Three weeks are in the books for the inaugural season of the Alliance and the contenders are beginning to separate themselves from the pretenders. With exactly two months until the best of the East and West battle for the Alliance Championship, it is time to look at the Power Rankings after Week 3.
8. Atlanta Legends (0-3)
Last Week: 28-12 Loss to the Birmingham Iron
All of my enthusiasm and possible excitement for the Legends heading into Week 3 has officially been extinguished. I thought that, at home, the Legends would finally get a chance to crack the win column against an Iron team I am still not sold on.
Here we are and the Legends are 0-3 and sitting tied for last in the East Division. The one spark of hope I had for the Legends, Akrum Wadley, went down with a knee injury and did not return. However, this is a team that is inept at putting the ball in the end zone.
On the bright side Atlanta, maybe it’s finally Aaron Murray time.
This Week: Away Against the Arizona Hotshots
7. Memphis Express (0-3)
Last Week: 21-17 Loss to the Orlando Apollos
Well it was fun while it lasted…. the Christian Hackenberg experiment is over. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
Because of that…. the Express may have new life. Zach Mettenberger started the second half for Memphis and they will never look back. Mettenberger threw for two touchdowns including one that was a dime on 3rd and 12. Not only did Mettenberger breathe new life into this team, he also royally screwed all of us who may have dropped some cheddar cheese on the Apollos to cover.
Despite the 0-3 start, the Express are a team that is actually trending up.
This Week: Home against the San Diego Fleet.
6. San Antonio Commanders (1-2)
Last Week: 33-11 Loss to the San Diego Fleet
Mike Reilly cometh, and Mike Reilly taketh.
I could right a giant blog about how disappointing last week’s performance to the Fleet was…. but living (unfortunately) in Husker territory, I have heard about how bad Mike Reilly is. I thought that maybe it could be different, I mean he didn’t even need to recruit in San Antonio, but I’ll let Holz give you the low down on what the hell is happening to this team.
This Week: Away against the Birmingham Iron
5. Salt Lake Stallions (1-2)
Last Week: 23-15 Win over the Arizona Hotshots
I would like to officially eat everything I said about this Salt Lake team last week. I thought it was a sure thing they would drop to 0-3 despite the okay performances they have turned out.
Boy, did they prove me wrong.
In a 9-9 dog fight in the 3rd quarter, the opening play was the turning point in what could be both of these teams’ seasons. On an RPO, John Wolford threw a pick that was almost housed, but that wasn’t the worst part for the Hotshots. Wolford was rocked and was ruled out for the rest of the game. Trevor Knight (yes that Trevor Knight) came in for the Hotshots and could never find that rhythm.
The Stallions got quarterback Josh Woodrum back from his Week 1 injury and while he wasn’t stellar, he did what he needed to do to get the W and knock off and undefeated team.
This Week: Home against Orlando Apollos
4. Arizona Hotshots (2-1)
Last Week: 23-15 Loss to the Salt Lake Stallions
Down goes another undefeated team.
While the preseason favorites Hotshots may be a little deflated following their 23-15 loss to Salt Lake, there is no shame in losing on the road while losing your starting quarterback. However for these rankings, heading into Week 4 not sure if your starting quarterback will be ready is a slight concern. Luckily, when you’re facing the worst team in the league that may be less of a concern.
It is clear to see that this team will go as far as John Wolford will go, Trevor Knight will not carry this team to the playoffs let alone a championship. Despite these concerns, it is not time to hit the panic button in Arizona yet, but if they struggle at home against Atlanta, prepare to watch this team go free fallin’.
This Week: Home against the Atlanta Legends
3. San Diego Fleet (2-1)
Last Week: 31-11 Win against the San Antonio Commanders
Being down 8-0 ninteen seconds into the game is the definition of a “nightmare start” in the AAF.
Scoring 28 unanswered in response isn’t a bad way to overcome that nightmare.
Despite a less than stellar start from Philip Nelson rebounded from an opening drive interception and threw for 193 yards, the two touchdowns ended up.
This San Diego offense is beginning to put both facets of the game into the forefront of the AAF. Before halftime, an 11 play 84 yard drive put the Fleet up 22-8 heading into the locker room. After half, it was the Ja’Quan Gardner show as he broke an 83 yard touchdown run to put the lead out of reach.
This offense is real, the defense is real, and we have a battle in the West.
This Week: Away against the Memphis Express
2. Birmingham Iron (2-0)
Last Week: 28-12 Win Against the Atlanta Legends
Birmingham may not throw 50 yards bombs or score 40 points this year, but they are winning and that is good enough for #2 on this list. This offense isn’t spectacular to watch, but they are efficient and Trent Richardson is the best short yardage back in the league.
This defense has allowed a total of 7 points per game……. 7. That is unbelievable considering how this league was supposed to “favor offenses” and produce high scoring games.
While we are only one week away from the big matchup between the Iron and Apollos in Week 5, don’t be too worried about the Iron looking past the Commanders coming into Birmingham. This is a gritty team and should be 4-0 come next week.
This Week: Home against the San Antonio Commanders
1. Orlando Apollos (3-0)
Last Week: 21-17 Win over the Memphis Express
Win. Rinse. Repeat.
There is no debate that Garrett Gilbert is the front runner for MVP at this moment. Despite the somewhat sloppy and sluggish play, Gilbert still threw a dime in the 3rd quarter that put the Apollos up 15-6 in response to a game that was tightening. It is just a testament to even when this team gets punched in the mouth and may be vulnerable, they know how to punch back harder.
Plus, I know it was against Christian Hackenberg, but how good has this defense been? Keith Reaser picked off another pass last Saturday and this defense did just enough to keep the Memphis offense from cracking 20 points.
This Apollos team knows how to win and loves doing it.
Be ready for the Game of the Week in Salt Lake on Saturday night.
This Week: Away against the Salt Lake Stallions