USA Today’s Alliance of American Football power rankings: Everybody’s chasing unbeaten Orlando Apollos

Jim Reineking  USA TODAY

Here’s how the eight teams in the Alliance of American Football rank through four weeks of play.

1. Orlando Apollos (last week: 1) —  Then there was one … as in one undefeated team in The Alliance. Playing in the snow in Salt Lake City, the team from Florida kept its perfect record intact with a 20-11 win over the Salt Lake Stallions. Coach Steve Spurrier dug into his trusty bag of tricks on a two-point try: A fake sweep with a quick toss to running back D’Ernest Johnson, who found a wide-open Sean Price in the end zone. It should be no surprise that the team led by the “Head Ball Coach” features the AAF’s most prolific offense, averaging 385 yards and nearly 30 points per game.

2. Birmingham Iron (2) — The Iron’s 12-11 loss to the San Antonio Commanders took some of the luster off of a potential undefeated-vs.-undefeated showdown against the Apollos at historic Legion Field on Saturday. It’s still a big game in terms of bragging rights in the Eastern Conference, which features the only two teams in The Alliance with winning records.

3. San Antonio Commanders (6) — The Commanders built a 12-3 lead on the previously unbeaten Iron, then managed to hold on for their first victory since the league’s opening night on the Saturday after Super Bowl LIII. The win — coupled with losses by the San Diego Fleet and Arizona Hotshots — vaulted San Antonio (2-2) into a three-way tie atop the Western Conference.

4. San Diego Fleet (3) — The news got worse for the Fleet, who not only lost to the previously winless Memphis Express but also lost starting quarterback Philip Nelson for an extended period of time. Nelson suffered a fractured clavicle in the first half of Saturday’s loss. Mike Bercovici, who started in Week 1 for the Fleet, will return to the starting role for San Diego’s Week 5 game at home against the Salt Lake Stallions.

5. Arizona Hotshots (4) — With Western Conference rivals San Diego and Salt Lake having already suffered losses in Week 4, Arizona blew its chance to take sole possession of first place by being upset at home, 14-11, by the previously winless Atlanta Legends. This was a second straight setback for the Hotshots, whose season started with so much promise. The Hotshots will get a chance to turn things around in Week 5 when the San Antonio Commanders pay a visit to Sun Devil Stadium.

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6. Salt Lake Stallions (5) — It’s a bad look for a team from Salt Lake losing to a team from Florida at home in the snow. Sure, we know the “Head Ball Coach” has an AAF juggernaut in the Apollos, but this was a lost opportunity for the Stallions to jump into a four-way tie in the Western Conference. Instead, Salt Lake is the lone team with a losing record.

Orlando Apollos running back D’Ernest Johnson runs the ball against the Salt Lake Stallions. Kim Raff, AP

7. Memphis Express (7) — The move away from Christian Hackenberg to Zach Mettenberger at quarterback paid off for Memphis, which finally earned its first win of the season. Austin MacGinnis, a kicker who was working as a financial adviser just a few days before Saturday’s win, booted the winning field goal for the Express.

8. Atlanta Legends (8) — Following the Express’ lead, the Legends also finally earned the elusive first victory. Former Georgia QB Aaron Murray, playing in place of injured Matt Simms, threw for 254 yards and ran for 54 more to help spark his team to victory.


Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

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