Atlanta Legends (0-1) at San Diego Fleet (0-1)
Date: Sunday, February 17th at 8 p.m. ET Live From SDCCU Stadium in San Diego, California
San Diego didn’t get a lot of help from starting quarterback Mike Bercovici in the Fleet’s 15-6 loss to the San Antonio Commanders. To be fair, San Antonio played a defensive gem but a 15 for 25 outing for 126 yards, no touchdowns, and a pair of picks have prompted Mike Martz to start Philip Nelson who went 5 of 10 for 68 yards…and a pick. Regardless of who gets the start, the Fleet are in a good position to notch their first win of the season against an Atlanta Legends team that was beyond putrid against Orlando in Week 1.
Can Atlanta Score A Touchdown?
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Atlanta might have gotten off to a positive start when kicker Younghoe Koo made a 38-yard field goal which went down in history as the first points ever scored in the AAF. However, Atlanta’s fortunes quickly changed as their flaccid offense and porous defense conspired against them in a 40-6 loss. It’s not as if Orlando’s offense was anything special but Atlanta’s defense didn’t have any answers for it. Of course, giving up 40 points in a game isn’t so bad if your team can manage to score 41 points but that was far from the case in that game.
Matt Simms’ day was one to forget. He completed 15 of 28 pass attempts which isn’t so bad but he averaged just 4.5 yards per completion for 126 total yards. One positive that Atlanta fans can enjoy is the fact that seven different players recorded completions. No, none of them saw the end zone nor did any of them collect 50 yards but it’s something to build on. As far as their running game was concerned, well, how does 80 yards on 24 attempts sound? San Diego’s Damontre Moore will give the Atlanta offense fits but we will give Atlanta the benefit of the doubt and believe that they will find the end zone once.
San Diego Needs to Utilize Rushing Game
Gavin Escobar, Brian Brown, and Dontez Ford all recorded 55 receiving yards or more and each had at least one impressive gain. Still, it all resulted in zero touchdowns but that is sure to change this week. One area where San Diego found some success was in their running game. Again, no touchdowns but Ja’Quan Gardner ran for 55 yards on just 8 carries while this week’s starting quarterback, Philip Nelson, scrambled three times for 20 yards. Mike Bercovici also managed to dash once for 14 yards before he got the hook.
The problem was that the Fleet all but abandoned their running game. Excluding the 4 quarterback runs, San Diego dialed up just 12 runs. Considering that Bercovici and Nelson combined for 244 yards and three picks, It would behoove the Fleet to run the ball more often especially against an Atlanta team that got gashed on the ground in Week 1.
San Diego is a 9.5-point home favorite this week and there isn’t a whole lot of evidence to suggest that Atlanta can hang in with the Fleet. San Diego is superior in almost all areas and they will be motivated to get the win in front of a home crowd. It’s not so much that San Diego is a powerhouse but the Legends have a lot of work to do before punters should consider betting on them.
The Pick: San Diego Fleet -9.5
Bookmakers have set the game total at 44 points which might seem a little odd considering these two teams combined for an underwhelming 12 points in Week 1. Logic would have it that San Diego is expected to do most of the scoring and they probably will. However, how many points will Atlanta contribute? 10? 13? I’ll predict a final score of 33-10 which puts it barely under the total.
The Pick: Under 44