5. Cleveland Gladiators
It took two weeks, but the Gladiators finally started the right quarterback, Arvell Nelson got the start for the team and he showed to be better than both Shane Boyd and Tanner Marsh. Nelson had an impressive game, but once again, Cleveland could pull out a win.
This was not only the closest loss for Cleveland, but also the most embarrassing. The Gladiators held a 33-14 lead at one point and seemed to be in total control. Unfortunately, they let the Storm come back and win the game, 62-61.
After three losses to start the season, some may question whether or not it’s time to hit the panic button for this team. The challenges keep coming as they host the next team on our list next weekend.
4. Washington Valor
After an impressive performance against the Brigade Week 1, the Valor had a week off to prepare for their game against the defending champions.
Despite the expansion franchise getting off to a 14-0 lead, just like Cleveland, they weren’t able to keep their big lead. They had the same problem against Baltimore Week 1. They gave up a 34-6 lead, despite winning by 13. Washington needs to find ways to finish strong, not just start strong.
3. Baltimore Brigade
Baltimore got off to a shaky start in Week 1. That was mainly in part to starting quarterback Chase Cartwright. Things have taken a turn for the better when they benched Cartwright for Shane Carden.
The Brigade outscored the Valor in the second half of their Week 1 meeting 38-24 with Carden. He also impressed in their Week 2 win in Cleveland, throwing six touchdown passes. Another big piece to the Brigade puzzle is wide receiver Reggie Gray. Gray is one of the best receivers in the Arena Football League and continues to show it.
Baltimore had the week off this week and they’ll need it. They will head to Philadelphia to take on the next team on our list in their home opener next Saturday night.
2. Philadelphia Soul
No one has played better football than the Soul. They continue to show why they are the defending ArenaBowl champions. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh has had his struggles in both Soul games this season, but he is backed up by his dominant defense. The defense has been able to shut down both the Valor and Storm at some point in their prospected games to pull off wins. That’s why they’re 2-0 and the lone undefeated team left.
1. Tampa Bay Storm
The Storm won just two games in all of 2016. They have already won two games in their first three tries in 2017. Not only that, but both sides of the ball have done a complete 360.
Quarterback Randy Hippeard and wide receiver Joe Hills make a great duo. It’s not just Hills that Hippeard throws to to make plays, however. Both Kendrick Ings and LaMark Brown have also been a big contribution to the Storm’s offensive success.
The most outstanding change in Tampa is their defense. After not being able to stop anyone in 2016, they have been able to challenge both the Soul and the Gladiators 2017. That defensive line has put a lot of pressure on all the quarterbacks they have faced. Hopefully a week off next week won’t mean they will lose a step at all.