The Birmingham Iron were finally forced to make a quarterback change after Keith Price replaced the struggling Luis Perez in the first quarter of last week’s game. The good news is that Price recorded Birmingham’s first passing touchdown of the year but the bad news was that it wasn’t nearly enough as the Iron was destroyed by a score of 31-19. Meanwhile, the San Diego Fleet were lucky to survive their Week 5 game versus Salt Lake but they came away with the win and are tied with San Antonio atop the West Division. They are also 3-0 at home and will be playing in front of the home crowd once again this week. Date: Sunday, March 17 at 8 PM ET Live From SDCCU Stadium in San Diego
Those of you who have been following the AAF probably know that Birmingham’s offense has been very disappointing. It looked much better with Keith Price taking the snaps but we still shouldn’t expect too much out of it this week. Despite his whopping 7 rushing touchdowns, Trent Richardson’s overall play has been unspectacular. The running back has averaged a paltry 2.4 yards per carry. In fact, Birmingham doesn’t really have any productive backs unless you include Ross who has amasses 72 yards on a dozen carries. The team averages a laughable 2.8 yards per carry which indicates more than just lack of raw talent at the position.
Birmingham’s bread and butter has been their defense which hadn’t given up more than 12 points to an opponent up until Week 5 when they got torched for 31 against Orlando. San Diego might not be as potent as the Apollos but they can definitely score points having scored no fewer than 23 points in their last three games. This defense lacks a standout player but they are very good at working together as a unit and can give opposing offenses fits. They will need to make Fleet starter Mike Bercovici feel uncomfortable early and often while keeping an eye on Ja’Quan Gardner.
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San Diego has won three of their last four games and are proving to be one of the more exciting offenses in the league. They have found success in recent weeks against some pretty good defenses but Birmingham’s will be a true test. It’s going to take a good mix of plays to keep the Iron defense on their toes and San Diego is fortunate enough to have good enough talent to do that. They have a decent set of receivers on top of Ja’Quan Gardner and Watson who lead a powerful rushing attack. The offensive line will obviously need to step it up by protecting Bercovici and opening up running lanes.
San Diego might be scoring a lot of points recently but they are also giving up quite a few and getting torched regularly. Soto leads the defense with 3.5 sacks while defensive back Kelly has hauled in three interceptions. As a team, San Diego has recorded 15 sack and eight picks proving that they can be tough to play against. Still, opponents have been making big plays against them.
Birmingham appears to be a lot different with Price at quarterback but we haven’t seen nearly enough of him to confidently say that his presence will make a world of difference. San Diego is favored by 6 points and they have shown that they can generate scoring. Their defense is the wild card in this one.
The Pick: San Diego -6
The total of 36 is interesting considering one of these teams is so offensively impotent. With San Diego’s recent scoring spree, it would be a safe assumption to predict 18-23 points out of them even against such a solid defense. That would mean that Birmingham would have to put up 13-18 points. Under the circumstances, I like their chances.
The Pick: Over 36