Last week saw all three of the AFL's games called off due to weather and thus voided week two until those games get rescheduled further down the line. Barring the return of the dreaded snow we should have two games from Austria to enjoy this weekend.
Saturday 6th April
AFC Rangers @ JCL Graz Giants - 13:00 GMT
|Graz will be looking to secure their first win of the season.|
© Florian Schellhorn from www.footballpics.info
The AFC Rangers were the whipping boys of the league last year, losing all the games on their schedule and only managing to put up 77 points whilst conceding at total of 567 so I think it's fair to say that they are once again going to face a uphill battle all season long.
If I'm being honest, information on how the Rangers are going to look this year is sparse (given the fact that their own website doesn't have a roster) so last years stats and a great deal of inference will be utilised to the max. One thing that is known about the Rangers this year is that they have done their utmost to bring some impressive talent into town with the additions of both former Stanford linebacker Clinton Snyder and former Michigan defensive lineman Paul Sarantos. To go along with these new imports the Rangers return last year's starting quarterback Craig Maynard who the team clearly trust and will once again be looking for him to lead the offence and hopefully put up more points than last year.
The Graz Giants are now more of a known quantity after seeing their performance against the Swarco Raiders in week one. Through my own analysis I thought it was very clear that they need to have Alex Good keep the ball more and make more plays with his legs, and considering that the Rangers gave up over 200 yards a game on the ground per game last year, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lot more of Good and almost definitely Alex Gross running the ball.
|Ex-Stanford linebacker Clinton Snyder makes his first appearance in Europe.|
Players to Watch
Rangers: Clinton Snyder, Linebacker/ Tight end. The former UFL player will be looking to make a big impression in Europe in his first every game on Austrian soil. It will be interesting to see if he does play both ways so keep an eye on his stat line.
Giants: Alex Good, Quarterback #7. An overall solid game against the Raiders but will be wanting to run riot on a historically poor Ranger defence this weekend.
Prediction: There's no telling how much the Rangers have improved until we see them out there on the field, but I still think the Giants will take this game at home 35 - 14.
Prague Black Panthers @ Danube Dragons - 14:00 GMT
|The Dragons should be making their first appearance of the season come Saturday.|
This one should be a interesting contest as the Danube Dragons finally get their season underway as they face off against the Andrew Shoop lead Prague Black Panthers with both teams looking to secure their first win of the season.
These two teams split their series last year with the Dragons taking the first game by a narrow 4 point margin before the Panthers took a 41-34 win in the return fixture in Prague. Both games were high scoring and tightly contested so I expect nothing less in this matchup if the conditions are good on the day.
Once again Shoop is going to need to produce and find his so far favourite target Jan Steigler, but I expect the most import part of the game for the Black Panthers is actually getting their running game going. After facing a tough Raiffeisen defence in week one it's up to Andre Whyte to do better than 7 carries for 3 yards this weekend. If the Black Panthers can maintain a balanced attack it means that Shoop will be a little freer to sit back in the pocket with the Dragons pass rushers not just having to pin back their ears and forget about the run game.
When it comes to the Dragons they have one key man, and that’s Tunde Ogun, who led the league last year in rushing being the only man to break the 1000-yard barrier as well as contributing 14 rushing touchdowns on the ground, which also lead the league (Highlights here – enjoy the editing). Last week the Black Panthers gave up an average of 4.1 yards per carry and the Dragons will be looking to give Ogun a lot of work in order to help exploit some of the holes that the Vikings uncovered. Looking at last years tape, Ogun is made all the more dangerous because the Dragons are willing to line him up all over the field and so I expect to see much of the same in this game.
Players to Watch
Black Panthers: Dan Krejbich, Linebacker #50. Having recorded 8 solo and 9 total tackles against the Vikings it's going to be important for Krejbich to be at the top of his game still to take down Ogun when the running back breaks through the defensive line.
Dragons: Tunde Ogun, Running Back #1. I’ve already highlighted his accolades from last year, let’s hope he maintains that form and justifies my whole paragraph on him.
Prediction: Tough to call after last year's games being so close, but I'm going to go with the home team and the Dragons by a score of 31-24.
For the live ticker for both games visit http://football-austria.com/home/
Any stream that we can find will be provided to you by us on the day. But let's be honest you will be watch the GB Students rock the Swedes if you're at your computer on Saturday at 13:00 GMT.