Week 8 Rundown: Sink or Swim?

by Cameron Irvine

I hate to piggyback off of Tyler Falk's NETMA show this week because we love originality around here, but he does have a point. Nine of the league's 27 teams are 3-3 right now. So who's got more on the line more than this group of teams? The dividing line of the playoffs splits right down the middle of this group so it's safe to say after this week, the 3-3 teams who win will have the inside track to the postseason, while the teams that lose will be on the outside. Doesn't get much bigger than that.

Each week, the SFL will run through the biggest headlines of the week, touching on every result and every preview in the process. Let's go >>>>>>>>

  • Let's start in the North. Canton (3-3) and Queen City (2-4) play each other in back-to-back weeks (this week Friday, 8:15 pm ET). It's weird, we know, but it's a major opportunity for both teams. Motor City (4-2), which currently leads the division, has Louisiana (3-3 - Monday, 8:15 pm ET) and D.C. (3-3) in back-to-back weeks - two very strong .500 teams. If Queen City sweeps, they could be first in the North. If Canton sweeps, they could have as much as a two game lead in the North with the Corsairs firmly in the rearview mirror. How will these two teams handle playing the same team two weeks in a row?
  • Baltimore (3-3) and the Dragons didn't expect to be sitting at .500 at the halfway point, both trailing Carolina (4-2) in the Atlantic, but that's where we're at. Even wilder, the two played to a 31-30 stalemate won with a game-sealing INT just three weeks ago. Saturday, 6:30 pm ET, they'll meet in D.C. As the league continues to gather more data on the season, consider this: Baltimore has 27 red zone trips, but only 14 touchdowns on those trips this season. D.C. has only allowed opponents inside their 20-yard line 18 times, giving up 11 touchdowns. One of the three times they got a full stop? The first half of the first meeting, when they got an end zone pick just before the half.
  • Taking a break from the teams in the middle of the pack, San Diego (4-3) heads to Seattle (4-2) for a huge game Friday night at 10:15 pm ET. Like the Pac-12 this season in college football, the left side of the map just seems stronger this season. Seattle averages 11.0 yards per pass attempt this season, second only to Florida's whopping 12.7. The Mavs pass 'D' is middle of the pack, but will certainly be keying in on the Nemesis' desire to go deep. San Diego's got this game then at Tulsa before finally getting the first of its two byes of the season, a much-needed break after the roller coaster they've been on to start the season.
  • Portland (3-3) and Houston (3-3) take us right back to .500 'ville Sunday night, 9:15 pm ET. Two teams that should really proud of how the season has started, but won't feel too proud sitting at 3-4. Portland has 55 points off turnovers this season, second only to Minnesota's 59. Houston has seven turnovers in its three losses, just two turnovers in its three wins. This game feels like the winner could hinge on how Portland's defense matches up with HeadHunter 'O'.
  • Sneaky good game alert, but Tulsa (1-4) and Sioux Falls (2-4) should provide the fans with some pretty entertaining football Sunday night, 9:00 pm ET. Julian Tyree leads the league in yards per game (287.0) with a lot of it going to the league-leading receiver AJ Warren (128.2 yards per game). Second-best to Warren? Tulsa's Gabriel Manning, averaging 114.8 yards per game (he also is tied for the league-lead in receiving TDs with 5). Jason Strongbow is third in the league in tackles (55). Neither team wants to take a fifth loss and both feel like they could steal this one.
  • A lot of home dogs this week. Jacksonville hosts Florida (FRI, 8:00 pm ET), Las Vegas brings Arizona to town (FRI, 10:30 pm ET), Indianapolis welcomes Denver (SAT, 6:45 pm ET) and Charleston hosts Carolina (SAT, 9:00 pm ET). The combined record of those four home teams is 7-17. Which one of these teams - or multiple teams - will step up and save themselves from further dreary days ahead? The combined road record of those four teams? 1-13. My money's on multiple.

You're all caught up. We'll leave you with some new data the league has compiled for the teams this week:

  • Baltimore and Vancouver lead the league in yards per rush (6.2) - both are 3-3, but with powerful offenses - obviously. The Bears led the NFL last season (5.4) and finished 3-14. The Jets led opening week in the NFL at 6.1. They'll need a strong running game a lot more now...
  • Vancouver is the most penalized team in the SFL so far this season: 12 penalties and all coming in the last four games. Los Angeles is the least penalized team with just two accepted penalties against them all season.
  • Louisiana and Portland have scored on every red zone trip this season. The Revs have 13 TDs and 7 FGs on 20 trips but Portland's even stronger - 15 TDs and 5 FGs on 20 trips. Tulsa and Charleston haven't forced a turnover defensively in the red zone. While Tulsa has given up 9 TDs and 5 FGs on 14 trips, Charleston has given up a whopping 16 TDs and 6 FGs in 22 times with their backs against the wall.