Friday, 21 June 2013

AFL Week 10 Preview

Saturday 22nd June

JCL Graz Giants @ Danube Dragons - 16:00 GMT

Whilst it's almost a forgone conclusion that the Dragons will make the playoffs, this game offers them the chance to at least make an attempt on overtaking the Giants for third place and in doing so a playoff spot against the leagues number two seed. The Giants won the first meeting between these two all the way back in week two with a score of 49 - 36 and the Giants running game dominating. This means that if the Dragons do want a shot at that third place then need to win by at least 14 points this week.

Will Good and the Giants option game get the better of the Dragons again?
© Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography

The Giants run in to the playoffs is possibly the toughest in the league with both the Dragons this week and the undefeated Vikings the weekend after and so there's a very realistic chance that if they drop their game this weekend that they could be knocked down into fourth place and be the lowest seeded team going into the playoffs, which is a situation they would want to avoid.

The result will most likely be decided once again by the team that has the better running game and with both teams having fantastic athletes at both the running back and quarterback positions I doubt there will be a lack of yardage gained on the ground. The two key players that need to be kept tabs on during this game are Tunde Ogun for the Dragons and Alex Good for the Giants, Ogun was unleashed on the Raiders last week and is a big reason that the Dragons managed to put up 31 points and Good is always the catalyst of a strong Giant option run game so keep an eye on what these guys manage to produce and it may give you a good indication of who took the win.

Prediction: Another high scoring affair, but the Giants put up their sixth win 41-35.



Prague Black Panthers @ AFC Rangers - 16:30

The return leg that everyone's been waiting for, or maybe not. Technically the Black Panther can still make the playoffs but realistically this game is just about pride and if the Black Panthers can get a second win or if the Rangers can break their goose egg in the W column.

#7 Andrew Shoop is going to be the difference maker this week against the Rangers.
© Florian Schellhorn from www.footballpics.info

The first time these two sides met the Black Panthers ran away with a pretty convincing 31 - 10 victory and were never really in danger of being in a close game against the woeful Rangers and I full expect this game to go exactly the same way. Home advantage or not, the Rangers simply haven't showed anyone that they are capable of hanging with any team in the league this season and as sad as it sounds there's no reason to even give them any hope. The Black Panthers, whilst almost as woeful, have had enough talent and production at times to occasionally hang with and put up points with the rest of the league thanks to their American talent and quarterback Andrew Shoop, and for me this is the big difference maker in the matchup.

I expect the Rangers to put up more than 10 points this time around, but if the weather is favourable for a passing game I reckon the Black Panthers will have the same success as the last time these two met.

Prediction: Black Panthers secure their second win, 40 -21.

Sunday 23rd June

SWARCO Raiders @ Raiffeisen Vikings - 14:00

This matchup is the premier clash that the league offers and I would hope that everyone tunes into the live stream to catch a glimpse of what European football can look like at its best. This fixture is obviously circled on both teams calendars from the get-go but I have a sneaky suspicion that since the Vikings week four beatdown of the Raiders 48-13, the road team have put a couple more rings around the date.

In all likelihood this is the first of three more meetings these teams will have with both having to play each other in the EFL final as well in the AFL final if no upsets occur in the first round of the AFL playoffs. I for one am looking forward to some serious mind games!

Since that awful loss back in week four, the Raiders are a changed team, really having tightened up their defensive secondary as well as having an offence that has the potential to score from anywhere. Last weeks victory over reigning European champions the Calanda Broncos was the final step and best possible tune up game to go into Vienna with the confidence needed to knock off the leagues top dogs.

The finish line is in sight for the AFL and the Vikings, can they make it an undefeated regular season?
© Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography

The Vikings have been peerless all season long and sit at a might 8-0 having outscored the Raiders by 34 points as well as conceding 35 less during league play this season. Christopher Gross is far and away the leagues best quarterback and has the weapons around him to help break down any defence he faces. The Vikings themselves had almost the perfect test coming into the game as they took down the Berline Adler by a score of 41 - 17 which would have given them ample confidence to come into this game and replicate the performance they put on against the Raiders in the first meeting between the sides.

Whilst the Vikings haven't really changed much as a team from week four the Raiders have had one key addition that could be a difference make in this game, and that's Jaycen Taylor-Spears. The ex-Purdue Boilermaker has been an explosive weapon on special teams and has taken on a bigger and bigger role in the Raider offence the longer he's been on the team. Combined with the stellar play of Talib Wise and Kyle Callahan, the Raiders now have enough weapons on offence to put up some serious points this time around.

I think this game is another high scoring affair and I think it could be decided by which team gets the quicker start. Neither team can afford to be two scores down to the other, and whilst both are capable of erasing such a deficit it will always be a tough task given the strength of the others defence.

Prediction: The Raiders make it a lot close than last time but still lose out. Vikings 35 - 28.

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