Alliance of American Football power rankings: Commanders, Legends making midseason moves

Jim Reineking  USA TODAY

Here’s how the eight teams in the Alliance of American Football rank midway through the league’s inaugural season.

1. Orlando Apollos (last week: 1) — In the biggest pro football game since Super Bowl LIII, Steve Spurrier’s Apollos earned an emphatic 31-14 victory on the road against the Birmingham Iron. In the stadium where the Head Ball Coach’s Florida Gators won the 1993 SEC Championship Game, his new Florida-based team racked up 468 yards of offense against what had been a stingy Iron defense. The Apollos now enjoy a two-game lead in The Alliance’s Eastern Conference with five regular-season games left to play.

2. San Antonio Commanders (3) — With speculation swirling around Johnny Manziel who recently was released by the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes — joining the Commanders, the team won its second straight game and moved into a first-place tie atop the Western Conference with the San Diego Fleet. San Antonio might not need Manziel. Commanders quarterback Logan Woodside threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Arizona Hotshots.

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3. Birmingham Iron (2) — Just two weeks ago, Birmingham looked like the biggest threat to challenge Spurrier’s Apollos in the Eastern Conference. After getting battered at home against the Apollos on Saturday, the Iron now have lost two in a row.

4. San Diego Fleet (4) — Looking to deliver a third consecutive loss for the Iron will be the Fleet, who edged the visiting Salt Lake Stallions on Donny Hageman’s last-second field goal in what might be the most exciting finish in the nascent league’s short history.

5. Atlanta Legends (8) — The Legends have won two in a row with former Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray at the helm. On Sunday, Murray outdueled former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger in a 23-20 win over the Memphis Express. Mettenberger’s late-game interception led to Younghoe Koo’s winning field goal for the Legends, who are now in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race after a 0-3 start.

6. Arizona Hotshots (5) — Four first-half turnovers doomed Arizona to its third consecutive loss after a promising 2-0 start. The visiting Commanders took a 26-0 halftime lead, and that deficit proved too overwhelming to overcome for Arizona. The Hotshots face a tall task in their attempt to halt the losing skid in Week 6. The Hotshots hit the road to visit the undefeated Orlando Apollos.

7. Salt Lake Stallions (6) — The Stallions were on the wrong end of a wild game in San Diego on Saturday night. Stallions quarterback Josh Woodrum put his team ahead with less than a minute to go, but Salt Lake’s defense could not keep San Diego out of field-goal range for the winning score. It was a devastating way to lose for the Stallions, who are 1-4 and sitting in last place in the Western Conference.

8. Memphis Express (7) — Mike Singletary’s Express couldn’t build off  their first win of the season last week and instead were handed a frustrating last-minute loss in Atlanta. Blowing leads and losing close games  have characterized the Express’ season after a 26-0 pummeling in Birmingham in Week 1. Memphis’ previous three losses  had come by a combined nine points.