Arena football news and notes Week 15

Arena football news and notes Week 15

Arena football news and notes Week 15
By TED SEVRANSKY

The 1992 New Orleans Night might have been the worst team in Arena Football League history. They committed 42 turnovers in the AFL’s then 10-game season, averaging more than four giveaways per game. No surprise, then, that New Orleans went 0-10 that year. The franchise folded following the season.

The Milwaukee Mustangs weren’t much better. In their inaugural season of 1994, they averaged 3.58 turnovers per game en route to an 0-12 campaign.

The 2003 Carolina Cobras were arguably the worst team in modern AFL history, going 0-16, lasting only one more season before folding. Carolina, too, had horrific turnover problems in a league where turnover problems are absolutely devastating – every possession without a touchdown is a negative possession. The Cobras averaged 2.63 turnovers per game.

Last year’s Las Vegas Gladiators is the worst AFL team that I have ever witnessed in person. The owner wasn’t local and the management staff that he hired to run the franchise were positively inept. The coaching was, by far, the worst in the league, and the talent level was truly abysmal. Las Vegas went 2-14, with 13 of those losses coming by double digit margins, and 10 of the losses coming by three touchdowns or more. Vegas averaged 2.54 turnovers per game and re-located to Cleveland for 2008.

Nobody is going to confuse the 2008 Orlando Predators with any of those truly awful squads. The Predators are 8-6, still very much in position to win the Southern Division and earn a first round bye in the playoffs, despite losing two straight at home in the last two weeks, and four of their last six overall. But Jay Gruden’s team has the same fatal flaw that bedeviled each of the dismal squads listed above – it can’t hang on to the football.

Against Arizona this past Saturday as 10-point favorites, Gruden did not have his team ready to play. Orlando threw an interception on their first possession, then lost three fumbles and took a safety all in the first half. Even a furious second half comeback wasn’t enough to overcome a 23-point deficit, as the Predators lost outright. The four turnovers gave Orlando 38 for the season, a 2.71 average per game – worse than the ’07 Gladiators, worse than the ’03 Cobras; worse than any team in the last decade.

Predators starting quarterback Shane Stafford has been benched repeatedly for ineffectiveness in recent weeks. Backup Jake Eaton earned the start against the Rattlers this past weekend, before he got hurt, forcing Stafford back into action. Orlando’s top red zone target, receiver Chas Gessner, signed with the Seattle Seahawks for a chance at NFL riches and glory. Their leading receiver, Ron Johnson, who had recorded the third most receptions in team history through the first 13 games of the season, was unceremoniously cut prior to Week 14. Offensive lineman Jonathan Clinkscale is out for the year, and 310-pound OL monster Jim Sodano hasn’t been healthy enough to take a snap all season.

So how have the Predators compiled this 8-6 record, despite all the turnovers, injuries and turmoil? Simple – they’ve won the close games again and again. In a six-week midseason stretch, Orlando played five games that, quite literally, were decided on the last play of the game. Orlando won all five of those contests.

Ironically, the Arizona Rattlers been a team following in Orlando’s footsteps in that regard. The Rattlers have seen their last three games all decided in the closing seconds; winning and covering all three times. First, backup quarterback Jeff Smoker threw a touchdown pass to Todd Devoe with no time remaining on the clock to end the Dallas Desperados 17-game regular season home winning streak, notching the outright upset as 15.5 point underdogs.

The following week, defensive back Chris McKenzie made incredible pass breakups on both third and fourth down in the end zone, preserving a tenuous four-point lead in the final seconds against Grand Rapids. This past week, after blowing the entire 23-point lead at Orlando, Rattlers third string quarterback Matt Sauk completed the game winning touchdown pass to Siaha Burley with only five seconds remaining on the clock.

With the victory, Arizona improved their record to 7-6, good enough to clinch a playoff spot in the watered down American Conference with three weeks remaining in the regular season and make good on the franchise’s much publicized ‘playoff guarantee’ for season ticket holders. Last October, in an effort to spur lagging season ticket sales following a 4-12 season and the free agent departure of legendary quarterback Shedrick Bonner, management guaranteed a playoff berth in 2008 or every season ticket holder would receive a complete refund. The ploy worked – season ticket sales were spurred by the promotion, and the ownership group is no longer on the hook for $2.2 million dollars.

Kevin Guy’s squad has a much easier road down the stretch, facing Kansas City, Colorado and Utah in their final three games, a trio of teams with a combined 11-28 record. That being said, all three of those teams are still very much in the midst of the playoff race, and two of the three (Utah and KC) have played much better football in recent weeks than they did during the first half of the season.

Unfortunately for the Rattlers, they have not fared well against the two elite teams from the American (Western) Conference; San Jose and Chicago. The San Jose Sabercats won the Arena Bowl last year, and they dominated Arizona 63-43 and 63-42 in the two meetings with the Rattlers in ’08.

It was just as ugly for Arizona against the Chicago Rush, who won the Arena Bowl in 2006 and who need only one win in their final three games to clinch homefield advantage throughout the 2008 playoffs thanks to their 10-3 record. Arizona lost to Chicago 59-35 in a game that was all but over by halftime. Barring some incredible upsets (not unheard of in the AFL playoffs, but certainly not a likely occurrence in this year’s American Conference) the Rattlers will probably have to beat both of those teams on the road in the playoffs to earn a trip to Arena Bowl XXII on July 27.

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Re: Arena football news and notes Week 15

AFL LONG SHEET Week 15

Saturday, June 7

COLORADO (4 - 9) at GRAND RAPIDS (3 - 10) - 6/7/2008, 7:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
COLORADO is 3-10 ATS (-8.0 Units) in all games this season.
GRAND RAPIDS is 10-23 ATS (-15.3 Units) as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points since 1996.
GRAND RAPIDS is 13-28 ATS (-17.8 Units) in the last 4 weeks of the regular season since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
GRAND RAPIDS is 3-2 against the spread versus COLORADO over the last 3 seasons
COLORADO is 3-2 straight up against GRAND RAPIDS over the last 3 seasons
3 of 5 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


CHICAGO (10 - 3) at CLEVELAND (7 - 6) - 6/7/2008, 7:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
CHICAGO is 19-10 ATS (+8.0 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
CHICAGO is 10-1 ATS (+8.9 Units) off a division game over the last 2 seasons.
CHICAGO is 12-2 ATS (+9.8 Units) after playing a game on a Saturday over the last 3 seasons.
CHICAGO is 9-1 ATS (+7.9 Units) off a win versus a division rival over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
CHICAGO is 1-0 against the spread versus CLEVELAND over the last 3 seasons
CHICAGO is 1-0 straight up against CLEVELAND over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


NEW ORLEANS (8 - 5) at NEW YORK (7 - 6) - 6/7/2008, 7:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
NEW ORLEANS is 1-8 ATS (-7.8 Units) in road games against conference opponents over the last 2 seasons.
NEW YORK is 2-11 ATS (-10.1 Units) in home games against National Conference, Southern Division Opponents since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
NEW YORK is 1-0 against the spread versus NEW ORLEANS over the last 3 seasons
NEW YORK is 1-0 straight up against NEW ORLEANS over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


GEORGIA (8 - 5) at COLUMBUS (3 - 10) - 6/7/2008, 7:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
GEORGIA is 16-7 ATS (+8.3 Units) against conference opponents over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
COLUMBUS is 2-2 against the spread versus GEORGIA over the last 3 seasons
COLUMBUS is 2-2 straight up against GEORGIA over the last 3 seasons
3 of 4 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


ORLANDO (8 - 6) at TAMPA BAY (6 - 7) - 6/7/2008, 7:30 PM
Top Trends for this game.
TAMPA BAY is 32-17 ATS (+13.3 Units) in home games when playing on a Saturday since 1996.
TAMPA BAY is 30-12 ATS (+16.8 Units) in home games versus division opponents since 1996.
TAMPA BAY is 22-10 ATS (+11.0 Units) in June games since 1996.
TAMPA BAY is 52-31 ATS (+17.9 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record since 1996.
TAMPA BAY is 34-19 ATS (+13.1 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record after 8 or more games since 1996.
TAMPA BAY is 16-6 ATS (+9.4 Units) in home games in the last 4 weeks of the regular season since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
ORLANDO is 4-1 against the spread versus TAMPA BAY over the last 3 seasons
ORLANDO is 4-1 straight up against TAMPA BAY over the last 3 seasons
4 of 5 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


PHILADELPHIA (10 - 3) at DALLAS (11 - 2) - 6/7/2008, 8:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
PHILADELPHIA is 3-12 ATS (-10.2 Units) in road games versus division opponents since 1996.
DALLAS is 9-1 ATS (+7.9 Units) when the total is between 105 and 109.5 points over the last 3 seasons.
DALLAS is 17-7 ATS (+9.3 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 3 seasons.
DALLAS is 8-21 ATS (-15.1 Units) in home games when playing on a Saturday since 1996.
DALLAS is 5-20 ATS (-17.0 Units) in home games after 2 or more consecutive straight up wins since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
PHILADELPHIA is 3-2 against the spread versus DALLAS over the last 3 seasons
PHILADELPHIA is 3-2 straight up against DALLAS over the last 3 seasons
3 of 5 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

Sunday, June 8


ARIZONA (7 - 6) at KANSAS CITY (3 - 10) - 6/8/2008, 2:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
ARIZONA is 40-23 ATS (+14.7 Units) in road games against conference opponents since 1996.
ARIZONA is 29-15 ATS (+12.5 Units) in the last 4 weeks of the regular season since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
ARIZONA is 1-0 against the spread versus KANSAS CITY over the last 3 seasons
KANSAS CITY is 1-0 straight up against ARIZONA over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

Monday, June 9


LOS ANGELES (4 - 9) at UTAH (4 - 10) - 6/9/2008, 10:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
LOS ANGELES is 5-13 ATS (-9.3 Units) as an underdog over the last 2 seasons.
LOS ANGELES is 1-8 ATS (-7.8 Units) in road games off a division game over the last 3 seasons.
UTAH is 16-31 ATS (-18.1 Units) in all games over the last 3 seasons.
UTAH is 5-18 ATS (-14.8 Units) as a favorite over the last 3 seasons.
UTAH is 6-16 ATS (-11.6 Units) versus division opponents over the last 3 seasons.
UTAH is 6-15 ATS (-10.5 Units) when playing against a team with a losing record over the last 3 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
UTAH is 3-3 against the spread versus LOS ANGELES over the last 3 seasons
UTAH is 4-2 straight up against LOS ANGELES over the last 3 seasons
4 of 6 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons 

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TREND SHEET

Saturday, June 7

7:00 PM CHICAGO vs. CLEVELAND
Chicago is 2-5-1 ATS in its last 8 games
Chicago is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
Cleveland is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing Chicago
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Cleveland's last 5 games when playing Chicago

7:00 PM COLORADO vs. GRAND RAPIDS
Colorado is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Grand Rapids
Colorado is 6-3 SU in its last 9 games when playing Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games
Grand Rapids is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games

7:00 PM GEORGIA vs. COLUMBUS
Georgia is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Georgia is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Columbus is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing Georgia
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Columbus's last 7 games when playing Georgia

7:00 PM NEW ORLEANS vs. NEW YORK
New Orleans is 8-4 ATS in its last 12 games
New Orleans is 8-4 SU in its last 12 games
New York is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games at home
New York is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games at home

7:30 PM ORLANDO vs. TAMPA BAY
Orlando is 2-6-1 ATS in its last 9 games on the road
Orlando is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Tampa Bay is 5-0-1 ATS in its last 6 games
Tampa Bay is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games

8:00 PM PHILADELPHIA vs. DALLAS
Philadelphia is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games
Philadelphia is 10-3 SU in its last 13 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Dallas's last 7 games when playing Philadelphia
Dallas is 13-2 SU in its last 15 games at home

Sunday, June 8

2:00 PM ARIZONA vs. KANSAS CITY
Arizona is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
Arizona is 6-13 SU in its last 19 games on the road
Kansas City is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Kansas City is 3-12 SU in its last 15 games

Monday, June 9

10:00 PM LOS ANGELES vs. UTAH
Los Angeles is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
Los Angeles is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Utah is 4-0-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Utah is 5-8-2 ATS in its last 15 games

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