Week 11 Rundown: I'll take close games for $500, Alex
OK, so Week 10 didn't offer a ton of heart-stopping action. Every league has weeks like that - the orchestra just wasn't in sync and out of tune. You know what that means - we're due. Four weeks remain in the regular season and we've got 11 games on tap in Week 11, so let's dive in and hopefully the waters aren't as choppy.
- Vancouver (4-4) and San Diego (4-5) kicks off later this evening - Friday, 10:15 pm ET - and there is a lot on the line in this one. If Vancouver loses and Seattle wins, the Legion's streak of Pacific Division crowns will end. If San Diego gathers a sixth loss, its playoff hopes will be in grave peril. San Diego's No. 1 objective tonight should be patience. The Mavs are 25th in first downs, dead last in time of possession and the last thing any team wants is Vancouver's offense dictating style: the Legion are 2nd in total yards (424.3 per game), 3rd in yards per carry (5.8) and have had fewer third downs than any team in the league this season - just 62 in eight games. The Mavs are 0-3 all-time against Vancouver.
- What has happened to the Legend? A stunning fall from grace, Minnesota has lost four in a row after a 3-1 start, only blemished by an impressive road loss to Alamo City. They're 0-3 on the road and have a road test Saturday, 6:30 pm ET against the league's last remaining unbeaten - Fort Worth. Three-straight losses to teams with losing records, but all by seven points or less, this game could be closer than most think. Watch the red zone: Fort Worth has the No. 1 red zone scoring defense. Watch the turnovers: Minnesota has more points off turnovers than any other team, but the Toros have only turned the ball over seven times in eight games - second fewest in the SFL.
- Eddie Gauge posed the question on the 'Streets Are Talking' podcast this week: has Florida ever lost three games in a row? Twice, the Storm started a season 0-3 and last season started 0-4 so yes, it's happened before. But this late in a season? All time in Week 9s and Week 10s prior to this season, Florida's record is 20-4 and they had never lost in both Week 9 and Week 10. So to answer the question: Yes and no. They'll look to right the ship against Motor City Sunday at 9:00 pm ET in a critical game to the playoff picture. Florida is 4-0 all time against the V8s franchise.
- For the division? It could be, sadly. Tulsa (3-5) visits Indianapolis (3-6) Saturday at 6:45 pm ET with Tulsa tied for the division lead and Indy just a half game back … wild. The Ramblers have given up 24 touchdowns in the red zone. The Desperados have allowed 13 - a stark difference. We hope Indy doesn't need to convert a fourth down either: the Ramblers are 0-for-7 this season. Which elite wide receiver will earn the better matchups against the defense could be the difference in this one: Tulsa's Gabriel Manning has 58 catches for 951 yards (3rd) and Indy's Ryan Roosevelt has 59 catches for 911 yards (2nd).
- Atlanta (3-5) visits Canton (5-4) Friday at 8:00 pm ET to start the week and it should be a great one. Where Canton should be focusing on improving is on 1st and 2nd down. The Classics have faced 103 third downs - most in the league, directly related to their lack of efficiency in early downs. They've been able to get out of them though - 62 conversions, most in the league - helping to lead long bully-ball drives (Canton is fourth in time of possession, 22:09 per game). Atlanta has the opposite problem. When put into third down situations, Atlanta has converted just 34 third downs all season, with a conversion rate of 47%, dead last in the league. If you're Canton, get Atlanta to third down and you win. If you're Atlanta, get Canton into third and long - the Classics are dead last in pass yards per game: 161.6 and Atlanta has the sixth best pass defense in the league, allowing 203.6 per game.
- The last time Houston took on Alamo City, it was Week 4 and Houston's red zone offense hurt them in a 28-19 loss that featured four HeadHunter field goals. That's the good news for Houston, just one fix could turn a loss into a win. The problem for H-Town is its been a problem all season: 15 red zone TDs (20th) and 12 red zone FGs (3rd) - points left off the board. Still, Houston is 11th in PPG this season - 29.5 - just behind the Artillery's 29.6. ACA takes the top off of defenses better than anyone right now: they're receivers rank first in the league in yards per completion: 16.0 with four receivers in the top 25.
Five games left on the docket to cover, here's the one thing you need to know:
- Charleston at Louisiana, Friday 8:15 pm ET - Louisiana has scored on every red zone possession this season. Charleston has given up a score on every red zone possession this season. If that trend continues, it doesn't bode well for the Preds.
- Seattle at Denver, Friday 10:30 pm ET - Teams have chosen to (or had to), on average, pass against Seattle - teams average just 26 runs against the Nemesis, second fewest in the league. But Seattle gives up 5.7 yards per carry against the run - 25th. This would be the time to get Baylee O'Shaughnessy cooking again. He's still fourth in carries (263) but his yards per carry has fallen to 22nd in the league.
- Queen City at Baltimore, Saturday 9:15 pm ET - The 12th meeting between these old school rivals, the Corsairs haven't beaten the Vultures in the regular season since Season 12 with one road win all-time: the Season 14 quarterfinal on April 15, 2020 when QCC ousted the Vultures from the playoffs the season before the Vultures first title. Queen City hasn't won a playoff game since.
- Mexico City at Los Angeles, Sunday, 9:15 pm ET - These two teams have won a total of five games this season by a combined 21 points. LA has faced the toughest schedule thus far (43-27 opponents record). The Aztecs have faced the third (44-32 opponents record). This game should be close between two teams that feel much better than their record.
- D.C. at Jacksonville, Monday, 8:15 pm ET - Sometimes having a glaring issue can be a blessing because fixing it can totally turn a season around. Jacksonville is 26th in 3rd down % (48.1%) and 26th in time of possession (18:17). If the Kings could start stringing longer drives together, the turnovers would go down, scoring would go up and Jacksonville could stop its slide and give themselves a long shot at the postseason.