Saturday 13th April
Raiffesien Vikings (1-0) @ Swarco Raiders (1-0) - 13:30 GMT
Last year's two finalists lock horns for the first time this season and there's no doubt that it's going to be a juicy affair as the Raiders will be looking to exact revenge for last year's loss in the final whilst the Vikings will be looking to put pressure on their closest rivals by dealing them a loss at home in Innsbruck.
Both teams have now been off for two weeks and thus have had plenty of time to prepare for what the other team has to offer, but seeing as both team's opening games were done deals early on in the game, I don't think either side has tipped their hand yet and really shown what they have in their playbooks. Hopefully, these two weeks off have allowed for both sides to add a little extra spice into their play calling this week.
|Possible the biggest home fixture of the year for the Swarco Raiders.|
© Florian Schellhorn from www.footballpics.info
The Vikings will be looking to their high powered offence to get the job done on the road whilst the Raiders will be wanting their defence to perform a lot better than last year's final when the shipped 48 points. As with any matchup between two quality teams the final result is likely to come down to who capitalises most off of turnovers when handed that extra possession. Both team's offences have the ability to put up points in a hurry as demonstrated in week 1, but can they keep the ball safe when it matters?
Players to Watch
Vikings: Jesse Lewis, Running Back #28. Had a very good game in week 1 against the Prague Black Panthers, recording 92 yards rushing along with a score, but is going to have to have a very keen eye for the running lanes against a tough Raiders front seven.
|Jesse Lewis needs a big performance on the road.|
© Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography
Raiders: Philipp Margeiter, Linebacker/Defensive End #36. With Viking quarterback Christopher Gross preferring to sit in the pocket and carve up defences with his arm, Margeiter needs to be able to get to Gross early and often to help out his secondary.
Prediction: Going to be one of the tougher calls all year, but I'm going to go with the Raiders at home by a score of 41-38.
Find the stream for this game @ raidersTV.
Sunday 14th April
AFC Rangers (0-1) @ Danube Dragons (1-0) - 14:00 GMT
|Will the Rangers defence offer some resistance this week?|
Last weekend these two teams were on the opposite ends of blowouts with the Dragons coming out with the win and unfortunately I can see the same scenario playing out again this weekend .
With the one man wrecking crew Tunde Ogun almost single handedly defeating the Prague Black Panthers last weekend and the Rangers' inability to even slow down the JCL Graz Giants running game , this matchup has a bleak outlook. The Rangers will be hoping that even though their defensive imports didn't really show us anything game-breaking last week, that it was just a little bit of first game rust that they were getting rid of, as both guys are going to have to step up big time to help shut down Ogun.
Lost in Ogun's performance last week was the very steady, but impressive performance of Dragons quarterback Jonathan Dally who, like any quarterback, gets a lot better when playing with the safety blanket of a good running game. If the Rangers go all out and gameplan to stop Ogun, Dally is very likely to have a big day through the air.
For the Rangers to stay competitive in this game they're going to have to keep up on the scoreboard and hope that drawing the Dragons into a shootout forces some mistakes that can be turned into more points by Craig Maynard & Co. In order to achieve this, someone aside from Maynard or wide receiver/ punt returner Stefan Postel needs to step up and produce. If this doesn't happen, then the Dragons will have a very easy gameplan to execute and will be sending the Rangers packing with another loss on their record.
|© Michael Kainz|
Players to Watch
Rangers: Craig Maynard, Quarterback #5. The Rangers offence goes as far as Maynard will carry it. Against the Giants he had a total of 269 yards from scrimmage and while he will need more support this week, he will have to put up similar numbers again to help the Rangers compete.
Dragons: Georg Pongratz, Wide Receiver #86. Despite not registering any touchdowns last week, his 139 yards on 6 catches was no lees impressive and with Dally seeming extremely willing to give Pongratz opportunities to make plays, don't be surprised if we see another big game out of Georg.
Prediction: Not going to mess around here, the Dragons to take it behind another strong offensive performance 48 - 13.