Updated: May 29, 2007 12:19:35 PM PDT

Sorting out the playoff picture and the week's best


TOP PERFORMERS

A look at the best individual performances from Week 13:

Orlando DL Greg White: White recorded 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles and a forced fumble in the Predators' loss to Utah. White now sits just a half sack from tying the Arena Football League single-season record.

Georgia WR Chris Jackson, who had 13 catches for 186 yards in the Force's win over Tampa Bay, became the fourth player in AFL history to surpass 11,000 career receiving yards.

The Utah combo of QB Joe Germaine and WR Siaha Burley: The Blaze duo combined for four TDs in Utah's win over Orlando. Germaine was 27-of-32 for 289 yards and seven TDs while Burley finished with 14 receptions for 191 yards and the four TDs.

The Chicago Rush defense: Rush DB Dennison Robinson's fourth-quarter interception against Arizona Saturday was the team-record 35th it has forced this season. Also, John Moyer's sack gave him 36.5 for his career, eighth-best in AFL history.

Grand Rapids DB Chuck Wesley: Wesley posted 11 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery in the Rampage's win over Colorado.

Colorado QB John Dutton and WR Damian Harrell: In a losing effort, the Crush duo was still spectacular. Harrell notched 12 catches for 165 yards and five touchdowns while Dutton finished 29-of-47 for 357 yards and six TDs.

New York QB Aaron Garcia: Garcia threw for 358 yards and nine touchdowns and led a nearly-flawless offensive performance by the Dragons in a victory Monday night over the VooDoo. New York committed no turnovers and the only time it failed to score a touchdown was when time ran out to end the first half.

THE PLAYOFF PICTURE

The good news is Dallas clinched the division title and a first-round bye with its win on Saturday. The bad news is it did this last year, too.

But maybe the Desperados learned a lesson from last season's loss in the conference championship game. There weren't any big celebrations after Friday's win. Just a determination to keep getting better.

"Not to be coy about it, but it doesn't mean anything," said Dallas head coach Will McClay. "You win the division title but lose in the first round of the playoffs, what good is that? It's only a step in the process."

But the Desperados might be without a pair of offensive starters. Wide receiver Marcus Nash is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a broken hand while center Jeff Chase suffered a concussion. Nash hurt his right hand on the helmet of a Columbus defender shortly before halftime.

"It's frustrating," he said after the game with his hand wrapped. "But I hopefully I can make it back for the first playoff game."

Dallas still has four-regular season games remaining, plus a first-round bye, so there's a chance he could be back. Chase was held out of the rest of the game Friday as a precautionary measure, but concussions are nothing to dismiss.

Georgia is the only other team in the National Conference to clinch a playoff berth and appears to be a lock to clinch the other bye. At 10-2, the Force have a three-game lead over Orlando.

The rest of the conference is a little jumbled. The Predators are currently in the No. 3 slot at 7-5, but Columbus and red-hot Philadelphia sit one game back at 6-6. New York, now 4-1 in its last five games with Aaron Garcia back at QB, holds the sixth spot over Tampa Bay. New Orleans (4-8) is still in the hunt, but would need some help. Austin, after losing back-to-back heartbreakers, sits 3-9 and would need a miracle to make the playoffs.

Over in the American Conference, Chicago and San Jose are both 9-3 and have clinched a playoff spot, but the race for the byes is still up in the air. Colorado sits at 8-5, but the Crush still have games at Utah and home against Chicago and Dallas. It wouldn't be a shock if the Crush lost all three or won all three.

Kansas City sits in the No. 4 slot at 7-5, with Los Angeles at 6-6 and Utah holding the No. 6 slot with a 6-7 mark. Nashville (5-8) and Grand Rapids (4-8) are still lurking in the playoff picture as well. Arizona (3-10) and Las Vegas (2-10) are out of the race.

Monday Night Matchup

Colorado (8-5) at Utah (6-7)
Monday, June 4
(ESPN2, ESPN360, 10:30 p.m. ET)

The Crush hit the heart of their schedule coming down the home stretch, starting with Monday night's visit to Utah. Colorado, which also plays Chicago and Dallas in the final weeks of the regular season, features one of the league's most potent passing duos in John Dutton and Damian Harrell. But Utah counters with Joe Germaine and Siaha Burley and this has the look of a high-scoring affair.

• Complete Week 14 schedule
HOGE'S TAKE
Hoge
Since Aaron Garcia came back from his injury, resurgent New York is starting to resemble last season's Chicago Rush team. They've beaten some good football teams since his return from a fractured leg and he's proven why so many feel he's one of the top two or three quarterbacks in the league.

Right now this team is 5-7 (4-1 with Garcia) and just a game back of Philadelphia and Columbus. But the Dragons are playing some of the best football in the Eastern Division. The next two games against Austin and Orlando are two that the Dragons should pull out, but that sets them up for a tough two-game stretch at Dallas and Columbus. Traveling to Dallas to play the Desperados is going to be difficult because Dallas is one of the best teams in football, but the last game against Columbus could be for a playoff spot.

The Dragons will make the playoffs now that Garcia is back because he's an exceptional quarterback. He has tremendous poise, a great knowledge of the game and he can make any throw on the field. In addition, he excels throwing in tight windows and that's why the Dragons have a chance to be this year's Rush.

WEEK 13 RUNDOWN
Utah 65, Orlando 62
One week after some wondered if Danny White should still be coaching, the Blaze knock off Orlando and take a one-game lead for the final playoff spot in the American Conference.

San Jose 48, Nashville 34
James Roe and Rodney Wright combine for 20 catches, 225 yards and three TDs as the SaberCats clinch a playoff spot.

Kansas City 62, Los Angeles 56
Raymond Philyaw threw five TDs to lead the Brigade to a big win over L.A.

Grand Rapids 58, Colorado 56
Brian Gowins kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give Grand Rapids the win and the season series' sweep of the Crush.

Dallas 56, Columbus 47
Dallas continues to play like the best team in the league. Clint Dolezel threw five TD passes, giving him 77 on the season.

Georgia 52, Tampa Bay 38
Georgia rebounds from last week's surprising loss with a convincing win over the surging Storm. Chris Greisen threw four TDs and ran for another as Georgia notched its 10th win.

Chicago 53, Arizona 47
Matt D'Orazio's tossed six TD passes as Chicago beat Arizona for the first time ever (the Rattlers had won the previous five meetings between the two teams).

Philadelphia 76, Austin 66
Think QB Tony Graziani makes a difference? In his two games back from injury, the Soul have scored 78 and 76 points.

New York 69, New Orleans 63
Aaron Garcia might have thrown nine TDs, but it was the defense making several big stops down the stretch that keyed the Dragons' win over the VooDoo.

-- ESPN.com

MOTION
Can anyone stop the San Jose offense?
 

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