Thursday, 27 June 2013

AFL Week 11 Preview

Saturday 29th June

Danube Dragons @ Prague Black Panthers - 14:00 GMT

The only game that has any potential meaning this week sees the fifth place Black Panthers take on the fourth place Dragons to see if they can pull off a miracle and sneak into the playoffs. For that to happen, the Black Panthers not only need to pull off their first win against a team that is not the AFC Rangers but will also have to do so by some ridiculous margin to go ahead of the Dragons on points difference. 

The Dragons are ready to defend their playoff spot and need to dispatch the Black Panthers to do so.
© Dragons Media

Whilst there is a mathematical probability that the Dragons could find themselves dropping down to fifth and being out of the playoffs, the likelihood is that it won't happen and that their offence will pull off another brutalisation of the Black Panther defence similar to what we saw in week three and keep them in playoff position. 

With the Black Panthers offence getting progressively poorer throughout the season and their defence never having played at a great standard I can only see this one going in the Dragons favour. I believe it will be a case of trying to kill the game off before half time and then getting the backups in to finish the job. 

Prediction: The Dragons take it and secure their playoff spot, 35 - 13.

AFC Rangers @ SWARCO Raiders - 16:00 GMT

The Raiders surprised quite a few of us last week when holding out the majority of their top starters against the Vikings to turn what could have been an exciting game into a fairly dull encounter. This week I expect them to pull a similar stunt (although, when have my predictions ever come true) but this time be on the winning side of the scoreline over the leagues worst team, the AFC Rangers.

Considering the Raiders handed Adrian Platzgummer his very first AFL start against the Vikings, I see no reason why he shouldn't get a shot against the Rangers this week having hopefully survived the scolding from being thrown into the fire. Whilst the quality of the Rangers defence is nothing in comparison to the Vikings, hopefully we get to see a better representation of what Platzgummers potential is.

Young quarterback Platzgummer could be in for his second start of his career.
© Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography

By this stage, I feel as if the Rangers are fully resigned to another winless season and having your season finale against one of Europe's powerhouses prOnobably hasn't done anything to change that sentiment. The Rangers need to keep building towards the future and if they do face a weaker Raider lineup it could prove to be a perfect opportunity to gain a little confidence going into next season, and who knows, maybe they'll try something other the letting Craig Maynard get beat up on every play as he tries to carry the team.

Prediction: This can only go one way for me, Raiders 32 - 6.

Raiffeisen Vikings @ Graz Giants - 19:30 GMT

This encounter, whilst also having zero effect on the standings, could turn out to be a very intriguing fixture depending on how both teams approach the game. To finish of their undefeated season, the Vikings can't afford to rest their starters from the get go as this Graz team have been the only team that has come close to beating the Vikings when they narrowly lost 24-20 in week six.

Just like the Raiders last weekend, I don't see the point in risking the starters for either team a couple of weeks before the playoffs and I see it as the perfect opportunity to get a little more meaningful play time for the backups, but I feel that whilst the Giants may take the approach of resting their starters and saving them for round one of the playoffs against the Raiders, I don't see the Vikings doing the same and instead will aim for that undefeated season.

Can Islaam Amadu improve on last weeks solid game?
© Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography

If both teams come out with their big names on the field, this could potentially be one of the better encounters of the AFL season as once again the tricky Giants option attack will take on the Vikings defence with both teams being a little wiser to the other having already faced each other. Another thing to keep an eye out for is how the Viking share the ball around their offence if they have Gross under centre as well as Jesse Lewis and Islaam Amadu in the backfield, does Gross take a back seat like last week to the ground game, or do the Vikings let him sling it for the win?

Prediction: I feel this one depends a lot on which players start the game, but I'm going to give it to the Vikings 31-21.

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