06/24/2011 2:17 PM
10. Utah’s Tommy Grady can be the first quarterback to hit 100 passing touchdowns this season, and he can do it this week. He has 95 on the year, and Arizona’s Nick Davila is second with 85. The AFL record is 117.
9. How will the Arizona Rattlers (12-2) play out the rest of the regular season now that they’ve clinched the West Division with four games left? They already guaranteed themselves on home playoff game and will either be the one- or two-seed in the Conference. The Chicago Rush (9-4) is the closest team that could challenge for the top seed, and the Rush does own the tiebreaker.
8. This week’s Florida Rivalry is between the Tampa Bay Storm and Jacksonville Sharks. We all know about the War on I-4, and Jacksonville-Orlando has already been a great rivalry in just a few games. Here’s a chance to make the Storm vs. Sharks a classic.
7. Earlier in the week, I asked, “Who wants to win the East Division?” At both 7-6, this week Pittsburgh hosts the Milwaukee Mustangs, and Cleveland is home against the San Jose SaberCats.
6. It’s no surprise that Arizona and Jacksonville are the best teams in their respective conferences when you look at turnover margin. Both have committed a league low with18 turnovers. The Rattlers are +25, with 43 takeaways and Jacksonville is +20. The Chicago Rush, at +10, is the only other team with a positive number in the double digits. If you protect the ball, you’ll win.
5. Dallas and Chicago both play within the division this week, and winning those divisional games are huge for postseason tiebreakers. The Vigilantes go to Tulsa and the Rush hosts the Iowa Barnstormers. Chicago has already lost to the Talons and Command. But Dallas has only one loss in the Central Division, on the road against Chicago.
4. I don’t know what streak will end sooner, or which one is more surprising, Jacksonville’s 12-game win streak or San Jose’s six straight losses. If the Sharks win, they’ll have the all time AFL record for consecutive wins in a season all to themselves. As for San Jose (6-8), they’ve never lost more than eight games in a season. A ninth loss would be the worst in franchise history.
3. My game of the week is Saturday’s matchup between the Georgia Force (8-6) and Orlando Predators (8-5). Right now, both teams would still make the playoffs, but neither can afford a loss so expect a playoff-like intensity at the New Jungle.
2. Orlando’s Rayshaun Kizer got this 13th interception on the season last week. That ties him for second most in a season, behind Chicago’s Vic Hall, and these two guys are seriously in an interception race. But it has been hard for Kizer catch up. Hall has now had an interception in four straight games. Remember, Kizer had 12 picks last year, giving him 25 in his AFL career…just under two seasons.
1. There are more quarterback questions this week. It starts with Spokane. This week, the Shock activated QBs Kyle Rowley and Bill Stull, and put Steven Sheffield on injured reserve for at least four weeks. Last week against Chicago, the Shock lost Erik Meyer to a concussion, but he could be ready this week. Statistically, Meyer has put up the best numbers, but if Rowley is completely healthy, the team has to like its chances with the ArenaBowl XXIII MVP. The Rush also lost QB Russ Michna and traded for Kansas City’s JJ Raterink, who played in Chicago last week. For the Command, can Steve Wasil repeat his performance from last week, with just four incompletions, five touchdowns, and no interceptions?