Week 8 Sunday Game Previews


Photo courtesy of Pat Pryor

We have a new addition to our AAF previews this week. We are introducing the addition of one of our newest contributors, John “Derek” Dennis’s: Degenerative Analytics AAF Picks of the Week for any of our viewers that are interested in the gambling aspect of football, enjoy and make sure to give him a follow @menace524 and keep tabs on all his work going forward with Blitzalytics.


Also, keep tabs on Blitzalytics’s Youtube page as we will be streaming a Game Time Talk for the 4:00 game of the Legends at Iron, and would love to have some fan interaction with us that are on live through Twitter, Facebook, or any platform.


Atlanta Legends (2-5) at Birmingham Iron (4-3)


Where to Watch: CBS Sports Network (4:00 EST)


Preview

The Birmingham Iron is coming off a major disappointing overtime loss to the Memphis Express last week 31-25. The Iron return home to legion field against the Atlanta Legends to redeem themselves for allowing their playoff hopes slip through their grasp in final seconds of the game. In week 8 the Iron has another opportunity to clinch a playoff berth with a victory. However, in week 7 Birmingham’s defense displayed signs of fatigue at the end of their loss. It will be interesting to see whether they can rebound and continue to show the fans that the steel curtain defense still packs the power punch that has carried the team this season. On Offense the Iron provide a balance attack that displayed Luis Perez and Trent Richardson ability to control time of possession and score efficiently. It will be important to see whether their production continues to improve.


As for the Atlanta Legends, they are looking to spoil the Iron’s final home game of the season. The legends have not performed well with a 2-5 record. For two weeks in a row the Legends have only scored a combination of twelve points on offense and allowing 63 points total on defense. Overall, the team is looking to find its identity on both sides of the ball. The Legends lack of production for several weeks raises the question on which player on the roster will show some pride and have their standout performance of the year and upset Birmingham at home?


Degenerative Analytics Pick

Line: Atlanta at Birmingham (-6) Over/Under 38

Let’s see here: Birmingham is coming off a tough loss last week but averaging 28 points in the last two. Aaron Murray has been as useful as a football bat in the last couple of games, so one would think that the computer picks Birmingham. Meh. Atlanta is probably due for a win (or a close loss) and after a couple of higher scoring games, the Ham could put up a stinker.


Computer Pick: Atlanta +6 and over 38


Players to watch

Notable players to watch this weekend is Aaron Murray and Legend’s offense. Birmingham is coming off one of the largest comeback losses of the season against the Memphis Express. It will be interesting to see whether the Iron defense continues their hangover from last week.


Keys to the game

Atlanta Legends

  • Establish the running game

  • Defense force turnovers

  • Minimize the passing windows for Perez

  • Keep Iron offense out of the red zone

  • Win the special teams battle

  • Win the field position battle

Birmingham Iron

  • Time of possession

  • Establish the running game

  • Special Teams

  • No offensive turnovers

  • Pressure the QB

  • Minimize penalties on offense & defense

Top 5 Fantasy Players

  1. Luis Perez (BHM)

  2. Trent Richardson (BHM)

  3. Aaron Murray (ATL)

  4. Malachi Jones (ATL)

  5. Beniquez Brown (BHM)


Prediction

Birmingham Iron will pull off the victory at Legion Field against the Legends with an impressive performance by Trent Richardson. The Iron defense will provide a mild scare and allow the Legends to stay in the game until the 3rd quarter. The Iron defense has been carrying the team all season. Since their loss last week against Memphis they have shown signs of fatigue throughout the year. However, the steel curtain of the Iron’s defense will prevail.


Final Score: Birmingham Iron 25, Atlanta Legends 19


Written by: Andrae’ Perry



Arizona Hotshots (4-3) at San Antonio Commanders (5-2)


Where to Watch: NFL Network (8:00 EST)


Preview

The last time these two faced off, San Antonio won its second consecutive game; since then, they haven’t lost, extending the streak to four games. When it looked like the Commanders were going to run away with that week 5 matchup, the Hotshots came storming back and nearly had a comeback for the ages. While they’ll have the disadvantage, this time, of playing in San Antonio, whose fans have packed the stadium since week one, the last matchup certainly left a longing for more. The Hotshots are just one game behind the Commanders in the Western Conference, so a win this weekend would knot them up with only two games left. Though the Commanders are certainly on a hot streak, the Hotshots, too, haven’t lost since they last met. They look like a completely different team than the one that made mistake after mistake when they hosted the Commanders last; QB John Wolford even earned league player of the week honors last week after a convincing win against San Diego. This Sunday night game certainly will be an interesting matchup between two hot teams that are improving every week.


Degenerative Analytics Pick

Line: Arizona at San Antonio (-1.5) Over/Under 43.5

In their last matchup, San Antonio led at halftime 26-0 which included a pick-six from John Wolford. They were then outscored 25-3 in the second half and narrowly escaped a 29-25 win. Arizona is the more efficient team of late and is poised to return the favor by beating the Commanders at home.


Computer Pick: Arizona +1.5 and under 43.5


Players to watch

John Wolford is coming off arguably his best game of the season. It will certainly present problems for the San Antonio Defense if this superb level of play continues into this week. This game may be decided on which quarterback performs better, so keep an eye on Logan Woodside as well. He, too, has been performing well as of late, but fans know that he is mistake-prone on occasion and hold their breaths that he doesn’t regress back to that. In particular, the Commanders’ offense has a lot of potential for explosiveness, with players like Mekale McKay and Greg Ward Jr. presenting matchup nightmares. That being said, watch out for star DB Erick Dargan. The Hotshots will need him to lead the way with solid play in the secondary to shut down the weapons the Commanders have. However, the Hotshots have a matchup nightmare of their own to utilize - Rashad Ross, who has over 300 more yards than the next receiver on the roster. In the last matchup, Jayrone Elliott proved big for the Commanders defense, look for him and the rest of the defensive line to try to win the trenches and get Wolford off of his game.


Keys to the game

Arizona Hotshots

  • Offensive line needs to be solid. Keep the QB upright and dictate the pace of the game.

  • Spread the ball out. Take advantage of the talent of Rashad Ross, but don’t become too dependent on him.

  • Get ahead early. It will silence the crowd and establish some confidence.

San Antonio Commanders

  • Balance the offense. Utilize Farrow to maintain to the integrity of the passing game.

  • Put pressure on Wolford; make him uncomfortable and force the ball out earlier than he wants.

  • Convert two-point conversions. This game could easily come down to a few points, so two-point conversions will matter.

Top 5 Fantasy Players

  1. John Wolford, QB (AH)

  2. Logan Woodside, QB (SAC)

  3. Rashad Ross, WR (AH)

  4. Mekale McKay, WR (SAC)

  5. Jhurell Pressley, RB (AH)


Prediction

I expect a close, hard-fought battle between two hot teams. I wouldn’t expect anyone to jump out to a big lead like the last matchup; in fact, don’t be surprised if this one goes down to the wire. I predict good offense on both sides, but a key turnover by Arizona earlier in the game puts San Antonio up. A game-winning drive attempt by the Hotshots falls just a little short under the pressure of 30,000 Commanders fans. San Antonio keeps their win streak alive.


Final Score: San Antonio 31, Arizona 27


Written by: Kristen Mori