AAF Week 6 Schedule and Picks
It’s Week 6 in the Alliance!
Some questions we have entering this weekend’s action:
- Can the Orlando Apollos be stopped? And will they clinch a playoff spot this weekend?
- Attendance went up for the first time all season last week. Should we expect the same again?
- Who is going to take control in the West?
- Will any team decide that running the ball is a good way to move it? Or will we see another week dominated by passing?
With those questions and more, we’re excited for the first games of the second half of the season. Here’s a brief look at the four inter-conference matchups:
Memphis Express (1-4) at Salt Lake Stallions (1-4)
Saturday, March 16, 2019, 4:00pm EST (B/R Live), Rice–Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah
The Stallions return to the RES after losing on a last second field goal in San Diego last week, while the Legends are recovering from a similar scenario in Atlanta on Sunday. But one of the teams will leave this game with two wins on the season, which would bolster both teams’ meager playoff hopes.
Josh Woodrum threw for a league-record 380 yards in that loss last week, one that was exacerbated by his three interceptions. If he can instead find his teammates with the passes this week, while also mixing in a healthy dose of Joel Bouagnon (or whoever else will join him in the backfield), this game could be a blowout.
Memphis has struggled to find consistent quarterback play all season, though Zach Mettenberger seems to have entrenched himself as the starter. The weather should be more spring-like in Salt Lake this week, so at least we won’t have the cold weather to complain about this week.
Arizona Hotshots (2-3) at Orlando Apollos (5-0)
Saturday, March 16, 2019, 8:00pm EST (NFL Network), Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, Florida
The Hotshots become the latest team to attempt to dethrone the undefeated Apollos, and in quarterback John Wolford, they have the pilot at the helm that can keep pace with the Apollos Garrett Gilbert. Two top offenses and two top defenses will make this a competitive game… at least until Orlando inevitably pulls away and moves to 6-0 on the season.
The Apollos feature the number one offense – in total yards (402.0 ypg), passing yards (263.8 ypg), rushing yards (138.2 ypg) and scoring (29.8 ppg) – as well the second-best defense (in total yards and points allowed). Arizona is a distant second in total offense (343.8 ypg) and third in scoring offense (21.8 ppg), and are middle of the pack defensively in most categories. If it comes down to making a stop to win, I trust the Apollos more, but the Hotshots will be hungry for a win, if only to keep pace in the muddled West.
San Antonio Commanders (3-2) at Atlanta Legends (2-3)
Sunday, March 17, 2019, 4:00pm EST (CBS Sports Network), Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
The Commanders are playing in their fourth straight game away from home, meaning three of their last four games will be played at the Alamo Dome. They’ve won two in a row on the road trip, the longest of any team in the league this season, and last week, they looked like a conference-leading team.
They rushed out to a 26-0 first half lead against the Hotshots, then held on down the stretch as the Hotshots tried to storm back. The Legends, behind new starter Aaron Murray, used a balanced attack to beat Memphis in the “battle for third place,” and will be seeking their third straight win in this one as well. Only one team can emerge with that third straight victory. But only one team will be in first place if they do.
Birmingham Iron (3-2) at San Diego Fleet (3-2)
Sunday, March 17, 2019, 8:00pm EST (NFL Network), SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, California
The Fleet are hoping that SDCCU Stadium continues to be nice to them as they look to remain undefeated at home for the season. They won an amazing game last week, so they have to be hoping that they can maintain the same level of intensity in order to keep pace at the top of the Western Conference. They’ll enter the game knowing if San Antonio managed to move to 4-2, but that shouldn’t change the way they play this game.
Mike Bercovici will be making his third start of the season, and after struggling during Week 1, he looked like a vastly different quarterback last Saturday. He should rely more on the running game – Ja’Quan Gardner was Offensive Player of the Week a few weeks ago but mostly invisible last week – to mix things up against a still tough Iron defense.
The Iron, on the other hand, are looking to end a short two-game losing streak that can probably see most of the blame pushed on the offense, though Keith Price may have shown himself to be the solution at quarterback last week in relief of the ineffective Luis Perez.
Enjoy all the games this weekend! We’ll be back with game recaps as the action concludes around the league.
My winners for the week: Salt Lake Stallions, Orlando Apollos, San Antonio Commanders, and San Diego Fleet