yards and eight TD passes. While this young team has some turnovers and penalties, they stayed competitive and played a great offensive game — even without WR Siaha Burley. Arizona “Get Your Season Ticket Money Back” Watch, Week 1: Outlook is guardedly promising. Note that they’re the lowest-ranked winning-record team, however.
|11. Orlando Predators (0-1) | Previous: 8 | Week 1: Lost to Philly 77-56 | Week 2: at New Orleans
QB Shane Stafford played a solid game with eight TD passes and the Predators controlled the clock, but they could not make enough key defensive stops and did not win the field position battle. The usually good Orlando defense must play better. I have a feeling Orlando’s D is going to look better next week.
|12. Columbus Destroyers (0-1) | Previous: 12 | Week 1: Lost to Colorado 50-47 | Week 2: at Dallas
QB Matt Nagy played a solid, but not spectacular game, throwing for 225 yards and four TDs, but he needs to develop other targets besides WR Derek Lee (11 catches and three TDs). The Brigade secondary struggled in coverage versus the Crush receivers. There’s Columbus’ big problem going into week 2 – they’re using Kansas City’s defense. Also, Nagy having one target to throw to is at least an improvement from their previous loss in July.
|13. Kansas City Brigade (0-1) | Previous: 9 | Week 1: Lost to Tampa Bay 51-49 | Week 2: at New York
QB John Fitzgerald played fairly well after a year off, throwing five TDs and he really connected well with AFL veteran WR Mike Horacek (149 yards and three TDs), but he also threw two costly interceptions. The Brigade missed a game-winning FG late in a tough home loss. Given their matchup next week, a week 3 bye, and a week 4 game against Grand Rapids, I’d say we won’t have a good idea about what to expect from KC until their game against San Jose in week 5. Which, by that point, I will venture would be ‘meh, not much’.
|14. Utah Blaze (0-1) | Previous: 11 | Week 1: Lost to Arizona 63-62 | Week 2: at Cleveland
The Blaze were supposed to be improved on defense in 2008, but it didn’t look like it versus a young Arizona offense that converted on third downs and in the red zone and produced 320 yards of offense. Still, Utah had a chance to win, but missed a FG at the end of the game.If only they knew the goal posts are very narrow. Why has no-one mentioned this to Steve Videtich? Also, Dwayne Missouri – we know you’re better than this.
|15. New Orleans VooDoo (0-1) | Previous: 17 | Week 1: Lost to Los Angeles 59-42 | Week 2: vs. Orlando
The VooDoo defense couldn’t make quality defensive stops when they had to and Los Angeles QB Sonny Cumbie picked them apart with seven TD tosses. New Orleans QB Steve Bellisari had an uneven game with three TD passes, but also three picks. Not only did Bellisari make me look like an idiot, he actually had an even game, Grampa! 3=3.
|16. New York Dragons (0-1) | Previous: 14 | Week 1: Lost to Cleveland 61-49 | Week 2: vs. Kansas City
QB Aaron Garcia was knocked out of the game in the second quarter (knee) and backup Rohan Davey did a decent job, throwing five TD passes, but he could not overcome an aggressive Cleveland defense and pass rush that knocked him down four times. The 2008 Rohan Davey Experience has begun. In his defense, though, he’s not exactly playing behind the Patriots O-line. Maybe the one that showed up to XLII.
|17. Grand Rapids Rampage (0-0) | Previous: 16 | Week 1: Bye | Week 2: vs. San Jose
The Rampage have the disadvantage of getting their bye at the beginning of the season. This this is a young team with a new coach and they need all the snaps they can get. Opening in Week 2 versus San Jose, who is coming off a loss, is not an ideal situation. Week 1 bye? I don’t see how this could go wrong.
WEEK 2 CAN’T MISS RANDOM PICK:
The ménage-a-randomworked pretty well for Week 1 as two of my teams emerged victorious. Alliteration continues this week at CMRP, as we’re taking the (LA) Avengers over Arizona, 59-52, Hollywood blockbusters over Arizona cockbusters. We fully expect this prediction to backfire.
WEEK 2 WEEKEND PILLOW FIGHT:
Aaron Garcia getting knocked up faster than a Spears girl? Kansas City unable to bring the kaopectate for the run? Ladies and gents, get your popcorn and a blanket, share the couch with that special someone, and watch something else.