By Steven Weldon
Two close games, and the playoff picture becomes clearer in another week of AAF action! Let's go in depth.
ORLANDO APOLLOS 36, ATLANTA LEGENDS 6
The Legends fall flat on their face again, but to their credit, they did not allow the Apollos to score 40 points again. They also had no answer for running back Deveon Smith, who found the endzone four times, three on touchdown runs and one two-point conversion.
Player of the game: Deveon Smith, 13 carries, 40 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 receptions, 27 yards.
Smith was the catalyst for scoring in this game, as he made Garrett Gilbert have a very easy day.
SAN ANTONIO COMMANDERS 19, SALT LAKE STALLIONS 15
The AAF's best defense and the AAF's most turnover-prone team faced off in the Alamo, and a competitive game came out of it. The Commanders struck paydirt on a 36-yard touchdown by Trey Williams late in the fourth quarter, but allowed the Stallions to score with 1:54 left. It would be all for naught though, as the Commanders would intercept their two-point conversion attempt and score it for themselves.
Player of the game: Marquise Willams, 2/3, 49 yards, 1 TD, 6 carries, 19 yards
Williams didn't fill up the stat sheet after coming in as an injury replacement, but he was the driving force behind the Commanders victory.
ARIZONA HOTSHOTS 32, SAN DIEGO FLEET 15
In a battle for second in the west, the Fleet rode their ship into Tempe looking to make noise. They had a case for hitting their fourth win, but they could not sustain it into the second half. In fact, the Fleet got lucky their final score of the game didn't get called back, as Marcus Baugh seemed to have dropped the football prior to crossing the plane of the goal line, in the midst of a celebration. That was the second quarter. The Fleet threatened the rest of the day, but could not stop John Wolford. Hotshots take their fourth win.
Player of the game: John Wolford, 15/19, 212 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 5 carries, 44 yards, 1 TD.
Wolford shredded the Fleet defense, only being taken for a fool once on an interception.
MEMPHIS EXPRESS 31, BIRMINGHAM IRON 25
The AAF's closest natural rivals were on in the final game of the week, and this one did not disappoint. The Express had a lot of positive moments in this game, including an exciting blocked punt leading to a touchdown and an integral kick return inside Iron territory late in the game. Down 25-14, with 9 minutes left in the game, Express wide receiver Reece Horn willed the squad back with multiple long receptions leading to a field goal and the game-tying touchdown with 30 seconds left. In overtime, the Express defense stood tall and Nate Silvers swung a short pass to Dan Williams for the game-winning touchdown and the Express's second win. The Iron gave it all they had, with Trent Richardson providing his usual one touchdown game, but this night was not theirs.
Player of the game: Reece Horn, 7 receptions, 113 yards, 1 TD.
Horn, aside from Nate Silvers was the most important player on the Express offense. He'll need to come up big in the final three games of the year for the Express to actually get back into the playoff picture.
WEEK 7 POWER RANKINGS
1. ORLANDO APOLLOS (6-1)
They've been the best team all season, and avoided a post-loss hangover by hanging a big game on the lowly Legends. They've clinched the playoffs, now they just need to secure the #1 seed in the east. They'll face upstart Memphis next weekend.
2. SAN ANTONIO COMMANDERS (5-2)
Offense wins games, defense wins championships. If the Commanders keep going at this clip, they'll be in the mix for it. They can't wrap up a playoff spot unless the Fleet lose, but they will get a good test from Arizona next weekend.
3. ARIZONA HOTSHOTS (4-3)
Look out! Here come the Hotshots! They followed up their impressive win with another impressive win and can make things quite interesting in the west with a victory over the Commanders next weekend. John Wolford may have his hands full.
4. BIRMINGHAM IRON (4-3)
Ouch, the Iron did everything right for about 51 game minutes, but could not close it out. Luckily, there's no immediate threat to them losing their #2 seed position. They'll have a rematch with Atlanta this weekend and can clinch a playoff spot with a win.
5. SAN DIEGO FLEET (3-4)
The Fleet had a chance to control their own destiny but failed, and the only thing that can stop the bleeding is a win over the Stallions next weekend. They need it to keep pace with Arizona for a playoff spot.
6. SALT LAKE STALLIONS (2-5)
At this point, the Stallions are just playing for upsets. They can still make the playoffs, though it is highly unlikely. Their game against the Fleet next week could jump them up with a win, but it's still a longshot.
7. MEMPHIS EXPRESS (2-5)
Here's another bad team getting hot! Johnny Manziel had a nice debut, but the game was closed out by Nate Silvers. The Express can squeak into the playoffs if everything goes right, but that journey meets the Orlando Apollos next week. They'll be eliminated with a loss. Yeesh. See you next year.
8. ATLANTA LEGENDS (2-5)
What went up, came down hard. Two weeks of nice play followed by two weeks of garbage play. Not ideal. They can make the playoffs still, but like Memphis, they need a lot to happen. Birmingham can eliminate them next weekend.
Catch the AAF on Bleacher Report Live, NFL Network and CBS Sports Network!