AAF's Week One Sunday Game Previews

Updated: Feb 11, 2019


Photo Courtesy of Pat Pryor

Memphis Express (0-0) vs. Birmingham Iron (0-0)


Preview

The Birmingham Iron start their season opener at home against the Memphis Express at Legion Field on February 10, 2019. The Iron looks to establish an identity on both sides of the ball as curiosity looms over the City of Birmingham about the new franchise and American Alliance Football League. During the offseason, the Iron acquired fan favorites from Alabama and Auburn in order to ignite enthusiasm about the arrival of the franchise.


The Memphis Express is on the road for their first game of the season. Coach Mike Singletary is set to bring his aggressive coaching style to take on the Birmingham Iron at Legion Field. The Express is loaded with explosive playmakers and players who were recently drafted in the NFL. The Express have added two notable QB’s in Christian Hackenberg from Penn State and Zach Mettenburger from LSU.


Key Questions


Who will rise as the Face of the Franchise?

Although there are fan favorites on the teams, however, what player will stand out as a leader by his performance to lead the Iron to their first victory in franchise history.


Can Trent Richardson regain his running back zeal?

The former 1st round draft pick has seen his performance decline on the professional stage with tenures with the Browns, Colts, Raiders, & Ravens to name a few. His NFL yard per carry was 3.3 yards and a total of 17 touchdowns.


Can Coach Tim Lewis pull out a win?

The former San Francisco 49ers defensive back coach is starting his first head coaching opportunity with the Birmingham Iron after spending 16 years in the NFL. Coach Lewis was instrumental in turning the New York Football Giants organization around as their defensive coordinator under head coach Tom Coughlin leading them to an 11-5 record in 2005 and later winning the Super Bowl in 2007.


AP-SPORTS COUNSELING Key Facts

One of the keynotes regarding the Birmingham Iron and Alliance of American Football is whether the professional franchise can win over the City of Birmingham fan base. Many say that your first impression is the last impression. In that case, this game is humongous for the Iron to win in order to establish a permanent fanbase of Alliance fans. Winning always changes the minds of individual who are curious. Losing only add more doubt, questions, and uncertainty. Can the Birmingham Iron flip the switch and change the culture of a college town? Tune in on February 10, 2019, at Legion Field.


Players to watch

Trent Richardson, RB (BI)

Chris Davis, DB (BI)

Luis Perez, QB (BI)

Christian Hackenberg, QB (ME)


Keys to the game

Memphis Express

  • Must be the 1st to score

  • Controlling the line of scrimmage

  • Secondary tackling

  • Force turnovers

Birmingham Iron

  • Establishing the run

  • Strong pass rush

  • Ball control offense


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Trent Richardson, RB (BHM)

  • Christian Hackenberg, QB (MEM)

  • Quan Bray, WR (BHM)

  • Alton “Pig” Howard, WR (MEM)

  • Luis Perez, QB (BHM)


Prediction

The Birmingham Iron will pull out the victory due to having the home field advantage. Since Memphis is away from home and both teams are playing their first game of the season, there will be a lot of in-game jitters for players who have not seen the field in a while. However, it will be very close in the beginning and the Iron will slowly pull away on the legs of Trent Richardson.)


Final Score: Birmingham Iron 31, Memphis Express 27


Written by: Andrae’ Perry



Salt Lake Stallions (0-0) vs. Arizona Hotshots (0-0


Preview

This AAF opening weekend matchup features two teams who seem to be in the middle of the pack as far as talent goes. Salt Lake is led by former NFL head coach Dennis Erickson, who spent time with the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. On the opposite side, Arizona is coached by Rick Neuheisel, who was most recently the head coach of the UCLA Bruins. This should be an offensive battle as both teams feature familiar faces at the offensive skill positions. With that being said, this should be a very fun game to watch at Sun Devil Stadium in Arizona.


Players to watch

The biggest surprise coming into this game is the decision of the Hotshots to start quarterback John Wolford over Trevor Knight. Wolford played collegiately at Wake Forest and had a brief opportunity in the NFL with the Jets. I still expect to see Knight at some point as he is a tremendous option as a dual-threat and had a great college career at Oklahoma and Texas A&M. Their main target will be Josh Huff, who played college ball at Oregon before playing three seasons in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he had 51 career receptions for 523 yards and four touchdowns. On the other side, electric wide receiver Kenny Bell will be the star of the Stallions’ offense. Bell had an outstanding college career at Nebraska before getting a shot in the NFL with the Buccaneers, Ravens, and Broncos. His quarterback will likely be Josh Woodrum, who played at Liberty in college. Whoever can have the most success out of these two QB-WR duos will have a great shot at winning this game.


Keys to the game

Salt Lake Stallions

  • Put pressure on the quarterback

  • Get Bell the ball

  • Limit turnovers


Arizona Hotshots

  • Lock down Bell

  • Get pressure on Woodrum

  • Create big play opportunities


Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Kenny Bell, WR (SL)

  • Josh Huff, WR (ARI)

  • Josh Woodrum, QB (SL)

  • John Wolford, QB (ARI)

  • Trevor Knight, QB (ARI)


Prediction

As I mentioned, I see both quarterbacks playing for the Hotshots in this one. I believe Knight will come in and steal the spotlight as he will be the best player on the field. Salt Lake won’t have an answer for his ability as both a passer and runner. Huff will have a couple touchdowns and Knight will have at least one on the ground as well. Bell will have some success for the Stallions but it won’t be enough. If they can’t get Bell the ball effectively, this one could get ugly for Salt Lake. I have the Hotshots winning by a couple scores and getting off to a great start to their inaugural season.


Final Score: Hotshots 28, Stallions 17


Written by: Ryan Lippert