Legends Look for 3rd Straight Win Against Commanders
Two of the hottest teams in The Alliance of American Football (AAF) do battle on Sunday afternoon at Georgia State Stadium. The Atlanta Legends look to secure their 3rd straight win. The Commanders end a 4-game road trip. San Antonio is 2-1 on the trip coming into today’s game.
San Antonio Commanders at Atlanta Legends
Date: Sunday, March 17 | Time: 4 p.m. ET | Line: Legends -1.5 & O/U: 42.5.
Location: Georgia State Stadium — Atlanta, Georgia
TV: CBS Sports Network | Live stream:CBS Sports Network
The Commanders end their four-game road trip today in Atlanta. The Legends have won two straight since switching to former Georgia Bulldog Superstar, Aaron Murray. Atlanta’s defense has been playing well as as well. It’s not that surprising to see the Legends as a slight favorite. It’s worth mentioning that the Commanders play well on the road. If Murray can hit enough plays down the field against San Antonio’s porous pass defense they have a chance. The Commanders have plenty of firepower as well. This could be the most exciting game of the weekend.
The San Antonio Commanders are riding a wave of momentum. They have back-to-back road wins against the Birmingham Iron and the Arizona Hotshots. The offense is taking off behind reigning Offensive Player of the Week, Logan Woodside.
The field general is third in The AAF with 1,025 passing yards. His performance has guided the Commanders to the top of the Western Conference. The offense is thriving overall. San Antonio can win games both through the air and on the ground.
The Legends must contend with the high-powered attack. The Legends have played better on both sides of the ball the last two weeks. They are peaking at the right time and shining during a two-game winning streak. The switch to Stafford, along with adjusting to a new coaching staff right before the season started is shining through.
The Legends are getting it done with ball control. The offense has taken off under new offensive coordinator Ken Zampese. In the last two games, the unit put up 864 yards and outscored opponents 37-31.
Look for the Legends to apply pressure on Woodside. The defense had 13 hurries against the Memphis Express last week. If they can control the tempo, they have a great chance to pull out another home win.
The Commanders will have a similar game plan. They generated eight turnovers against the Iron and Hotshots. The defense also has a league-high 17 sacks. They will look to make life difficult for the Legends’ upstart offense with high pressure defense.
Both teams are in the thick of the playoff race. Expect this game to be surprisingly exciting.
This and That
The Commanders are 3-2 on the season, and have searched for consistency the entire time. When they are in sync, the Commanders are nearly unstoppable on offense. There are some areas they would like to see improvement on this far into the season. One is in the backfield. The Commanders want to strike a balance between their rushing and their passing game. If they can get both clicking at the same time they can cause some damage.
It seems as if one unit has outperformed the other each week. In Week 4 against the Iron, the Commanders collected 162 rushing yards and a touchdown. The offense mustered only 106 yards through the air.
Woodside set a new personal best with 290 yards in Week 5. The former Toledo quarterback completed two passes for 50-plus yards against the Hotshots. A 57-yard pass to Alonzo Moore was the longest pass of the weekend.
The run game stumbled around for just 78 yards. The Commanders must find a balance if they want to stay on top of the West. A strong outing from Woodside and running backs Kenneth Farrow II and Trey Williams could be deadly for the Legends defense.
The Legends look to attack Woodside early and often. They want to make him uncomfortable in the pocket and force turnovers. It starts on the defensive line. The group has 11 sacks this season and are led by pass rushers J.T. Jones and Tracy Sprinkle. Both players have caused havoc in the backfield with six combined sacks.
The Legends have come storming back after an 0-3 start. They have relied on their offense to lead them to two consecutive wins. Zampese has emphasized ball control and pace throughout the game. The Legends ran 76 plays last week. They were 10-for-18 on third down and scored twice in the red zone, where they have struggled all year.
The Legends are 2-3 on the season, and hope to find a little more consistency against the Commanders. The offense is averaging nearly 38 minutes with the ball. That being said, the Legends left several opportunities on the field. Head coach Kevin Coyle has drilled situational football. He wants the offense to cash in those scoring chances against the Commanders.
It starts with quarterback Aaron Murray. The University of Georgia product has thrived since being inserted into the starting lineup. He’s completed 47 of 76 passes for 560 yards and a touchdown in his two starts. Murray can push the ball down the field and get it into the hands of his play-makers. He can also pick up a first down with his legs if needed.
The Commanders will have their hands full him. Murray has shown the ability to run and escape the pocket. It’s going to be up to Jayrone Elliott (4.5 sacks) and the rest of the Commanders defense to contain the Legends attack.
Players to Watch
Commanders Players to watch
WR Greg Ward Jr.: Mekale McKay is the Commanders’ deep threat, while DeMarcus Ayers is an ideal slot receiver. Ward is a perfect mix of both. He is finding most of his success on the underneath routes. If the Commanders can’t attack down the field, Ward should be able to feast inside.
K Nick Rose: The Legends’ last two games have been decided by a total of six points. Rose is looking to earn his right as the league’s top kicker. A duel with Younghoe Koo could be imminent. For the season, the Texas product has gone 10 of 10 with a long of 50 yards.
Legends Players to watch
RB Tarean Stolon: Folston is coming into his own this season. He leads the team in rushing with 156 yards and is second in receptions with 14. Last week, he had 106 total yards and scored two touchdowns.
DT T.J. Barnes: At 6-foot-6 and 379 pounds, Barnes is a monster in the middle of the Legends defense. He can take on double teams and create a lot of one-on-one matchups. Barnes could play a big role against the Commanders by collapsing the pocket. It could be a long night for Woodside and the San Antonio offense if Barnes gets penetration.
K Younghoe Koo: The Legends have depended on Koo a lot this season. He is 11-for-11 and drilled back-to-back game-winning field goals. Koo is the reigning Special Teams Player of the Week. His foot is a key weapon when the Legends cross the 35-yard line. Look for Koo to play a big role in this matchup.
Some numbers to throw at You
- San Antonio leads The Alliance with 17 sacks on the season.
- Farrow II’s 305 individual rushing yards leads the league. The team’s 686 total yards on the ground are just five yards behind the Orlando Apollos for The AAF lead overall best.
- The Commanders continue to be one of the most efficient third-down offenses. They have converted 34 of 76 attempts on third down. That is good for an Alliance-best 44.7%.
- Over the last two weeks, the Legends are averaging nearly 38 minutes in time of possession.
- The Legends rank first in four different categories in The AAF. Receiver Seantavius Jones is averaging 15.1 yards per catch.
- Punter Cameron Nizialek averages 45.8 yards per punt this season.
Prediction: Legends -1 and Over 42.5.
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