A Look Around the League: Week 9

Week 9 gave us a lot of excitement and playoff clarity. That’s a good thing because there’s just one more week to go before six teams move on with a shot at ArenaBowl XXXIII on July 19. 

The playoff teams have been given a bye in Week 10, and the remaining teams will close out their schedules this weekend. 

Albany Drops From the Top Spot

 Two weeks ago, the Firebirds were undefeated and cruising toward the #1 seed in the Arena Football League playoffs. 

Now, they’re looking up at Billings after not just a loss but a losing streak. They’re in the postseason, but they aren’t the unstoppable force they appeared to be just a couple of weeks ago. 

And with the defeat, they’ve lost home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Albany isn’t out by any stretch, but they’re a bit down after a couple of tough losses.  

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ArenaBowl Preview? 

That Albany-Billings matchup was clearly a battle among the league’s best, and it might be a preview of things to come in the playoffs. 

The Outlaws came out on top, but it was as close as a game could get. The Firebirds led 35-24 before the Outlaws’ final drive. On that drive, Billings had a kick return turnover that was ruled a dead ball at the boards, a failed fourth down conversion overturned due to penalty, an interception overturned due to penalty, scored a touchdown with just a few seconds left, converted a four-point play AND converted a two-point kick on the kickoff. 

Even then, they won by the score of 36-35 only when Albany’s kicker missed a field goal on the last play of the game. 

The Outlaws earned the win, but the outcome left fans wanting a lot more from these teams. If things break right in the playoffs, they just might get their wish at ArenaBowl XXXIII. 

Washington Plays Spoiler

The Wolfpack aren’t going to the playoffs, and the season hasn’t gone how they wanted. Meanwhile, the Southwest Kansas Storm merely needed to beat a down team to punch their ticket to the playoffs. Easy enough, right? 

Not so fast. Washington was playing for pride, and that was enough to pull off the 47-46 upset. Washington got a confidence-boosting win toward the end of the season, and while the Storm still got into the playoffs, they won’t be going in on a high note. 

The upset proved that teams can’t take anything for granted in the Arena Football League, and all teams are dangerous at any point in the season. The Storm still has a shot at winning a championship, but they learned those lessons the hard way in Week 9. 

Orlando Earns a Statement Win 

The Predators were in a similar situation to the Storm in Week 9: Beat a struggling opponent and earn a trip to the postseason. While Southwest Kansas lost their game, Orlando took care of business with a dominant 63-18 victory over the Wichita Regulators. 

The Predators haven’t been considered title favorites, but they might be an underrated team headed into the playoffs. They gave Albany their first defeat, and they’re riding the league’s longest current winning streak (five). They’ve only lost twice themselves.

 A statement game against Wichita established Orlando as a definite contender as the regular season comes to a close.

One Game in Week 10 

With the playoff teams getting a bye, the Week 10 game will feature the Wichita Regulators and the Washington Wolfpack. Neither team had the season they wanted, and they seem to be going in different directions after last week’s games.

But if Wichita can win, they’ll break a five-game losing streak and will have a higher winning percentage than Washington, meaning they won’t finish the year as the worst team in the league. 

We’ve already seen that pride plays a big role in professional football and the Arena Football League, so fans can expect full effort and a lot of excitement in the last game before the playoffs start.

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