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2018 NAL Power Rankings, Part I

6. Lehigh Valley Steelhawks 

 Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for Lehigh Valley in their first game. There were low expectation for them coming in after losing their MVP quarterback and two receivers, but not many were expecting the performance they gave Friday night in Columbus.

Something needs to change in Lehigh Valley or they will have a long season ahead of them.

5. Maine Mammoths

Maine came into the season with a talented quarterback duo in Jonathon Bane and Devin Wilson. While they did hook up a couple times in their first game, that was pretty much the only impressive thing Maine did against the Pirates.

The offense was only able to put up 24 points while the defense gave up four touchdown passes and 51 points. Wilson left in the third quarter with injury, and that may have had an impact on the offensive production, but that didn’t have to do with the defense giving up 51 points.

Should they fall to the also 0-1 Carolina Cobras on Saturday, Maine could be in trouble at 0-2 with a trip to take on the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks next on their schedule.

4. Carolina Cobras

A team with several players on the defunct Wichita Falls Nighthawks team had more expectation coming in than any other team, including the defending champions, who they faced in Week 1. 

They played a good game for the most part, but a couple turnovers, including a late interception from McCullum when they were looking to take the lead, led to their demise. They will look to rebound and prove they’re a force to reckoned with against the Maine Mammoths in Portland, ME on Saturday.

3. Jacksonville Sharks 

The defending champions didn’t play their best football last weekend against the expansion franchise Carolina Cobras, but it’s not always how you start – it’s how you finish. Jacksonville overcame their shaky start and a key interception by Charlie Hunt ultimately clinched the win.

They have many areas in which they need improvement, but they did come out with an opening win. A win on Saturday against the Massachusetts Pirates would bump the Sharks to 2-0, the only 2-0 team in the league, and would be in a comfortable position atop the league standings. 

2. Massachusetts Pirates

Their opening win was a very impressive one on many angles. Quarterback Sean Brackett threw four touchdowns in the game against Maine and the defense forced several turnovers. Not many knew what to expect from Massachusetts, so seeing them come out and put up 51 points is impressive for a first game.

With a win in Jacksonville over the defending champion Sharks, expansion Massachusetts would be 2-0 and many will continue to be shocked to see this team start off the way they have.

1. Columbus Lions

Columbus looks like the most complete team in the league. They played almost perfect football against the Steelhawks last night. They were unstoppable on both sides of the ball. Mason Espinosa was connecting on all passes and his receivers were breaking away and making the plays. 

On defense, the players were hitting and hitting hard. The defensive linemen were able to get to Lehigh Valley quarterback Caleb Walton several times, including hits, knockdowns and sacks.

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