Hello everyone, I am back after a month-long absence. I had a fall early last month and had to have surgery on my left shoulder. That is the reason why I have not been able to do my team-by-team previews on the upcoming season like I wanted to do. But the good news is that I have the OK from my doctor to start rehabbing my shoulder and start getting things back to normal. I will now be able to have my coverage of the 2008 Arena Football season. Earlier I did a Preseason power rankings. But now here is my week 1 rankings as the season is here now.
Here is the first power rankings going into Week 1 of the Arena Football season.
1) San Jose SaberCats (2007: 13-3)
The SaberCats are ranked No. 1 because they are still the defending Arena Football Champs. San Jose looks to try and add a fourth Arena Bowl Championship in its last seven years. QB Mark Grieb and WR James Roe lead the offense for the SaberCats.
(Week 1 game: March 3 at Chicago, 9 p.m. EST, ESPN2).
2) Chicago Rush (2007: 13-3)
The Rush enter the season with a new QB-WR combo in Sherdrick Bonner and Damian Harrell.
(Week 1 game: March 3 vs. San Jose, 9 p.m. EST, ESPN2).
3) Dallas Desperados (2007: 15-1, 2008: 1-0)
The Desperados look to get the one thing that they didn't get last year: An appearance in the Arena Bowl. QB Clint Dolezel is back to the lead the offense and Reigning Iron Man of the Year, Will Pettis is also back and still one of the best two-way players in the AFL. Dallas plays its first four games against playoff teams from 2007.
(Week 1 game: March 1 at Georgia, 1 p.m. EST, ABC). Won 51-41
4) Philadelphia Soul (2007: 8-8, 2008: 1-0) Jon Bon Jovi's Soul have re-united QB Tony Graziani and WR Chris Jackson with each other. Graziani and Jackson were teammates in Los Angeles. If the combo of Graziani and Jackson can stay healthy, the Soul can give the Desperados a challenge for the top of the Eastern Division.
(Week 1 game: March 1 vs. Orlando, 7 p.m. EST). Won 77 - 56
5) Los Angeles Avengers (2007: 9-7, 2008: 1-0) QB Sonny Cumbie, who is now in his third season with the Avengers, looks to finally lead them past the first round of the playoffs. The team made some key acquisitions in the offseason. Added were WR Timon Marshall, who will be a nice complement to WR Kevin Ingram. Also added for the defense was DL LaKendrick Jones.
(Week 1 game: Feb. 29 vs. New Orleans, 10:30 p.m. EST) Won 59-42
6) Tampa Bay Storm (2007: 9-7, 2008: 1-0) QB Brett Dietz will be looking to complete his first full season in the AFL, after taking over midway through last year. The Storm bring the core of the offense and defense back for 2008. Tampa Bay plays five of its first six games on the road to open the season.
(Week 1 game: March 1 at Kansas City, 6 p.m. EST). Won 51-49
7) Colorado Crush (2007: 8-8, 2008: 1-0)
With the addition of WR Ben Nelson to replace Harrell, QB John Dutton now has a new go-to receiver. Nelson will also need receivers Brad Pyatt and Willie Quinnie to help fill the void. The Crush should have a good season, with DB Rashad Floyd returning on defense, but the second and third games (at Dallas and at Chicago) should determine how the season is going to go.
(Week 1 game: March 2 vs. Columbus, 4 p.m. EST). Won 50-47
8) Georgia Force (2007: 14-2, 2008: 0-1)
With all the other teams adding players this offseason, the Force were pretty quiet. The Force lost WR Chris Jackson and WR Derek Lee, so it will be interesting to see how their offense reacts. QB Chris Greisen threw for a AFL single-season record 117 touchdowns last year, but he only has one third of his receiving core left in WR Troy Bergeron. Georgia’s defense once again will be very strong this year, but it will have a tough schedule to worry about as the first seven games are against playoff teams from 2007.
(Week 1 game: March 1 vs. Dallas, 1pm EST, ABC). Lost 41-51