The Arizona Rattlers (7-3) take on another conference foe in the Portland Steel (1-8) for the third time this season. This will be the final regular season meeting between these two teams. The Rattlers are coming off of a big win against the second place team in the National Conference, the Cleveland Gladiators, 77-62. The Steel are coming off of their first win of the season, dominating the Tampa Bay Storm, 68-35. The game is at 6pm at the Talking Stick Resort Arena and can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona Plus or streamed online on ESPN3.
Top Total Offense against Top Total Defense
It’s no surprise that the Arizona Rattlers’ high powered offense is near the top in total offense, but what is surprising is that the Portland Steel has the top ranked total defense. The Rattlers’ offense averages 300 yards per game and they are only one of two teams in the league that is at or above the 300-yard mark. The Steel has held opponents to 261 yards per game which just edges out the Philadelphia Soul for best in the league. One thing that could be an advantage for the Rattlers is that the Steel have given up the second most touchdowns with 70 on the season. Look for this game to be closer than the first two meetings this season where the Rattlers have won by an average of just under 50 points per game.
Arizona currently leads the league in sacks with 20 on the season and have only allowed seven. Of those seven sacks, two of them occurred against the Portland Steel back in week one. The Rattlers had six sacks in their week one match-up with Portland and six more in the matchup at home during week five. That means the Rattlers have had 60 percent of their sacks come in the two games with the Steel. The Rattlers will try to continue their pace against the Steel on Saturday.
Top Pass Efficiency vs. Top Pass Defense
When the Rattlers and Steel meet, one thing to watch is the passing game. Arizona has the most efficient passing offense and Portland has the top passing defense. Arizona has an efficiency rating of 124.2 and Portland’s is 74.6. Arizona averages 279 passing yards per game and Portland only allows 234. The Rattlers have one of the best completion percentages at 66 percent and Portland’s defense holds opposing quarterbacks to 62.5 percent.
Move the Chains?
The Arizona Rattlers and Portland Steel are the top teams when it comes to first downs. Arizona leads the league averaging 22 per game and Portland leads the league in opponent first downs only allowing 18. The Rattlers have had no problem moving the chains, whether it is in the air, on the ground, or by penalty. Arizona leads the league with 160 first downs coming through the air, Portland leads the league only allowing 114. Being able to move the chains down the field will not only help the respective team earn a win but not allow the other team’s offense to try to do the same.
Flags Could be Flying
The Rattlers average the fewest penalty yards averaging 38 yards per game and Portland forces their opponents to commit the second most penalties in the league with their opponents averaging just under 70 yards. Portland averages 60 penalty yards per game and Arizona forces their opponents to 54. Both of these disciplined teams look to force the opposition into penalties and throwing them off of their game plan. Whoever can have the fewest penalties will give their team an edge in the game on Saturday.