Arena Football League: Week 4 Preview

by Corey Mansfield

2018 Arena Football League Guide

Philadelphia Soul (3-0) @ Baltimore Brigade (2-1), May 4, 2018 7pm, Royal Farms Center
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Week Four starts with a rematch of the week two thriller between the Philadelphia Soul and Baltimore Brigade. The last matchup ended on a last second pass breakup by Dwayne Hollis on a Randy Hippeard pass to Milton Williams in the end zone which would have given the Brigade the win. 
Bryce Peila (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)
Philadelphia has established themselves as the team to beat and each week they add more dimensions to an already stellar offense. Last week, rookie fullback Adrian Ferns and Aaron Wascha led the way for the Soul. Ferns had 10 carries for 55 yards and 3 touchdowns while Wascha had 9 receptions for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 67-55 win over the Washington Valor. This is pretty scary for the rest of the league...two more weapons in the Soul arsenal to go with Darius ReynoldsDarius Princeand Shaun Kauleinamoku

Last week, the Brigade narrowly escaped with win over Albany after they recovered a fumbled snap on a would-be Albany game winning drive. 

Early on in this season the Brigade have made mental mistakes and have played undisciplined at times. If they hope of defeating the Soul they'll need to play clean football.  QB Randy Hippeard is one of the best in the game at spreading the ball around. He has five solid receivers in Brandon CollinsKendrick IngsBrandon ThompkinsMilton Williams, and Quentin Sims. He'll need to utilize them all this week. 

Deciding Factor: Both teams are firing on all cylinders and appear to be the two best teams in the league. The game should be a exciting as the first one but I think it comes down to special teams and who ever has the better pass rush.

Last week, the Soul caught two huge breaks on special teams when Washington didn't challenge an on-side kick that clearly showed they recovered, and also a kick-off that bounced off the post and into Bryce Peila's hands who ran it in for a score. I don't think the Soul get those breaks this week.

Both of these teams have explosive offensives and great quarterbacks. Whatever defense can get the most pressure on the opposing teams quarterback should win the game. In their first meeting the Soul sacked Randy Hippeard twice while the Brigade didn't sack Dan Raudabaugh at all. 

Week 4, Who wins?

Philadelphia Soul
Baltimore Brigade

Washington Valor (0-2) @ Albany Empire 0-2), May 5, 2018, 7pm, Times Union Center
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Last week, the Valor and the Empire both had weeks they'd like to forget.

Things couldn't have gone much worse for the Valor as not only did they lose to the 69-51 to the Philadelphia Soul but they lost their starting quarterback Nick Davila to injury. Davila is arguably the greatest quarterback in league history and was brought out of retirement to jump start an anemic Valor offense. This a major set back for the Valor as their offense was starting to turn the corner. The Valor will turn to veteran Warren Smith Jr. to hopefully get their offense back on track. He should get help from receivers Rod Windsor and Chris Duvalt who are solid veterans and can make big plays.

Malachi Jones hopes to give the Albany fans something to cheer about (photo credit: Mike Pelletier) 
The Empire lost a heartbreaker to Baltimore in week 3 after Tommy Grady and Ryan Cave fumbled the quarterback-center exchange on would-be game winning drive.

Even though the Empire lost they made huge strides. The biggest coming with newly acquired Joe Hills who caught 11 passes for 108 yards and 4 touchdowns. Hills fit in nicely with the Empire offensive and showed why he was on of the best receivers in the AFL.  The addition of Hills also seemed to make Tommy Grady more confident and he was able to get in a better rhythm. The Albany offense has a lot of wraps and could be scary if they can put it all together.

Deciding Factor: I don't know if the Valor can rebound from losing Nick Davila. They are back in the same situation as they were last year with a solid defense and very little offense. The defense is going to get warn down but the Albany offense and it's going to make them susceptible to mistakes. If the Empire can minimize their own mistakes then they should finally get in the win column.

Week 4, Who wins?

Washington Valor
Albany Empire

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