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Week 7 Power Rankings

Another week of NLL action completed, means another week of asking, “Who is the best team in the league?” Through six weeks of games, we’re starting to get a clearer idea of who they are. But, let’s also be honest, some of the Week 6 results raised a few question marks in regards to who the best team actually is. Here’s how the Top 8 look in this week’s Power Rankings.

#8 – Panther City Lacrosse Club (1-3)

Week 6 Result: 12-10 loss at Georgia Swarm
Week 7 Opponent: at New York Riptide (1-3)
Previous Ranking: Not Ranked

There could have been a few teams listed in the 8th spot this week, but Panther City will hold on to the title for at least 7 days. You might be asking, “How does a team that lost in Week 6 move up into the 8th spot?” First, let me start by saying that holding the 8th spot in these rankings at this early part of the season is not something anyone should be fighting for. Nevertheless, Panther City Lacrosse Club gave the Georgia Swarm a real run for their money in the 2nd half and almost pulled off a big upset road victory against a surging team. Had the final five minutes of their game gone a little differently, Panther City might have been 2-2, and they might have even ended up higher on this list. In Week 7, PCLC has a chance to prove they earned this spot by going out to Long Island and beating the Riptide.

Panther City at Georgia Swarm 01-06-2024

 

#7 – Halifax Thunderbirds (2-2)

Week Result: 12-10 loss at Albany FireWolves
Week 7 Opponent: vs. Toronto Rock (3-0)
Previous Ranking: 5th

It is surprising to see the Thunderbirds slip all the way down to the 7th spot, but that’s what can happen when your record moves to .500 after losing back-to-back games. This is a league with so much parity. To stand out, you can’t be losing multiple games in a row. The Thunderbirds are a very talented team, and I suspect that they won’t keep dropping, however, that is one of the beautiful things about the NLL; you just never know who is going to come out victorious on any given night. The Thunderbirds came into Albany in Week 6 and gave the undefeated FireWolves a fight until the very end. Randy Staats was great (again), Graeme Hossack, Jake Withers, and Ryan Terefenko were menaces on defense, and Dawson Theede continued to impress. But, it wasn’t enough to upset the Cinderella story of the 2023-24 season that is the Albany FireWolves. With a tough match coming up against the Rock next weekend, the Thunderbirds will not want to lose a third game in a row.

 

#6 – Rochester Knighthawks (3-1)

Week Result: Bye Week
Week 7 Opponent: vs. Buffalo Bandits (2-2)
Previous Ranking: 7th

With Halifax and the Philadelphia Wings having a rough Week 6, the Knighthawks made a case for themselves while not playing. Yes, they lost their last game to the San Diego Seals on the road, but not by much. And there’s the fact that they’re still 3-1, which is one of the best records in the NLL at this point of the season. Fields are Smith are one of the best duos in the league, and Thomas McConvey is on the come-up. Ryan Lanchbury has also been a solid addition to the team. The Knighthawks have the difficult task in Week 7 of hosting the Buffalo Bandits, so we’ll see how that goes for them. Connor Fields facing his old club adds a ton of intrigue to this matchup this coming weekend.

 

#5 – Buffalo Bandits (2-2)

Week Result: 12-8 win vs. Colorado Mammoth
Week 7 Opponent: at Rochester Knighthawks (3-1)
Previous Ranking: 6th

The Bandits are making their way up the ladder again. After uncharacteristically falling down the list over in weeks past, the defending champions looked very solid in Week 6, particularly in the 2nd quarter (but really the first 33 minutes) of their game against the Colorado Mammoth. Matt Vinc was supreme, and so were many of the other regulars on the team. The youthful and very spirited Brad McCully arguably had his best game in the NLL, and the defense made it tough for the Mammoth to get anything going in the contest (other than in the 3rd quarter). The Bandits are the defending champs for as reason, and they showed us why in Week 6. However, Week 7 will be a difficult task going up against the Knighthawks in Rochester. If they can pull off the win, it will be a big confidence boost to show the NLL fans that this is the same dominant Bandits team.

 

#4 – San Diego Seals (2-1)

Week 6 Result: Bye Week
Week 7 Opponents: at Las Vegas Desert Dogs (1-3), at Colorado Mammoth (1-3)
Previous Ranking: 3rd

The Seals had the weekend off, but they are going to be very, very busy in Week 7. In fact, they will become the first team this season to play two games in one weekend. With games against the Desert Dogs and Mammoth, the Seals can make a couple of statements by handily beating a couple of teams that they are expected to beat. In this league, to be the best, you have to win the games that you’re expected to win, and also win the games you aren’t expected to win. Two wins against teams they should beat could move the Seals further up the rankings next week.

 

#3 – Georgia Swarm (4-1)

Week Result: 12-10 win vs. Panther City Lacrosse Club
Week 7 Opponent: vs. Albany FireWolves (5-0)
Previous Ranking: 4th

The Swarm are feeling it right now. Brett Dobson is helping to lead this team to one of its best starts in franchise history. Despite some blips in their Week 6 matchup against Panther City, the Swarm ultimately did what they wanted to do: win. It wasn’t the prettiest victory, but they did become the 2nd team in the NLL this season to reach four wins – that’s nothing to slouch at. The Swarm have a difficult task in Week 7 going up against the now 5-0 FireWolves, but if the Rock lose on the road, and the Swarm can pick up the W, they will likely be the new #1 team in next week’s rankings.

Panther City at Georgia Swarm 01-06-2024

 

#2 – Toronto Rock (3-0)

Week 6 Result: Bye Week
Week 7 Opponent: at Halifax Thunderbirds (2-2)
Previous Ranking: 1st

The Rock are the Rock; it’s that simple. For the majority of every one of their three games so far this season, Toronto has been the most dominant team in the NLL. There’s no need to repeat why they are so good, but they are clearly one of the top contenders for the NLL Cup this season (at least through the first six weeks). Now, heading into a Week 7 matchup against the Thunderbirds, the Rock have another chance early on in this season to show why they are the best team in the league. Playing and winning in Halifax is no easy task, but if the Rock can come out victorious, we’ll have even more evidence that shows just how good this team is.

 

#1 – Albany FireWolves (5-0)

Week Result: 12-10 win vs. Halifax Thunderbirds
Week 7 Opponent: at Georgia Swarm (4-1)
Previous Ranking: 2nd

The FireWolves continue to be the story of this season, and now they’re at the top of the power rankings. What a gutsy win they had in Week 6 against the Halifax Thunderbirds. This young team has grit and determination, and they don’t let anything phase them. They’ve beaten Buffalo and Halifax, and now they’ve got a shot to add Georgia to that list. They are the giant slayers, and they are doing it as a collective unit. A win against the highly ranked Swarm will keep the FireWolves on top for another week, but how long can this magical run last? Let’s enjoy the ride as long as we can because no one saw this coming, not even the FireWolves.

Halifax at Albany 01-06-2024

NLL