You can check out my Week 2 Power Rankings over at Skyd Magazine, here are more condensed thoughts (for me) on where teams stand after Week 3.
1. Toronto Rush 4-0 (Last Week: 1)
The Rush took their dominance to an even higher level this week. They beat the Empire in New York 22-14, a team that’s regarded as their main challenger in the East. Then they won the next day in New Jersey against the Hammerheads 29-19. Until the final weekend of the season now their only road games are in Rochester, so it’ll be interesting to see how long they can stay undefeated. The most difficult part of their season is over, so it might be a while.
2. Madison Radicals 2-1(Last Week: 2)
The Radicals continued their winning ways, beating the Wind Chill in Minnesota 22-20. They’ve now beat the other top two teams in the Midwest on the road. They have a difficult stretch coming up, but they’re still the favorite in the Midwest.
3. Windy City Wildfire 3-1 (Last Week: 3)
The Wildfire were in a battle with the AlleyCats in the first half in Indianapolis, only up 12-10 entering the third quarter. But when the weather turned Windy City handled it much better than the ‘Cats, and won 25-15. They played the next day in Chicago, against a Revolution team that had also played the day before. Again, the Wildfire only led 12-10 at halftime. They opened things up in the fourth quarter, and ended up winning 23-16. Brodie Smith had a big game, with 13 assists and 1 goal. But they still have that loss at home to Madison hanging over their heads, so they can’t go any higher than #3.
4. Minnesota Wind Chill 1-2 (Last Week: 4)
It’s hard to rank the Wind Chill. They beat the Alleycats by nine on the road, a fairly impressive victory. But they lost to Cincinnati the next day by 1. Granted they aren’t the only team to lose on the second day of a back to back, but if they want to be the team that wins the Midwest they’ll have to raise their game, especially since they just lost at home to the Radicals.
5. Philadelphia Phoenix 1-1 (Last Week: 9)
Their win at home over Rochester 26-14 isn’t what moved them up four spots, though it certainly didn’t hurt. The Hammerheads lost to the Rush by ten at home on the second day of a back to back for the Rush. The Phoenix only lost to the Rush by one under those same circumstances. We won’t learn much about this team this week though, as they’re extremely likely to take care of the Breeze when the two play in Philadelphia.
6. New York Empire 1-1 (Last Week: 5)
The Empire are tough to rank, since they’re one of three teams in the East that have only played the Dragons and Rush. They beat the Dragons, and lost to the Rush, just like the Phoenix and Hammerheads. This weekend against the Rush they looked outclassed, even in the first half when they were keeping things close. They looked like a college team relying on two or three big playmakers to create for them, whereas the Rush looked like an experienced club team that was running a balanced offense. Just like the Phoenix the Empire host the Breeze this weekend, and barring an unexpected surprise they’ll come out 2-1, just like the Phoenix.
7. Detroit Mechanix 2-1(Last Week: 8)
The Mechanix traveled to Cincinnati and took care of the Revolution 15-11 in less than ideal conditions. I wasn’t so sure their game would work as well outdoors as it does indoors, so kudos to them. That said the Revolution are probably the worst team in the Midwest, so they’ll need to up their game even more this weekend. On Saturday they host the Wind Chill, who are scheduled to play Madison Friday night. They beat Madison under similar circumstances, so if Detroit wants to contend this is a game they need to win. Then they host the Revolution the next day, and even though it’s the second game of a back to back, the Mechanix will be at home, so that’s a game they need to win as well. If they do go 2-0 this weekend they’ll stand at 4-1, with the Wind Chill no better than 2-3, and more likely 1-4. That kind of weekend would bring them into the contender discussion.
8. New Jersey Hammerheads 1-1
The Hammerheads lost by 10 at home to the Rush, who’d played the day before, and even if the Rush are the #1 team good teams shouldn’t lose by that much at home. Granted a lot of Hammerheads players had just gotten back from Metro East Regionals, so they weren’t operating at their full potential. This week they go on the road to Toronto and Rochester, and they’ll be happy if they get a split. We’ll have to wait until the next week to see the Hammerheads play a team other than the Dragons and Rush, when they travel to Philadelphia to play the Phoenix. The Hammerheads are absolutely still in the discussion for the playoffs, with two spots up for grabs and the Phoenix, Empire, and Hammerheads all vying for those spots.
9. Indianapolis AlleyCats 1-2(Last Week: 6)
Despite their win over the Mechanix in Detroit the AlleyCats are ranked a couple spots behind them. The Mechanix were missing players, and since then the AlleyCats have lost games by nine and ten at home. Even though they lost to good teams, those should be more competitive games. Once the weather took a turn for the worse on Saturday they looked completely lost, like they’d never played in the rain before. Even stringing together a few completions was a stretch for them. They have a bye week and then three games against the Revolution over two weeks. It’ll be interesting to see whether they can take advantage and vault themselves back into contention, but they’re definitely not sitting pretty right now.
10. Cincinnati Revolution 1-3 (Last Week: 10)
The Revolution lost at home to the Mechanix, then performed well for much of their game against the Wildfire. Kevin Reichert, Ryan Sitler, and Chris Powers all played well for the Revolution in the loss. But they melted down in the fourth quarter, giving away a chance at what would have been a big victory. (lost at home to Chicago straight by 11, won at home against MN on a back to back by 1, lost to Detroit straight at home by 4, lost at Chicago straight by 7). They’re on the road against the Mechanix on Sunday, and if they want to contend that’s a game they need to win. Coming back from a 1-4 start would be very difficult. They follow that up with their miniseries against the AlleyCats, which will be big as well. Whoever loses that series of games will be out of playoff discussion for the season.
11. Rochester Dragons 0-4 (Last Week: 11)
I know, I know. I’m ranking an 0-4 team ahead of a 1-1 team. But the 0-4 team has yet to play at home, and the 1-1 team has yet to play on the road. The Dragons didn’t have a very good weekend, and they aren’t going to be contending for the playoffs. In a 16 game season, you can’t come back from an 0-4 start. But they only lost to the Breeze in double overtime at home, after playing the day before, with a lot of their roster at Metro East Regionals. On Sunday the Dragons play the Hammerheads in Rochester, with the Hammerheads having played the day before. There’s a chance they can get a win then. If not they may have to wait until May 25, when they visit DC again, but this time not on the second game of a back to back.
12. DC Breeze 1-1 (Last Week: 12)
The argument for the Breeze to be ranked ahead of Rochester is two-fold, first, they beat Rochester. Second, the Breeze have more time to figure things out to make a playoff run. They have only played two games. But, they lost by 17 at home, no other team has lost by more than ten. And their one win is the least valuable win in the league. Winning at home against the 11th ranked team who’d played the day before, and needing double overtime to do it. Does anyone think if the Breeze played the Dragons schedule (2 road trips with back to backs in NY and NJ, then PHI and ROC) they would have won one of those games? That said, the Breeze are playing in New York and Philadelphia this weekend. If they can win just one of those games it definitely vaults them ahead of the Dragons, and possibly the Revolution, AlleyCats, and Hammerheads as well.