Atlanta Legends Make Home Debut
One has to wonder what the crowd is going to look like in Atlanta on Sunday. The Legends haven’t exactly made an impression on anyone in the first couple of week. The team continues to start quarterback Matt Simms over Georgia Bulldog alum, Aaron Murray. Murray hasn’t exactly proven anything yet, he is a household name in Georgia. Take a peek at many of the AAF fan pages, and you’ll see fans all over the nation begging the Legends to start Murray over Simms. It’s hard to imagine the Legends are going to have much of a home crowd to play for. Especially with up to 8″ of rain falling on the area this past week.
Date: Sunday, Feb. 24 | Time: 4 p.m. ET
Location: Georgia State Stadium — Atlanta, Georgia
TV: CBS Sports Network | Live stream:CBS Sports Network
This is a do-or-die game for the Legends. Going 0-3 will further cement their position as the league’s worst team. It will all but ruin their chances at making the AAF playoffs in April. A win at home could begin to turn the tide and put them on a different trajectory. The Legends face an uphill battle against one of the league’s best teams this weekend. It will take a solid effort on both sides of the ball.
Players to Watch
Matt Simms, QB: As much as you all would like to see Murray start Atlanta’s first home game, it appears the team will be sticking with Simms for the time being. His completion rate did jump between the first and second weeks. It went from 54% to 68%. He threw one interception in San Diego. He also threw for a touchdown. Despite the losing streak, Simms is progressing.
Tyson Graham, DB: Graham continues to be as one of Atlanta’s best defensive players. Through two tough road games, he’s recorded 14 total tackles (11 solo) and a single quarterback hit. The defensive back faces a tough matchup against Birmingham quarterback Luis Perez. He was instrumental in the team’s comeback win over Salt Lake last weekend.
Malachi Jones, WR: One half of the Legends very own Jones Bros. He is the only Legends player to score a touchdown. Jones caught all three of the passes thrown to him last weekend for 27 yards. Both Simms and Jones were able to beat double coverage in the team’s first touchdown of the year, hinting that Jones is better than what we’ve witnessed so far.
Birmingham Iron Hit the Road
The Iron ranked third in most of the AAF power ranking this week. But an argument could be made that they’re simply tied with the Arizona Hotshots for second. Outstanding defensive play has shot Birmingham to the top of the rankings. They are definitely one of the top units in the league and when you have a defense this good, your team has a shot.
The team hits the road for the first time, and it almost seems that their first road game is an easy pick. How can Atlanta’s stumbling offense find ANY traction against a dominating Iron defense? Even with the potential “home-field advantage” it seems doubtful that Atlanta can bowl over the solid Birmingham Iron.
Players to Watch
Trent Richardson, RB: So far, Richardson is showing himself to be the AAF’s own James White. He’s walked in three touchdowns and a 49.5 YPG average. He’s hauled in a successful two-point conversion as well. Richardson is easily one of Birmingham’s best offensive weapons. The Atlanta defense has allowed 64 points over two games will most likely struggle to contain him.
Luis Perez, QB: Perez is starting off hot with an average of 218 yards per game and completing 60.6% of his passes. The young quarterback is among the best in the league. He has been pivotal in Birmingham’s success over the first two weeks. Atlanta’s secondary does have a lot of talent in Doran Grant and Graham. Iron fans shouldn’t expect Perez’s performance to slide on Sunday unless all the rain hangs around on Sunday.
Jeremy Faulk, DL: Faulk was a monster last week with four tackles (one for a loss), two quarterback hits and a sack. As important as Perez was in leading Birmingham’s comeback over Salt Lake, Faulk equally as instrumental in setting the team up for the comeback. That is thanks to two tipped passes in the fourth quarter. The defensive lineman has racked up eight total tackles. He is proving himself the cog of the Iron’s top-shelf defense. Faulk will cause havoc for the Legends this weekend as well if Atlanta’s offensive line continues to deteriorate.
AAF Week Three Matchup
This matchup doesn’t bode well for the Legends. There’s simply no other way to put it. It would take serious adjustments to overcome the deficiencies that Atlanta has. You almost have to respect their stubborn persistence in sticking with Simms as quarterback.
The Irons offense struggled against the Stallions. The Stallions are a largely better team than the Legends. This game may not be a bloodbath, but we expect Atlanta to head into Week Four with an 0-3 record.
Pick: Iron -7.5, Over 38. We see this game 25-15
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AAF Week 4 Schedule
|Orlando at Salt Lake||Saturday, March 2||4 p.m.||B/R Live|
|San Diego at Memphis||Saturday, March 2||8 p.m.||NFL Network|
|San Antonio at Birmingham||Sunday, March 3||4 p.m.||CBS Sports Network|
|Atlanta at Arizona||Sunday, March 3||8 p.m.||NFL Network|