When the Arizona Rattlers and Philadelphia Soul meet on Friday, the Rattlers will be looking for redemption. These two teams met back in week seven in Philadelphia, and the Soul ended the game on top, 65-58. This game is a determining factor in seeding for the AFL postseason, which are only six weeks away. The game is Friday at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2 and can also be streamed online at ESPN3.com or WatchESPN on a tablet, smartphone, or streaming device.
Move the Chains?
Arizona has the most first downs per game in the league averaging just fewer than 22 per game. Philadelphia on the other hand allows the second fewest first downs to their opponents only allowing 17 per game. This should shape up to be quite the battle in the trenches when these two meet up. Both will look to improve on their league leading pace, but something has to give. Running the ball could be a factor as Arizona is tied for the most first downs in the league on the ground, whereas Philadelphia has allowed the fewest first downs by the run game.
Arizona looks to add to their already impressive sack total this season with 20 when they take on the Soul. The only problem is the Soul have only allowed five sacks on the season thus far. It is going to be challenging for Arizona’s defense to continue their pace of averaging almost two sacks a game against Philadelphia’s quick passing attack and strong offensive line play.
Top Offense vs Top Defense
When the Rattlers and Soul meet on Saturday it will be a battle of the top offense against the top defense. The Rattlers average just less than 66 points per game and the Soul only allow 44. A big component of Arizona’s high scoring offense is quarterback Nick Davila leading the league with 76 touchdown passes. The run game has done well for the Rattlers as well with fullback Mykel Benson tied for first in the league with 14 rushing touchdowns. One big reason that the Soul’s defense has done so well this season is the play of defensive back Dwayne Hollis who is tied for second the league with six interceptions. Another playmaker on the Soul’s defense is defensive lineman Jake Metz who is tied for first in the league with four sacks on the season.
Battle of the QB’s
The Soul and Rattlers are two of the top teams in the AFL with impressive records of 9-2 and 8-3 respectively. A large part of that is how well the quarterbacks have played for their respective teams. Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila and Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh are top two in the league with 76 and 65 passing touchdowns. Also, the two are close in passing yards per game with Davila having the edge leading 271 to 255. They are also close in passing efficiency with Davila holding the edge 127 to 125. Whichever quarterback can have the edge on Saturday night will go a long way in determining the final outcome.
Playoff Picture Getting Clearer
If the playoffs started today, the Soul would be the number one seed and the Rattlers would be the number two seed. The Soul would take on the Tampa Bay Storm and the Rattlers would take on the Portland Steel in their first round matchups. The Rattlers magic number to clinch the National Conference is 3. The Soul are tied with the Orlando Predators at 9-2, with the Soul holding the tie-breaker, however, both teams will still play each other at the end of the season.
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