By: David Taylor
Week 10 is here and things are heating up! The playoff teams could be set after this weekend, making making each game a must-win for one or both of the teams involved. Here is what is happening this week:
Albany comes into this contest on the heels of their highest scoring output this season. The Empire edged out Atlantic City 63-61. The Soul are also coming off of a big win, making this matchup even more interesting. If Philadelphia wins, the Soul clinch a playoff spot. If Albany wins, the Empire clinch the top seed in the playoffs. Much is at stake. In the previous matchup, Albany defeated Philadelphia at home, 57-48. In that matchup, WR Lonnie Outlaw recorded three touchdown receptions. Look for the Soul to target him again this weekend.
Player to Watch: WR BJ Bunn, Philadelphia Soul. Bunn has stepped in nicely for the injured Aaron Wascha. Bunn’s reception totals have increased in each of the past three weeks, and he topped 100 yards receiving in the win against Columbus.
Prediction: Albany wins in a shootout, 63-56.
Well hello to Mr. Warren Smith, Jr.! Smith stepped in for an injured Randy Hippeard last week and lit up the Empire defense. Smith went 24-34 with 329 yards and 7 touchdowns. If he can match that output this weekend, Atlantic City will defeat Washington. Speaking of Washington, the Valor need just one more win to clinch a playoff spot. With the log jam in the middle for spots 2-4, Washington can ill afford to lose to Atlantic City. Playoff seeding is also on the line, and the Valor are eager to sew up that second place spot. It will be a close game, especially since a loss will effectively end the playoff chances for Atlantic City. Expect a high energy game with so much on the line.
Player to Watch: QB Warren Smith, Jr. Atlantic City Blackjacks. Smith is the key to victory for Atlantic City. His incredible numbers last week make Atlantic City extremely unpredictable and dangerous for the rest of the season. After leading Atlantic City to its highest point total of the season last weekend, against the best team in the league no less, it would be criminal to not let Smith start again this week.
Prediction: Atlantic City turns the tables on Washington. Blackjacks 56, Valor 55.
Columbus has been eliminated from the playoffs, so the Destroyers get to play the role of spoiler for the rest of the season. Columbus plays Baltimore and Washington in two of the last three weeks. Wins over both of them would almost certainly impact the playoffs. A win for Baltimore sets up a nice playoff run for the Brigade. If Baltimore wins out, the Brigade will likely be the 2 seed in the playoffs. Needless to say, Baltimore is not looking past Columbus this weekend.
Player to Watch: WR Brandon Collins, Baltimore Brigade. Everyone is well aware of the touchdown streak for Joe Hills, but Collins is the leading receiver for the Brigade. Collins leads the team in yards per catch and in total yards. He trails Hills only in touchdowns.
Prediction: Columbus destroys the playoff party for Baltimore. Destroyers 44, Brigade 38.
Here are the staff picks for this week: