ELF: Week 8 Power Rankings: Guards win 3rd straight and take a leap, Raiders tumble despite win

We’re closing in on the final weeks of the European Football League (ELF) and who’s hot matters. Momentum built now will carry playoff contenders deep into the postseason, and potentially the championship game. Here are our power rankings after Week 8.

1. Rhein Fire

There is not much to say about the Fire after yet another dominant victory, this time a 62–3 annihilation of the Cologne Centurions.  The Fire scored several offensive touchdowns, two defensive touchdowns, and even a punt return touchdown from new signing Willie Patterson, who seems to have fit in seamlessly.  It is no secret that it would be a major disappointment if the Fire did not, at the very least, make an appearance in the championship game in September in their home stadium.  The Fire next play in Week 11 at home against the Hamburg Sea Devils, before they close the season with three straight road games.

2. Vienna Vikings

In what may have been the toughest remaining game on their schedule, the Vikings took care of business at home against the Berlin Thunder on Saturday with a 16–9 victory.  It was not the cleanest of games for the Vikings, but their defense was completely dominant and allowed the offense to be mediocre in a winning effort.  Vienna’s next two games are against the Panthers and the Raiders, and if they can win those two matchups, they should be able to finish the regular season undefeated.

3. Stuttgart Surge

After a surprising game against the Guards in which Stuttgart suffered their first defeat of the season, the Surge bounced back to secure a 33–14 home victory against Barcelona. Quarterback Kenyatte Allen was making his team debut, but he looked very comfortable with his new squad, as he completed 24 of 29 passes for 282 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  Running back Phileas Pasqualini, who was signed just a few weeks ago, had a monster day, rushing for 115 yards and three touchdowns on just 15 carries. Barring a big collapse, Stuttgart should lock up the Central Conference title in the coming weeks.

4. Frankfurt Galaxy

The Galaxy traveled to Paris over the weekend and exited with a victory by the skin of their teeth.  It took a long field goal from Ryan Rimmler in the dying seconds for them to escape with a record of 6–1.  After dropping their opening game to the Fire, Frankfurt has won six straight games, and is in the driver’s seat for the top wild card spot. With their next two games coming against the Enthroners and the Centurions, the Galaxy will more than likely be 8–1 and will likely be able to easily clinch a playoff berth.

5. Berlin Thunder

Berlin went toe to toe with the Vienna Vikings on Saturday. They even led until mid-way through the third quarter. But as expected, the Vikings found a way to win and scored nine unanswered in the second half. 

This has been the tale of the Thunder this year. A tough schedule mixed with some inability to finish close games has left them with a 5–3 record. They will likely make the playoffs but they need to learn how to finish if they genuinely want to challenge for the title this year.

6. Munich Ravens

Without a doubt the best performing new franchise in the ELF this year. The Munich Ravens have exceeded all expectations and are just a play or two away from being real contenders. The offensive trio of Chad Jeffries, Markell Castle and Tomiwa Oyewo has been too much to handle for most offenses, but their defense continues to let in (literally against the Raiders) one too many points.

The Ravens currently sit at a disappointing 3–4, despite being one of the better teams in the league. They have three very winnable games ahead of them but with the Surge and Fire in Week 11 and Wee 12, their postseason hopes are tenuous.

7. Hamburg Sea Devils

Hamburg are a non-mover since our last rankings, consistently proving to be competitive with the best of the best, but coming away with some tough losses. Most recently, the Sea Devils suffered a last-second loss to the Galaxy, seeing Frankfurt’s Ryan Rimmler split the uprights as time expired.

Unfortunately, Hamburg’s season has reached a possible turning point with QB Preston Haire being placed on injured reserve. Dual-threat QB Isaiah Green has been brought in to replace Haire, and will take to the field for the first time on Sunday as the Sea Devils host the Cologne Centurions.

8. Wrocław Panthers

The Panthers have continued to surprise the league as the season has gone on, with their last game seeing them dominate the undefeated Vienna Vikings for two quarters of football. Unfortunately the second half was a different story, as Vienna came back in a big way, picking off new Panthers QB Mak Sexton four times as well as forcing two fumbles out of the ex-Indiana University of Pennsylvania passer.

The following weeks will be the true test to see if Sexton really is an adequate replacement for Wroclaw as the Panthers will face the Vienna Vikings and Berlin Thunder back-to-back after playing the struggling Prague Lions.

9. Raiders Tirol

The Raiders ended their game against the Ravens on Saturday with a clutch 25–24 victory. This took them to 6–2, one game behind conference leaders and well within reach of a postseason spot. Statistically, they had the third best quarterback in the league in Christian Strong and the second best receiver with Jarvis McClam. 

It was therefore an absolute shocker when on Sunday the Raiders announced they were cutting ties with Strong due to performance related issues. The ever-loyal teammate McClam followed, and the Raiders didn’t bat an eyelid. 

The Raiders still have an excellent roster at their disposal full of seasoned Austrian athletes. However, this mind-boggling decision will undoubtedly turn the organization upside down and cause enough disruption to possibly derail their otherwise solid season.

10. Paris Musketeers

Despite some close matchups and good performances, the Musketeers are yet to showcase their true potential, sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference with a record of 2-6. Much like the rest of the season the Musketeers have been inconsistent, showing subtle signs of a great team amongst some bad performances. 

Their last outing saw a strong performance against the Frankfurt Galaxy but coming up narrowly short as kicker Ryan Rimmler bailed out the Galaxy in the closing seconds yet again. Paris will be looking for a win this weekend against a struggling Barcelona Dragons side as they look to move their way up the rankings.

11. Helvetic Guards

Previously considered one of the worst teams in the league, the Guards have turned their season around and may now just be one of the scariest prospects in the ELF. With a 3–5 record they have almost nothing to lose and they have been showing that over the last three weeks with victories over the Dragons, Surge and Seamen.

Since quarterback Tristan Noble arrived a month ago, the team has found its groove on offense. They’re not going to score a million points on you, but they will hold on to the ball and pound away with Noble and Silas Nacita taking it in turns to carry the load.

But where the Guards have improved the most is on defense. Overnight the Helvetic defense has turned from a pretty poor outfit to one that is churning out turnovers and touchdowns in every game. If the Guards can keep this up, they may just ruin a few teams’ seasons before the year is done.

12. Milano Seamen

Milano remain a non-mover following a shocking loss to the Helvetic Guards in which Luke Zahradka’s gunslinger status was clear as day; despite having nearly 300 more offensive yards than the Guards, the Seamen still managed to lose the game after turning the ball over four times and allowing scores on defense and special teams.

Zahradka’s stats are reflective of this performance, as he sits second in passing yards and top five in touchdowns, while also leading the league in interceptions. Despite consistently putting up big numbers, Milano continue to struggle due to reckless offensive play and poor defensive play calling and execution.

13.  Barcelona Dragons

The Dragons have been stumbling through the middle of the season following a hot start to 2023. New quarterback Carlton AIken Jr. has filled in for injured Connor Miller, the Polish League star played admirably against the Stuttgart Surge on short notice. Now with playoffs are out of the realm of possibility fans will see how much fight Barcelona has to finish the back half of the year and build towards 2024. 

14.  Cologne Centurions

The Centurions took another tough loss this weekend falling to the Rhein Fire 62–3. After the game GM David Drane stated that there will be changes made following the game. Cologne still has a tough schedule ahead of them as they still have to play through the rest of the tough ELF Eastern Conference. On the bright side Zachary Blair and Terryon Robinson are two game changers that could help them shock a team as Cologne has the perfect recipe to be a trap game for a team heading to the postseason. 

15.  Fehervar Enthroners

The Enthroners are winless on the field this season. However, management has shown a commitment to playing good football, going all in on the last half of the season. The team has brought in seven new players including 2023 LFA (Mexico) sack leader Brian Lee Jr and former DI receiver Tavares Martin Jr, not to mention 2021 ELF All-Star Lance Leota. Despite playing very sloppy football overall this year, the Hungarian franchise is doing right by their fans, hoping to end the 2023 on a high note. 

16.  Prague Lions

As of the writing of this, the Prague Lions have no head coach, no quarterback, and have lost several European imports and Czech players following last week’s fiasco.

Last week, the Lions players went against the wishes of ELF commissioner Patrick Esume and voted not to play in Hungary following the resignation of long time coach Zach Harrod and a myriad of unpaid debts including player salaries dating back to May.

On a slightly more positive note, they do have new management, which recently announced they would play this weekend, avoiding the sad demise we saw only three weeks ago in Leipzig. This Announcement comes a huge sign of relief across the league.

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