Are we tired of winning? We go 3/3 in week 9 (ATS), 24/27 on the season. Guess the games weren't as tricky as I thought they might be.
The trade deadline came and went without any earthshaking moves so I guess folks are trying to win with what they've got... We will be focusing on matchups with playoff implications so apologies if your favorite team isn't featured!
Baltimore at Detroit (-9) - The Bombers are essentially eliminated from playoffs contention but they can spoil the Vampires' hopes this week in a must-win matchup.
A historically bad offense doesn't usually get far, but DET went into their BYE week a respectable 4-4 with a handicapped defensive line. Players look to be mostly healthy now and GM zenzog is hoping that the week off gets QB Mitchem up and running. The team struggles both on the ground and in the air, but they'll need to run the ball well this week-- BAL has one of the most ferocious pass rushers in DE Hitchcock with FS Leskun and a cohesive secondary unit ready to pounce on the back end. On paper they should be weaker against the run-- undersized DL and LB with a focus on speed typically get bullied by the power run scheme employed by DET-- but that hasn't necessarily been the case recently (DUR and CLE posted somewhat pedestrian numbers).
With playoff prospects looking dim, it's hard to say what BAL will do here. They don't have their first round pick in 2061 and there aren't any exciting rookies on the bench so the front office should be mixing things up and seeing what works. Give me DET at home, but BAL should cover the massive +9: DET 28-24.
Alaska (-8) at Seattle - SEA handed ALA their only loss of the season back in week 1 but the trajectories of these two teams have gone in completely opposite directions. The Spartans struggle to match the production of 2059 and their defense is in freefall-- it's hard to tell what's going on but I think the individual receivers just haven't broken off as many big plays. The efficiency and chemistry looks similar. On defense, well... SEA made the decision to not re-sign CBs Kirk and Duran so this is just what a secondary with no talent or experience looks like.
QB Marischen is on another level and SEA has pretty much no chance of slowing him down. Sure, there are some weaknesses SEA could try to exploit, but their best chance is attempting to match the Kodiaks through the air. So this week I'm still leaning to the +8 with the Spartans: ALA 34-27.
Side prop: Will Marischen throw an interception? NO.
Omaha (-3) at Durham - DUR's surprising loss to KCY last week might be why this line favors OMA but many lists (including my own) still put the Bulldogs at the top.
The efficient and methodical offense complements the stifling defense-- this is a complete team. GM Steel really knocked the 2059 draft out of the park with almost all his second year players making big strides in productivity. CB Taylor, LB Shepherd, and WR Hindman could all be All-League selections at the end of the season. The offensive line is still young but shows tremendous talent and will continue to improve with time.
But Omaha is also a pretty great team... health was the big issue last season and we're happy to report that the Arrowheads are staying nice and injury free through 10 weeks. The offense continues to be one of the best in the league but what has been a pleasant surprise is the complete 180 turn from the offense under first year defensive coordinator Myron Garrett. This defensive line was scraping the bottom against the run but have managed to slow HON, TEN, DET, and CLE. DUR, LVS, and HAR will be true tests that I think OMA should pass.
I expect the defenses to be the difference makers this week and do give the slightest of edges to DUR, but if WR Dole gets going, OMA could well outpace the less explosive Bulldogs. But at the end of the day, both teams are talented, consistent, and well-coached so this bet is a pure value play in what I see is a 50/50 matchup. Give me DUR +3 at home in a game I don't even want to try to predict: Durham wins 24-21.
Good luck everyone!
CFL Power Ranking based on FFF ranking formulas and system.
Durham takes over the #1 spot from Omaha
The biggest movers;
biggest gain = +12 Kansas City
biggest drop = -9 Baltimore
Best possible score: 101pts
Worst possible score: - 90pts
Explanation of the ratings:
For those newcomers to the CFL and unfamiliar with the CFL Power Ranking/FFF rankings, these are based strictly on a formula using stats pulled straight from the game, ie wins and losses, Points for and against, turnover margin, in-game power rankings and strength of schedule. I only input the data into my spreadsheet, ie I have no power over the outcome. They are relative rankings, basically comparing your team stats to the rest of the league. They are not THE definitive rankings, at the end of the season the best team is winner of the CFL Bowl, not the team ranked #1 in the rankings. The main point is just to spark off discussion and add to the league in general.
Another 3/3 week (ATS), 21/24 on the season. The pressure is on to keep winning... but this week's games might not be so straight forward!
- QB Nolan Scott dismantles NOS in crunch time, who gets the nod down the stretch?
- Cleveland's Iron Curtain rusted in third consecutive loss struggling against the run!
- Texas Inferno blow past TUC with 62 points and 240 yards rushing. Where do the Toros buy their gloves?
Santa Cruz at Atlanta (-5) - QB Darusmont's first game in the CFL was against QB Clements and the Wolfpack and it didn't go that badly, all things considered. They went into the half time break leading by 10! But as is the case with most rookies, he couldn't deal with the second half adjustments by ATL.
Darusmont first half: 15/17, 215 yards 1 TD passing, 50 rushing yards on 5 carries, 1 TD
Darusmont second half: 7/25, 57 yards and 3 INTs with 14 rushing yards on 3 carries
Unfortunately, a banged up secondary in Santa Cruz means that veteran QB Clements will be able to name the score. Despite losing at TUC (likely looking ahead to LVS), I think ATL is a quality team that will be in post season contention. The only weakness in their game is a subpar run game but it might not be necessary if they can just convert RZ visits a bit better. Scoring 4.4 points per visit is below league average and that will be something to watch as the season rolls on. I've noticed that WR Reis gets quite a few looks in the red zone and while he's a talented speedster in open space, he can struggle in tight coverage as he lacks the size and strength to get 50/50 balls.
Privateers fans know they're rebuilding, but that doesn't make all the losing feel any better. I expect this ship to keep sinking as ATL stops the skid: ATL wins and covers 33-17.
Death Valley (-8) at Tucson - TEX dropped a 60 burger on the Toros. Texas. The Inferno. QB Womble and crew barely did anything as the tank rolled into town and gave one of the worst showings I've seen in a long time.
Yes, TUC has a win, but this team is even worse than the one that went 0-16 in 2059. It feels like they've been rebuilding for years and this has to be where they change course. I just hope they remember how to win when the time comes.
RB Donaldson is a bad man. This season is shaping up to be a historically good one-- the last time a RB broke 1,000 yards in 7 games was RB Fulton in 2055 when he went on to set the single season rushing yardage record with 2,291. The Toros just need to try and hold on for dear life: DVY picks this one up with ease: 37-17.
Hartford at Shreveport (-1) - QB Barker is confirmed OUT for HAR, but the line has barely moved! What could be going on here?
Since week 4, SHR hasn't looked the same. That was when QB Staat faced his old team, but I don't know if that's really the cause. His completion percentage dropped from 61% in the first three games to 47% the next three. He's taken some hits but he's no stranger to tough love-- in fact he was one of the better QBs in terms of injuries. The shoe dropped after the bye week though, GM Raven Hawk decided to roll with QB Scott. There has to be some question as to who will start in week 9 now...
This has been a tough stretch for HAR who have now lost RG Prochelo, LB Farley, WR Joseph, and now QB Barker to injury. Going into 2060, many thought HAR had one of the hardest schedules and I think that rings true now more than ever. They kick off their 3 week long tour at SHR before going on to ACI and BKN and even after they get home, ALA, OMA, SEA, and BCI are waiting in the wings. 5-1-1 could just as easily finish the season 7-9-1.
As for this match, if SHR sticks with QB Scott I expect them to win. If they go back to QB Staat this could be a toss up. HAR will need to lean even more on RB Feagles who has looked fantastic with limited (but increasing!) touches but I fear it won't be enough. QB Scott should post his second win of the season: 24-20. I've seen enough magic out of Nolan I know better than to bet against him.
Good luck everyone!
3/3 this week, 18/21 on the season. If only this translated to real life...
Congratulations to TUC on the first win of the season! Now will MIA get on the board or are they gunning for the first overall pick of 2061?
Iowa City (-3) at Baltimore - GM Sweendawg's first season at the helm doesn't look great, but I think there are some encouraging signs. If you exclude the two flops against DUR (a great team), we have a squad that could easily be 5-2. Despite losing DE Johnstone to free agency, the Bombers are still a top defense in the CFL. DE Hitchcock and FS Leskun will be a part of the formula when BAL starts winning.
The issue may be that QB O'Neill is just not very good. He showed flashes in Tucson and was serviceable last season in Baltimore, but his consistently mediocre play has cost the Bombers in each of their close losses. I've thought the team should have been using WR Prewett more and an injury to WR Hongamen brings him back into the starting lineup.
They host a struggling IWC this week that somehow upset OMA seven days ago. I don't know how much we can take from that game-- QB Harrison looked absolutely mystified on the field as if the ball gained a life of its own after it left his hand while WRs Stone and Dole weren't able to deal with the Soldiers adjustments in the second half.
Simply put, the Soldiers aren't a good team and we shouldn't be swayed by one surprising upset. As long as QB O'Neill doesn't fall prey to the IWC secondary (the lone bright spot on the team!), the quality on BAL should come out on top. Give me the Bombers: 19-13.
Alaska (-3) at El Paso - I didn't think too much of QB Marischen's audacious comments at the time, but he's making me a believer. Throwing 13 TDs (running for 2!) and no interceptions-- this guy is cracked. WR Farley had a career game last week against DEN with 188 receiving yards and if anyone thought he might have lost a step with his injury, think again.
ELP won't be trying to stop him though-- it will be a straight shootout. QB Sullivan has a cadre of talented receivers in his corner who have been torching defenses all season. ALA's secondary is pretty good but they haven't faced a prolific passing attack since their week 1 loss to SEA. Any one of WR Rodriguez, Van Pelt, or Johnstone will take over a game if allowed.
All things considered, this is a tough game to pick. Both rosters are talented with decisive identities and game plans. But at the end of the day, one team has Jimmy Marischen and the other one doesn't... and I'm not about to jump in front of that train. Give me the Kodiaks and the guy that's playing possessed: ALA wins 34-27.
Tennessee at Brooklyn (-7) - BKN's quality continues to impress. QB Woodford grows more and more comfortable under center and having the single most dominant defense in the league makes outscoring opponents pretty easy. Opponents simply aren't able to run against sophomore NT Arnold while rookie CB Banks is one of a handful vying for DROY recognition.
This week, TEN presents a test that GM Dean Gullberry no doubt has circled on the schedule. QB Porto has been spreading the ball around in WR Picton's absence and it seems on average to be working out. He's still a menace with his legs, of course, and when we saw RB Barker last it looked like he was settling in a bit better with the new team. I'm not optimistic for the weak offensive line, however, as we've seen QB Porto take some big hits against OMA, SHR, and HAR.
I expect BKN to win this one with TEN missing CB Tapscott and WR Picton, but 7 points is a big tax for this kind of matchup. BKN will be missing a few pieces as well as the team starts to look to the postseason. Give me TEN +7 in a surprisingly tight affair: BKN wins 21-17.
Good luck everyone!
2/3 this week, 15/18 on the season. Maybe I'm just too high on DEN...
Los Angeles (-1) at Las Vegas - This game's a tough one-- this is the first time in my memory that LVS was ever underdogs to LAS-- but at the same time, the the bookies should be expecting QB McKnight to suit up this week. I'll be writing assuming he does.
The Rounders are playing about as well as ever and it seems that the front office has the secret sauce that makes this squad contenders each year. Sure, there are hiccups now and then, but I expect them to be playing football in January. The steady play by QB McKnight and the emergence of superstar RB Gmerek are almost cheat codes in today's CFL and it seems that WR McSwain has proven his worth and moved up the depth chart. The team executes well on every level and it's really up to their opponents to do one better.
The Outlaws, after a slow start, have come back into the race for the division. A win over DVY has to say something despite giving up 230 yards to RB Donaldson... I'm just not sure what it is. Defense in the red zone was good and the secondary applied disciplined coverage, but I don't know how anyone can overlook the woeful run defense. In week one, RB Gmerek ran for 136 yards and TEX as a team ran for 188 yards in week 4. The Outlaws rely on linebacker help to stop the run, but if RB Gmerek is out in open space, there's really no stopping him.
I'm not sure what the bookies see in this game, but I have to give the edge to LVS at home with a healthy QB McKnight. Give me the LVS +1, should be an easy cash: 24-17.
Honolulu at Death Valley (-10) - After suffering the loss of RB Gaiter in week 2, GM Red Zone decided to reload and trade for more talent in a bid to repeat as CFL Champions. RB Murray and WR McCreadie swam aboard after jumping ship in Boston and at least in Murray's case, it may not have been the team's fault for his lack of production.
Through three games, Murray has averaged 3 ypc on 45 attempts. It seems as though HON is attempting to use Murray the same way they used RB Gaiter and I'm not sure that's working out. RB Gaiter was able to create big runs with patience, vision, and size that aren't really in RB Murray's toolbox. What Murray does have is an explosive first step and a strong motor to get yards after contact-- maybe involving FB Orlando a bit more would unlock him a bit more. WR McCreadie does look good though and a substantial upgrade to WRs Washington and Torres. If Fryday is able to stand in the pocket, this could make up for the lack of production on the ground.
I've gushed over DVY enough and I expect them to win, but 10 points is a lot. I don't think their style of football lends itself to winning by that kind of margin so give me HON and the points in a 24-20 loss.
Boise City (-3) at Oregon - I'm not sure what's wrong with ORE this season but BCI isn't pulling any punches. The addition of RB Lovallo has paid off beautifully and these guys are making a strong case for their division despite QB Marischen's promise to "run the table" back in week 4.
The Bandits certainly have the talent to keep pace but it hasn't manifested quite like they need it to for wins. QB Hitchcock has been largely ineffective and a defense that relies on the pass rush has been sorely missing DE Knutson. It looks like he has been cleared to play so maybe we'll see something a little better on that end, though they will need a much better showing from their offense to go toe to toe with the Stampede. I don't think it will be enough for four quarters so give me BCI -3 in a shootout: 35-27.
Good luck everyone!