NBA 2k League Power Rankings

Post Tournament NBA 2k League Power Rankings

The NBA 2k League kicked off season one with a five day, 17-team round-robin tournament for a $100,000 prize pool. We saw blowouts, shootouts, great defense and great individual performances from top players. But above all, we saw two great teams meet in the championship game. 76ers Gaming beat Blazer5 Gaming by a score of 75 to 66. These organization had the 14th and 6th picks respectively of the first round and built incredible teams from top to bottom. So without further adieu, let’s examine where each team stacks up in my NBA 2k League power rankings.

Ranking System

These NBA 2k power rankings are based on three specific points of analysis: point differential per game, tournament standings, and eye test. It only fair that these teams are judged by their performances this weekend. It becomes too murky and unpredictable to introduce “projected success” into these rankings.

Nba 2k league Power Rankings: 17-10

17) Grizz Gaming –  Point Differential/Game:(-20), Tournament Rank:17th, Record:(0-4)

This was pretty straightforward. The Grizz struggled in all facets of the game. They suffered a 24 point loss at the hands of Pacers Gaming and a staggering 41 point loss to Mavs Gaming.

16) Magic Gaming – Point Differential/Game:(-11.33), Tournament Rank: 16th, Record:(0-3)

The Magic, if they had to play teams like Grizz Gaming did, would likely have a similar point differential. They were also the only other team who did not win a game during the tournament.

15) Heat Check Gaming – Point Differential/Game:(-12), Tournament Rank: 15th, Record:(1-3)

Heat Check Gaming was one of the more disappointing performances during the tournament. I do think this team is in a position to get better quickly with their two-man game of Hotshot and MaJes7ic, as well as the leadership from their coach.

14) Wizards Gaming District – Point Differential/Game:(-4.67), Tournament Rank: 14th, Record:(1-2)

The problem right now is that they aren’t getting reasonable production from the Small Forward position. Through three games, ReeseDaGod23 is averaging 5 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists per game. It’s also worth mentioning that in the Wizards’ only win, they were 15/31 in three pointers and only won by five points.

13) Knicks Gaming – Point Differential/Game:(-1.67), Tournament Rank: 13th, Record:(1-2)

Their point differential per game indicates that they were competitive in every game, which they were. This is a balanced team in terms of scoring, but, they have to shoot the ball better from behind the arc. In their three games, they shot on average 27% from three and that needs to improve moving forward.

12) Bucks Gaming – Point Differential/Game:(-1), Tournament Rank: 12th, Record:(1-2)

The Bucks were being compared to the Pacers for much of the week in terms of play style. For the most part, that’s accurate. However, there is a stark difference at the Small Forward position. STL, the Small Forward for the Bucks, in two games (the box score for his third game is unavailable) averaged 4 points, 2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

11) Kings Guard – Point Differential/Game:(-0.67), Tournament Rank: 11th, Record:(1-2)

This team won’t be outside the top 10 for long. They are simply too talented. With more time to develop, they will turn those close losses into wins.

10) Jazz Gaming – Point Differential/Game:(+0.25), Tournament Rank: 8th, Record:(2-2)

This is the first real shake up and it’s all about talent. There are two teams who didn’t make the final group ranked ahead of Utah because they, in my opinion, are more talented.

NBa 2k LEague Power Rankings: 9-5

9) Raptors Uprising – Point Differential/Game:(0.0), Tournament Rank: 10th, Record:(1-2)

While the Raptors’ point differential isn’t as good as the Jazz, it’s marginal. They had to face both championship teams in their first group. Their two-man game of Kenny and Yusuf is going to get better and Yusuf was one of the only Centers to get the best of OneWildWalnut in this tournament.

8) Warriors Gaming – Point Differential/Game:(+1.25), Tournament Rank: 7th, Record:(2-2)

The Warriors have a clear identity, which is great. Vert was one of the best players in group play averaging 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists. This production came to a halt when he matched up against Ramo in the quarterfinals. If this team wants to compete they absolutely have to get better production from their back court.

7) Cltx Gaming – Point Differential/Game:(+7.25), Tournament Rank: 9th, Record:(3-1)

You could consider this to be shakeup number two. Even though the Celtics missed the final cut, they have the fourth best point differential thus far, despite blowing a big lead to the Mavs in group play. This team is going to be a contender, and thus, is ranked higher than two teams who made the final cut.

6) Pistons GT – Point Differential/Game:(-5.40), Tournament Rank: 3rd, Record:(3-2)

The Pistons are a team that should not rest on their laurels. They are the only team to make the final cut with a negative point differential and had the fourth worst point differential of all the teams. Ramo is great, but this team needs to score more points, as they only eclipsed the 60 point mark once, and score just 48 points in their semi-final game versus the 76ers.

5) Pacers Gaming – Point Differential/Game:(+3.8), Tournament Rank: 6th, Record:(3-2)

The Pacers were one of the more intriguing teams entering the tournament. They were also the talking point of a minor controversy surrounding the “stiff arm” animation used by Wolf to get to the basket. Not to mention, how they would incorporate Vgooner from UK into the offense. This team has an identity and will continue to get better throughout the season.

nba 2k league Power Rankings: 4-1

4) Mavs Gaming – Point Differential/Game:(+8.40), Tournament Rank: 5th, Record:(3-2)

Mavs Gaming is in a good position, despite their blowout loss to the 76ers. Dimez did not disappoint. It was important from a branding perspective that he perform like the number one pick, and he certainly did. However, this tournament taught us that one great player does not make you a great team. Mavs Gaming will no doubt improve and will likely develop into a great, not good, team.

3) Cavs Legion GC – Point Differential/Game:(+4.40), Tournament Rank: 4th, Record:(3-2)

Any conversation about Cavs Legion has to start with Hood. Hood asserted himself as a dominant player and the most prolific scorer at the Small Forward position in the league. This is a team that can win shootouts, but had some issues with the Bucks in group play. Hood was “held” to a modest 23 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Overall, this is a dangerous team that showed they can score with anyone.

2) Blazer5 Gaming – Point Differential/Game:(+8.16), Tournament Rank: 2nd, Record:(5-1)

It’s a shame the Blazers couldn’t finish the tournament at 6-0 and the undisputed best team in the league entering the regular season. We have to start with OneWildWalnut. He was the emotional leader of this team and a force during the tournament. His play, combined with Mamma Im Dat Man and Dat Boy Shotz, allowed them to dismantle the Pacers by 20 in the quarterfinals. This team is incredibly versatile and should be a favorite moving forward.

1) 76ers GC – Point Differential/Game:(+7.67), Tournament Rank: 1st, Record:(5-1)

The 76ers deserved to win the tournament led by the magnificent play of their point guard, Radiant. Steez was also a critical reason why they did not lose a game since their first round match up with the Blazers in group play. But the shock of the tournament was 6th round pick ZDS’ performance in the championship game. His 19 points was just too much for the Blazers to overcome.

 

Photo Courtesy of Sportskeeda.com

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Smite’s Unofficial Power Rankings – Spring Season 5

Hinduman’s Unofficial Smite Rankings are here.

On Sunday, HiRez’s  Esports talent manager, lead smite caster and resident Brit Graham “Hinduman” Hadfield released his first Smite “Power Rankings” of season 5. As a team-based game in Smite, individual rankings based on pure statistics don’t work as well as with many other more individual based sports. This being said, Hinduman’s opinionated rankings are as close to a formal ranking system as Smite gets.

The latest rankings are the first since September 2017, and with Super Regionals and Worlds both having passed since then, there were many changes to the rankings. This article will break down the risers and fallers, as well as give some opinions on what The Game Haus’s Smite writers think Hinduman could have done differently!

Solo Lane Rankings

In North America, the main change here is the return to the league of Nicklaus “Divios” Neumeyer. Although he sat out for Season 4, he instantly returns at #2 in the rankings and will hope to resume his Season 3 reign of terror in the North American solo lane this split. Ryan “Aquarius” O’Neill’s solid season 4 and resulting promotion to a top team (Spacestation) is also reflected by his modest +2 rise to #3. The big loser in North America was ScaryD. Unable to produce his best play in the Fall split and on his third roster of the year he falls a huge 4 places.

In Europe, a strong showing from the Croatian Adrian “Deathwalker” Benko throughout season 4 has led some to pronounce that he might be the best player in the world. Although it may be too early to make such a sweeping declaration, his place as #1 in Europe was made clear by his continual redefining of the solo metagame throughout the last season. A modest showing from Jeroen “Xaliea” Klaver at Worlds was the only factor keeping the flagging Harry ‘Variety’ Cumming from falling further, meaning the Season 3 Worlds MVP falls only a single place.

Mid Lane Rankings

Starting out in North America once again, the two Worlds Mid Laners both make rises in the rankings. A huge +3 for Kim “Baskin” Woon-young reflects the superb team carry he has once again become. Known in Season 2 and 3 as one of the best Solo Lane players in the world, he took a few months to establish himself in the Mid Lane. However he showed up with a huge performance at the World Championships in January bringing him into consideration as one the top players in the world. A more modest +1 rise from Brandon “Venenu” Casale was also clearly deserved. The biggest story, however, has to be the three new, returning or role-swapping players to the position. More changes are therefore certainly coming in the next iteration of these rankings.

Europe, however, is a completely different tale. Although there is one new face, the rest of the rankings remain exactly as they were, with Emil “PrettyPrime” Edström and Joakim “Zyrhoes” Verngren retaining the top two spots.

Jungle Rankings

Similar to the Mid Lane rankings, In North America again we see a meteoric rise for one of the SPL’s younger players, Lucas “Screammmmm” Spracklin. Almost a completely new player to accompany his name change from Varizial1, Spracklin has risen to the top of the region, reflecting his team’s World Championship victory. The other players in the region all shuffle down to reflect this, as well as to make room at #4 for the return to the Jungle of the former NA king Andrew “Andinster” Woodward.

Over in Europe, good overall seasons for British standout Benjamin “CaptainTwig” Knight as well as Bulgarian ace Aleksandar “iceicebaby” Zahariev have finally displaced long-time favourite Kennet “Adapting” Ros and Summer Split standout Anders “QvoFred” Korsbo at the top of the roster. It will be interesting to see if the Season 5 meta helps the latter return to former glory.

 

ADC and Support Rankings

In North America, the EUnited ranking revolution continues further with Support Michael “PolarBearMike” Heiss and ADC Maksim “PandaCat” Yanevich rising four and three places respectively, with a couple of returning players and role swaps the only other major changes to the rankings.

A similar story can be seen in Europe, with Team Rival’s strong end to the season reflected by the respective improval of Liam “Vote” Shanks and Petar “KaLaS” Matejić.

Our Perspective

Personally, the biggest disparity in the rankings to me was Venenu’s somewhat modest rise to #3 considering his domination playing The Morrigan and Discordia at Worlds. I would honestly have been fine with him being rated #1 in his position along with the rest of his team.

TGH Smite writer Nolan Evans believes that KikiSoCheeky did very little to deserve holding onto Fourth place in the solo standings. Indeed, he reckons that both Fineokay and ScaryD deserve to be above him!

What do you think? Have your say in the comments or on twitter, you can tweet me @KingHazzam or us in general at @TheGameHausEsports

 

All rankings are the opinion and sole work of @HirezHinduman on twitter and do not reflect the official views of Hirez or The Game Haus. All Images created by The Game Haus using these rankings.

CWL Pro League

Power Rankings: CWL Pro League Week 6, Rise Nation rises to the top

After the conclusion of Week 6 of the CWL Pro League, Rise Nation is setting themselves up as a front runner for CWL Atlanta. CWL Atlanta will start March 9th and will conclude on March 11th.

CWL Pro League

Credit: https://www.inverse.com

1. Rise Nation

CWL Pro League Record: 13-1

After coming together just ten days before CWL New Orleans, Rise Nation has been nothing short of magnificent. They have been one of few teams that have improving each and every time we see them play and there is no end in sight. Rise has solidified their place on the top of the power rankings due to their 7-0 record in the second set of matches of Division A.  Their continued strong performances have been of the backs of Gunless and TJHaly. Gunless has been filing the FLEX role arguably stronger than any other player in the game and when he is paired with a strong up incoming “SnD star” in TJHaly, they are a near unstoppable duo.

CWL Pro League

Credit: thescoreesports.com

2. Luminosity Gaming

CWL Pro League Record: 6-1

Luminosity Gaming is coming into Atlanta with a chip on their shoulder after the heart-breaking loss to Team Kaliber at CWL New Orleans. Since the loss they have dominated Division B with a 6-1 record. With the return of the STG/BAR meta expect for Octane and JKap to take control of series to come.

CWL Pro League

Credit: thescoreesports.com

3. Team Envy

CWL Pro League Record: 6-1

Team Envy came into the start of the Pro League as a wild card, with untapped potential that could either flourish or fail. But, they came out strong as Huke finally looked comfortable after his transition from Halo. Along with the strong AR presence of Slasher, they have led their team to a strong 6-1 start with their only loss coming to Luminosity.

CWL Pro League

Credit: @OpTicGaming

4. Optic Gaming

CWL Pro League Record: 10-4

Optic Gaming has been a staple in Call of Duty E-sports for over five years and the core roster of Scump, Formal, Karma, and Crimsix have been together for nearly three years. At CWL New Orleans, Optic had their worst performance at a LAN event since this roster has been formed, placing Top 12. But as the Pro League started they showed strength beating the two-time champions Team Kaliber twice and being the only team to beat Rise Nation.

CWL Pro League

Credit: @RedReserve

5. Red Reserve

CWL Pro League Record: 9-5

Red Reserve has taken over as Europe’s leading force after some of the struggles with Splyce’s performance and Red’s incredible run through the loser’s bracket by eliminating Faze, Optic, and eUnited at CWL New Orleans. They were able to get a fourth place there and continued the momentum into the Pro League. In their first set of matches, they exploited Optic’s weakness on St. Marie du Monte Hardpoint and beat them 3-1 for the second time in a row. The trend of strong FLEX players is continuing to have a strong impact with both Zer0 and Joshh.

CWL Pro League

Credit: steamcommunity.com

6. Faze Clan

CWL Pro League Record: 5-2

Faze has stepped up this season after disappointing online performances leading up to CWL Dallas, which put them in the open bracket to start the season. But, through this they got into their stride and placed fourth, which is the highest placing out of any open bracket team ever. At the Pro League they showed off their star power when they were the only team able to beat Luminosity. Throughout the season they have shown dominance on Capture the Flag, due to strong leadership and shot calling from Replays.

CWL Pro League

Credit: splyce.gg

7. Splyce

CWL Pro League Record: 3-4

Splyce has went from having a continent on their back in the finals at CWL Dallas, to struggling at CWL New Orleans. They had a little trouble in the beginning of the Pro League, because Jurd had a visa issue that it stopped him from getting to Columbus for the first week. The team ended up getting another fast-paced Sub Slayer in Felo from Complexity to fill in. They managed to stay in a good standing, finishing 2-2. When they were reunited they seemed to have their timings off, but later in the week they were showing signs of improvement that should continue going into Atlanta.

CWL Pro League

Caption: nerdwide.com

8. Echo Fox

CWL Pro League Record: 6-8

Echo Fox has been a team that has had a roller coaster ride during the Pro League. They finished the first half of Pro League with a 2-5 record and a 1-12 map count during the second week. Once they came back, they were in a position where they needed to take down some top teams to avoid relegation. Over the second half of Pro League they were able to takedown both Team Kaliber and Optic. They ended up playing themselves into a position where their final match against Mindfreak would say who would advance to Stage 2 and who would get relegated. They came out strong on Docks Hardpoint which Mindfreak had been very strong on. Echo Fox was led by strong performances from Assault and Saints. These performances would continue for the rest of the series where they would win 3-1.

CWL Pro League

Credit: teambeyond.net

9. Team Kaliber

CWL Pro League Record: 8-6

Team Kaliber was at the top of everyone’s rankings for the majority of the season but they have been many signs of weakness since the start of Pro League. The two-time defending champions have continued to struggle on Forest Capture the Flag, where they have only a 29 percent win rate this season. The recent removal of the FG42 from the meta,  has resulted in a negative impact on both Chino and Accuracy. This has put them in a positon where one of them now needs to run the third Sub which is an uncomfortable role for each of them. Also, with the addition of Valkyrie to the map set, the fast-paced layout of the map has resulted in many teams using three or even four Subs. This has led to them losing the map each of the three times that they have played it.

CWL Pro League

Credit: thetab.com

10. Unilad

CWL Pro League Record: 3-4

Unilad had a slow start to the World War 2 season. Once the pro league started they came in as a wild card team to see if they would avoid relegation. Currently, they are sitting in the final position to avoid being relegated with the completion of Division B following Atlanta. Unilad continued that slow start that they have been having during the first week of the Pro League with a 0-3 record. However, they came to a team decision to take Skrapz out of the second AR role and switch him with Moose to a full time Sub play. This was due to their lack of aggression that is more need while playing North American teams compared to their fellow European teams. Following this change Unilad was able to get a 3-1 record during week, only falling to Evil Geniuses in a heart-breaking Game 5 Round 11 finish. One of these wins was against a strong looking Faze roster, where Skrapz was able to gain a lot of map control for his team due to his strong slaying presence.

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NASCAR power rankings

NASCAR power rankings: Post Atlanta

Following each race, I will rank the top 20 drivers based off of their finish over the weekend, their previous ranking and the momentum they’re carrying into the next race. Below the driver’s name you can see an  or that indicates whether they’ve climbed the rankings, fallen down the rankings, or  indicating their ranking did not change. If a driver is new to the top 20 ranking, a “NPR” (not previously ranked) will be shown next to the “Change:” indicator.

1. Joey Logano

Change: 1

NASCAR power rankings

Photo from Matthew T. Thacker/LAT Images

Logano takes over the top spot after a solid run at Atlanta where he brought his Ford home in sixth place. He also took over the top spot in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series (NMECS) standings. He’s one of only two drivers that have finished in the top 10 in both races this season.

Logano’s comeback season is in full swing, and he’ll look to continue his early season success this week at Las Vegas. He has three top-4 finishes and an average starting position of 2.75 over the last four Las Vegas races.

2. Denny Hamlin

Change: 1

Hamlin moves up one spot this week after finishing fourth at Atlanta. He attempted to run a risky fuel mileage race to beat the dominating Kevin Harvick, but a late caution ruined that strategy. He led 26 laps throughout the race and was able to put together a full race and a solid finish.

He’s finished in the top-6 at two of the last three Vegas races. Look for him to be strong again this week.

3. Kevin Harvick

Change: 7

NASCAR power rankings

Photo from kevinharvick.com

Harvick vaults up seven spots after his thoroughly dominating victory over the weekend. After leading the most laps in the previous four Atlanta races, he had no victories to show for it. This time around, he finally was able to close out the race and earn his nickname, “the closer.”

Harvick is already locked into the playoffs now, and from here on out, he’ll look to earn wins and playoff points to boost his playoff seed when the regular season ends.

4. Martin Truex Jr.

Change: 

The defending series champ remains fourth in the power rankings following a fairly uneventful day at Atlanta. He started all the way back in 35th, but drove his way up through the field relatively quickly. He then hung near the front and kept his car clean, finished the race fifth and earned seven stage points along the way.

As NASCAR heads to Las Vegas this weekend, watch out for Truex Jr. Everyone knows of his overall domination on mile and a half tracks, plus he won this race last season.

5. Brad Keselowski

Change: 2

Keselowski ran top-3 for the majority of the race and finished his Penske Ford in the runner-up spot to Kevin Harvick. He won the second stage of the day, picking up one playoff point for the postseason. Keselowski continues to climb the standings following his wreck at Daytona.

He’ll be a force to reckon with at Las Vegas this weekend. He’s won two of the last four races there, and has finished in the top-7 across the last five at the track.

6. Kyle Busch

Change: 

Busch stays put in the power rankings this week after his average day at Atlanta. “Rowdy” started out on the pole, but was really no match for Harvick or Keselowski throughout the day. He led nine laps and scored points in both stages for a total of 13 stage points on the day. He finished the day with a solid seventh place finish.

This week, he heads to Las Vegas where he’s finished fourth twice over the last four races at his home track. He should be a factor throughout this Sunday’s race.

7. Kyle Larson

Change: ↓2

NASCAR power rankings

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Larson falls two spots in the rankings even though he ran a pretty good race.

He really only falls because a few drivers behind him had stellar races that can’t go unnoticed. He wasn’t ever a factor for the win, and he didn’t lead any laps, but he gained eight stage points and finished ninth.

Larson had a runner-up finish last year at Las Vegas, so look for him to be much more of a threat to win this weekend.

8. Ryan Blaney

Change: ↓7

Following a dominating Daytona 500 where he finished seventh, Blaney ran most of the Atlanta race around the 15th position. His car got a little stronger late in the final stage, and he was able to work his way up to a respectable 12th finishing position. He was never much of a contender, especially because of how strong Harvick’s car was.

Look for the third-year driver to continue to flourish with his new team, Penske Racing. He finished seventh and sixth in his last two Vegas races.

9. Kurt Busch

Change: 5

Kurt Busch was one of the three strongest cars throughout the day at Atlanta. He led the second most laps (52), and amassed 12 stage points. Although he battled for the lead with Harvick and Keselowski throughout the race, he faded late and finished in the eighth position.

He was very strong at Daytona last week before getting caught up in a late wreck, and he again looked strong at Atlanta. Busch is starting the season off hot and he’ll look to build off that as he rolls into his home track at Las Vegas.

10. Clint Bowyer

Change: 9

NASCAR power rankings

Photo from Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

Bowyer takes home the honor of the biggest mover in this week’s power rankings. He jumped nine spots following his third place run at Atlanta.

Bowyer, in his second season with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is looking rejuvenated and looks to be benefiting from the success of teammate Kevin Harvick. SHR is looking fantastic as a whole so far this season, and Bowyer will look to be the second member of the team to reach victory lane when they travel to Las Vegas this week. He finished 10th there last season.

11. Chase Elliott

Change: ↓2

The third-year Hendrick driver was the best finisher on his team Sunday at Atlanta. He didn’t really run in the top 10 until the final restart where he moved up as high as fifth, but faded back to 10th for the finish. He salvaged a top-10 from the race even though he didn’t run better than 14th for most of the afternoon.

Hendrick Motorsports has been slow out of the gate with the new ZL1 and will look to right the ship this weekend at Las Vegas. Elliott finished third in this race a year ago.

12. Austin Dillon

Change: ↓3

Last week’s winner experienced a minimal slide in the rankings this week. He finished 14th one lap down and is surely looking forward to Las Vegas this week.

Dillon is already locked into the playoffs from his huge Daytona win and he’ll look to accumulate more playoff points moving forward to better his playoff seeding. Last year he started and finished fifth at Vegas and would love to replicate that this weekend.

13. Aric Almirola

Change: 

One week after experiencing heartbreak on the final lap of the Daytona 500, Almirola finished 13th at Atlanta. He ran around 13th for most of the afternoon, so the finishing spot really sums up his day.

He’s looked much stronger this season with SHR than he did in his last few years with Richard Petty Racing (RCR). One explanation for that could be that he now has three experienced teammates at SHR, as opposed to having zero teammates with RCR.

He’s never had a top-10 finish at Las Vegas. If he can get one this week, it would really show that the strong start he’s experienced thus far isn’t just a fluke.

14. Erik Jones

Change: 2

NASCAR power rankings

Photo from John Harrelson / NKP / LAT Images

Jones ran a clean race at Atlanta and finished his 20 car in the 11th position. It was a much better result than he experienced at Daytona, where he was wrecked out of the race early.

Jones is expected to take another big step forward in his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing. He can do that by improving on his 15th place finish that he earned at Las Vegas last season.

15. Paul Menard

Change: ↓4

Menard experienced a little slide this week in the rankings after his unimpressive 17th place finish at Atlanta. He ended the race one lap down and looked much less competitive than he did at Daytona.

In his first season with Wood Brothers Racing, he’s trying to show that he can run with the big guns and make the postseason. He has an average finish of 11th over his last six races at Las Vegas and will try to improve on that stat this weekend.

16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Change: 1

Stenhouse Jr. salvaged a 16th place finish at Atlanta after experiencing some damage during a caution late in the race. When Trevor Bayne’s engine blew, the entire track was covered with white smoke, and the drivers were essentially blinded.

Darrell Wallace Jr. was unable to see and rear-ended Stenhouse Jr. His crew did some quick work on the car and got him back out there and enabled him to gain a decent finish.

Stenhouse Jr. has never finished in the top 10 at Las Vegas, so he’ll be looking to break that trend this weekend.

17. Jamie McMurray

Change: 3

NASCAR power rankings

Photo from motorsport.com

Jamie “Mac” moved up a few spots because of the misfortunes of a few drivers ahead of him. He finished a paltry 19th at Atlanta, two laps down. He’ll need to step up his speed and be much more competitive moving forward if he wants to reach the playoffs again.

He’s unlikely to break his winless streak this week that dates back to 2013, as he has never won in his 15 starts at Las Vegas. He has four top-10 finishes, his last coming last season when he finished eighth.

18. Alex Bowman

Change: ↓6

Bowman rounded out the top 20 as he finished 20th at Atlanta. He got off to a quick start during the race, driving from his 18th starting position all the way up to eighth fairly quickly. But for the rest of the day he ran between 18th and 24th and finished the day three laps down.

Bowman has finishes of 43rd an 37th in his only two Las Vegas starts, good for an average of 40th. He literally has nowhere to go but up this weekend.

19. Darrell Wallace Jr.

Change: ↓4

“Bubba” Wallace Jr. had a decent run going for almost the entire race. He had run just inside the top 20 for most of the day and was looking to finish there until Trevor Bayne’s engine let go. He was blinded by the smoke from Bayne’s car and accidentally rear-ended Stenhouse Jr. while he was blinded.

His crew was able to patch up his car and get him back on the track, but the damage took it’s toll as he finished 32nd, six laps down.

He’ll look to bounce back this week at Las Vegas in his first ever MENCS start there.

20. Daniel Suarez

Change: ↑NPR

NASCAR power rankings

Photo by LAT Photographic

Suarez is new to the standings this week, sliding into the top 20 in place of Jimmie Johnson. He had a great run going at Daytona until he was involved in one of the big ones. Suarez started fourth at Atlanta and gained one stage point from his 10th place finish in the second stage. He finished the race in the 15th position, one lap down.

Last season he finished 20th at Las Vegas in his first MENCS start at the track. He’s much more experienced now and we should expect a better finish than 20th this weekend.

 

Falling out of the rankings: Jimmie Johnson (previously 18th)

 

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TCL Week 3 Power Rankings

Our TCL Week 3 Power Rankings saw two trends rising. First, the top of the standings started settling, and secondly, the bottom has jumped around wildly. The week started out with some close matches,but the back half seemed to really be stomps. Please remember that these rankings put stronger emphasis on more recent performances that later. With that said, lets get into the rankings!

Rankings

1. BAUSuperMasive (-)

TCL Week 3 Power Rankings

BAUSuperMassive remains the only undefeated team nine games into the split (image courtesy of Zeitnot’s Twitter)

The Blue Owls solidified their place at the top of the standings this week after handily taking down both the Royal Bandits and 1907 Fenerbahçe. Both games were a lot more one-sided than the kill count would lead you to believe, with only four turrets and a single dragon lost between the two games. Their match against Dark Passage looked a lot closer, but a phenomenal performance by ADC Zeitnot led the team to a resounding victory. With the entire roster firing on all cylinders, it’s looking like nothing can stop SuperMassive from taking the first half of the split uncontested.

 

2. Royal Bandits (-)

It was a rough week for the Bandits, as they took their first week with a losing record, going 1-2 on the weekend. A loss to BAUSuperMassive is understandable considering their form, but losing again to HWA Gaming is just unacceptable for a team striving to get on top. That’s two losses to HWA in three weeks, which is concerning as either the team doesn’t take them seriously, or HWA hard counters them. Both are worrying trends going forward. Thankfully for the Bandits, they stay at two after an equally bad week for Fenerbahçe in which the Bandits also took care of them in their lone win. Hopefully they use the next two weeks to fix this up for their next match-up.

 

3. 1907 Fenerbahçe (-)

TCL Week 3 Power Rankings

Chaser has to started to become more and more melded with his team (image courtesy of FB Twitter)

Poor Fenerbahçe was so close to the top two this week, but losing to both teams above them keeps them locked in third. They’ve really cemented themselves at this spot with all four of their losses coming to the two teams above them. This doesn’t mean, however, that the team is bad, especially with how strong their wins have been. The Yellow Canaries have been growing stronger week by week, and as Chaser acclimates to the team this will only accelerate. With matches against DP, HWA, and Galakticos this weekend, FB will be looking to get back on pace and prepare themselves for their next matches against the top two.

4. Team AURORA (+2)

Team AURORA seems to have finally figured things out this week, going 2-1 on the week, including a win over Dark Passage. Mid-laner Naru and ADC Rain are really putting their carry pants on, but it was a change in the support position that seems to have set them on the right path. Rogu has been benched, at least for this week, in favor of of former DP substitute Farfetch, whose performance on Morgana was absolutely incredible (0/2/16). A look at his history shows this is definitely a pick teams will want to ban against him in the future, but already he’s proven an effective upgrade. We’ll see if this was a one off weekend, or marks a turn for the team, this week as they take on Youthcrew, HWA, and Royal Bandits.

5. Dark Passage (-1)

Dark Passage faltered a bit this week, going 1-2, with losses to AURORA and SuperMassive. Their win over Youthcrew was also a bit weak, with 5 turrets, two drakes, and Rift Herald being given up. While they did manage to pull out the win, those aren’t the sort of objectives you’d expect a team gunning for playoffs to give to what was, at the time, the bottom team in the league. This upcoming week won’t be any easier, with matches against Fenerbahçe and Royal Bandits, followed by what should be an easy win over Galakticos. If they struggle in this last game, concerns might start growing for this teams hopes for the split.

6. YouthCrew (+1)

TCL Week 3 Power Rankings

Xico subbed in and put on a monster performance on Cassiopeia against HWA Gaming (image courtesy of Lolespor twitter)

Woah, are those wins I see? In seriousness though, Youthcrew looked so much better this week, even after they started it on a bad loss to Dark Passage. Their next two games against HWA and Galakticos were absolute stomps from start to end, thanks in part to returning midlaner Xico, who has subbed in for Coco and looke dominating on Cassiopeia and Azir. Apparently communications were at the heart of the teams problems, and with those fixed the team looks set to finally start pushing up the ladder. With matches against Royal Bandits, AURORA, and SuperMassive this week, it’ll be a good test to see if they have what it takes to push for playoffs, or if they’ll be left rot in relegation.

7. HWA Gaming (+1)

The good news for HWA Gaming: they looked dominating in their wins against Galakticos and Royal Bandits. Armut and friends seem to finally have put the puzzle together for how to pull out wins! The bad news: they got crushed by Youthcrew, who most other observers (excluding myself) had rated lower than them. While both sit at 3-6 on the weeks end, the loss to YC puts HWA up just one spot. If the team keeps improving like they did this week, however, they could soon see themselves shooting up the rankings. This is especially true if they continue to be the kryptonite to Royal Bandits Superman.

8. Galakticos (-3)

TCL Week 3 Power Rankings

For a team based around space, they sure do seem to lack star-power (image courtesy of Galakticos Twitter)

Welp that time out of the gutter was short lived. After a hot 2-0 start to the split, Galakticos appears to have frozen solid, having gone 0-7 since then. These losses aren’t looking very close either, and the teams mostly rookie background is clearly on display. The team reminds me a lot of the NA team Golden Guardians, with the same issues of weak lanes and lack of good macro. The difference though is that Galakticos is full of rookies, and has actually gotten some wins this split. The org needs to make some changes, mostly bringing in a veteran to guide the rookies, or they’ll be staring into the auto-relegation abyss.

 

 

The TCL 2018 Winter Split continues this Saturday, February 10rd. Be sure to stay tuned here for all the exciting coverage, and check out The Game Haus on Twitter and Facebook for more esports news. Don’t forget to also follow myself on Twitter for more news on the TCL.

~Isaac “Raptearer’ Chandler

Week 2 Power Rankings

TCL Week 2 Power Rankings

Week 2 ended Monday morning for the TCL, and boy have these last two weeks been surprising. While many pre-season teams have lived up to their hype, or lack of it, a few surprises were in store, with one thought to-be strong roster falling flat on their faces. On the other hand, one team we didn’t expect to even take a win has managed to find the middle of the pack. With that said, lets get underway with out Week 2 Power Rankings!

As a note these rankings will cover Weeks 1 and 2, as I had prior obligations to take care of for Week 1, but expect weekly power-rankings going forward.

Rankings

1. BAUSuperMasive (+4)

Power Rankings Week 2

GBM is back in form (image courtesy of GosuGamers)

GBM seems to have finally returned to his LCK form, leading the BAU-boys to a phenominal 6-0 start to the season. The whole line-up is firing on all cylinders right now, and has the Winter title in their eyes. This weekends match-up against league number two Royal Bandits will be their real test as to the strength of this roster. As the first match this Saturday, its looking to be a great start to this weekend!

 

2. Royal Bandits (-)

Week 2 Power Rankings

HolyPhoenix looks better than ever (courtesy of HolyPhoenix’s Twitter)

Outside of an off start, losing to bottom-side HWA Gaming, Royal Bandits have been off to the races. Malrang and Cepted have looked to already have developed strong synergy with their Turkish counterparts, putting on quiet a show these past two weeks. HolyPhoenix and Dumbledoge have looked great, as expected, and Broken Blade has even put up some strong numbers. The early loss to HWA is the only thing keeping them from first right now, and they’ll be fighting for that spot when they take on BAUSuperMassive this weekend.

 

3. 1907 Fenerbahçe (-2)

Fenerbahçe had a very rough start to the season, going 1-2 on the first week, and starting with two straight losses. The second week was much kinder to The Yellow Canaries (a Turkish nickname for the org), with a solid three game sweep of the opposition. The team seems to have struggled out of the gate with their communication, but its quickly coming together, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them 3-0 the weekend, even with RB and BAU closing it out. Stumbles happen with new rosters, but not many get back on their footing so quickly

4. Dark Passage (-)

Dark Passage is setting itself up as the gatekeeper to the upper-echelon of the league. The teams beating them are looking for the title, and the ones losing are trying to avoid relegation. This is not to say though that the team is bad, far from it: they’re good, just not currently title material. Lucete as garnered some nice synergy with KaKAO, and the duo has made quick work of the lower half teams. While they likely won’t be pushing for the title this Winter, the team should be utilizing this time to build synergy and improve, and could make a deep run come the end of Summer.

5. Galakticos (+3)

Power Rankings Week 2

J1mmy really showed why he was so hyped these past two weeks (image courtesy of Leaguepedia)

I owe these boys an apology. I thought they’d be dead last and winless this split. But they surprised me and everyone else with a quick 2-0 start to the split with wins over YoungCrew and AURORA. J1mmy, the legend, and Rare both stepped up and brought strong performances to the team. Unfortunately, the team seems to have fallen off a cliff since then, going 0-4 in their next four games, and while a win against HWA seems likely, this team still looks like it has a long way to go before it’ll be a playoff contender. The team should spend the next few weeks building their synergy up and pushing to at least avoid the promotion tournament, and could make a decent run come Summer if they keep improving.

6. Team AURORA (-)

The good news for AURORA: the team isn’t the worst in the TCL. The bad news: there’s not much else going for them. The team has looked average at best, and everyone seems to just fade away in games they lose. Wisdom in particular seems to disappear on anything not named Jarvan so far, and Naru seems to struggle to find consistency (godly one game, feeding the next). The team needs to rely on Rain, who if given the tools to protect him, could potentially carry these team further up the standings, and has performed admirably so far.

7. YouthCrew (-4)

Week 2 Power Rankings

Does CoCo have what it takes to carry his botlane? (Image courtesy of EsportsTalk)

The biggest drop and disappointment so far, YouthCrew just can’t seem to get it together. With a single win over HWA as their lone victory, the team seems to struggle to find an identity. While the top half of the map has looked fine, the bot duo of Madness and Zzus have just looked dreadful. Combined, they have a total scoreline of 10/25/31 in six games, which gets even worse when you pull out their win against HWA, dropping them to an abysmal 6/24/21. Either the bot side comes together/the rest of the team picks up the slack, or YouthCrew could be looking down the barrel of the promotion tournament and relegation.

8. HWA Gaming (-1)

Week 2 Power Rankings

Can Ninja light the fire under his team going forward to bring them some wins? (Image courtesy of EU Lolesports)

HWA took a surprising win in their first game of the split against Royal Bandits with a nearly perfect game. Unfortunately that’s about the only positive thing they’ve had going for them. They’ve been unable to get even close to the same performance since then, and seem to really struggle in shotcalling. Armut in particular has looked lost or forgetful of his abilities, as shown in their Sunday match against FB where he had the chance at a well placed four man Gnar ult that would win them the fight, but refuses to use the ability. In fact, I only saw him use it once all game, and that was to escape at the end. Their import, Ninja, is just not looking good right now either, and unlike YouthCrew they lack starpower to fall back upon. If the team can return to the form they had that first game, they might win the whole split, but with the way they’ve played since, I’m becoming increasingly doubtful.

 

 

The TCL 2018 Winter Split continues this Saturday, February 3rd. Be sure to stay tuned here for all the exciting coverage, and check out The Game Haus on Twitter and Facebook for more esports news. Don’t forget to also follow myself on Twitter for more news on the TCL.

~Isaac “Raptearer’ Chandler

2017 NFL power rankings week 14

2017 NFL power rankings week 14

December football is upon us, and as the weather gets colder, the NFL playoff races are heating up. Four teams have been officially eliminated from playoff contention; Cleveland, San Francisco, Chicago and the New York Giants. There is also a few playoff-clinching scenarios in play during week 14. New England can clinch the AFC East with a win over Miami or a Buffalo loss. Philadelphia can clinch the NFC East title with a win over the Los Angeles Rams, or with a New York Giants win over Dallas. Minnesota can clinch the NFC North with a win over Carolina or losses by both Detroit and Green Bay. With all that being said, here are the current 2017 NFL power rankings for Week 14.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-12)

2017 NFL power rankings week 14

(Photo Credit: John David Mercer, USA TODAY Sports)

Last week: 32 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Green Bay

There is little to say about Cleveland that hasn’t already been said. They are four games away from an infamous 0-16 season. All Cleveland can focus on is the draft. This year they must find the quarterback that can change the franchise. They have gone too long without a true leader to play under center. In the last two seasons, they have missed out on Carson Wentz, DeShaun Watson, Dak Prescott and other. In 2018, they need to find a way to take Lamar Jackson or Baker Mayfield.

31. New York Giants (2-10)

Last week: 30 (-1)

Next game: home vs. Dallas

Giant fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Mustache man, Ben McAdoo is gone and can no longer hurt your team. New York is having a disastrous season but at 2-10, they have a lot of talent still. The defense is a couple of players away from being elite. The offense has Odell Beckham Jr. and Evan Engram to build around. Their focus needs to be solidifying their offensive line and finding a workhorse running back. If they do that they can still win with Eli Manning at quarterback. He does not have to be replaced yet.

30. Denver Broncos (3-9)

Last week: 29 (-1)

Next game: home vs. New York Jets

Getting blown out by Miami has shown just how far the Broncos have fallen this season.  Nothing is going right and they need to hit the reset button. The Jets will be coming to town to put a beatdown on the Broncos. This once feared defense is now 31st in scoring defense giving up 26.2 points per game. Going forward they will need to fix this defense or find a new identity.

29. Chicago Bears (3-9)

Last week: 28 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Cincinnati

The Bears might not be a playoff contender but man does their future look exciting with players like Tarik Cohen and Mitchell Trubisky. Their defensive play has gone under the radar because they are eliminated from the playoffs. The only thing the Bears can do for the remainder of this season is build momentum for the future.

28. San Francisco 49ers (2-10)

Last week: 31 (+3)

Next game: away vs. Houston

Jimmy Garoppolo has generated a buzz in San Francisco. It appears that he will be the franchise quarterback moving forward. This is good news for the 49ers who will have another top-five pick to build their team. As they continue to build their defense Garoppolo can provide the consistency needed from a signal caller. If the defense steps up next season and the front office gets Jimmy G some weapons on the outside, then the 49ers will be one of the surprise playoff teams as early as next year.

27. Indianapolis Colts (3-9)

Last week: 27 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Buffalo

The Colts defense has kept them in most of their games but it usually breaks in the second half. One thing to keep an eye on for the remainder of the Colts’ season is Frank Gore. Gore is only 368 yards from another 1,000 yard and at age 34 which is remarkable. He is also just 404 yards away from passing Curtis Martin for fourth on the all-time rushing list. If he can reach that mark in the final four games it would be the highlight of the Colts’ season.

26. Miami Dolphins (5-7)

Last week: 26 (no change)

Next game: home vs. New England

Miami blew out the Broncos to end their five-game losing streak. Jay Cutler threw for 235 yards and Kenyan Drake ran for 120 yards on just 23 carries. Drake is proving he could be the feature back moving forward. This week the Dolphins will host the Patriots and Miami have lost three straight to New England and four of the last five.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-8)

Last week: 24 (-1)

Next game: home vs. Detroit

Fixing the defense should be the number one priority this offseason. Jameis Winston is a really good young quarterback but the Bucs could end up wasting his talents. The offense around Winston is very solid as well with O.J. Howard, Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson. Doug Martin could be replaced with a more reliable back but overall the offense is solid. The defense must step it up but they can’t salvage this season.

24. New York Jets (5-7)

Last week: 25 (+1)

Next game: away vs. Denver

Somehow, someway the Jets have won five games and continue to be the most unpredictable team in the NFL. They are mathematically alive in the playoff hunt but don’t get it twisted, they are not a playoff caliber team. They should find themselves in the win column again with a road trip to Denver on the schedule. But then again, if anybody could lose to Denver at this point in the season, don’t be surprised if it is the Jets.

23. Arizona Cardinals (5-7)

Last week: 22 (-1)

Next game: home vs. Tennessee

Bruce Arians is a damn good coach who has kept the Cardinals very competitive despite losing David Johnson and Carson Palmer this season. Arizona is struggling to score points but if they had Johnson and Palmer they would be fairing much better. After dropping a game to the Rams the Cardinals get to host the playoff-bound Titans and it will be a tough test.

22. Houston Texans (4-8)

Last week: 23 (+1)

Next game: home vs. San Francisco

For some reason, the Texans threw the ball 49 times with Tom Savage. Anybody who knows anything about football knows that a team can not win with Savage throwing that ball that often. Houston needs to run the ball more and 22 attempts are not enough. It is no surprise they lost to the Titans because of this formula. If they have a similar gameplan against the 49ers they will lose to them as well.

21. Cincinnati Bengals (5-7)

Last week: 19 (-2)

Next game: home vs. Chicago

Cincinnati had a 17 point lead at home against their rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Blowing that game may have cost them a shot at the playoffs. Looking back at that game, it summarizes Marvin Lewis’ time in Cincinnati. In the beginning, it looked great and there have been multiple displays of greatness. At the end though, they always come up short. Cincinnati needs a change of culture and Marvin Lewis needs to be fired.

20. Kansas City Chiefs (6-6)

Last week: 14 (-6)

Next game: home vs. Oakland

Losing to the Jets is the last straw. This team will miss the playoffs and be a footnote in history of the teams that got off to a hot start but eventually folded. Andy Reid finally got back to airing it out and opening the offense for Alex Smith but then the defense decided to go missing. Kansas City has a virtual playoff game this week but the way their season has gone recently they will probably lose again for the seventh time in eight games.

19. Buffalo Bills (6-6)

Last week: 13 (-6)

Next game: home vs. Indianapolis Colts

Buffalo only managed to score three points against the Patriots. LeSean McCoy was held to just 93 yards and as a team, they only threw for 115 yards. The Bills are still in the hunt in the AFC wildcard picture but their schedule doesn’t look favorable. Buffalo should beat Indy this week but then they have to face Miami twice and New England one more time. The benching of Tyrod Taylor against the Chargers might end up being the difference when it is all said and done.

18. Oakland Raiders (6-6)

Last week: 18 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Kansas City

The Raiders control their own destiny in the AFC West as the Chiefs and Chargers are both 6-6 as well. If they win their next four games they will win the division title but they have Kansas City this week followed by Dallas, Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Chargers. It will not be easy to accomplish but if they run the table it would be well earned.

17. Washington Redskins (5-7)

2017 NFL power rankings week 14

(Photo Credit: AP Photo)

Last week: 16 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Washington got completely manhandled by the Cowboys and that is a disturbing outcome. The Redskins will not make the playoffs and still have to worry about Kirk Cousins walking away from them this offseason. If that happens Washington will no longer have an identity and will have to start yet another rebuild. They must travel to Los Angeles to face the scorching hot Chargers.

16. Green Bay Packers (6-6)

Last week: 20 (+4)

Next game: away vs. Cleveland

Green Bay got a much needed, momentum building, win against the Buccaneers. All they have to do is beat Cleveland and then they get Aaron Rodgers back for the final three games. 10 wins are typically the benchmark to make the playoffs and with Aaron Rodgers returning it is very possible they reach that benchmark. Cleveland should present an easy opportunity for a win. The rest of the NFC should be on the lookout for the Packers.

15. Detroit Lions (6-6)

Last week: 15 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Tampa Bay

The Lions have lost back to back important games and must finish the season on a four-game win streak to have a shot at making the playoffs. Detroit’s final four games include the Buccaneers, Bears, Bengals and Packers. All their remaining games are winnable. One thing the Lions must do is play better defense as they are giving up 25.7 points per game which is sixth worst in the NFL. Matthew Stafford can’t do it all himself and if the defense doesn’t lend a hand then Detroit will miss the playoffs.

14. Dallas Cowboys (6-6)

Last week: 17 (+3)

Next game: away vs. New York Giants

The Cowboys season may have changed for the better after a huge win against their biggest rival, the Redskins, 38-14. Dallas got back to running the ball. Alfred Morris had 27 carries for 127 yards and one touchdown. Dallas sits at 6-6 and is on the outside looking in of the playoffs. if they can win four straight, like many other teams, they will find themselves in the playoffs. Unfortunately, they still have games against the Raiders, Seahawks and Eagles so the playoffs do not look likely.

13. Baltimore Ravens (7-5)

Last week: 21 (+8)

Next game: away vs. Pittsburgh

For a while now I have not given the Ravens the credit that they have earned. Their defense has been recognized but their inept offense gave a cause for pause. After thrashing the Lions, it is clear that the Ravens will likely be a playoff team. Now, they probably won’t go too deep into the playoffs but this a good team. If they get an upset win on the road this week, they are all but a lock for a playoff berth and could even have a shot at winning the division.

12. Tennessee Titans (8-4)

Last week: 12 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Arizona

Tennessee is an old-school football team that pounds the rock behind two really good running backs. Derek Henry is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and a total of 629 yards while DeMarco Murray has racked up 518 yards. As a team, Tennessee is averaging 122 yards per game on the ground. Marcus Mariota has the ability to get hot at any moment and if he does then the Titans become a darkhorse in the AFC.

11. Atlanta Falcons (7-5)

Last week: 8 (-3)

Next game: home vs. New Orleans

How many times have these Atlanta Falcons been held to under 10 points and no touchdowns at home? Not very often. The loss at home to the Vikings dampers their chance of returning to the playoffs. However, if they can find some of that old offensive magic this week against the Saints, then they still have a shot at winning the division.

10. Carolina Panthers (8-4)

Last week: 7 (-3)

Next game: home vs. Minnesota

Carolina does not match up well with the Saints. New Orleans swept Carolina and holds all the tiebreakers against them. The Panthers don’t get much of a chance to catch their breath either because the first seeded Vikings are coming to town to finish their road trip. The Panthers are going to have to control the clock. If they can win the time of possession they will tire out Minnesota’s stellar defense and have a shot at winning.

9. Los Angeles Chargers (6-6)

Last week: 9 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Washington

Los Angeles is one of the hottest teams in the league, winning six of their last eight. That is why they are ranked in the top ten of these rankings. The Chargers have caught up to the Chiefs. Nobody wants to play the Chargers because they can get after the quarterback and create havoc for opposing offense. On the other side of the ball, they have an experienced quarterback and a young running back to rely on. Los Angeles will continue to win games and just like the Titans, be a darkhorse to challenge in the AFC.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4)

Last week: 10 (-2)

Next game: home vs. Seattle

Jacksonville’s defense is Super Bowl caliber and can lead them deep into the playoffs as long as Blake Bortles doesn’t mess it up. The Jaguars rank first in total defense (282.5 yards allowed per game), passing defense (167.1 passing yards allowed per game), sacks (45) and second in takeaways (27). Seattle will be a difficult challenge but Jacksonville has the luxury of playing this one at home.

7. Seattle Seahawks (8-4)

2017 NFL power rankings week 14

(Photo Credit: JONATHAN FERREY/GETTY IMAGES SPORT)

Last week: 11 (+4)

Next game: away vs. Jacksonville

Just how good is Russell Wilson?  He has the Seahawks winning games with a horrible offensive line and half of the Legion of Boom missing. Wilson should be the favorite to win the MVP award because without him the Seahawks would be lucky to have three wins. Wilson has thrown for 3,256, 26 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. Beating the Eagles was a statement to the rest of the NFC that the Seahawks are not to be overlooked.

6. New Orleans Saints (9-3)

Last week: 6 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Atlanta

There is no better running back duo in the NFL than Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. This duo is doing so well they need a nickname. Ingram likes Boom and Zoom but I am sure they can find a better one. New Orleans has swept Carolina because of these awesome backs that have led the way. If they can repeat that success against Atlanta this week they will put a nice hold on the division.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (10-2)

Last week: 2 (-3)

Next game: away vs. Los Angeles Rams

Philly had their long win streak snapped and it wasn’t a huge surprise. Winning in Seattle is tough and the Eagles had not been in many close games against good teams. The defense was a bit exposed and may struggle to shut down the Rams explosive offense. Carson Wentz will need to play great to keep the Eagles soaring.

4. Los Angeles Rams (9-3)

Last week: 5 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Philadelphia

Los Angeles has been on a scheduling gauntlet lately. The recently played the Vikings and Saints and now they have to face the Eagles. This is a big game for both teams as they are fighting for a possible first-round bye and possibly home-field advantage. Their recent win against the Cardinals was a tune-up for this showdown. There should be fireworks as the teams are tied for first in scoring offense averaging 30.1 points per game.

3. Minnesota Vikings (10-2)

Last week: 4 (+1)

Next game: away vs. Carolina

The Vikings are a win away from clinching the division title. All they have to do is win one game against the Panthers, Bengals, Packers and Bears. That should be easy enough for a team with a defense as strong as theirs. Case Keenum continues his MVP-level play completing 25 of 30 pass attempts against the Falcons. He didn’t throw a single incompletion in the second half. Minnesota has a third straight road game this week against the Panthers. It will be impressive if they can pull off another win.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-2)

Last week: 3 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Baltimore

The Steelers keep catching flack for winning close games against inferior teams but wins are hard to come by in the NFL. A win is good no matter if it is by one or 100 and Pittsburgh just keeps winning. They are earning a lot of experience for close battles they will encounter in the playoffs. When the playoffs start the Steelers will find themselves prepared for anything and everything.

1. New England Patriots (10-2)

Last week: 1 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Miami

New England continues to win games and look like champions while doing it. The Patriots are the best team in the NFL because they have the greatest coach and quarterback of all-time. Their defense is coming off a great performance against the Bills allowing just three points. New England has nothing to worry about and are gearing up for their favorite time of the year.

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2017 NFL power rankings Week 9

2017 NFL power rankings: Week 9

There were not a lot of changes to the power rankings after a pretty predictable week of football. Most the teams that were expected to win did their job and won the game. The playoff picture is starting to form and the races will begin to heat up as the weather around the country gets colder. Here are the 2017 NFL power rankings for Week 9.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-8)

2017 NFL power rankings Week 9

(Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)

Last week: 32 (no change)

Next game: Bye

Cleveland had the world stunned after the first half of their game in London. They were up on the Vikings 13-12 at the half.

The Browns went out in the second half and got outscored 21-3. This proves that the Browns have talent and they are still learning how to win.

They get a week to regroup with a bye and will be looking to find a win in the second half of the season so that they won’t become the second team to finish a season 0-16.

31. San Francisco 49ers (0-8)

Last week: 31 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Arizona

The 49ers got manhandled against the Eagles, but it was pretty expected. Philly is the best team in the NFL, and San Francisco doesn’t even have a win.

The 49ers will continue to struggle. Unless the Browns find a way to get a win, they won’t move much in these rankings. With time and patience though, John Lynch will rebuild the 49ers into winners. That much shows with their draft trades and their recent trade for Jimmy Garoppolo.

30. New York Giants (1-6)

Last week: 30 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Los Angeles Rams

The Giants are coming off of a bye, but it won’t do much to help their season. At 1-6, there is little to no chance that they can make the playoffs. The offense only puts up 16 points per game, which ranks 30th in the league.

The entire offense needs to be rebuilt from the offensive line up. This week won’t get any easier either as they take on the Rams.

29. Indianapolis Colts (2-6)

Last week: 29 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Houston

The Colts almost beat the Bengals, but almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Indianapolis hasn’t had a good defense in a very long time. Even when they won the Super Bowl, the defense was only good in the postseason. They are giving up over 400 yards and 30 points per game. With Houston up next, they will likely add another loss to their miserable season.

28. Arizona Cardinals (3-4)

Last week: 27 (-1)

Next game: away vs. San Francisco

Arizona had a bye week last week, but the rest of the season still looks dreadful. After losing David Johnson early in the season, the Cardinals have also lost Carson Palmer. Arizona’s offense is going to struggle to put up points even though they still have Larry Fitzgerald and Adrian Peterson.

The defense can’t lead this team as they are giving up the third most points in the NFL at 27.3 per game. Arizona needs to tank the rest of the season to get a good pick that can help this team compete in a tough division.

27. Miami Dolphins (4-3)

Last week: 20 (-7)

Next game: home vs. Oakland

The Dolphins were utterly and completely embarrassed against Baltimore. They looked more like a 2-4 team rather than a 4-2 team.

All season I have been saying this team isn’t as good as their record. They won’t win more than six games this season, and last week’s performance against the Ravens shows why. Miami has nothing to go to on offense, and it will be even worse with the trade of Jay Ajayi. The Dolphins only average 13.1 points per game, fewest in the NFL.

This team is going to stink and may even fall into the bottom three by the time the season ends.

26. New York Jets (3-5)

Last week: 26 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Buffalo

The Jets had a shot to beat Atlanta, but were outscored 9-3 in the fourth quarter. New York is having a great season considering that nobody expected them to have three wins after eight games. They won’t win more than five games total, but they aren’t as far away from being a playoff team as we all expected.

This week they get a divisional rival that is on a roll and will likely lose their fourth straight game.

25. Baltimore Ravens (4-4)

Last week: 28 (+3)

Next game: away vs. Tennessee

Despite losing Joe Flacco during their last contest, Baltimore smacked the Dolphins 40-0. The Ravens scored two touchdowns off of interceptions, one by C.J. Mosley and the second by Jimmy Smith.

Going forward, this team will need these type of performances to win games. Baltimore may also be without Flacco for an extended amount of time.

Either way, this team may be competitive, but won’t be a playoff contender.

24. Chicago Bears (3-5)

Last week: 25 (+1)

Next game: Bye

The Bears defense is keeping this team competitive. Chicago played the Saints tough, but ultimately fell short 20-12.

Not many people talk about it, but the Bears do have a very stingy defense. In their last three games, teams are only scoring an average of 15.7 points per game on them.

If Chicago can continue to run the ball effectively as Mitch Trubisky grows as a quarterback, then this team can pull off some upsets. In the end, the future looks bright in Chicago.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-5)

Last week: 24 (+1)

Next game: away vs. New Orleans

It is hard to condone the Bucs moving up a spot in these rankings, but the Dolphins getting annihilated forced a few teams to move up.

Just like the Dolphins are not as good as their record, the Bucs aren’t as bad as their record. Tampa has lost three of their five games by five points or less. This team is on the verge of being good. Once they learn how to win close games, they will be dangerous.

22. Denver Broncos (3-4)

2017 NFL power rankings Week 9

(Photo by Jack Dempsey / AP)

Last week: 19 (-3)

Next game: away vs. Philadelphia

It is so obvious that Denver needs help at quarterback. Trevor Siemian is incapable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL. He would make an excellent backup though.

The Broncos will be held back by their inability to pass. Teams can stack the box and stop the run, forcing them to throw the ball. That is exactly what the Eagles will do to send Denver to another loss.

21. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4)

Last week: 23 (+2)

Next game: away vs. Jacksonville

The Bengals were extremely close to having their season end. A loss to the Colts would have been a new low. Cincinnati managed to win the game 24-23 in the end.

The Bengals are clawing their way back into the playoff race. The task will remain difficult this week as they travel to Jacksonville to take on the toughest defense in the league. A win puts them back in the thick of the playoff race while a loss makes their task almost impossible.

20. Green Bay Packers (4-3)

Last week: 21 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Detroit

The Packers had a bye week to try and figure how they are going to ride Brett Hundley to some wins. The problem is the defense and the run game. Neither will take enough pressure off of Hundley to win enough games to catch the Vikings or earn a wildcard berth.

The Packers should tank the rest of the season and get a good draft pick to help out Aaron Rodgers. This week they take on the Lions, and there is a good chance they find a way to win.

19. Oakland Raiders (3-5)

Last week: 19 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Miami

In order for the Raiders to make the playoffs, they can only lose one more game the rest of the season. Having more than six losses will eliminate any team contending for the Wild Card.

To get their season on track, they have to travel to Miami to take on a bad Dolphins team. If Oakland losses this game, their season is over. If they win, it will likely be the confidence booster they need to revive their playoff hopes.

18. Los Angeles Chargers (3-5)

Last week: 17 (-1)

Next game: Bye

Los Angeles’ three-game win streak came to a halt, but nobody expected it to continue in New England. They did keep it close, losing by just eight points.

Heading into the bye, Los Angeles is 3-5, but are better than their record indicates. They could get hot and make a run for the playoffs, but it is unlikely.

The Chargers must continue to build their defense and tailor the offense around Melvin Gordon. Once they find the replacement to Philip Rivers, the Chargers can truly become contenders.

17. Washington Redskins (3-4)

Last week: 16 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Seattle

Washington was basically in a playoff game against Dallas and lost. They couldn’t stop the run at all as Ezekiel Elliott ran for 150 yards. The Redskins were also unable to run the ball themselves.

Washington doesn’t have a team talented enough to make the playoffs. To even have a chance to win games, they must protect the ball, and the Redskins have a minus turnover ratio. Moving forward, Washington will finish somewhere around six or seven wins.

16. Detroit Lions (3-4)

Last week: 14 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Green Bay

The Lions have stumbled to a 3-4 record. They can’t bring it together at the same time. One week the offense plays amazing. The next week, the defense does.

Matthew Stafford is doing his thing on offense, but the Lions still don’t run the ball well enough consistently. The Lions only average 82.1 rush yards per game. Until they balance their offense, this team will not find success.

15. Atlanta Falcons (4-3)

Last week: 18 (+3)

Next game: away vs. Carolina

The defending NFC Champions struggled against the Jets, but still found a way to win. Offensively, Atlanta is not clicking the way they were last season, and Matt Ryan is struggling. He has only thrown nine touchdowns in seven games.

If the Falcons are to become a contender again he must get this offense rolling. Until then the Super Bowl hangover will continue and the Falcons will be in danger of missing the playoffs.

14. Houston Texans (3-4)

Last week: 11 (-3)

Next game: home vs. Indianapolis

Houston put up a valiant fight against the Seahawks in Seattle, mostly because Deshaun Watson is a stud who nobody should have passed on.

Watson is giving the Houston fanbase something to look forward to. As he develops, he will have the Texans as Super Bowl contenders for the next ten years.

Right now, they are going to play .500 ball with all the injuries on defense and the lack of an offensive line. This week they should pull back to .500 with the Colts coming to town.

13. Carolina Panthers (5-3)

Last week: 14 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Atlanta

Carolina got back in the win column after a disappointing loss to the Bears. The defense stepped up by shutting out the Buccaneers.

Cam Newton is still struggling this season, and it is causing the up and down season from the Panthers. If Cam can start playing at the level he is capable of, then this team will become extremely dangerous.

This week they have a tough game against their rival Falcons. A win would help the Panthers stay on the heels of New Orleans for first in the NFC South.

12. Tennessee Titans (4-3)

Last week: 13 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Baltimore

Just like Jacksonville, Tennessee jumped up a spot while on a bye due to Houston’s loss. Tennessee is a roller coaster right now. They have had great highs and bigger lows.

Coming off their bye, they have a two-game winning streak and are fortunate enough to face Baltimore next, a team they are better than and should beat.

Tennessee has the ninth-ranked rushing attack, averaging 124.6 yards per game. They must continue running the ball to stack wins and fight for a playoff berth.

11. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 9

(Photo from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPdIb6uKkBI0)

Last week: 12 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Cincinnati

Thanks to a loss by the Texans, Jacksonville jumped up a spot while on a bye. The Jaguars are 4-3 but are still poised for a playoff appearance due to their historically great defense. Jacksonville ranks sixth in total defense (300.3 yards per game), first in pass defense (161.7) and is giving up just 15.7 points per game. The Jaguars have 33 sacks in just seven games and have also forced 16 turnovers this season. If they protect the ball they will continue to win games.

10. Dallas Cowboys (4-3)

Last week: 10 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Kansas City

Dallas’ game against Washington felt like a playoff game. Both teams were 3-3 and trying to keep their season afloat with a win. Dallas won the game 33-19 to keep their season alive.

The Cowboys have won two straight games because they are finally running the ball successfully. In those two games, Dallas has averaged 217 yards per game on the ground. They must keep that up if they want to find themselves in the playoffs.

9. New Orleans Saints (5-2)

Last week: 9 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Tampa Bay

The Saints are on a five-game winning streak and in control of the NFC South. Most predicted it would be the Falcons, while others were split between the Bucs and Panthers. Few expected it to be the Saints.

As usual, the Saints are doing it with their offense behind future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. New Orleans’ 27.3 points per game is sixth in the NFL.

The defense has stepped up lately, allowing just 344.7 yards per game in their last three games. That is why they have won five straight.

8. Seattle Seahawks (5-2)

Last week: 8 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Washington

Seattle was in a shootout against the Houston Texans. Fortunately for them, Russell Wilson threw for a career-high 452 yards and four touchdowns to lead them to a win. The lack of a strong offensive line has yet to hurt the Seahawks. Defensively, Seattle had a bad week, but is still the strength of this team.

They should get another win this week against the Redskins. The road to the Super Bowl in the NFC will require a path through Seattle if they keep this up.

7. Buffalo Bills (5-2)

Last week: 7 (no change)

Next game: away vs. New York Jets

Buffalo had their most convincing win of the season, beating Oakland 34-14. The Bills are for real and can truly challenge the Patriots for the top spot in the AFC East.

Buffalo, like many of the top teams in the NFL this season, is doing it with defense. Buffalo is tied for second in points allowed with 16.4 points per game.

The Bills don’t need to do much offensively to win games, and that is why the Bills are seeing success.

6. Los Angeles Rams (5-2)

Last week: 6 (no change)

Next game: away vs. New York Giants

The Rams are coming off a bye and are now in second place in both scoring offense and in their division. They have the same record as the Seahawks, but Seattle beat them once this season.

This week, they get to face the Giants, who only have one win this year. Los Angeles is going to run the ball and play solid defense to get another win. If they lose, they could see a significant drop in the rankings.

5. Minnesota Vikings (6-2)

Last week: 5 (no change)

Next game: Bye

Early on against the Browns, the Vikings looked lackadaisical. They were also in danger of having the worst loss in the NFL this season. At halftime, they were trailing 13-12, but outscored the Browns 21-3 in the second half to pull out a win and stay atop the NFC North division.

Moving forward, the Vikings will continue to rely on their Super Bowl caliber defense to win games and get into the playoffs.

4. New England Patriots (6-2)

Last week: 4 (no change)

Next game: Bye

The Patriots head into the bye on pace for 12 wins, also known as a typical Patriots season. New England has gotten to six wins by improving their defense.

In the first four games of the season, New England was giving up 32 points per game. In the last four games, the Patriots are only giving up 12.8 points per game.

It may sound like a broken record, but the Patriots will continue to win, continue to be a Super Bowl contender and continue to remain in the top five of everyone’s power rankings.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (6-2)

Last week: 3 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Dallas

The current run Alex Smith is on is quite legendary. After half a season, Smith is completing 69.1 percent of his passes with an average of 8.4 yards per attempt, which is a career high. He has also thrown for 2,181 yards 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Yes, you read that correctly. Alex Smith has no interceptions through the first eight games. This offense is clicking on all cylinders and should continue to lead this team to victories.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)

Last week: 2 (no change)

Next game: Bye

Pittsburgh heads into their bye with a big road win to push their record to a stellar 6-2. They are on pace for 12 wins and a possible first-round bye.

The Steelers are led by a defense that is a nightmare for opponents’ passing attacks. Pittsburgh has the second-best pass defense, allowing just 180 yards per game. The offense is finally getting hot as well, scoring 20 points or more in their last two games.

The Steelers will get some rest before facing a very easy second-half schedule. Their remaining opponents have a combined record of 26-32.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (7-1)

Last week: 1 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Denver

Philly continues to roll through the competition. Their latest victim was the San Francisco 49ers, who they beat down 33-10.

The Eagles are firing on all cylinders. The offense is ranked sixth in total yards (371.8), 11th in passing yards (242.5), fifth in rushing yards (129.2) and fourth in points (29).

Defensively, the Eagles rank 14th in total defense (327.1), first in rush defense (70.4) and 10th in points allowed (19.5). They are a balanced team, and the only thing that can beat the Eagles at this point is themselves.

 

Featured image from SportsFormulator

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

 

NA vs. EU Rift Rivals power rankings/predictions

Rift Rivals is around the corner. We will get the chance to see some of the top teams from EU and NA face off in a regional battle for bragging rights. EU and NA has been a long time rivalry in professional League of Legends. They were two of the first big regions to produce pro teams during LoL’s early days.

The history of the NA vs. EU rivalry has been a bit lopsided as of late. EU comes in as heavy favorites with most of the top of NA looking inconsistent for most of the first half of the split. You never really know with international tournaments though. The two regions are used to playing to their own metas so it will be interesting to see how the teams match up. Here are my power rankings for the teams playing at Rift Rivals:

1. Fnatic

Photo via Riot Games

Fnatic come into Rift Rivals with a steady 6-1 record. After struggling last split, they found their groove towards the end. Fnatic have found a style that works for them and continue to show mastery on it. ADC Martin “Rekkles” Larsson has his pocket pick Kennen that teams must watch out for. If it’s not the Kennen, it’s his Tristana that can give teams trouble. Mid laner Rasmus “Caps” Winther gets his first shot at international competition. This is a great opportunity for him to face off against some of the best in the world in Bjergsen and Jensen at Rift Rivals. With Rekkles usually on more utility carries, Caps is heavily relied on to be the main damage dealer for the team. Caps currently leads the league for all mids in damage percentage and damage per minute.

Young jungler Mads “Broxah” Brock-Pedersen gets his chance to prove himself as one of the best junglers in the West. He’s been dominating the EULCS this split with a monster 11.3 KDA. He’s an aggressive jungler that has had phenomenal performances on early game junglers such as Elise and Kha’zix.

Fnatic are comprised of two veterans in SoaZ and Rekkles who should be able to lead this rising squad to a Rift Rivals victory.

2. Unicorns of Love

Unicorns of Love come into Rift Rivals with a 5-1 record, only dropping a series to Splyce. They are led by star top laner Kiss “Vizicsacsi” Tamás. Rookie of the split Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir will also be a player to watch as he’s come into his own in the EULCS. He has a deep champion pool, willing to pull out unique champion picks such as Warwick and Hecarim. With EU having some of the best junglers in this tournament, NA will need to step up.

Fabian “Exileh” Schubert may have a a rough time. In EU he’s currently dead last in CS difference@10. He’s also near the bottom for many mid lane stats. He will be up against the likes of Bjergsen, Jensen and Ryu. Teams will most likely look to exploit the mid and bot lane. ADC Samuel “Samux” Fernández has looked improved this split, he comes in facing the likes of Arrow, Doublelift and Sneaky. UoL have strong shot calling and have shown consistency to play well together. In just about every matchup against TSM they’ve handily defeated them. We’ll see if that changes this time around.

3. Cloud 9

Photo via Riot Games

Cloud 9 come in off a solid win over TSM, but a very deflating loss at the hands of CLG. Had they beaten CLG they may have been in a higher position. Cloud 9 are led by carries Nicolaj “Jensen” Jensen and Zachary “Sneaky” Scuderi. Jensen has been having the best split of his career in the NALCS. He sits near the top in most statistical categories among NA mids.

In NA Cloud 9 has had some of the same issues from last split. Their early game play making still lacks a bit, but their laning phase is still pretty solid. They have a versatile roster with their interchangeable top laners of Jeon “Ray” Ji-won and Jung “Impact” Eon-yeong. Ray has slowly been taking the starting role from Impact showing the ability to be a carry top laner for the team.

In the jungle rookie Juan “Contractz” Garcia has still shown some inconsistencies, but has turned it on as of late. He’ll be facing many good junglers from EU, so he’ll need to step it up if Cloud 9 have a chance. It will be his first international competition so he’ll look to prove himself. Cloud 9’s rivalry with Fnatic will be ignited once again as they get a chance to face off in this tournament. Cloud 9 took the battle of the Atlantic, but Fnatic has gotten the best of them at Worlds.

4. Team SoloMid

TSM are the reigning North American champions and had the chance to eliminate G2 from MSI. They failed to do so and were eliminated themselves. They get another shot in the EU rivalry this time with ADC Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. Doublelift vs. Rekkless and Zven will be matchups to watch here at Rift Rivals. Rekkless isn’t really known for his aggressive laning phase so we’ll need to see how he does against one of NA’s best.

Many thought TSM would retake the NA throne easily with the addition of Doublelift back onto the roster. That hasn’t been the case as TSM sit in 2nd place with a 7-3 record. Jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen has looked phenomenal on Lee Sin. Anything outside of Lee, he has looked meh at best. He’ll be a huge crutch for TSM if he has a repeat of his performances at MSI.

TSM have been known to choke at international events. We’ll need to see if Rift Rivals will be another one added to that list.

5. G2

Photo via Riot Games

After a great run at MSI where they reached the finals before losing to SKT, G2 was expected to come back and destroy the EULCS scene. That hasn’t been the case as G2 seem to have taken a step back in terms of performance. They may be using the regular season to try out new things, but their old strategy of playing to the late game has not worked well for them. They currently sit at 3-3, third in their conference.

Their early game play making is lacking. While they can still try to play around star ADC Jesper “Zven” Svenningsen, teams will look to punish them for their lack of early game play making. Support Alfonso “Mithy” Aguirre Rodriguez has been a weak link this split getting caught out uncharacteristically. He will need to step it up or he’ll be punished by some of the better supports at the tournament.

6. Phoenix1

Phoenix1 will be heavy underdogs as the only team coming to rift rivals with a negative W-L. They currently sit in 8th place with a 3-7 record. They struggled heavily out the gates, but after bringing in new jungler Michael “MikeYeung” Yeung and veteran support Alex “Xpecial” Chu the team has looked much more competitive.

MikeYeung brings in a signature Nidalee pick that teams will need to watch out for. Former MVP ADC No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon has not shown the same prowess he did last split. He’s currently last in CS differential@10 and near the bottom in other statistics.

The team has looked improved in recent weeks. Maybe Rift Rivals can be a spring board for turning their season around. Ryu, Arrow and Xpecial are the steady veterans who have played in international competition before. Ryu in particular should know his opponents very well. Phoenix1 could definitely take a game or two under the right circumstances.

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Cover photo by Rift Herald

2017 NALCS Summer Power Rankings

The North American LCS Summer Split is just days away. There were a few roster changes in the offseason but not too many. It seemed like most teams wanted to try to keep a core of the roster to build off of – similar to what we saw from Splyce last split in the EULCS. Most teams don’t want to have to do a full roster overhaul in between spring and summer.

It’ll be interesting to see how the standings begin to unfold as we begin the Summer Split. Will CLG stumble out of the gates like we’ve grown accustomed to? Will TSM bounce back from their MSI performance? Can Cloud9 reclaim the throne? Without further ado here are our 2017 NALCS Summer power rankings:

10. Echo Fox

Photo via Riot Esports

Echo Fox is deciding to shake up their strategy heading into summer with C9’s owner Jack announcing on Twitter that they decided to only scrim their sister team to start out the split, saying this is a “bold strategy” for the young team. While something like this could work on a more talented team like Cloud9 or TSM, Echo Fox hasn’t proven to have the talent to not need to scrim LCS teams. Their quality of practice could potentially dip from this, but it could also allow for more strategy development as well. Echo Fox can develop their own meta and have a some surprise factor facing off teams on stage.

Echo Fox will need to rely heavily on their mid/jungle duo of Henrik “Froggen” Hansen and Matt “Akaadian” Higginbotham once again. Akaadian stormed onto the scene with some great carry performances in his rookie split, but fell off towards the later half once teams began to figure him out. At ADC Yuri “Keith” Jew still garners the starting position for now, but they did add challenger series veteran Brandon “Mash” Phan in the offseason to compete with him. Keith struggled last split and took much of the criticism for Echo Fox doing poorly last split.

9.Team Liquid

To many people’s surprise, Team Liquid stuck it out and brought back the same exact roster from last split, pre-Doublelift. Team Liquid fans can only hope that mid laner Greyson “Goldenglue” Gilmer’s bootcamp to Korea has given him Faker-like ability to finally perform well on the LCS stage. This will most likely be his last chance to prove he belongs in the LCS, so it will be do-or-die for his career.

Jungler Kim “Reignover” Ui-jin struggled in his first split without Huni. The carry jungle meta really wasn’t his style and consequently struggled. With the meta shifting back to tank junglers, we could see an emergence of his former all-star self.

Team Liquid is looking to rely heavily on Cain being added as a strategic coach. They seemed to really like how he did near the end of the split so it will be his chance to prove himself as a coach. Talent wise, Team Liquid isn’t in a bad spot.

8. EnVyus

Photo via Riot Esports

EnVyUs returns with basically the same roster besides subbing out mid laner Noh “Ninja” Geon-woo for upcoming EU mid laner Yasin “Nisqy” Dincer. Nisqy can hopefully be an upgrade over Ninja as he was one of the weaker members of the roster last split. Nisqy comes from EU after helping Fnatic Academy qualify through the Challenger series.

Star jungler Nam “lira” Tae-yoo developed into one of the best junglers in North America and had some phenomenal performances last split.

If Nisqy can gel with the team well, EnVyUs could definitely surprise a lot of people. They also brought on Kim “Violet” Dong Hwan, a former pro starcraft player to coach. While he doesn’t necessarily have a LoL background, it will be interesting to see how he handles the language barrier among the players. Lira and Seraph will need to step up their English if nV will have any chance to compete this split.

 7. Immortals

Immortals swapped junglers in the offseason with CLG in an interesting move due to Joshua “Dardoch” Hartnett’s toxic attitude. Jake “Xmithie” Puchero brings a much supportive style to the jungle. It will be a complete 180 in terms of jungle styles. Dardoch was often hard carrying Immortals in their victories, while also being tasked with doing much of the shot calling. Having a decisive voice on a team is vital in pro play and Immortals will definitely miss it.

Most people will consider this move a downgrade, but it could also work better chemistry wise. It’s no doubt Dardoch is one of the best up and coming players of the NALCS, but team chemistry wise he needs the right players around him. Maybe having a more supportive jungler in Xmithie will allow Immortals laners to shine more.

6.Dignitas

Dignitas was expected to be strong contenders after adding the star top/jungle duo of Lee “Chaser” Sang-hyun and Kim “Ssumday” Chan-ho for Spring Split. That was not the case as Dignitas struggled heavily at the start of spring. Their early game wasn’t bad, but they struggled to make plays in the mid to late game. This was most likely due to the language barrier between the imports.

Once new head coach David “Cop” Roberson was introduced to the team during the middle of the split the team begun to find success. During the off season they also added LCS veteran Brandon “Saintvicious” DiMarco to their coaching staff. Some other additions include the addition of support Terry “Big” Chuong and jungler Lee “Shrimp” Byeong-hoon. Big is starting the first week of LCS so we’ll need to see if their mid-late game shot calling has improved. They definitely have the talent to compete, but their macro shot calling has been lacking.

5. Flyquest

Photo via Riot Esports

Flyquest returns a former player of the team in Jason “Wildturtle” Tran at ADC. Stylistically, Wildturtle fits this team perfectly. He’s known to be extremely aggressive often at the sacrifice of his life at times. Mid laner Hai “Hai” Lam often will call for very aggressive calls where every member must commit and Wildturtle can do that just fine.

Flyquest stormed onto the scene last split contending for top 2-3 for the first half of the split before teams began to figure them out. They were fan favorites for playing off meta picks such as Mordekaiser bot, Shaco jungle, and Maokai support. Jungler Galen “Moon” Holgate had a breakout split for Flyquest after being underwhelming on any other team he was on before. The effect of having a strong shot caller in Hai really allowed him to show his true potential in the jungle.

Flyquest looks to build off a decent first split finishing fourth place in the spring.

4. Counter Logic Gaming

CLG upgraded individually in terms of talent with the jungle swap of Dardoch and Xmithie. Dardoch brings a high ceiling with the potential to be one of the best junglers in the world. The knock on him is his poor attitude and team chemistry that he’s shown from his time on Immortals and Team Liquid. It’s a high risk, high reward move for this organization but can pay off huge.

This is the best roster Dardoch will have ever been equipped with. Veteran Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black is a strong voice and leader on the team that should be able to keep Dardoch in check if things get heated. CLG has experience dealing with high ego players so having a player like Dardoch shouldn’t be anything new. Although if things don’t start off well, one could see things snowballing out of control very quickly. If things mesh well though, CLG could be strong contenders for the NALCS crown in summer.

3. Phoenix1

Phoenix1 returns the same lineup from last split. Led by their Korean carries of Ryu “Ryu” Sang-wook and MVP ADC  No “Arrow” Dong-hyeon they were able to place third last split. The disparity between them and the top two was pretty big it seemed as they got swept 3-0 by Cloud9 in the semifinals.

If they want to contend for the title they’ll need to see some consistency in the jungle from Rami “Inori” Charagh. Inori took a few weeks off after having issues with some players on the roster. When Inori returned he did look much improved. Most of his issues seem to stem from him tilting on stage. If he can manage his tilt well, this team can definitely look to contend with the top teams. New support, Shady, also gets his chance at playing an entire split. He was an unknown addition towards the end of last spring and had a decent showing in their third place match against Flyquest.

2. Cloud9

Photo via Riot Esports

Cloud9 was one move away from dethroning TSM last summer in one of the best finals series we’ve seen in awhile. They were huge favorites to win spring in the preseason with TSM’s Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng sitting out. Cloud9 went undefeated for the first half of the split, but once teams began to improve, Cloud9 struggled to adapt. The team was a bit slow to make early game plays and relied heavily on team fighting in the mid game to snowball leads.

Jungler Juan “Contractz” Garcia will look to build off a solid ‘Rookie of the Split’ and become even better this split. He started off really well looking like one of the best junglers. He slowly began to stagnate making some of the rookie mistakes we expected. With a split under his belt, he should know what to expect heading into summer. Cloud9 will also bring back the duo top laners of Impact and Ray. It will be interesting to see if they utilize the same way they did last split, Ray on carries and Impact on tanks. More teams should catch onto this and adjust their pick/bans accordingly.

Under coach of the split, Reaper, Cloud9 will look to contend for the title once again and earn another trip back to Worlds.

1. Team SoloMid

TSM will come in as Summer Split favorites with the return of star ADC Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng. Doublelift won’t be coming in completely cold, as he had the chance to play with Team Liquid near the end of spring. If TSM can begin where they left off when Doublelift was on the roster, they can dominate the LCS once again. They have stated that they want to utilize the six man roster with another ADC. It will be interesting to see who they bring on as a sub.

Domestically, TSM is a dominant team that has shown the ability to not show fear to play at a high level. They struggle to translate this same high level of play to the international stage where they have shown to be scared to pull the trigger on fights. Hopefully with Doublelift returning, he brings another decisive voice in the shot calling that will allow them to make more aggressive plays.

Jungler Dennis “Svenskeren” Johnsen had a poor showing at MSI. He was simply out classed by every other jungler there aside from maybe Trick. He’ll need to turn things around if TSM wants to continue their reign on North America.


Catch the start of LCS June 2nd!

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Cover Photo by Riot Games