Sweden Power Rankings

Pre-Season power rankings for the Swedish national league 2020

 

Current states of the league

As the coronavirus spelt the end for the domestic league in Great Britain the Swedish league, slated to start on the 2nd of May, will now begin on the 15th of august in a condensed format.  On the 5th of July, The Swedish American Football Federation, SAFF, announced that it will officially allow all football games in all divisions including flag football.

The seven teams in the championship division will therefore be allowed to play, however, there will be protocols and rules in place to safeguard the players and staff involved.  The condensed season will consist of 3 game weeks, with teams being separated in 2 different locations, meaning all teams will face each other once.

The regular season will be followed by playoffs for the top 4 teams. The preliminary location for the playoffs is Uppsala, on the 17th of October. Breakdown of the Swedish league as a whole can be found in our previous post.  Games will be played on the 15th of august, 29th of august, 19th of September and the 17th of October.

Pre-season power rankings

You know the drill when it comes to power rankings at this point. Every game week during the regular season and playoffs we’ll spin through the league, tell you what’s hot and what’s not, by ranking the teams from no.1 through no. 7.   Obviously this season is unlike any other with the coronavirus forcing everyone to adapt. Given the more laissez-faire approach the Swedish government has taken to the handling of the pandemic, most teams have been able to practice for more or less the entirety of the period, give that they adhere to certain restrictions and common sense.

Local rules have however caused difficulty for some, like Staffanstorp Saviours in the development league. Their local municipality wouldn’t allow any practice on their fields. Some of these local rules have forced teams to come up with new ways to practice and prepare. These extenuating circumstances in combination with the fact that the entire season will be played simultaneously with tackle football, thus ruling out most tackle players, does create difficulty trying to properly rank teams before a single snap has been taken. But here goes –

Credit - S Owens

  1. Carlberg Cavaliers

Game week 1 opponents: Eskilstuna Sharks & Uppsala 86ers

The Cavaliers are having a hellacious offseason. The team which saw a renaissance last year, managing to acquire national team player, Max Lindvall, from the 86ers and another national in defensive starter Chris Rejby. Additionally the team saw a breakout season from Patrik Hellman, earning him a nomination for offensive player of the year and toping it off with a place in the national team squad that went to Israel for the euros. Coming of all of this, last year’s fourth place team, would be in ample position to improve on that result. However, the loss of not one or two but all three players to Uppsala 86ers during the offseason is a tremendous dent to their aspirations. It will be up to the veteran captain and QB Tore Malmström to right the ship, otherwise this could end up being a grim season for this staple in Swedish flag football.

  1. Norrköping Monarchs

Game week 1 opponents: Göteborg Marvels & Ale Brewers

Norrköping Monarchs since their championship season in 2014 have seen a steady decline in performance. The squad which was once home to Swedish flag football royalty like Martin Vänt and the Hellman & Hillman duo has seen those players fall into flag-retirement and a crop of youthful players take their spot. For those paying close attention the team’s X2000 line up (all players born after the millennium) has been catching steam. Last season saw them break the hold of declining performance and win the development league.

Taking the step up to the championship division is no small change in level of competition and it’s going to be interesting to see what the youthful squad has to offer. However, at the current time we don’t see them making their way into the top five just yet.

Credit - S Owens

  1. Göteborg Marvels

Game week 1 opponents: Nässjö Saints & Norrköping Monarchs

Göteborg Marvels is new on the scene, having only formed a flag football team in 2019, this will be their first season in the domestic league. The team is the brain child of Mattias Hejdensten, a former tackle player turned flag football player who’s also been the national team coach for the Swedish flag football team.

Hejdensten obviously brings in a wealth of experience and knowledge and he’s managed to cobble together a flexible squad with a fair amount of youth. Their performances during 2019 showed promise, grabbing trophies in 2 of the 3 events they participated in. Our prediction is, however, that they’ll need a season under their belt before reaching the medal games in the league.  We do want to throw out a caveat here, that this team is the dark horse of the power rankings and they should not be overlooked as potential medal finishers.

  1. Eskilstuna Sharks

Game week 1 opponents: Carlberg Cavaliers & Uppsala 86ers

Eskilstuna Sharks have won 4 silver medals in the last 5 years. Only missing out on the silver in 2018. The team is known for three things – “Mummy Shark”, having the highest number of active players and Philip Smith. During this offseason they’ve lost two of those things. Nässjö Saints in their unprecedented offseason have passed them in total number of players and their offensive ace and QB, Philip Smith, now wears the yellow and red of Uppsala 86ers.

However, the team still has talent, fielding several national team members. Given their experience and solid stable of players they should be able to make it into the playoffs.  The only dark cloud in the sky is the situation at quarterback. Smith is, arguably, the best quarterback in Sweden and replacing him won’t be easy.  Coach Andreas Hellström will have a few sleepless nights mulling his decision. The team has Joe Probst who’s guided them to four medals, but has pushed past 50 years old. More likely is that we’ll see Pontus Råneby line up behind center, which he’s done with some success in previous seasons.

Credit - S Owens

  1. Nässjö Saints

Game week 1 opponents: Göteborg Marvels & Ale Brewers

Nässjö Saints is a new team and is somewhat astounding. The team, which was originally created by a few friends for some fun, was looking dead in the water during the summer of 2019. Fast forward a year and the team is fielding practices with 40+ players in attendance. The Saints are going to participate in the championship division, the development division and the women’s division proving that the intake of new players has been immense.

Usually you’ll find we’re a tad suspect of new teams, Göteborg and Norrköping, earning lower rankings. However, the sheer mass of talent that the team captain and QB, Lukas Östlund, has gathered, even garnering the attention from a previous premier Mexican player, should yield results.   As we get acquainted with the team in the coming weeks I’m sure we’ll be impressed.

  1. Ale Brewers

Game week 1 opponents: Nässjö Saints & Norrköping Monarchs

Ale Brewers are the 2019 third place finishers. The much ballyhooed team surprisingly lost in the semi-finals to Eskilstuna, after being up 26-13 and giving up 20 unanswered points, as Philip Smiths offence poured on the pain. The offseason since that defeat hasn’t been much better. The team has struggled with attendance at practice, as they’ve seen a literal baby boom among its players. So why do we have them sitting at second place in our power rankings?

Well because they have a few great athletes! Lining up with the Andersson brothers on the outside and, while still in his 40s, Swedens best rush Robert Almstrand. They’ve got fire power coming out all sides. Daniel Davies the QB and team captain has years of experience with almost all members of the team, be it from tackle football or flag. So what this will come down to is who lines up on Saturdays. If the team manages to reassemble that 2018 squad we have no doubts they’ll make a triumphant return to the finals. If they can’t, we might see them fizzle again, much like 2019.

Uppsala 86ers

Game week 1 opponents: Eskilstuna Sharks & Carlberg Cavaliers

The previous champions should always start in first place in the preseason power rankings. Those are the rules over at NFL.com. If we chose not to adhere to that rule, nothing would change. It’s the 86ers league and we all just play in it.     The self-proclaimed “Kings of the North” have had an offseason unlike any we’ve seen in Swedish flag football.

Nässjö has completely cornered the market on quantity of new players, the 86ers have however bought the town when it comes to quality. They’ve added four national team members to the squad – Philip Smith – the 2017 Flagging New Year MVP, Max Lindvall – Previous defensive player of the year, Patrik Hellman – nominee for offensive player of the year, and Chris Rejby. They’ve also gained back the 2018 MVP Sundiata Owens, who missed out on the league in 2019 due to injury. With that amount of new fire power the reigning 5-time champions deservedly sit pretty atop the pile and the other teams will have to manage an extraordinary feat to knock them off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “Sweden Power Rankings

  • 10th August 2020 at 11:50 am
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    Great reading! I Love it, thnaks for putting in the effort =D

    Reply

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