Thursday, July 07, 2011

Rattlers @Power Preview - Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

Well, here it is, already: The last home game of the regular season. Went by fast, didn't it?

Fittingly enough, our last game is also going to be possibly our toughest and most important one. I've hammered it to death, but we're in do-or-die formation at this point. Any loss will most likely tombstone our playoff chances - or at very, very least, make us totally dependent on Cleveland choking.

In many ways, I am at a loss as to what to write this week that I haven't written repeatedly before. Next to only (maybe) the Sharks, the Rattlers are the toughest team we've faced yet. In fact, most power rankings and coaching polls have them ranked higher than Jacksonville. This week, it's our A-Game or nothing. I can go on about the normal things, but it seem superfluous.

Obviously, we need Morris to start. The simple fact is, we win more with him than without him. This week, the Power signed Bill Stull as their #2 QB. Obviously, this means that the McCabe train has officially left the station, bringing our total number of people in that position over the season to 6. This has been our prime weakness right along, and something that better not happen next year. With all of those changes, Morris has been as close to a regular face that we've had, and we need that stability behind center.

Part of this stability is his connection with his receivers. DeWalt and Washington know his routes, know how he thinks and have the best connection with him. With Willis in the wings as a third option, it's all solid. As great as things worked with Campbell and Hall last week, I'm not sure that the Power should risk them against a team as solid as Arizona. Sure, keep them handy in case we need a change of direction at some point in the game.

Defense needs to bring their best, even more so than the offense. Our defense has been streaky at best all season, and that's my biggest concern. But then, it usually is. Again, I'm not telling you anything I haven't said before.

Nick Davila is a hell of a quarterback with a lot of yards and over a hundred TDs on the season. His receivers are Windsor, Harvey and Geathers are even better than Orlando's and aren't going to give us any leeway.

If there is any bright side, it's that their competitive games (taking away pushovers like the Talons and Mustangs) have been decided by less than two touchdowns. This is not a strategy that we have been unfamiliar with this season. They're going to absorb our scores, because they intend to score even more. If we can make a few third and fourth down stops, it might be what it takes to turn the tide.

I realize that this preview has been rather vague - but, again, it's because there's nothing new to say about a game like this. It's been an up-and-down season, and we know who we are now. If the Power plays their best, then they have a shot. I had had the hope that the Rattlers would play soft this week, being as how they've locked up their division at this point - however, they're still playing for seeding in the likelihood that they play the Sharks in the final game. Also, they know that they have a bye next week to absorb any bumps and bruises.

The simple fact is, come Sunday evening, we - as fans - need to show up in force at Consol and cheer them on. Give it one last hurrah at home before the playoffs and hope against hope that we're participating in them.

Elsewhere in the league
  • Frankly, maybe even more than our game, the most important one this week is the one on the NFL Network Friday night: Cleveland visiting Philly. If the Soul manages to beat the Gladiators, it will make our life sooooooo much easier. Can they pull it off? Yeah, I don't think so - but the Mustangs gave me some hope last week.
  • You're not missing anything online Friday night, as the other game is between two of the three worst teams in the league: the Voodoo and the Mustangs.
  • As Dallas is still worried about seeding and clinching a spot, their game against Jacksonville Saturday has the potential to be bloody.
  • The Shock is still on the cusp, so their meeting with the Blaze at 9:00 on Saturday is very crucial to them. Right now, those two teams are tied, so the winner could walk away with a lot.

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