07/15/2011 9:56 AM
10. The AFL schedule makers definitely got it right in Week 19. It’s been said before, but this is absolutely Judgment Week for many teams. This essentially is an early round of the playoffs.
9. The first match up to watch is the NFL Network Game of the Week Friday night between the Pittsburgh Power (8-8) and Cleveland Gladiators (9-7) for the East Division title. Despite behind one game behind, a Pittsburgh win gives the Power the tiebreaker. It can sweep the Gladiators after beating Cleveland 35-32 in Pittsburgh earlier this season. So, basically, if the Gladiators win, they win the division. The Power can win the division by winning this week and then need to beat the Philadelphia Soul next week.
8. The Central Division is also on the line between the Dallas Vigilantes (11-5) and Chicago Rush (12-4) and the scenarios are similar to the East match up. A Rush win clinches the division for Chicago. The Vigilantes will be Central Division champs by beating Chicago and then they need to defeat the Arizona Rattlers next week too.
7. San Jose vs. Spokane Saturday is for all intents and purposes a playoff game as well for the final postseason spot in the National Conference. The Shock (8-8) would make the playoffs by winning its final two games. But the SaberCats (7-9) already beat Spokane once this year.
6. The Orlando Predators travel to the BOK Center to face the Tulsa Talons (7-9). For the Predators, the scenario is easy: win and they’re in. The Talons need some help and will probably be big SaberCats fans this week too. But if Tulsa wins, they’ll stay alive at least for another week.
5. The Georgia Force’s (9-7) march to the playoffs is simple this week too. A win against the Tampa Bay Storm, and the team clinches a berth. If Georgia and Orlando both win, that means the East Division champion (Pittsburgh or Cleveland) will make the playoffs, but the runner up is out.
4. Staying with the Force, wide receiver C.J. Johnson is 70 yards away from reaching 3,000 all-purpose yards this season. He can join the VooDoo’s P.J. Berry. It looks like P.J. and C.J. will be the only two players in the AFL to get to the milestone, and they both have returned five kickoffs for touchdowns to lead the league.
3. Don’t overlook the New Orleans VooDoo against the Utah Blaze this week. Utah is playing without quarterback Tommy Grady again and can’t afford a loss to the 3-13 VooDoo. The Blaze doesn’t control its destiny, but can still finish at .500 and make a run for it.
2. Vigilantes wide receiver Tiger Jones leads the AFL with 1,926 receiving yards and is 74 shy of going over 2,000. He’d join Rod Windsor (2010) and Siaha Burley (2007, Utah Blaze) as the third player in league history to reach 2,000 receiving yards in a season. Last year Windsor had 2,372, so that’s single season record. Iowa’s Jesse Schmidt, the Soul’s Donovan Morgan, and Windsor this year each have over 1,800. The Rattlers have a bye this week, but that trio could possibly hit 2K with big games.
1. It’s also time to stark talking about the passing milestone of 5,000 yards in a season. That’s been done four times (and three times in 2010 for that matter). Chris Greisen holds the record with 5,146 yards last season for Milwaukee. San Jose’s Mark Grieb (4,682) needs a 300-plus performances to reach it this week, but it can be done. The Rattlers have bye this week, but Nick Davila is second in the AFL with 4,663 with one game left.