AAF Power Rankings: Apollos Take Flight

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After one week of a new league it would have been hard to rank the squads. Two weeks still was too small of a sample size. Alas, we’re now three weeks down in the Alliance of American Football and the cream is starting to rise to the top.

There’s been some good parity in the AAF so far with two teams each at 3-0, 2-1, 1-2, and 0-3. Here’s Full Press Coverage’s AAF Power Rankings for week three.

1. Orlando Apollos (3-0)
Previous Week: 21-17 win vs Memphis Express
Upcoming: at Salt Lake Stallions

Orlando has put together the most consistent efforts to start the AAF season. The Apollos offense has been the league’s most prolific and Orlando has 98 points. The offense is led by the league’s leading passer Garrett Gilbert and two receivers in the top five in receiving yardage: Charles Johnson (305 yards) and Jalin Marshall (150 yards). The Apollos defense has been impressive as well, netting them the number one spot in the inaugural power rankings.

2. Birmingham Iron (3-0)
Previous Week: 28-12 win at Atlanta Legends
Upcoming: vs San Antonio Commanders

Birmingham is a team defined by their defense. They’ve allowed a league-low 21 points and have nine turnovers forced. The defense plays well on all three levels with standouts like defensive lineman Jeremy Faulk up front and Jack Tocho and Jamar Summers in the secondary. Birmingham does need to get some consistency on offense to match their defensive prowess. Quarterback Luis Perez has been forcing more passes as the weeks go on, and halfback Trent Richardson leads the league in touchdowns but still hasn’t had a game with higher than three yards per attempt.

3. San Diego Fleet (2-1)
Previous Week: 31-11 win vs San Antonio Commanders
Upcoming: at Memphis Express

After a tough week one, the San Diego Fleet offense is clicking in their two straight wins. Running back Ja’Quan Gardner leads the league in rushing and has been making consistently spectacular plays for the Fleet. The former Humboldt State star is the key to Mike Martz’s offense, and quarterback Philip Nelson seems to have secured the starting job after taking over from Mike Bercovici in week one. The Fleet could put up big points this week against an Express defense that has struggled so far.

4. Arizona Hotshots (2-1)
Previous Week: 23-15 loss at Salt Lake Stallions
Upcoming: vs Atlanta Legends

The Hotshots lost their first game of the year to the Stallions this past week. Once Hotshots starting quarterback John Wolford, the entire dynamic of the offense changed. Trevor Knight was a serviceable replacement, but the team lacked the spark it had with Wolford. The Hotshots last two games have been tight, and a visit from the struggling Atlanta Legends could give Arizona a chance to light up the scoreboard like they did in week one.

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5. Salt Lake Stallions (1-2)
Previous Week: 23-15 win vs Arizona Hotshots
Upcoming: vs Orlando Apollos

Despite only picking up it’s first win of the season in week three, the Stallions have a lot of positives going for them. Defensive end Karter Schult leads the AAF in sacks with four, and the rest of the defensive line has been great at getting after quarterbacks. They’ll have a chance to rattle Orlando’s Garrett Gilbert this coming week, as the Orlando offensive tackles have been the weak link of their line. If the Stallions get consistent pressure on the quarterback, they could be the first team to knock off Orlando this year and get to 2-2.

6. San Antonio Commanders (1-2)
Previous Week: 31-11 loss at San Diego Fleet
Upcoming: at Birmingham Iron

San Antonio has dropped two straight games, but both have been exciting contests. San Antonio has a very talented stable of receivers between Mekale McKay, Demarcus Ayers, and Greg Ward Jr that could turn it on at any time. The Commanders got off to a hot start against San Diego, intercepting the first pass of the game and turning around tossing a touchdown. The Fleet methodically came back to beat San Antonio and it’s in part because the Commanders defense struggled to contain the run game. The week prior the Commanders had issues against the Apollos passing game. The defense could bounce back against an inconsistent Iron offense.

7. Memphis Express (0-3)
Previous Week: 21-17 loss at Orlando Apollos
Upcoming: vs San Diego Fleet

One of two teams without a win in the Alliance, the Express just edge out Atlanta at the bottom of the power rankings. Memphis has some bright spots, such as the rushing work of Zac Stacy. The former St. Louis Ram halfback has 188 yards through three weeks, placing him second in the league. Memphis has lost it’s last two games by a combined six points, giving Orlando a good run last week. The Express may have solved their quarterback problem by switching from Christian Hackenberg to Zach Mettenberger last week. Mettenberger, the former Tennessee Titans 6th round pick, will be the starter next week. He looked impressive in limited action (9/12 passing, 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns) and could give the Express some offensive balance.

8. Atlanta Legends (0-3)
Previous Week: 28-12 loss vs Birmingham Iron
Upcoming: at Arizona Hotshots

The Atlanta Legends home opener did not go the way they imagined. A 16 point loss to the Birmingham Iron showed the Legends have problems on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Matt Simms has racked up yards but has also tossed six interceptions in three games. Atlanta only ran for 43 yards last week, and 19 of those came on one Simms scamper. The Legends have the worst point differential at -62 through three weeks as well. If Arizona quarterback and week one standout John Wolford is not back from his back injury in time for week four’s matchup, the Legends have a slightly better chance to erase the goose egg in their win column.

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