Iron Look to Stay Perfect Against the Stallions
The Alliance of American Football will kick off week two with what should be a good matchup. The league got off to a great start and looks to build on very good TV ratings and lots of gambling action at online and land based casinos. The Birmingham Iron (1-0) look to stay unbeaten as they host the Salt Lake Stallions (0-1) to open week two play.
Time: 2 p.m. ET; Location: Legion Field — Birmingham, Alabama; TV: TNT | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free).
LINE: Iron -7; O/U: 43.5.
The status of quarterback Josh Woodrum will not be announced until just before the game. He left last weeks loss with a hamstring issue. The Stallions’ other two quarterbacks have been preparing for their chance to play against the Iron. We could see a “quarterback by committee” if things don’t work out as Coach Dennis Erickson wants.
Idaho’s Matt Linehan replaced Woodrum for the second half last week. He completed 7 of 13 passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Austin Allen completed 5 of 7 for 65 yards in the preseason scrimmage against the Memphis Express. Both backup QB’s are capable of producing in a league that is geared towards offense.
The Stallions offense also has other weapons as well. Running back Branden Oliver and tight end Anthony Denham, who were two stars that stood out against the Hotshots last weekend. Reports say both players had a week of strong practice, so they should be ready to make key plays against a tough defense.
The Iron‘s defense is led by linebackers Matthew Wells and Xzavier Dickson. Throw that in with cornerback Jamar Summers. Dickson and Summers each intercepted a pass in Birmingham’s 26-0 win over the Express.
Last week the Iron faced a team that was projected to be the worst of the eight teams in The Alliance. The Stallions had no problem driving the ball down the field against the Hotshots. They are first in the league in third-down conversions after one week.
How Will Iron Offense Fare Against a Better D?
In January’s training camp, the Stallions had a joint practice with the Iron. The Stallions caught more balls, ran for more yards and put more pressure on the quarterback than the Iron did. Will that carry over?
The Iron have their first win under their belts and it is difficult to know how they will match up against the Stallions. With little history and only one game played it is anyone’s guess.
Iron quarterback Luis Perez passed for 252 yards against the Express. The Iron’s offense could be in for a challenge against the Stallions’ explosive defense. Perez will get to show what he is made of today. He’s already received some interest from NFL scouts. If he continues to play well he’ll probably be in the league next fall. Today could go a long way towards that projected goal.
Last weekend, Karter Schultz sacked Hotshots quarterback John Wolford and cornerback Will Davis was excellent in coverage. Both should be able to make plays with a hobbled Salt Lake offense.
The Stallions’ defensive line and secondary will be tested by Iron wide receiver Quinton Patton. He caught four passes for 107 yards last week. Running back Trent Richardson scored two touchdowns as he looks to get back into the NFL.
The Stallions’ defense will also have to keep the offense from entering field-goal range. The Iron’s reliable kicker, Nick Novak, was responsible for 12 Iron’s 26 points last week. One of those field goals was a 47-yarder.
The Stallions will be the first team in The Alliance history to win an away game if they can pull off the victory Saturday.
This, That, and a Dart Throw
Something is oddly intriguing about today’s game. Birmingham succeeded with a ball-control offense and some great punting and special teams play. Meanwhile, Salt Lake quarterback Josh Woodrum left the Week 1 loss to Arizona with a hamstring injury and his status for this game is unknown.
Both offenses showed they can move the ball. Taking the under could result in some sweating before the game is decided. We just have to remember that Birmingham had to put Memphis away in the fourth quarter. Salt Lake City still lost by two touchdowns to Arizona. Add in the uncertainty at quarterback plays a big role.
Pick: Birmingham -7, Under 43.5 (it has dropped 2.5 points in 3 days.
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AAF Week 3 Schedule
|Arizona at Salt Lake||Saturday, Feb. 23||3 p.m.||B/R Live|
|Memphis at Orlando||Saturday, Feb. 23||8 p.m.||NFL Network|
|Birmingham at Atlanta||Sunday, Feb. 24||4 p.m.||CBS Sports Network|
|San Antonio at San Diego||Sunday, Feb. 24||8 p.m.||NFL Network|