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Week 20 Power Rankings

Can you believe it? We are in the final stretch of the 2023-24 NLL season. Every game matters a little bit more (in some cases, a lot more) at this time of year. The March to May is coming to a close, with only two weeks of the regular season remaining. The battle for the playoffs is red hot, and so too is the battle for power ranking rights. Following an incredibly busy Week 19 that included nine games over three days, here’s how this week’s power rankings shape up.

 

#8 – New York Riptide (8-8)

Week 19 Result: 14-9 win at Rochester Knighthawks
Week 20 Opponent: vs. Albany FireWolves (10-6)
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

The Riptide find their way back into the Top 8 after defeating the Rochester Knighthawks 14-9. This was the team’s second-most lopsided victory this season, and their most lopsided win since January 27th against the Philadelphia Wings. The Riptide have now won two games in a row and three of their last four. After Week 19 action, of the teams who currently sit between the 7th and 11th spots in the league’s unified standings, only the Vancouver Warriors have had a better stretch of results over their last four games than the Riptide.

April 6th 2024: The Rochester Knighthawks hosted the New York Riptide in a National Lacrosse League game at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York. (Jonathan Tenca/CSM)

 

#7 – Albany FireWolves (10-6)

Week 19 Result: 10-7 loss vs. Toronto Rock
Week 20 Opponent: at Panther City Lacrosse Club (8-8)
Previous Ranking: 6th

The Albany FireWolves are struggling to win games right now. Unfortunately, that seems to be stemming from slow starts. They have been a much better second-half team (especially a better fourth-quarter team) over their last three games. Their 10-7 loss to the Toronto Rock in Week 19 is a bit deceptive. Not including the second quarter of that contest, the FireWolves outscored the Rock 6-4, so there were still many positives to take away from the team’s loss. The FireWolves have clinched a playoff berth because of their red-hot start to the season, and they are now poised to get back to their winning ways before the 2024 NLL Playoffs begin.

 

#6 – Vancouver Warriors (7-9)

Week 19 Result: 15-13 win vs. Halifax Thunderbirds
Week 20 Opponent: vs. New York Riptide (8-8)
Previous Ranking: 8th

The Vancouver Warriors win again and extend their win streak to four games. Their Week 19 victory against the Halifax Thunderbirds was arguably their most impressive of the season. This is the franchises’ longest win streak since 2010. They have now won five of their last six games, also for the first time since 2010 – and they won the NLL championship that season. Furthermore, the Warriors have made Rogers Arena a tough place for opponents to play. The Warriors are 4-4 at home this season, including winning four of their last five games in their own barn. In one of the most impressive turnarounds of this season, the Warriors have moved from last place in the standings to only a half-game out of a playoff berth.

 

#5 – Halifax Thunderbirds (9-8)

Week 19 Result: 15-13 loss at Vancouver Warriors
Week 20 Opponent: Bye Week
Previous Ranking: 3rd

The Halifax Thunderbirds were grounded by the Warriors in Vancouver in Week 19. Unfortunately, the loss was a continuation of the second-half struggles that we’ve seen from this team this season. After earning a 6-3 record in the first half of the season, the Thunderbirds are now 3-5 over their last eight games. Almost unbelievably, there are now scenarios in which the Thunderbirds don’t make this year’s postseason despite their strong start to the year. Nevertheless, on paper, this team is, I believe, one of the best in the league – they just need to start proving that again.

 

#4 – Buffalo Bandits (9-7)

Week 19 Result: 13-11 win at Colorado Mammoth
Week 20 Opponent: vs. Calgary Roughnecks (7-9)
Previous Ranking: 6th

I’m sure Bandits fans have been very happy with their team’s performance over the last five games. They have now won two in a row and four of their last five games. While they aren’t looking like the championship-winning Bandits of last season, they are inching closer to that path in the right time of the year. It helps when you have two guys in Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne who are both strong contenders for this year’s MVP award. If there was a short list of teams you wouldn’t want to play right now, the Bandits would undoubtedly be on there.

 

#3 – Georgia Swarm (10–7)

Week 19 Result: 13-9 win vs. Las Vegas Desert Dogs
Week 20 Opponent: Bye Week
Previous Ranking: 4th

The Georgia Swarm are buzzing right now. Sure, some might not be impressed with their Week 19 victory against the last place Las Vegas Desert Dogs, but the Swarm are finding ways to win the games that matter most down the stretch. They have now won four of their last five games. This past weekend’s win was their 10th of the season, making them one of only four teams to reach the 10-win mark this season.

 

Panther City Lacrosse Club v. San Diego Seals 04-05-2024 Wesley Berg

#2 – San Diego Seals (12-4)

Week 19 Result: 14-10 win vs. Panther City Lacrosse Club
Week 20 Opponent: at Saskatchewan Rush (7-9)
Previous Ranking: 2nd

The Seals gave themselves a little bit of a scare against Panther City Lacrosse Club in Week 19, but ultimately pulled away in the game’s final moments. The Seals now move to 7-1 at home this season, which is the best home record in the league. The Seals have won four games in a row, and they’ve been able to do that without Curtis Dickson in the lineup – Wes Berg and Austin Staats have been phenomenal assisters this season. With the win, the Seals have now clinched a home playoff game. Considering their home record this year, this sets up a great situation where the Seals can make it to the second round of the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.

 

#1 – Toronto Rock (13–3)

Week 19 Results: 10-7 win at Albany FireWolves
Week 20 Opponent: vs. Rochester Knighthawks (6-9)
Previous Ranking: 1st

The Rock win again and move closer to setting a new franchise record for most wins in a season. Watching the Rock move the ball on offense is a sight to behold. In even-strength sets, they move the ball like they’re a man up. Top to bottom, this team is so good. They are not just good, they are award-winning good. The way the Rock are playing, it’s hard to believe that they aren’t the frontrunners to win the NLL Cup this season.

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