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AAF Week 5: Salt Lake Stallions at San Diego Fleet

San Diego Fleet

Stallions Place a Fleet Team in Transition

The San Diego Fleet host the Salt Lake Stallions in week five of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) action. Everyone in the Western Conference has a 1-1 divisional record, so tonight’s winners will take a step forward in the crowded field.

Salt Lake Stallions at San Diego Fleet
Stallions (1-3), San Diego Fleet (2-2)
Date: Saturday, March 9 | Time: 8 p.m. ET | Line: Fleet -5.5; O/U: 35.
Location: SDCCU Stadium — San Diego, California
TV: NFL Network | Live stream:fuboTV (Free Trial)   

The Fleet have turned the reins back over to Mike Bercovici after Philip Nelson broke his collarbone last week in Memphis. Bercovici started in Week 1 against the San Antonio Commanders. He struggled behind an offensive line that was still trying to find its footing. They almost got him killed by allowing six sacks.

The line has established itself since and definitely has played better. Left guard Damien Mama is not expected to play with an ankle injury.
Chris Gonzalez is expected to pick up the slack in the starting lineup. The Fleet O-line has been outstanding since Week 1, but they struggled in the second half last week once Mama went out early in the third quarter. Keeping Bercovici protected and upright is the key to the Fleet offense. Bercovici has looked like a different player in practice this week. He has been throwing with considerably more confidence and accuracy. If the Arizona State product can translate that into the game on Saturday, it could set the Fleet offense up for a big day. He is up against a defense that allows big yards in the passing game. The Stallions are allowing an average of 231 yards per game.

The Fleet will also be looking to rediscover their running game after abandoning it last week at Memphis. In two previous home games, Ja’Quan Gardner has 226 yards combined rushing. The Stallions have been tough against opposing running games this season. They are surrendering less than 100 yards per game. The passing game will be key to opening this up.

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Stallions Playing Betting Week to Week

Stallions quarterback Josh Woodrum is looking to build on his most recent outing. He had a completion percentage of 73% in Week 4 against the Orlando Apollos, the No. 1 team in the Alliance. His throwing is supported by running back Joel Bouagnon. He has now scored three touchdowns and is No. 7 in the league in rushing yards with 184 years. Wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El who has 149 receiving yards going into Game 5 is a weapon the Fleet will have to deal with.

They will be going up against a Fleet defense that has racked up 16 sacks and five interceptions this season. They are literally terrorizing offenses in stretches of games. The Stallions’ offensive linemen will have to protect Woodrum from the Fleet’s star defensive linemen. Shakir Soto, Damontre Moore and Alex Barrett are a trio no quarterback wants to stare at across the line of scrimmage. The Fleet’s defense is averaging four sacks and at least one interception per game, so they are not chopped liver. The Stallions’ offensive line has only allowed an average of two sacks per game, but that will be tested today. Stallions quarterbacks have only thrown two interceptions this season.

Stallions receivers Pierson-El and Adonis Jennings, along with tight end Anthony Denham will be matching up against the Fleet’s aggressive and productive secondary. Defensive backs Kendall James and Ryan Moeller will be looking to break up big throws. Long, sustained drives by the offense will help the Stallions go a long way toward a win.

RB Joel Bouagnon makes plays when, and where it matters most. In the last three games, this physical rusher has either put the first or the last points on the board for the Stallions. LB Greer Martini had his best games the last two weeks. In Week 4 against the Apollos, he had nine total tackles. In Week 3 against the Hotshots, he got the Stallions’ first interception along with eight tackles.

This, That, and a Dart Throw

The Fleet defense has allowed just five field goals on 36 opponent drives not starting after a turnover. In 12 drives started after a Fleet turnover, opponents have scored 10 times (5 TD, 5 FG). They have had two kneel-down drives. The Fleet are averaging 147.8 rushing yards per game, while opposing teams only average 102.8. The Stallions’ rushing defense is No. 1 in the Alliance with 96 rushing yards allowed per game. Stallions DE Karter Schult is No. 1 in the Alliance in sacks (4) and has 13 total tackles.

Saturday night’s game is going to be interesting. It features a team that has played better than its record and a team that just lost its starting quarterback for the remaining regular season. This is a chance for the Stallions to get a much-needed win, on the road at that. They can take a step forward in the West, where every team is 1-1 in the division. The Stallions’ running game with Branden Oliver vs. the Fleet’s defensive front will be the matchup to watch. I’m going to go with the team that isn’t trying to patch things together at quarterback. Especially if I am getting 5.5 points.

Pick: Salt Lake Stallions +5.5, Under 35

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Dirty has been an employee or owner of some of the top online sports gambling forums since 1998. He worked at EOG.com from it's inception until 2008 when he left and opened GamblingIQ and then in 2012 opened Handicappers Hidaway. He has written hundreds af articles over the years and always has his "Dirty Dozen" College Football poll up starting the first week of October.
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