Thursday, June 13, 2013

Soul/Power Round Two

I'm strangely optimistic about this game.  Philly hasn't won a division game yet, we've beaten them, they've made some consistent mistakes, and we looked good last week.

First off, even though the Power lost in San Jose last week, it kind of felt like a win.  Cassidy took the snaps and looked confident the whole game.  In fact, in the last minute of the game, it was tied up.  Everything after that was a matter of risk/reward that didn't fall our way.  San Jose is one of the toughest teams in the league, and the Power hung in against them and played a good, clean game.

Philly, on the other hand, very nearly lost to New Orleans at home last week.  It was a sloppy, sloppy game where they never held a lead until almost the end.  Also, they continued messing up in a critical area they've repeated week after week: Blowing it in the fourth with stupid mistakes.  When the Power was out there, they were in the driver's seat until Dirty Dan threw a pick right at the end.  When the Rattlers were out there, they were looking good until Dirty Dan tried to throw it away between the wall and the iron...and had the ricochet picked.  This past week with NOLA, they actually had to burn their last time out or they would have lost by one point because the clock ran out!

I know, a Power fan ragging on a team for 4th quarter meltdowns is a bit hypocritical.  However, when the Power melts down in the fourth, it's generally because they gave up in the third.  Philly, on the other hand, lets sub-par teams hold in way longer than they should and/or make one truly stupid mistake late in the game that turns things around.

So we've got it made in the shade, right?

Well, no.  The first catch is that Philly tends to do these things to themselves at home, not on the road.  Secondly, they have a very solid team on paper - one that is pretty similar to the Arena Bowl team from last year.

As usual, Tiger Jones is going to be the aerial threat that we need to watch out for.  The most annoying part is, every time he scores, he'll do an obnoxious dance (that tends to be fun to watch...)  Also, we have to accept the fact that Derrick "the Boss" Ross is going to set an AFL record this week.  It's going to happen.  He's 7 yards shy of the all-time rushing record, and he can get that on one carry.  Philly is just about the only team in the league that actually plays a running game, and they play it a lot.  (Side note:  The record Ross is going to beat took Bo Kelly 12 years to set - and Ross has been in the league for three.  So, he's going to push it out of reach by the time he's done playing.)

One last player to note for this week is Ryan McDaniel.  In many ways, he reminds me of an evil Gary Butler.  He's Philly's big time hot-head.  He's been playing great on offense, but at the same time, he's drawn some big-time penalties because of his short fuse.  Here's where the Bully can come in - if Butler and McDaniel clash enough, they might get each other ejected, and that could be exactly what we need.  Regardless, getting him to lose his cool could be that 4th quarter screw-up for this week.

Elsewhere in the League
  • First up is Cleveland at Orlando.  Really, this game can't work out badly for us - merely "good" and "better."  Obviously, we want Cleveland to lose, on principle and because they're in our division.  But, if they happen to win, Orlando losing is good as well.  Even if we lose, whichever of those teams win can only tie our record, and we have more division wins than Cleveland.  Right now, 4th place in the conference is a playoff spot, and we're still on pace for that.
  • I don't have nearly as much to say about Tampa Bay at NOLA.  They're gonna beat the Voodoo, and that's good for us - the Voodoo is the other team we need to stay at a worse record than us to get into the playoffs.
  • Likewise, San Jose shouldn't have much trouble against the Barnstormers.
  • The match-up between Spokane and Arizona is being touted as a preview of the division championship.  It might be - regardless, it's going to be a great match-up.  I'm not going to feel comfortable until the Ratts lose again.  I mean, they can beat the Shock, but they've won 8 in a row and are still due for a stumble.
  • The main thing San Antonio's meeting with the Chicago Rush has going for it is that it's a division match.  They're pretty evenly matched, and I'm going to give a slight edge to the Talons.
  • I'm still baffled that Utah has had such a crappy season.  I honestly haven't watched enough of their games to really get a feel for why, but the fact is, things haven't gone their way.  Jacksonville, on the other hand, is in it to win it.

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