The Alliance of American Football rolls into week 4 with some marquee games on the slate this weekend. The Eastern Conference has clear distinction from the top of the conference to the bottom of the conference with two undefeated teams and two winless teams. The Western Conference is more balanced with no winless or undefeated teams. After week 4 is completed, we’ll get a clearer picture as to which teams are contenders and which teams are pretenders.
San Diego Fleet(2-1) v. Memphis Express(0-3)
This game was flexed out of it’s 8pm EST slot time on NFL Network earlier this week, making room for the Salt Lake City-Orlando clash. The Fleet are arguably one of the hottest teams in the AAF currently. The QB switch from Mike Bercovici to Philip Nelson has been a good move for the Mike Martz’ coached team as Nelson has become one of the top QBs in just a short two week span. Nelson and the Fleet offense are heavily complimented by Ja’Quan Gardner and Terrell Watson in the run game. The combination, effectively known as “Cruisin’ & Bruisin'” in the Twitter realm, has led the Fleet to straight victories. Gardner has two straight 100-yd rushing games and has elevated himself into top tier RB category. The Fleet run game faces one of their toughest challenges to date, though. Despite the 0-3 record the Express currently hold, they have proven to be one of the best defensive teams in the league. They arguably have a top 2 defense and the QB switch by Mike Singletary proved to be a wise decision last week – just makes you wonder why it took so long. Zach Mettenberger will have continue to take advantage of that momentum in order to be a very tough Fleet team at home.
Prediction: Fleet 29-22
Orlando Apollos v. Salt Lake Stallions
The game that was flexed into the primetime slot on the NFL Network, the Stallions get their second straight home game against the best team in the AAF, arguably. The Apollos have had three straight weeks of being ranked in the top 2 in the power rankings and after last week’s victory at home, they remain at the top. Coming off their first victory of the year, the Stallions beat, who most fans felt were the best team in the West, the Arizona Hotshots, in convincing fashion, Josh Woodrum proved to be the piece that the Stallions needed to succeed and another week at full health will do wonders for the Stallions offense. The Stallions are probably the most underrated team in the league, despite having a 1-2 record, the Stallions are a Josh Woodrum injury away from possibly being 3-0. The Apollos come to town behind a surprisingly balanced offense and tough, turnover-creating defense. Garrett Gilbert is the leader in the MVP voting currently and Terrence Garvin is making a case of being defense player of the year. This game should be the highest scoring game of the week and you shouldn’t leave this game disappointed.
Prediction: Stallions 38-36
San Antonio Commanders v. Birmingham Iron
This game is the most intriguing game of the week. The Commanders looked like they were well on their way to being the cream of the crop after week 1’s defeat of the San Diego Fleet. But since week 1, the Commanders have lost two straight games and the fanbase is starting to turn on starting QB Logan Woodside. Woodside has been very inconsistent in the two losses and last week he played poorly on the road against the Fleet. This week doesn’t get easier as they travel to Alabama and battle the league top ranked defense. The Iron, led by Trent Richardson on offense, have brought old school football to the league and they have been successful. While the run game numbers don’t look overly impressive, their balance on the offense to get first downs and continue drives is the bread and butter. They’re led on defense by defense player of the year candidate Jamar Summers. Summers has been the very definition of a shutdown corner in the league allowing a league low 5 receptions. Last week, he had 3 tackles, 4 passes defensed and an interception. The Commanders will need to avoid throwing Summers’ way in order to have a chance at getting back on the winning track. Woodside needs to be more consistent and the Commander defense needs to stop the Iron from sustaining drives in order to pull off the upset.
Prediction: Iron 24-12
Atlanta Legends v. Arizona Hotshots
There’s not much we can really say or expect from this game. The Legends have been absolutely dreadful since the season started. Former head coach Brad Childress stepped down weeks before the season started, offensive coordinator Michael Vick was moved from the OC position to an offensive assistant and also became the media relations person for the team. The new OC coordinator, earlier this week resigned, only after three weeks. There’s reports that Hall of Fame quarterback Phil Simms is using his position at CBS to lean on the Legends coaching staff to continue starting his son Matt Simms. If the reports are true, it would definitely explain the amount of the turmoil the Legends have been in since the season started. Matt Simms has been downright awful. Everytime he looks like he’s about to make strides in the right direction, he’s make an erratic throw or throws into double or triple coverage and gets turns the ball over. This week the Legends travel to Arizona to take on the Hotshots. The Hotshots will have a new starting quarterback in Trevor Knight, as incumbent starter John Wolford is dealing with an injury. The Hotshots will need to rely heavily on their running back to move the ball on offense.
Prediction: Hotshots 31-9
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