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The Good, The Bad of Each Team for S39


Cornholio
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We're 3 games into the 39th season of the EFL and we've seen some interesting things pop out already! We'll go team-by-team and share some early-season narratives and how each respective teams can continue their strong start or turn the ship around before it's too late. Let's get down to business!

 

:LA:

Current Record: 2-1 (W-2)

 

After stumbling out of the starting gate with an ugly 35-9 loss to Miami -- Los Angeles has actually rebounded nicely over the last two weeks in conference play, defeating Seattle 31-27 at home and followed up with a 29-24 nailbiting win over Minnesota on the road. 

 

The Good: It's clear and apparent that Los Angeles is in the driver's seat in the Western Conference at the moment. Led by quarterback Rex Rider and his upgraded collection of receiving weapons (tight end Jimmy Hexadecimals, wide receiver Joshua Jones & Kyree Firpo, Jr.) has helped second-year receiver Big Chest Brown and their trio of running backs move the ball more effectively. 

 

The Bad: Their team defenisve metrics. Through the first two games, the Reign's defense gave up yards and points in chunks despite adding CB Dalibor Dvorsky, J. King from Minnesota and Miami respectively, as well as linebacker Bo Cardoza through the Draft. While they improved on those statistic rankings following the Frontier game (only giving up 324 total yards) -- this defense definitely needs to get better. The nice thing? They have a whole season and seven remaining games against the Eastern Conference teams to figure out the ideal defensive gameplan.

 

What's Next?: As long as LA is able to win out (or at least 4-5) of their Western Conference games, they should be a safe lock for the playoffs and quite possibly home-field advantage. The next two games will be uphill climbs against New York and Wisconsin, so it will be a good litmus test of how far this team has to come (and still has to go yet). 

 

:MIA:

Current Record: 1-2

 

After missing out on the playoffs last season, it was clear and apparent that MIami was not going to allow this to happen again for the second season in a row. They made an aggressive move in the Draft, trading up to take Raaja Rayu #1 overall in the Rookie Draft and stole running back Captain Cutthroat from Wisconsin.

 

The Good: Miami took care of business in Week 1 even though second-year quarterback Brian Harper was inserted into the QB1 slot for the first time. Trigger Colt is still around, but he's no longer the dynamic triple-crown threat he once was. Captain Cutthroat was a huge addition to the roster to help stabilize this offense - running for over 100 yards all three games to date. The defensive firepower on this roster is amazing with linebackers Donovan Snark, Beretta Colt and Leonard Goncalves backed up by Sherrick Newsome III, Brian Meatball, Lamar King, Rayu and Inactive Heisman Winner.

 

The Bad: The offense seems out of whack. They didn't score a single point in a game (first in a pretty damn long time) in Week 2 and followed up on that with a 38-10 lackluster game against Toronto at home. Even though the defense intercepted Toronto's dynamic quarterback Martin Isaac three times in the aforementioned game - it didn't translate to much on offense. 

 

What's Next?: There are immediate questions as to whether or not Harper is really up to the job and if they aren't using Cutthroat enough. Fortunately for Miami, they have a two-game Western stretch against Seattle and Miami to figure things out before a critical Week 6 clash on the road at Wisconsin which will really determine where Miami is on the Eastern pecking order. 

 

:MIN:

Current Record: 1-2

 

While Minnesota didn't experience yet another talent drain the past offseason - they still lost a valuable player in cornerback Dalibor Dvorsky, another blow to a team that were only a few seasons removed from an EFL Championship, yet lost nearly all of their core players to free agency. But they were able to acquire wide receiver N. Kolisi through a trade with New York to help their prime-age quarterback Michael Lunatia out while balancing their patented ground 'n pound attack. In the Western Conference though, anything is possible!

 

The Good: The Frontier's offense surprisingly enough ranks second in the league in scoring with a 25.0 PPG through three games -- their rushing attack ranks second in the league with a 135.7 YPG. The passing attack has had some success moving the chains as Lunatia ranks in the middle of the pack. Their middle linebacker Timothy Malinpa is the unquestioned leader of the defense and his linebacking corps has actually been solid at stopping the run to date. 

 

The Bad: Lunatia has already thrown 7 interceptions to date (3 more than the next quarterback) through 3 games j- which is a cause for concern. Kolisi and Glik can only do so much - but Lunatia will need to take better care of the ball. But that may be minor compared to what the Frontier's secondary has done - this unit is currently getting ripped to the tune of 364 passing yards/game and the Frontier's given up the most points to date. 

 

What's Next?: This was largely expected out of the roster considering they're starting two BOTs at both safety positions. They have some big games coming up against Wisconsin (2x), Miami, Seattle and then New York over then next five weeks. If Frontier can at least scrap 2+ wins over this stretch, it would go a long way toward maintaining their postseason hopes with a West-heavy final stretch to close out the year. 

 

 

:NY:

Current Record: 1-2

 

One could present a discussion that New York may have unfortunately gotten hit the most this past offseason. After falling painstakingly short of perfection in the regular season as well as at home against Toronto in the Eastern Conference Championship game -- the Herd traded WR N. Kolisi away to Minnesota in order to create cap space, then lost out on S38 WRotY D'Quan Gilbert to Wisconsin. In a competitive Eastern Conference where wins don't come easily - it was going to be interesting to see how New York recovered from these setbacks for S39.

 

The Good: Their defense is still scary good. The Herd allowed the least points through three games on the strength of their secondary (Isaac Martin II, Lemony Snicket, veteran free agent signee Thomas Thomas, Cilin Mac Suibhne, William Groves). The linebackers aren't too bad either with youngster El Shrektabuzz flying around with Jonas Ivanov and Justa Backer covering space. The Herd even shut out Miami 17-0 in Week 2, so the defense is capable of winning games. 

 

The Bad: New York definitely sold out on molding their offense around Gilbert this year and after missing out on this, their offense has struggled to adjust. After flying high last year, they rank dead last in scoring offense and two-time reigining MVP Alexander Chase Everett has thrown just as many interceptions as passing touchdowns (3) this year. It's that bad when a filler (Jack Anjill) is leading the team in receiving. 

 

What's Next?: Dan Wilinsky III seems to have phased into a more traditional RB1 role this year, picking up 2 rushing TDs over the last two games. Perhaps New York might be starting to pick up their stride - they're simply too good at QB/RB to struggle this badly for long. But as the past years have shown, the top teams in the Eastern Conference has a habit of quickly building up wins to build up a cushion - New York's margin for error right now is probably close to zero at the moment. 

 

:SF:

Current Record: 0-3

 

After a surprise run to the EFL Championship in S38... San Francisco opted to go for a rookie quarterback through the Draft in Killian Rose of Athens - which often means a hard-rebuild in the EFL. There are promising pieces for Rose to pass to in second-year wideout Santana Moss & rookie Samuel Sellers. However, the defense is practically empty outside of veteran cornerbacks Kara Moon and Alvin Makaratt - which means that San Francisco is probably in for a long year. 

 

The Good: San Francisco battled Minnesota to a 3-point loss in Week 2, and as recent year trends have indicated in the EFL -- you don't need much to win games in the Western Conference. Although San Francisco could use a little more this year... but they do have the basic foundations of a solid offense in place with a few more pieces that'll need to be added over subsequent drafts and possibly free agency if things fall in place. 

 

The Bad: A rebuild takes several years to complete - and when at least two other teams in the same conference as you are slightly ahead in their rebuilding timeline... things get a bit harder. The defense has been shredded to the tune of nearly 175 rushing yards/game - so this unit isn't getting enough stops to give the Frenzy offense a chance to win games. 

 

What's Next?: The only thing that I can really note here is IF San Francisco will have a chance to win a game this year? Another thing to add here is how much Xander Farmer really has left in the tank as he's gotten off to a slow start padding another season's worth of KR/PR yards to his all-time records.

 

:SEA:

Current Record: 2-1

 

Wait, Seattle is good? They might've finally returned onto the scene, only three seasons removed from their most recent EFL Championship in S36. After several Drafts reloading the roster - Seattle finally has some resemblance of a completed roster.

 

The Good: Seattle is KING by far in the ground game. Their two-headed rushing attack of Anthony Pratts and Gabrijella Kazimira currently ranks first and fourth in the league in rushing yards - ironically, when you think of a ground-and-pound game - you think they'd own the time of possession too. In fact, Seattle has lost the time of possession in all three games to date - which may mean they're moving their offensive pieces at a quick pace. Quarterback Maurice Hartless has been mostly efficient when he's been asked to pass - throwing for 5 TDs versus 2 INTs. 

 

The Bad: There isn't much to lament here other than the pedestrian passing offense (byproduct of a superior running game) -- although their young secondary could be an Achilles' for the team. They currently field five cornerbacks who all have decent speed, but nothing else to keep up with the receivers - so that is an area that could easily be exploited by a pass-heavy team.

 

What's Next?: The formula for success is clearly there in Seattle. They came up short in a four-point loss to Los Angeles in Week 2. But if Seattle is able to take care of business in the West and steal a couple of games from the East -- there's no reason why you would be amiss if you predicted Seattle to win the Western Conference and make a return trip to the title game. 

 

:TOR:

Current Record: 3-0

 

It's officially Toronto time in the EFL. After breaking out last year to a surprise EFL Championship game trip -- Toronto has taken care of business through 3 games - disposing of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Miami. Spearheaded by arguably the frontrunner for the MVP this season, quarterback Martin Isaac II as well as Warren Grey, Bones Kentucky and Deshaun Taylor on defense -- the Skyhawks are flying high. 

 

The Good: The offense. The Skyhawks' attack currently ranks first in scoring offense, total yards and passing yards by a significant margin over the next closest competitor. The defense also happens to rank first in total yards and passing yards allowed. Wide receiver Curtis Taylor doesn't appear to have slowed down a bit despite regression and cornerback Kostas Ioannidis has gotten off to a hot start with 3 INTs/8 PDs in a loaded secondary. 

 

The Bad: Quarterback Martin Isaac II threw 3 interceptions against Miami in Week 3, so he isn't completely immortal. The only potential downfall to Toronto is if their top-2 receivers gets capped out early in the game although the supporting cast isn't bad either. That's... pretty much about it.

 

What's Next?: Toronto is the next frontrunner to aim for an undefeated season - after taking care of Wisconsin and Miami, they've got a good shot. Bank on this team winning it all, but don't tell Lefty that. 

 

:WIS:

Current Record: 2-1

 

Wisconsin somehow just continues to fight and reload. They bid farewell to one of the last few remaining piece of their championship core in linebacker Ahhh Specriggivi, but actually got better in the secondary with the addition of cornerback Stanley Yelnats IV.  Wisconsin reformatted their offense in a big way with the loss of two-time RBotY Captain Cutthroat, but replaced him with the deep-water free agency signing of D'Quan Gilbert. 

 

The Good: Fourth-year QB Dogwood Maple is ready to throw the ball once again and he's done so nicely the first three games of the season, averaging over 300 yards and 6 TD/2 INTs to Gilbert, Jean-Luc Pikachu and the team's leading receiver, Wandon Rolanin. The defense has held up quite well, holding Toronto to just 26 points in Week 2 on the road. 

 

The Bad: The rushing offense doesn't seem to be utilized to its full potential even though Duke Dyer is averaging 4.9 YPC. The defense appears to be more of a bend-but-don't-break scheme as they're still allowing a good amount of yards. 

 

What's Next?: If they can turn more of those FGs into TDs, Wisconsin might give Toronto a run for their money in the East. The next five games will be a good test of Wisconsin's playoff odds with two games against Minnesota, one game against LA, Miami and Seattle. 

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