Saturday’s contest between the Arizona Rattlers and the Portland Steel will be their second of three meetings on the season. In their Week one match-up, the Rattlers earned a team record 52-point victory. The game will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network at 6:00 p.m. PDT.
Portland is coming off their first bye week of the season, while Arizona got pushed to overtime by the Jacksonville Sharks, before finally earning their fourth straight win.
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 112.7 and Portland’s is 100.6. Arizona averages 254.5 passing yards per game and Portland only allows 196 passing yards per game. The Rattlers have the best completion percentage at 70% and Portland’s defense holds opposing quarterbacks to 58%.
Portland’s new local QB
The Portland Steel signed former University of Oregon quarterback Derron Thomas this week. Thomas begins his third season in the Arena Football League (AFL), all in Portland. Appearing in 22 games with Portland from 2014-2015, he completed 114 of 217 passes for 1,237 yards with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also added 46 rushing attempts into 94 yards and 11 touchdowns. While at Oregon, Thomas had a 24-3 record as a starter leading the Ducks to two consecutive Pac 12 championships including an appearance at the 2011 BCS National Championship game and a victory in the 2012 Rose Bowl Game.
Potential for a High Score
The Rattlers, who boast the top scoring offense, will be going up against the Steel who are last in the league in scoring defense. This could mean a high scoring game for the Rattlers, who have already scored 42 touchdowns this season. Arizona’s high scoring offense has come from both the ground and the air. Quarterback Nick Davila has been almost perfect this season, throwing 25 touchdowns and only two interceptions. In the run game, fullback Mykel Benson leads the league with nine touchdowns only a quarter of the way through the season.
Players vs. Former Teams
Portland wide receiver Jared Perry played for the Rattlers in 2013 and 2015 and had 21 touchdowns during his time in Arizona. Perry leads the team with five touchdowns so far this season. He’s second on the team in both receptions with 23 and yards with 287. He had his best game of the season two weeks ago at Philadelphia when he caught nine passes for 111 yards and two touchdown passes.
Rattlers defensive back Allen “Bubba” Chapman played for Portland back in 2015 and is having success this season in Arizona. Chapman currently leads the league with 14 passes defended with two of them being interceptions. He is third in the league in total tackles with 25. Chapman is a big part of the Rattlers young secondary.
Arizona currently leads the league in sacks with 10 on the season. They also only allowed two sacks this season. Those two sacks, however, occurred against the Portland Steel back in week one. The Rattlers had six sacks in their week one match-up with Portland and have had 4 sacks in the three games since.