by David Taylor
Week five is upon us! After some offensive explosions last week, this week promises to be even more exciting. Here is a look a this weekend’s action:
Philadelphia Soul (2-2) vs. Baltimore Brigade (2-2)
The Soul travel back to Baltimore to face the Brigade in a rematch of a week two game in which the Soul won 36-27. Since the week two win, Philadelphia has lost two straight, and are surrendering over 50 points per game in those two contests. Baltimore has neither won nor lost two consecutive games this season. Look for Philly to be laser-focused, as they seek to avoid a three-game skid.
Player to Watch: WR Darius Prince, Philadelphia Soul. Prince has tallied 32 receptions for 316 yards and 8 touchdowns so far this year. He is quarterback Dan Raudabaugh’s leading deep threat. Look for Prince to stretch the Brigade defense to the breaking point this weekend.
Prediction: Soul 44, Brigade 43
Albany Empire (4-0) vs. Atlantic City Blackjacks (2-2)
Last weekend, the Blackjacks relied heavily on their defense to propel them to victory. The Blackjacks forced three turnovers against the Brigade, including one pick-six. Atlantic City will face its toughest task to date in the Empire offense this week. The Empire is steamrolling opponents this season, regardless of the venue. Quarterback Tommy Grady is an early MVP candidate, and WR Malachi Jones leads the league in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. While it doesn’t seem to matter where Albany plays, Atlantic City is a different team at home. The Blackjacks average 7.5 more points at Boardwalk Hall. Atlantic City will need to pull out every stop to topple the Empire.
Player to Watch: QB Tommy Grady, Albany Empire. Grady is leading the league in all passing categories and recently tossed his 800th career TD pass. He has a quick release and rarely makes a mistake.
Prediction: In the upset of the year, Atlantic City beats Albany 45-44, proving yet again that the house always wins.
Washington Valor (2-2) vs. Columbus Destroyers (0-4)
The Valor and the Destroyers are a tale of two teams traveling quickly in opposite directions. Washington has won its last two games and is back in the thick of the playoff hunt. Columbus is still searching for that elusive first win of the season and in the history of this version of the team. The Destroyers continue to struggle with snapping the football and turnovers. Columbus lost two fumbles (out of four total) last week and threw one interception. Washington has seemingly fixed the majority of mistakes and red zone inefficiency that plagued them in games one and two. Valor quarterback Arvell Nelson has put the team on his shoulders. Last week, Nelson was responsible for seven total touchdowns, making his case for MVP considerations.
Player to watch: WR Fabian Guerra, Columbus Destroyers. Guerra is not only an excellent receiver; he is also an electrifying kick returner. Guerra has already returned two kickoffs for touchdowns this season and is averaging 27.5 yards per return.
Prediction: Columbus is close, but is not quite there yet. Valor 44, Destroyers 38
Check out the staff picks below!