Arena Football League: Week 9 Preview

by Corey Mansfield

Baltimore Brigade (5-2) @ Albany Empire (5-2), June 9, 2018, 7pm, Times Union Center

The Albany Empire played arguably their best game of the season defeating the Baltimore Brigade 61-53 last week. The win moved the Empire into a tie with the the Brigade for first place in the Arena Football League.

The Empire were firing on all cylinders with quarterback Tommy Grady picking a part the Brigade secondary with eight touchdown passes. The Empire defense didn't shut exactly down the high-powered Baltimore offense but came up with big plays when it mattered.

Will Malachi Jones have another big game for the Empire? (photo credit: Mike Pelletier)
The Baltimore's offense was solid again, but a three key turnovers including a sack-strip at the beginning of the fourth quarter cost them.

This week the two same teams will face-off again and this time it's for sole possession of first place.

Deciding Factors: The Brigade defense especially their secondary was embarrassed by the Empire. Baltimore had no pass rush which allowed Tommy Grady to man-handle their secondary. This week the Brigade will need to put pressure on Tommy Grady and not let allow him to be comfortable in the pocket.

The Empire will need to continue to get Joe Hills and Malachi Jones the ball. Both players are coming off three touchdown games last week and are the best wide receiver duo in the Arena Football League.

 Washington Valor (0-7) @ Philadelphia Soul (4-3), June 10, 2018, 7pm,  Wells Fargo Center

The Philadelphia Soul and Washington Valor will meet again for the second time in two weeks. Last week the Soul defeated the Valor 51-46 behind quarterback Greg Mchee who threw for four touchdowns.

While the score appeared closer than the game actually was. The Soul had a commanding 51-33 midway through the fourth quarter before their defense allowed a couple late touchdowns to make the score a little more "interesting."

Even though the Valor lost the game they may have found their quarterback in AFL veteran Arvell Nelson. Nelson who was acquired earlier in the week threw for 345 yards and 7 touchdowns in his first game with Valor.

Deciding Factor: The Valor are winless on the season at 0-7 but have made huge strides over the last few weeks. Arvell Nelson adds experience and solid leadership to a team that desperately needed it. Nelson threw for seven touchdowns in his first game with the Valor which, is pretty amazing. I think his encore will be equally as good.

The Soul offense line will need to continue to protect Greg McGhee in the pocket allowing him to make throws down the field to his big player receivers.

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