There are no longer any undefeated teams remaining in the Alliance of American Football. The Orlando Apollos fall to the Arizona Hotshots in the final seconds. The Commanders keep up their winning ways, extending their win streak to three in a big win over the Legends. And the Memphis Express make the biggest splash of the weekend despite their loss. Where will all eight teams fall in this week in terms of rankings? Here is the week six edition of the AAF power rankings.
AAF Power Rankings: Week Six
8. Memphis Express (1-5)
Last Week: 8
The Memphis Express are clearly not a good football team. But give them credit though. The Express show up week in and out, play hard and try their best to win. However, when the quarterback situation becomes muddier every week, it’s hard to make a game plan week in and out. The Express lose again, this time to the Salt Lake Stallions, 22-9.
If you haven’t heard the news by now, the Memphis Express have picked up former Heisman Trophy winner and Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel. Manziel signed a contract with the AAF late Saturday night. The Commanders revoked his rights, allowing the team with the worst win percentage to acquire him, which happens to be the Express.
Welcome to the 901 @JManziel2
— Memphis Express (@aafexpress) March 17, 2019
Zach Mettenberger went down early in the game against the Stallions. Third-string quarterback Brandon Silvers gave the Express decent numbers, completing 23 of 37 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown. We know Christian Hackenberg is a bust, so it should be an interesting dilemma for the Express. Do they try to integrate Manziel immediately, or wait a few games to throw him into the fire? Lord knows the Express need a spark immediately before the season becomes a wash.
7. Atlanta Legends (2-4)
Last Week: 5
Just when you thought the Legends were making improvements, they lay an egg. Matt Simms seemed to be the problem, and three games ago when Aaron Murray won the game against the Hotshots, the problem looked solved. But Sunday afternoon happened. Simply put, the Legends gonna Legend.
The Legends have been doomed from the beginning. Their two-game win streak simply masked their bigger problem: not enough talent to consistently win. Homegrown names don’t get you wins. Damian Swann, Justin Thomas, Aaron Murray are all good players. But where is the other talent? And where is the coaching? The Legends roller coaster of a season continues.
Aaron Murray put together his worst performance. A three-interception game almost ensures a loss. At this point, the Birmingham Iron only need to win a few more games to lock up the two seed in the Eastern Conference, by the way, the Legends and Express are playing.
6. Salt Lake Stallions (2-4)
Last Week: 7
It seems like the Stallions, Legends, and Express all are battling for the bottom of the league. The Stallions have no control over how tough their schedule has been the first five weeks. Salt Lake could easily be 4-2 right now. If not for heartbreaking losses to the Fleet and Iron, the Stallions would be in the race to represent the Western Conference.
Josh Woodrum is quietly putting together a solid season for the Stallions. Despite his three-interception performance against the Fleet, Woodrum completed 24 of 37 passes for 243 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in their win against the Express
The two biggest bright spots for the Stallions are Karter Schult and Nick Truesdell. Truesdell finished with five catches, 67 yards, and a touchdown in week six. Schult added two more sacks to an already impressive season. Expect to see those two to be on an NFL roster come training camp.
— The Alliance (@TheAAF) March 16, 2019
5. Arizona Hotshots (3-3)
Last Week: 6
The Hotshots pulled off one of the most unlikely upsets of the weekend. After beginning to reel, losing three of their last four, the Hotshots were in disarray. But a huge performance from their defense led their team to a 22-17 win over the Orlando Apollos. Quarterback John Wolford did not have a spectacular day but did just enough to help secure the win. Wolford completed 59 percent of his passes for 162 yards and one touchdown.
The Hotshots dominated on the ground, netting 179 rushing yards. The Hotshots were able to expose a strong Apollos team, controlling both line of scrimmages. While this is a nice win for the Hotshots, they still have to improve their consistency.
— Arizona Hotshots (@aafhotshots) March 17, 2019
The Hotshots must beat the teams below them, such as the Legends and Stallions. With the Commanders and Fleet keeping things competitive, every game becomes a must win for the Hotshots from here on out. The Commanders have taken control of first place and don’t look to slow down, so the Fleet-Hotshots battle down the stretch will be interesting to watch.
4. San Diego Fleet (3-3)
Last Week: 3
Back to back weeks, the Fleet came down to the wire. After Fleet kicker Donny Hageman knocked in the game winner last week against the Stallions, the Fleet found themselves in another tight battle against the Iron. Unfortunately, the Iron come through with a late game drive, led by Luis Perez. The Iron knock in a field goal as time expires, sinking the Fleet to their first home lost.
— The Alliance (@TheAAF) March 18, 2019
The Fleet’s pass defense was horrendous against Perez in the Iron, who averaged the lowest yards per game on offense coming into the game. The Iron offense exploded for 448 total yards, with 358 coming through the air. The Fleet defense spent over 36 minutes on defense, and if it were not for two bad Luis Perez interceptions, the game could have been worse.
Mike Bercovici did not help either with turnovers of his own. While Bercovici threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns, Bercovici only completed 50 percent of his passes and threw two interceptions. The Fleet could not stay on the field long enough on offense to give their defense a break. Going two of 12 on third downs will not cut it. The Fleet are a talented team, but inconsistency with either the offense or defense can keep them from making the playoffs.
3. Birmingham Iron (4-2)
Last Week: 4
The Iron quarterback dilemma is a head-scratcher. One moment, Keith Price is in, then gets sandwiched early in the first quarter. Then, in his absence, Luis Perez comes in and throws his first touchdown of the season. Next possession, Perez throws an 83-yard touchdown to L’Damian Washington and looks like the quarterback the Iron needs. And after that, he throws an interception and looks like he has the past few weeks.
In the end, Perez delivered for the Iron. Perez finished the game completing 27 of 49 passes for 359 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. The Iron defense locked in and stopped the Fleet rushing attack, something that has plagued them in their last two losses. Timely interceptions and stops are what this Iron defense lives for. The bend but don’t break mentality. The defense has been carrying the load for the bulk of the season for the Iron.
With the offense making dramatic improvements, the Iron can make a push for the one seed if they can catch the Apollos. The Express and Legends do not look formidable enough to make a postseason run at this point.
Side Note: The Iron are 4-0 when Trent Richardson runs for at least 40 yards.
— The Alliance (@TheAAF) March 18, 2019
2. San Antonio Commanders
Last Week: 2
The Commanders are the hottest team in the AAF currently. With their dominating win over the Legends Sunday afternoon, the Commanders won their third straight and own a sole lead in the Western Conference standings. Quarterback Logan Woodside has not quite played like a star, but in his last two games, Woodside has been lighting it up. Over his last two, Woodside has 464 yards, four touchdowns, and completing 76 percent of his passes. Those numbers support that he is the hottest quarterback right now.
— San Antonio Commanders (@aafcommanders) March 17, 2019
The only area of improvement on offense is the rushing game. The Atlanta Legends dominated time of possession, so when the Commanders play better teams, ball control will be important.
The Commanders defense have been hands down the best defense the last few weeks. Forcing 12 turnovers over a span of three weeks is unheard of. The Commanders defense gets after the quarterback and forces turnovers with the best of them. Safety Derron Smith is making a case for defensive MVP with three interceptions over the last two weeks, taking two of them to pay dirt. If the Commanders keep playing like this, expect them to be in Las Vegas come April 27.
— San Antonio Commanders (@aafcommanders) March 17, 2019
1. Orlando Apollos (5-1)
Last week: 1
The Apollos are still the best team despite their loss to the Arizona Hotshots. It was one of those days where the offense could not move the ball consistently, and their defense struggled to stop the run. The crazy thing about Garrett Gilbert‘s performance was the fact his bad games are still better than 50 percent of the quarterbacks in this league. Gilbert would finish completing 48 percent of his passes (awful), for 268 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Despite his awful performance, the Apollos still had a chance to win, and if not for a penalty and 10-second runoff, the Apollos could still be undefeated.
— The Alliance (@TheAAF) March 17, 2019
However, this game may just be an anomaly. This could be the Apollos only loss this season. They are that special of a team. The Apollos are almost for sure a lock to make the playoffs, with a few more wins. Expect the defense to be better next week. This loss may be a blessing in disguise for the Apollos, so they can learn how to deal with losses.
Embed from Getty Images