How to rank the RFL teams? That is the question that I posed to myself to attempt to give these new guys a picture of what the league looks like right now and what they should expect for this season. I have had some really rough predictions in the past and this definitely won’t hold true for this season, but this is what I think of each team and how they stack up with the rest of the league. I looked at every Team and their position groups and rated them on a scale of 1-5 and averaged it out to get to the teams full worth.
16. Pioneers (2.2)
This is a bad team. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone but it’s basically the same story for this team over the past few years. A few bright spots among a roster of mediocrity. They were hurt by their QB and receiving core getting a 1 rating and not having any position group rated above 3. There is some hope for the defense especially if they can get a lot out of their D-Line (Still waiting on the AC Denton breakout) but this is the Pioneers, so I don’t have high expectations for them. If they don’t have to rely on McAfton they might pull out a few games but unfortunately for ‘Neers fans, It seems another year in the basement is looking likely.
15. Black Knights (2.2)
I suppose the Black Knights overachieved from where I thought they would be at the beginning of season 5 when I had them as the worst team in this conference; but going 5-7 in RFL games isn’t anything to get excited about. It might have just been a year early but once again, I’m expecting the Black Knights to flame out this year. They have a capable QB which might save them in games that other teams might lose, but with a terrible O-Line and all defensive positions rated a 2, this is not a good team on paper.
14. Aviators (2.8)
Coach Back has a lot of work to do to make this team relevant. Having a possible star QB will get eyes on the team, but with the QB situation in this league, that won’t always give you a win. Some might try to project the rookie championship run but without capable receiving options and an average at best defense, I don’t see it. Their secondary is impressive but other than that, the rebuild will continue.
13. Bulldogs (3)
This is the definition of an average team. In this league, you need to be super to even compete and the Bulldogs aren’t that right now. There is a lot of young talent to be sure but I’m not sold on them as a playoff contender this year. Drew Brewer is of course very exciting and is gonna be a leader on this defense long term but London is still a year or two away. I’m excited to see if Stanley Whitehead will be able to contribute like he did last year and if that will help Timmy Merritt finally take another step forward. Otherwise I can’t see this team being better than 6-6 in RFL play.
12. Riverhogs (3)
As low as the rankings put the River Hogs, I could see a very decent season coming from this team. They have one of the top offensive cores as far as pure talent goes and they also have a good secondary, but they really got hurt with the big uglies. Their O-Line is bad and the D-Line isn’t much better. A quick offense could overcome this but even with Hunter Mackey, I’m not sure if they will be ready for some defensive fronts. Regardless, there is a world where the Hogs make the playoffs, but it’s yet to be seen if it is this one.
11. Bisons (3.1)
The Bisons season will either be amazing or a repeat of last year. After a semi-active offseason, the Bisons have an interesting mix of wiley veterans and very young players. This season will really come down to how Joe Torres performs. He has a ton of great weapons, a pretty good O-Line and an average defense. If Torres can live up to his potential, the Bisons could make a bit of a push but at this point I wouldn’t bet on a deep playoff run. Watch out for De'Joshua Porter as a possible breakout star for this defense.
10. Armadillos (3.1)
This is a team that will be defined by their offensive output. They have all-pro caliber talent all over the place (minus the O-Line) and with a hopeful season last year for Devin Wade, there is some hope that this team could finally put it all together. Maurice Darman is 30 now, so using his best years correctly is imperative now more than ever. There are also a ton of talented, young defensive players on this team and although they aren’t all that yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if the defense is really something in the next few years. Watching to see what they do with their LB core will be something that people should be paying attention to.
9. Dreadnoughts (3.1)
Another team that will live and die by their QB play, the Dreadnoughts will have to get some great games from Matt Jones if they want to be in the playoff picture this year. Realizing that they had a final record of 13-3 last year it might seem strange that they are down this far but what I said about the Bulldogs, also applies to this team. They are pretty average in most position groups (with a few key exceptions) and they will have to rely on Matt Jones repeating or even better improving on what he did last year to put them back in the championship conversation. I’m not saying they are a bad team by any stretch of the imagination but I wouldn’t expect their record to be as good as it was last season.
8. Sentinels (3.2)
Great coaching can take an average roster and make it great. Tor Armstrong is considered one of the best coaches in the league and far be it from me to question that fact but now is the time to prove what he can do. This isn’t the best roster in the world but there are guys that have the potential to do a lot of good things. They have their franchise QB and 2 amazing defenders but there aren’t anymore stars on the team right now. I will be watching the WR room and how it shakes out and what Armstrong is able to do with it. There is talent but don’t pretend that this roster is championship ready.
7. Voyagers (3.2)
Everyone knows that I am hyped for this Voyagers team. They are very strong in some positions but weak in some others unlike most of the teams we have talked about. They were given 4’s on QB, WR, LB, and DB but thanks to a shaky O-Line and the uncertainty of the running game, the law of averages took them down a peg. Glen Haye has a few good years left so he will be ready to compete for this team at a high level. The defense of this team should be one of the better ones in the ARC and they should be in playoff contention.
6. Bulls (3.4)
The Bulls and specifically Layne Kerney got a bit of a bad rap last year but this wasn’t a slouch team. They have a strong defense that should lock up most of the league. Addison Lyons is a star and the talent that is around him in the secondary is hard to rival. I am very concerned about the Receiving core beyond Sedrick Marts but having David Jones is always a plus and I think that the defense is good enough to compete with the high caliber teams.
5. Miners (3.7)
This is the second year in a row that I am high on the Conquistadors/Miners and hopefully I won't be as disappointed as I was last year. I’m not really sure why they weren’t up to my standards last year but I do think they will do well in season 6 and beyond. They are still pretty young and even some of their best players can still improve. Dmani Manuel was amazing last year and I expect him to stay in the elite company he is in. They have one of the best LB cores in the league and they are very good in the trenches. My only concern is the WRs on the team are still raw and aren’t really ready for the big time, but that means they are really only a piece or two away from being super scary.
4. Huskies (3.8)
The road was tough for the Huskies last year but there aren’t many reasons they shouldn’t bounce back next year. Admittedly, Brady Hutson isn’t as young as he used to be, but I don’t expect him to flame out next year. He still has the Leonidas and McQuarters combo in the backfield and of course Guyton, Maxwell and Johnson to throw to. And that’s not even mentioning Isaiah Streets now coming into the fold. Their defense has lost a few pieces but they still should be strong and be able to slow down the opposition. And that LB core could very easily become the best in the league.
3. Red Dragons (4)
The Defending Champs at number three might be a bit disrespectful to some but this team deserves a lot of love and respect. You shouldn’t need reminding of how good this team is but in case you forgot I'll lay it out for you. The Red Dragons will live and thrive because of how good their defense is. They have so many great pieces that it’s impossible to say one and leave the rest. And the offense is no joke either. Their receiving core is insane and that will only help the improvement of Anthony Savoy as he heads into his sophomore campaign. This top three is so close that i could barely space them apart but I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these top three are in the Relo-Bowl next year.
2. Celtic Tigers (4.1)
While they aren’t the number 1 team in rating, they very well could be. Dre Crowell swan song should be very hard to mess up considering the cast of characters around him. Trey Worsely and Matt Naanee have proven to be 2 of the best weapons in the league and Dre is sitting behind one of the best O-Lines. Add that all together and you have a recipe for a top offense. Now throw that in with a talented defense led by Reed Holmberg and Keylo Austin you have a team that it will almost be impossible to beat. Almost
1. Cougars (4.1)
Yes, I am putting a team with a rookie QB at number one and over the reigning champs and the Commissioners favorites. Here’s why. Assuming they stay healthy, this offense will be unstoppable. Denard Locker is amazing and Kentavious Henderson and the rest of the receiving core will be a matchup nightmare. They also have one of the league's best defenses with Keoni Jones and Marvin Woolfolk both being some of the very best at their position. And although it wasn’t taken into consideration for this list, the Cougars also have an amazing coach, something that the Celtic Tigers simply don’t have. This along with Rookie QB luck makes the Cougars the team to beat in the ARC
What did you think of the list? Who is your surprise team for Season 6? Let me know in our discord. Check back to the website for more articles like this one in the coming months.