With this week’s games, we’re officially one-third of the way through the 2017 Arena Football League season. Each of the teams has had at least one bye week, and only Washington has not played five games (last week was their second bye week). That said, the league is starting to shape up and certain teams are rising to the top. Here are this week’s power rankings.
5. Washington Valor
Even after firing offensive coordinator Steve Thonn, the Valor still struggled on offense. Quarterback Erik Meyer had issues with the snap, and two late fumbles in the fourth quarter allowed Tampa Bay to capitalize and steal a road win. Despite such talents as Greg Carr, Mike Washington, and Tracy Belton, there’s still a long way to go to fix football in the Beltway.
4. Baltimore Brigade
A win against the Soul certainly would’ve boosted this ranking. However, it was a second straight heart breaker in the closing seconds. Shane Carden continues to prove himself under center, but their defense can’t rely solely on Varmah Sonie to lock opponents down and generate stops. Once head coach Omarr Smith can generate a complete effort from his team, they can officially knock Washington out of the playoff picture.
3. Cleveland Gladiators
The team was on their bye week this week, but with two weeks to prepare for a rematch against Philadelphia, the Gladiators can prove to the league that they’re still trending upward. The only thing keeping them in third place is the fact they’re still unable to finish games. When they do, they’ll put the rest of the league on notice.
2. Tampa Bay Storm
Their only loss on the season was by four points at home to Philadelphia in Week 2. They have the second most dangerous receiving corp in the entire league. However, the offensive line is still not protecting Randy Hippeard as they should, and Washington alone managed three sacks. Plus, penalties keep hurting this team at key times. Granted, crucial stops help win games, but extending defensive possessions will eventually wear down players like Alvin Ray Jackson and could cost them key games for playoff positioning.
Finally, at #1, we have the Philadelphia Soul. Yes, their league record streak of consecutive quarters with a score at 155, and they struggled to beat the Baltimore Brigade this weekend, they’ve already scored more than 60 points in three consecutive games (the rest of the league has just four games combined). They needed a major stop to stay undefeated, and they got just that by forcing a turnover on downs with eight seconds left to seal a win.