Week Four of the AAF season is here, and we’ve got another full slate of football in store. Atlanta will fly out to Tempe to take on the Hotshots Sunday night at 8 pm ET, and you can watch it live on NFL Network or through the official AAF app and website.
Arizona comes into this matchup with Atlanta with a 2-1 record and are tied for first place in the Western Conference with San Diego. Arizona started their season off with a 2-0 record before losing to Salt Lake last weekend by a score of 23-15. Arizona starting QB John Wolford got injured, and ultimately led to their first loss of the season.
Atlanta begins their Week Four with a disappointing 0-3 record after another loss to Birmingham in their home opener by a final score of 28-12. Atlanta currently sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with Memphis who is also 0-3. The Legends go into Arizona looking to get that first win of a season, and try to turn their season around and hopefully make a push to the playoffs with only six weeks left in this inaugural season.
THREE KEYS TO THE GAME:
- Execution – The coaches have said it, the players have said it, the fans are saying it, everyone knows it. If Atlanta wants to win some games, and turn this season around they MUST execute better in all three phases of the game. In last weekends game on the opening drive the Legends drove the ball the length of the field and failed to score on 4th & 1 from the 1 yard line. Not a good way to start. They would go on to drive the ball down the field and settle for field goals from inside the redzone not once, but twice. Leaving crucial points off the board will not beat a team like Arizona. If the Legends can cash in on these opportunities and run the score board up, watch out.
- Run Game – The Atlanta run game has been close to nonexistent the first three weeks of the season. 80 total rushing yards week one, 82 rushing yards week two, and a mere 43 rushing yards in last weekends loss, with QB Matt Simms leading the way with 27 of those 82 yards. Things wont be easy with top Offensive Linesman John Kling IV suffering a season ending leg injury last week. The good news however, Center Freddie Burden and Tackle Avery Gennesey are still healthy and ready to clear holes in the trenches. Starting Running Back Tarean Folston is also healthy and will find his way back in the lineup Sunday night. Atlanta also went out and signed RB Brandon Radcliff to the team, and we’ll have to see where he mixes in at on offense.
- Winning the Turnover Battle – The Legends have lost the turnover battle in two of their three games this season by a total of 9-5 (-4). Matt Simms leads the way with six interceptions in his first three games. If the Legends can limit their turnovers, and try to force a few turnovers on defense look for them to use that momentum and try to pull the upset on this 1st place Arizona team.
INJURY REPORT: The biggest question injury wise for this matchup was whether or not Arizona QB John Wolford would be healthy enough to play after leaving last weeks game against Salt Lake. Wolford practiced all week long and does not carry an injury designation, and is cleared to play. Arizona WR Richard Mullaney did not participate in practice all week and is ruled OUT for Sunday nights matchup.
And for the Atlanta sideline, RB Akrum Wadley did not particpate in practice all week and is ruled OUT Sunday. Legends OT John Kling IV suffered a season ending leg injury last weekend and has been placed on the IR. CB’s Doran Grant and Desmond Lawrence were both inactive last weekend, both are healhty now, and both are listed as starters for this weekends game. WR Justin Thomas was also inactive last week, but listed as second string WR for Sunday’s game. Watch for him to maybe make an appearance.
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