Week 10 Rundown: The Fish are Flip-Floppin
Up and down the standings latter, SFL teams are rising and falling at an instantaneous rate. San Diego's (4-5) on their first bye this week, now waiting for 4-4 teams to take the 'L' and give them a better fighting chance. Five of those such teams are in action across the 11-game slate this week and we're about to break it all down. Let's go >>>>>>>>
- Forget 4-4, Fort Worth is 7-0. The Toros have a +106 point differential (best in the league). They've only allowed 80% of red zone drives to end in any kind of score - best in the league. Their average starting field position is their own 34 yard line - 14 yards better than a touchback - best in the league. They give up just 7.0 yards per pass attempt - best in the league. What does this all mean? Well, Fort Worth is the best team in the league. Now, things can change on a dime in the SFL - next up for the Toros is Sioux Falls (3-5) Friday at 10:15 pm ET who's coming off a devastating loss on the road against previously winless Mexico City. Considering that the Toros have already beaten Mexico City twice this season by a combined score of 47-6, a Sparrows upset win here would be shocking.
- Monday Night's flex is a beaut. Portland (4-4) heads to Arizona (5-3) riding the high of knocking off previously unbeaten Alamo City, while the Scorpions have dropped two heartbreakers in a row to teams without a winning record. Did you know? Portland's special teams have more kick return yards than any other team this season: 1,424 yards. One of the reasons for that is the Fleet defense, which has given up 34.0 PPG (24th) but the Fleet may have turned a corner after finding an identity last week against the Artillery. The other reason is obviously Scott Johnson - his three KR TDs this season stands alone as the best in the SFL. A key stat in this one will be run defense: Arizona is your new No. 1 in the league, giving up just 3.8 yards per carry. Portland HB Ezekiel Love is 6th in the league in yards per carry - 6.0. That's what Portland gives up per game (26th) despite holding Brad Jones to half that last week. It really does feel like there's one question to answer here: Have the last two weeks been the real Arizona and Portland, or the anomaly Arizona and Portland? We'll find out.
- There's a few top teams in the SFL this week that should have their upset alert meter on high. First, Los Angeles (3-4) visits Seattle (6-2) Saturday at 6:30 pm ET. While the Lycans trail the Nemesis by 2.5 games, LA has won two in a row. This game could be the highest scoring game of the week, why? Both teams have only forced five turnovers each the entire season. But offensively, Seattle has only turned it over 8 times (4th) and LA 7 times (2nd) - essentially, one giveaway per game for each side. Teams love to run on LA (42 rushes per game - 1st) and love to pass on Seattle (32 passes per game - 6th). That plays right into both offenses hands. Seattle is 7th rushing plays this season. LA is 26th in rushing plays. Points, points, points.
- The next team on high alert should be Alamo City (7-1) traveling to Indianapolis (3-5) Saturday at 9:15 pm ET. Indy, another team that has won two straight, is not the defensive slouch they were the first half of the season and Portland just provided a blueprint of how to stall the Artillery offense. But the Ramblers have a weakness, which may also be their greatest strength: Ryan Roosevelt. Roosevelt is 1st in the league with 898 receiving yards. His yardage equals the output from the rest of the pass catchers combined: 900 yards. A team like Alamo City will try to shut him down and make someone else beat them, but if they can't, the Ramblers may just pull off another triumph.
- Louisiana (5-3) travels to Atlanta (2-5) Sunday at 9:00 pm ET - another game that on paper, doesn't look like a must-see. But with the Swarm's home win over previously unbeaten Florida last week, the Revolution must learn from Florida's mistakes to keep their win streak alive. Teams average 37 runs per game against the Swarm (3rd most) but Atlanta is only giving up 4.4 yards per carry (11th). The Revolution will need to keep the balance they've shown this season - 249 passes, 236 runs - to help pull away from Atlanta. It hasn't just been in play count either - Louisiana has seven different pass catchers with double-digit receptions and three different ball carriers have double-digit carries.
- In the Atlantic, it's not Carolina that now poses the biggest threat to Baltimore - it's Charleston. D.C. has already lost to the Vultures twice and the Skyhawks haven't been able to string together wins in a month. The Predators (3-4) are another one of those teams that appears to have found a better defensive identity and they'll face one of their biggest tests of the season Friday at 8:15 pm ET. T-Roy Gaines has been elite for Baltimore. He's scored at least one touchdown in every game this season and rushed for a season-high 190 last week in the victory over Jacksonville. Charleston must slow him down and keep him out of the end zone to win.
Let's go rapid fire and wrap this up:
- Motor City (4-4) at Canton (4-4) - Friday, 8 pm ET. If Canton wins, they'll go up a game on the V8s with the head-to-head tiebreak sweep and finish 3-1. This is Canton's final division game of the season and third in a row. If Motor City wins, they split the season series and take control of the North.
- Mexico City (1-7) at Minnesota (3-4) - Friday, 10:30 pm ET - The Legend still lead the woeful Central but that won't last for long with another loss. The Legend are your new No. 1 in points off turnovers: 66 in 7 games (9.43 per game).
- Denver (3-5) at Vancouver (3-4) - Saturday, 6:45 pm ET - Vancouver's given up over 50 points in back-to-back games. Denver has scored 15 points in the last two games combined. Which team gets right this week?
- Las Vegas (4-4) at Tulsa (2-5) - Saturday, 9:00 pm ET - Las Vegas gives up 314.1 yards per game - fewest in the league and the fewest in a season since the Season 15 Fort Worth Toros (307.2).
- Carolina (4-4) at Florida (7-1) - Sunday, 9:15 pm ET - Florida leads the league in yards per attempt through the air (11.2) but has thrown the fewest passes this season. Imagine how good Florida could be if they threw it more.