As we enter Week 5 of the AAF season, the Memphis Express and the Atlanta Legends find themselves at the bottom of the standings but there is still time for both teams to turn things around and make a playoff push in the second half of the season. Both teams are coming off their first wins of the season in Week 4 with Atlanta stunning the Hotshots while Memphis edged the Fleet. This matchup holds a lot of meaning for both squads. Date: Sunday, March 10 at 4 PM ET Live From Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta
The Zach Mettenberger era officially got underway in Week 4 but it got off to a shaky start as the Express went three and out to start the game before allowing Ron Brooks to return the punt for the league’s first ever punt return score. Despite falling behind early, Memphis’ offense started to click and their defense tightened up. The Express were down 20-15 as the teams entered the half. Memphis looked like a completely different team in the second half as the rallied to come from behind and pick up the win. Their defense deserves a lot of credit as they gave up just three points over the final two quarters.
While Mettenberger appears to be a better option at quarterback, they continue to run the ball well and they seem to be gelling as a team as the season rolls on. They are still at the bottom of the league in total offense and they are just scoring an average of 15 points per game. The good news is that Atlanta has given up the most points and they allow over 300 yards per game.
Atlanta’s victory over Arizona was one of the biggest upsets of the young AAF season. The Hotshots were playing from behind for most of the game and they tied it up on a nice pass by John Wolford to Rashad Ross with under three minutes left. The Legends responded with a Younghoe Koo field goal and their defense held up to seal the win. Legends quarterback Matt Simms left the game in the first quarter and was replaced by Aaron Murray. Murray is expected to start against Memphis.
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One of the Express’ best weapons has been Zac Stacy and fans should expect to see plenty of him as the Express should continue to run the ball. Likewise, Memphis will need to focus a lot of attention on Legends running back Tarean Folston who is a receiving threat out of the backfield. Tyson Graham Jr. and J.T. Jones will have to bring their A-game if the Legends’ defense is to keep them in the game. This game looks like it will be decided on the ground.
The Express has been improving every week but they still have plenty of weaknesses. However, the same can be said for the low-scoring Legends. Neither team has a particularly strong passing game and will rely on their defenses to make key plays. This should be a close game as reflected by oddsmakers line of Atlanta -1.5. Expect the Express to prove that the wrong team is favored.
The Pick: Memphis Express +1.5
The totals have been dropping as many teams such as the two teams featured in this one have struggled to find offense. The total for this game is 38.5 which seems rather low but it might not be low enough for two low-scoring teams who will both likely run a lot.
The Pick: Under 38.5