Week 14 Rundown: It All Comes Down To This
Seven teams have clinched and the last five will this weekend. According to the JaxData Power Rankings this weekend, No. 1 Fort Worth faces No. 2 Alamo City, No. 3 Florida meets No. 11 Louisiana, No. 4 Arizona battles No. 12 Las Vegas, No. 8 D.C. clashes with No. 10 Charleston and No. 6 Seattle squares off with No. 13 Vancouver. But first a shoutout to some of the league's stars who we sadly won't see playing this postseason, but who we may see in the All-Star Game this off-season:
- The Atlanta Swarm are hosting Jacksonville Friday. Wide receiver Kyle Finamore has been a standout, racking up 1,009 receiving yards and 1,087 kick return yards. Finamore ranks 6th in the league in receptions and yards and 10th in touchdowns (6). Jacksonville's got their own standout - linebacker John Martin leads the league in tackles for loss with 28 and wide receiver Connor Weston is tied for the league in receiving touchdowns (8).
- Mexico City hosts Houston Friday. The Aztecs have gotten 101 tackles out of linebacker Dexter Jackson, 25 of those for loss - both rank 2nd in the SFL. In the Houston secondary, both Brady Clarke and Josh Rowe are top 10 interceptors, each with four takeaways.
- Denver halfback Baylee O'Shaughnessy had a great season for the 3-8 Nightwings, ranking 9th in carries, 10th in yards. Both linebacker Luis Quintana and cornerback Kippa Jones scored touchdowns on defense. They'll face 6-5 San Diego Friday - the Mavs are in the mix for one of those last five playoff berths. SD has the 3rd best pass defense (YPA) going up against a Denver pass offense that averages 7.55 YPA (23rd).
- Motor City free safety David Leathers leads the league in tackles with 102. Playing clean-up crew, Leathers' 102 solo tackles is 32 more than his previous career high. The V8s will face Queen City Saturday - no one has thrown more completions in the SFL than their signal caller Trellis Blanton - 243. At least four pass catchers have 35 receptions on the team this season.
- Both Los Angeles and Portland are trying to finish on a 5-7 high note Saturday. LA quarterback Sully Richardson had the best season of his career: 5th in completions, 6th in yards, 4th in touchdowns, throwing just seven interceptions - 7th fewest in the SFL. His QBR was 8th, 99.3. Sully last had a positive TD/INT ratio in Season 15 and his 18/7 ratio this season is the best in his career +9. While halfback Ezekiel Love is always great, it was Izrell Adams who emerged as a WR1, totaling a career high 62 receptions thus far (9th).
Alright, now to the biggest games of the weekend and who the key pieces are to these potential champions.
- Friday night at 8 pm ET, 6-5 Charleston takes on 6-5 D.C. The two met in Week 1 (Preds won 31-28). D.C. tight end Lauren Percoco is tied for the league lead in touchdowns with eight. The last time a tight end led the SFL in touchdown receptions was...never, at least not since player progression became a thing in Season 10. The league record for TDs in a season by a tight end is 11, set by Mike Daggs in Season 15. Charleston's defense is one to watch. In the last three weeks, quarterbacks against Charleston are 38/87 for 559 yards (6.42 yards per attempt) - that's better than Fort Worth, who leads the league for the season at 6.8. John Stamango leads the team in pass deflections - 11 - which ranks 4th. D.C. is the best third down defense in the league, allowing just 49.6% to be completed.
- Carolina (5-6) needs a win over Baltimore to have a shot at the postseason - they face the Vultures Saturday at 1 pm ET. The Skyhawks have had their rivals' number as of late - winning the last two meetings - the Vultures haven't beaten the Atlantic foe in over a year. Carolina leans on its defense, led by free safety Monte Wyatt, a sure tackler - 95 of them solo in fact - ranking 5th. He'll have his hands full. Warren Murray and T-Roy Gaines have combined for 381 carries (5th) and both are top five in the league in yards per carry - Murray ranks first, at 6.7. The SFL record for yards per carry in a season is distant - Park HeeChul averaged 8.1 yards per carry in Season 5.
- The new Pacific king Seattle visits old Pacific dynasty Vancouver Saturday at 6:30 pm ET with the Legion undoubtedly hoping to make a point that the Nemesis' stay at the top will be short-lived. Seattle halfback Baloo Scott and Vancouver halfback Logan Lee are two of six ball-carries who lead the league with 22 rushing touchdowns this season (the record is 28). Both teams are top 10 in sacks this season - Seattle led by linebacker Aaron Goodin's 7.5 and Vancouver led by SFL-leader Achillies Papatonis, who's stacked nine quarterback takedowns, a half a sack off a new career high.
- Florida meets Louisiana Sunday at 9 pm ET with the Revolution currently on the outside looking in, in need of a major resume win to vault themselves into the top 12. Ron Cockren leads the SFL in completion % at 71.1 percent, but has thrown the 26th-fewest passes of any QB this season. Still, he ranks top 10 in touchdowns with 16. Louisiana is your new No. 1 run defense, allowing 3.93 yards per carry this season, led by linebacker Gary Clem's 20 tackles for loss (7th).
- Las Vegas visits Arizona looking for a sweep against their West Division rivals - the home team has won the last six games in the series, however. Quarterback Ashley Jackson has 22 pass touchdowns this season - that leads the league. Las Vegas only has three receivers with more than 22 receptions this season. The Fury have failed to win the line of scrimmage much of the season - 26th in sacks and 25th in TFLs as a team. Arizona's backs average 6.1 yards per carry this season, 2nd best, and Ashley Jackson has been sacked just two times all season. The progression era SFL record for fewest sacks allowed in a season is eight, held by Baltimore's offensive line in Season 19.
- And finally, Monday night, the winner of Fort Worth/Alamo City will get the No. 1 seed. Alamo City is 8-0 all-time against the Toros, something that will be weighing heavily on the mind of both teams. Both halfbacks Brad Jones and JZ Bacon are tied for the league-lead with 22 rushing touchdowns, Fort Worth quarterback Marcus Dunhill has a 115.4 QBR - the previous progression era record for QBR is 108.5, held by Christian Christiansen in Season 10. Receiver Stephen Hacker leads the Toros and all receivers in receptions (79) - everyone else on the team has 103 combined. The Toros defense leads the league in pass deflections (57), interceptions (23), and interceptions return for touchdowns (7). The Artillery lead the league in yards per completion - 15.9.