Eight weeks have gone by now in the first Alliance of American Football season, and only two remain before the playoffs are upon us. Thus far, two teams have clinched playoff berths – both in the Eastern Conference. This weekend gave us one of the lowest-scoring games yet (Salt Lake Stallions over San Diego Fleet 8-3) and one of the highest-scoring ones yet (Orlando Apollos over Memphis Express 34-31). Where will the teams rank now after some of the madness this past weekend?
Week Eight AAF Power Rankings
1. Orlando Apollos (7-1)
Last Week: 1
The Apollos had a much narrower win against the Express than expected; they actually had to pull off a comeback to get the wild 34-31 win. Though Garrett Gilbert helped his team pull off the comeback, he actually had one of his relatively poorer games thus far overall in terms of stats. But the Apollos escaped with the win and still have record in the AAF. For their efforts, they earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
This team’s been up in the top spot just about from the get-go, and they’re unlikely to be going anywhere either. While they’re obviously not unbeatable, whoever faces them in the playoffs is going to have to bring their best.
2. Arizona Hotshots (5-3)
Last Week: 3
The Hotshots have been one of the weirder teams in the league. Despite having probably the second-best quarterback in the league in John Wolford, they’ve had some inconsistency. After a promising 2-0 start, they fell to 2-3 which included losses to the Legends and Express. But they haven’t lost since then, and now they’ve drubbed their conference foes the San Antonio Commanders and made them bench their starting quarterback.
The Hotshots now hold the tiebreaker for the top spot in the Western Conference. Neither they nor the Commanders have grabbed a playoff spot yet, but it does look like it’ll come down to those two ultimately in that conference. The prospect of a championship game between the Apollos and Hotshots would be interesting since Arizona’s the only team to defeat Orlando thus far.
3. San Antonio Commanders (5-3)
Last Week: 2
After winning four in a row, San Antonio’s winning streak came to a screeching halt when they got drubbed by Arizona 23-6. Logan Woodside actually got benched after throwing an interception that put them down 15-0. For once, the Commanders defense couldn’t get the job done; but their offense couldn’t bail them out either, even with 173 rushing yards.
With all of that said, it’s worth noting that aside from an outlier loss to the Fleet in Week Three, the Hotshots are the only team to score 20+ points against the Commanders. But they’ve done it twice. The Commanders may be one of the top squads in the league, but the Hotshots seem to have their number.
4. Birmingham Iron (5-3)
Last Week: 4
The Iron are actually the second team to clinch a playoff spot in the league. It may seem weird that they’re all the way down in fourth place on these rankings, but some of their wins have not been very pretty. That includes this past weekend, where they defeated the bottom-dwelling Atlanta Legends – only by a score of 17-9. This was due in part to quarterback Luis Perez playing one of his worst games yet.
Trent Richardson actually managed to have a decent game this time, getting 4.6 yards a carry and a touchdown. But between this game and the Memphis loss where they blew an 11-point lead and lost in overtime, this team still has issues. They’ve managed to win games regardless, but it’s tough to see them making it to the championship when their playoff opponent is going to be the 7-1 Apollos.
5. Salt Lake Stallions (3-5)
Last Week: 5
It feels kind of wrong to put a team at fifth place that only scored eight points in their most recent game – and still somehow won. This is kind of a weird reversal of fortune for the team, who have looked good in a couple of their recent losses. This time they win – but they do so in ugly fashion.
Nevertheless, the Commanders still mathematically have a shot at the playoffs in the Western Conference. They’re tied with the San Diego Fleet in that conference, but Salt Lake seems relatively more likely to win their final two games than the Fleet, who have dropped three straight. This would also require either the Commanders or Hotshots to drop both of their final games, and that doesn’t seem too likely. But hey, this is football; anything’s possible.
6. Memphis Express (2-6)
Last Week: 7
This team may be tied with the Legends for the worst record in the league, but the last two weeks have gone much better for them. They’ve scored 31 points two weeks in a row – against two of the better teams in the league. This is due in part to Brandon Silvers, who has done pretty well as a starter the last two weeks.
Of course, this team still has problems. Namely that the rushing game has gone stagnant. And the defense is pretty inconsistent. Furthermore, they’ve been eliminated from playoff contention now. That said, based on the last two weeks of play, they have the chance to finish the season on a stronger note.
7. San Diego Fleet (3-5)
Last Week: 6
Aside from an early-season game where the Express were shutout, three points are the fewest any AAF team has scored in one game this season. Not even the Legends have done that bad. While the argument could be fairly made that this is due to Philip Nelson being unavailable, Mike Bercovici wasn’t even that bad the first couple of games after Nelson’s injury. The most recent two games? Not so much.
As noted earlier, the Fleet are still mathematically alive in the playoffs. But it’s incredibly unlikely that they’re going to make it because they’ve dropped three in a row, and when given an opportunity to boost their record against a shaky Stallions squad, they failed – despite the fact that the Stallions really weren’t any better than them in that game.
8. Atlanta Legends (2-6)
Last Week: 8
For a couple of games, it seemed like the Legends were turning things around with Aaron Murray. Now they’re back to being the punching bag of the league. And as for Murray? Well… the fact that Matt Simms was back for most of the Birmingham game isn’t a good sign. But an AAF team doesn’t necessarily need a good quarterback to win, as the Iron have proved from time to time. It’s proof that pretty much their entire roster is bad.
The Legends haven’t scored double-digit points since Week Five. The nine points they scored against the Iron was actually an improvement over the previous two games, where they scored just six points both times. We could give credit for them holding the Iron to 17 points, maybe. But it wasn’t enough for them to win.
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