Week 5 Game Previews

Week 5 Game Previews


Photo Courtesy of Pat Pryor

Orlando Apollos (4-0) at Birmingham Iron (3-1)


Where to Watch: TNT


Preview

The Birmingham Iron are coming off their first loss of the season against San Antonio. This week they have an enormous divisional game against the Orlando Apollos at home in Birmingham, Alabama. Orlando is the only remaining undefeated team in the AAF. The winner of this game will take the lead in the Eastern Conference division in which both teams are looking to position themselves to have control of home-field advantage in postseason play. Against the Commanders the Iron offense struggled last week with Luis Perez throwing several Int’s and one crucial interception to end an offensive drive that started inside their own 10-yard line. If Birmingham wants to upset Orlando, Perez will have to play better and stretch the field beyond 15 yards from the line of scrimmage.


The Iron defense will be challenged by an explosive Orlando offense who are averaging over 20 points a game. The Apollos are led by “The Old Head Ball Coach” Steve Spurrier who has become one of the AAF’s fan favorites in the league. It will be interesting to see whether one of leading defensive team in the Birmingham Iron will be able to slow down the Apollos offensive attack.


Players to watch

The players to watch for the Iron are Trent Richardson and Luis Perez. If the offense does not establish the run to take pressure off Perez against the Apollos defense, it will be a long day for Birmingham. On the opposite side of the ball, Garrett Gilbert and D’Ernest Johnson will be the keys to success. Gilbert has shown that he is a game manager and is slowly maturing as a polished QB. The Apollos will have to establish the run with Johnson, Akeem Hunt, and De’Veon Smith.


Keys to the game

Orlando Apollos

Ball control Offense

Establish the running game

Stretch the field with passes beyond 15- 20 yds

Defense force turnovers


Birmingham Iron

Establish the running game

Creating big plays early on offense

Stretch the field with passes beyond 15-20 yds

Defense limit fatigue/ and time on the field


Top 5 Fantasy Players

Trent Richardson, RB (BHM)

Quinton Patton, WR (BHM)

Garrett Gilbert, QB (ORL)

Charles Johnson, WR (ORL)

Brandon Ross, RB (BHM)


Prediction

The weather condition will play a major factor in this important game for the Iron and Apollos. The Iron will fall short due to continuous struggles at the quarterback position from Luis Perez. The Apollos offense will control the clock and wear down the Iron’s defense for the victory in Birmingham, Al.

Final Score: Apollos 28, Iron 18


Written by: Andrae’ Perry



Salt Lake Stallions (1-3) at San Diego Fleet (2-2)


Where to Watch: NFL Network


Preview

The Fleet head back to San Diego after giving the Express their first win and losing their starting QB in the process. They hope to regroup and get back in the win column in front of their fans against the Salt Lake City Stallions. Meanwhile, the Stallions are coming off a blizzard bowl in their home stadium where they conceded a close game to the Orlando Apollos. This should be a great game under the San Diego sunshine with temperatures in the low 60’s.


Players to watch

San Diego lost starting QB Philip Nelson to a broken clavicle and will need to rely on their opening day starter Mike Bercovici moving forward. His biggest downfall the first time was an inability to feel the pressure, which is essential as he will have DE Karter Schult coming off the edge all game. I think Bercovici will need to rely heavily on RBs Ja’Quan Gardner and Terrell Watson to keep the pressure off him. The Stallions O-Line will have their hands full as they try to contain Pro Football Focus’ highest graded pass rusher, DE Damontre Moore.


Keys to the game

Salt Lake Stallions

Shut down the RBs. Make Bercovici throw the ball

Keep Damontre Moore contained

Bump Nelson Spruce at the line


San Diego Fleet

Keep Bercovici upright

Establish the run

Do not turn the ball over


Top 5 Fantasy Players

Ja’Quan Gardner, RB (SD)

Josh Woodrum, QB (SLC)

De’Mornay Pierson-El WR (SLC)

Dontez Ford, WR (SD)

Terrell Watson, RB (SD)


Prediction

This will be an ugly game where both teams rely heavily on their run game and defense. Mike Martz finds creative ways to get Dontez Ford and Ja’Quan Gardner in space for a few big plays which ultimately becomes the difference.


Final Score: Fleet 20, Stallions 17


Written by: David Connors @connors_david

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