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Week 12 Power Rankings

We are now halfway through the 2023-24 NLL Season, and let’s be honest: it’s still very unclear who the odds-on-favorite is to win it all. There are a handful of teams that are looking like contenders to make it to this year’s NLL Cup, but, in the same breath, I think it needs to be said that the way this season has gone, anything can happen. Now, let’s see how the results of Week 11 action impacted this week’s Power Rankings.

 

#8 – Saskatchewan Rush (3-4)

Week 11 Result: 13-9 win at Vancouver Warriors 
Week 12 Opponent: Bye Week
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

The Rush have taken over the #8 spot in the rankings this week after a commanding 13-9 win over the Vancouver Warriors in Week 11. The Rush never trailed in the second half of the game, and the four-goal victory was their second-largest win over their last six wins going back to last season. The Rush have now won two games in a row for the first time this season. The Rush have managed to find ways to win despite having had one of the most disjointed stretches of games in the NLL this season – they have played only four games since December 15th. The Rush were last in the Top 8 of the rankings back in the Week 5 when they were also in the #8 spot.

#7 – Georgia Swarm (6-4)

Week 11 Result: 14-12 win at Rochester Knighthawks
Week 12 Opponent: Bye Week
Previous Ranking: 7th

The Swarm have turned things around… kind of. The Swarm have won two games in a row and move to 6-4. They are one of six teams through Week 11 that are two games (or more) above a .500 winning percentage. Their record is slightly deceptive because they narrowly escaped their Week 11 battle in Rochester with a win in a game that came down to the final minutes. The week before that, they dramatically beat the struggling Warriors in overtime, and that game was on their home floor in Georgia. They Swarm now have a Bye Week before starting a three-game road trip where they’ll face the San Diego Seals, Panther City Lacrosse Club and the Halifax Thunderbirds in a span of seven days.

 

#6 – Albany FireWolves (6-2)

Week 11 Result: Bye Week
Week 12 Opponent: vs. Colorado Mammoth (3-6)
Previous Ranking: 5th

Albany has had a couple of Bye Weeks lately, and I’m not sure that’s what this team wants, having lost their last two games. The offense, which was so strong through the first six weeks of the season, has only produced 13 goals over their last two games. With a game at home in Week 12 against the struggling Colorado Mammoth, who rank 12th in goals against and 13th in goals for, the FireWolves have a good opportunity to bounce back on offense and on defense. At 6-2, the FireWolves are still in first place in the unified standings, but they are trending in the wrong direction. The goal now is not to let this trend snowball into a complete meltdown.

 

#5 – Toronto Rock (6-2)

Week 11 Result: 11-10 loss vs. Calgary Roughnecks
Week 12 Opponent: at New York Riptide (5-4) *Neutral-floor game in Montreal
Previous Ranking: 2nd

Rock Nation, I am ready to hear your fury. At 6-2, the Rock are in 2nd place in the unified standings, but, since starting the season 5-0, the Rock have lost two of their last three, and their 9-7 win versus the Roughnecks in Week 10 was not what you would call a confidence-boosting result. One thing that’s been surprising during the stretch is that Tom Schreiber has been on the floor for all three of these games, yet they haven’t been winning like we’re used to – it’s been very rare to see the Rock lose two of three games over the last several years with Schreiber in the lineup. The Rock could use a signature win against the surging Riptide in Week 12 to get back on track.

 

#4 – New York Riptide (5-4)

Week 11 Result: 10-8 win vs. San Diego Seals
Week 12 Opponents: vs. Toronto Rock (6-2) *Neutral-floor game in Montreal
Previous Ranking: 6th

The Riptide are the hottest team in the NLL right now. Quite frankly, they could be higher than 4th in these rankings. After beating the San Diego Seals 10-8 following a furious late fourth-quarter comeback and a dominant second half, the Riptide have now won four games in a row, and five of their last six games – they’ve beaten the Bandits and the Seals in that stretch. In Week 12, they face the Toronto Rock in Montreal, who have not looked like the Rock of the beginning of the season over the last few weeks. I’m not the first one to say this, but the Riptide have lost just one game in 2024, and are serious contenders for a decent postseason run if they keep playing like this for the rest of the season. Don’t be surprised to see the Riptide at or near the top of the rankings next week if they beat the Rock.

 

#3 – Halifax Thunderbirds (5-3)

Week 11 Result: 12-10 win vs. Las Vegas Desert Dogs
Week 12 Opponent: vs. Buffalo Bandits (5-3), at Calgary Roughnecks (3-5)
Previous Ranking: 4th

The Thunderbirds keep winning, which means they continue to make a case why they should be moving up the rankings. The Thunderbirds have won three games in a row, which is currently the second-longest winning streak in the league. In Week 12, the Thunderbirds have a chance to move to 7-3 if they can beat the Bandits and the Roughnecks in Week 12. The Thunderbirds are averaging the most goals per game in the NLL at 13.13. Their 11.13 goals against per game is the fifth-best in the league. There’s many ways Week 12 could turn out for the Thunderbirds, but it’s pretty much a guarantee they won’t be in this same spot after Week 12.

 

#2 – San Diego Seals (6-3)

Week 11 Result: 10-8 loss at New York Riptide
Week 12 Opponent: Bye Week
Previous Ranking: 1st

Following one of their most shocking losses in franchise history in Week 11, the Seals are now 6-3 on the season. In each of their three losses, the team has been held under 10 goals. It’s unusual to see the Seals held under 10 goals as many times as they have been, but they have the second half of the season to turn things around. The thing with this year’s Seals team is that some weeks they look very good and other weeks they look very beatable. Their roster is stacked with talent, but a couple of their losses have been head scratchers. This team is still very much one of the top contenders to challenge for an NLL Cup appearance this season, but they’re going to need to be as consistent as they were during their four-game win streak if they want to make it there.

 

#1 – Buffalo Bandits (5-3)

Week 11 Result: Bye Week
Week 12 Opponent: at Halifax Thunderbirds (5-3)
Previous Ranking: 3rd

The usually reliable Bandits’ defense has been surprisingly beatable this season. The fact they are on pace to allow more than 220 goals is almost unfathomable. Nevertheless, the defending champions’ offense is elite (again), and that has carried them to four wins in their last five games. Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne are arguably the best offensive duo in the NLL, but it’s been the surge from the likes of Chris Cloutier, Chase Fraser and Tehoka Nanticoke that have helped this team to consistently big offensive outputs. The defending champions know how to win; they know how to win better than anyone in the NLL over the last five years, so it’s not surprising to see them on the streak they’re on right now. If they can clean things up defensively, this Bandits team is going to be a serious problem in the second half of the season.

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