Arena Football League: Week 10 Preview

by Corey Mansfield

Washington Valor (1-7) at Baltimore Brigade (6-2), June 15, 2018, 7pm, Royal Farms Arena

Both of teams are coming off huge wins last week. The Baltimore Brigade earned sole possession of first place in the AFL after defeating the Albany Empire 59-56 on a late field goal by Mark Lewis. Washington on-the-other-hand got in their first win of the season by edging out the Philadelphia Soul 49-48 after they blocked an Adrian Trevino PAT with less than a minute remaining in the game.

Upset brewing in Baltimore? (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)
A few weeks ago this matchup would have been pretty one-sided but the emergence of Arvell Nelson as the Washington quarterback has changed things. Suddenly, this team is playing with confidence and getting their playmakers involved. The biggest factor maybe their special teams which account for a special teams touchdown last week on a "net recovery" and also blocked the game-tying PAT with 52 second remaining in the game.

The Brigade split a two-game series in Albany and narrowly escaped in the second game. The Brigade are a solid team but their secondary was exposed on numerous occasions deep down the field by Tommy Grady and his receivers. If it wasn't for a miscommunication between Grady and Malachi Jones that resulted in an easy Baltimore interception the Brigade might have been swept in Albany. To their credit the Brigade played the end of that game perfectly to setup the Mark Lewis game-winning field goal.

Randy Hippeard has been...well...Randy Hippeard. The reigning league MVP threw for 15 touchdowns in the two games in Albany. He has a league leading 42 touchdowns on the season.

Deciding Factor: The Valor have to get constant pressure on Baltimore quarterback Randy Hippeard. They can not allow him to pick you a part. Washington can not win a shootout with the Brigade so they'll need get Hippeard on the turf. On the flip side of that, the Brigade need to keep Hippeard upright. He can't continue to get hit like he did against the Empire.

Philadelphia Soul (4-4) at Albany Empire (5-3), June 16, 2018, 6pm, Times Union Center

Philadelphia Soul and Albany Empire will both look to rebound after heartbreaking losses Week 10.

The Empire played back-to-back solid games against Baltimore but a couple costly mistakes really hurt them last week. Their offense continues to be the most explosive in the league and it will need to continue to be so if they hope to make it to the Arena Bowl. Their defense has been solid all year but had a hard covering the Brigade receivers last week. They'll need to tighten that up if they hope to defeat the Soul this week.

Philadelphia is on their third quarterback of the season in Shane Austin. Austin was recently released by the Washington Valor and picked up by the Soul. He's a solid stating quarterback and gives the Soul stability going forward. He had a solid game last week with six passing touchdowns but he also had two interceptions. He'll need to do a better job taking care of the ball.

Deciding Factor: Both teams need to create turnovers if they want to win the game.

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