Arena Football League: Week 6 Preview

by Corey Mansfield

Baltimore Brigade (3-1) @ Washington Valor (0-4), May 19, 2018, 3pm, Capital One Arena

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Warren Smith Jr. needs to control the game clock if they are going to upset the Baltimore (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)
The Valor fired head coach Dean Cokinos this week and replaced him with defensive coordinator Benji McDowell. The Valor were 3-15 in a season and a half under Cokinos. While the defensive excelled for the Valor over the last two seasons, their offensive was anemic under Cokinos. The Valor brought legendary AFL quarterback Nick Davila out of retirement to jump start their offense but that ended in Week 2 after he suffered a season ending injury. Cokino's inability to generate points ultimately cost him his job.

This week the Valor will host their local rivals the Baltimore Brigade. Two weeks ago the Brigade defeated the Philadelphia Soul 31-21 to move to 3-1 on the season, while the Valor are coming off a 53-42 defeated to the Albany Empire.

Washington isn't going to outscore the high-powered offense of the Baltimore Brigade. They need to shorten this game and keep the ball out of Randy Hippeard's hands. Warren Smith Jr. did a much job getting the ball out of his hands quicker (avoiding pressure) last week against the Empire but he'll need to do any even better job this week the Brigade pass rush. The Valor need to use short passes and bubble screens to suck up the Brigade secondary and then they'll be able to take shots down field. This will also help them chew the clock. They need to be better than the Brigade in controlling the game clock.

For the Brigade it's the Baltimore Brigade. What I mean by that is that the Brigade need to continue what has worked for them all season and not make any radical adjustments against the Valor.  

Deciding Factor: The Valor need to establish long drives and use clock. If they can keep this a low scoring game then they'll have a shot to get their first victory of the season.
Then Brigade need to keep their foot on the gas and be aggressive with shots down the field like they have done all season.

Week 6, Who Wins?

Baltimore Brigade
Washington Valor

Albany Empire (2-2) @ Philadelphia Soul (3-1)May 19, 2018, 6pm, Wells Fargo Center
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The Soul offensive line will need to neutralize the Empire pass rush this week (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)
The Empire are coming off two consecutive wins over the Washington Valor and are looking to get their first victory over Philadelphia. The Soul on the other hand, are coming off their first loss of the season to the Baltimore Brigade 31-21 in Week 4.

Let's been honest, the Albany Empire are a much different team then their Week 1 matchup against the Soul. Tommy Grady has established rapport with receivers Malachi Jones, Collin Taylor, and Greg Carr. And oh yeah! The Empire brought in Grady's favorite target and All-Arena receiver Joe Hills who has scored 9 touchdowns in his first three games. Yes, this is much, much different team. 

The Soul will look to bottle up speedy receiver Malachi Jones and deep threat Joe Hills. This will free up Collin Taylor to have a huge game. Taylor is averaging a touchdown per game and this could have his breakout game of the season this week, 

Defensively, the Empire will need to get after Dan Raudabaugh and make him feel uncomfortable in the pocket. The Baltimore Brigade showed in Week 4 that the offensive line for the Soul can be exploited.

Philadelphia didn't look very good in their last game and are out to prove why they are two-time defending AFL champs. Yes, we all know their offensive is explosive but so is Albany. The big difference in this game could be the Soul running game. Adrian Ferns has been a beast running the ball for the Soul this season. He leads the league with 89 rushing yards on 21 carries and 4 rushing touchdowns.  Like always the Soul will look to take shots down the field with receivers Darius ReynoldsDarius Princeand Shaun Kauleinamoku.  So it's important the Soul offensive line protects Dan Raudabaugh better than they did in Week 4.

Deciding Factor: It's the same story for both teams. Whatever team gets the most pressure on the opposing teams quarterback and protects their quarterback has the best chance win the game. 

Week 6, Who Wins?

Albany Empire
Philadelphia Soul

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