by David Taylor
Week four is here! The top three teams hit the road this week to face the bottom three teams. Columbus will be making its home field debut this weekend, facing the AFL leading Albany Empire. Will the Destroyers get their first win? Our experts weigh in below:
Columbus finally gets a home game. Too bad the Destroyers are welcoming Albany as their first home opponent. The Empire enters the contest red hot. Last weekend, Albany was unstoppable against the Soul, scoring on every possession. Columbus struggled with offensive line play again, fumbling four snaps and losing two. Overall, Columbus turned the ball over three times. The highlight of the week for Columbus was a kick return for a touchdown. The Destroyers will have many opportunities to return kicks this week.
Player to Watch: WR Malachi Jones, Albany. Jones is leading the AFL in both receptions (23) and yards (350). He is tied at five for the league lead in touchdowns. He will cause all sorts of problems for Columbus.
Prediction: Empire 42, Destroyers 30
Atlantic City returns home after a tough loss last weekend. The Blackjacks are looking to build some momentum for the season, as this will be the first of a three-game homestand. Baltimore is coming in looking to continue their strong start to the season. The Brigade is leading the AFL in points per game (44.7).
Player to Watch: DB Joe Powell, Baltimore. Powell leads the lead with three interceptions so far this season. Blackjacks QB Randy Hippeard needs to avoid mistakes in order for the Blackjacks to triumph.
Prediction: Blackjacks 44, Brigade 43 in the upset of the weekend.
Philadelphia suffered its first loss of the season last weekend. Ironically, the Soul also tied a season-high for points scored in a game. Philadelphia is second in the league in scoring, and they will be facing a Valor team that is last in the league defensively. Washington is giving up 43 points per game. Also of note, over the last four seasons, the Soul is 9-2 in games following a loss.
Player to Watch: WR Lonnie Outlaw, Philadelphia. Outlaw set career highs in receptions and yards last week in the loss to Albany. Outlaw has taken advantage of his increased targets to become the go-to receiver for QB Dan Raudabaugh.
Prediction: Soul 44, Valor 41
Here’s the staff picks. Their season W/L records are in parenthesis.