Thursday, 9 May 2013

AFL Week 7 Preview

Saturday 11th May

Swarco Raiders @ JCL Graz Giants - 14:00 GMT

The second and third place teams in the league face off in the return fixture of the season's opening game, and it could very well define both team's campaigns. The Giants fell to 3-2 with last week's close loss to the Raiffeisen Vikings but demonstrated just how dangerous a team they can be on their day by nearly pulling off the season's biggest upset. Meanwhile, the Swarco Raiders find themselves one game behind the league leading Vikings and despite the couple of shaky weeks that they've experienced, are still in a very strong position overall.

Taylor-Spears could see a larger role in the Raider's offence this week.
© Florian Schellhorn from

The Raiders dominated the Giants in their first meeting and only allowed Graz's offence to get on the board for the first time in the second half, but now it appears that Alex Good and his team's offence have really hit their stride and I predict that they will have a lot more success against both the Raiders run and pass defence.

On offence the Raiders will be looking to exploit all of the weaknesses that they uncovered in the Giants pass defence during week one and will be encouraged by the success that the Vikings had last weekend. Unless the Giants have made some serious tweaks in their game plan and scheme, I can foresee the Raiders dominating through the air again.

Alex Good only found his game in the second half of the first meeting. He need's it from the get-go on Saturday.
© Florian Schellhorn from

Players to Watch
Raiders: Jaycen Taylor-Spears, Running Back #7. An impressive debut last weekend and I think the Raiders will be looking to get him even more touches against the Giants.

Giants: Max Taurer, Wide Receiver #89. The team's leading receiver should be able to find plenty of openings in a weak Raider secondary if the away team focus too much on stopping Alex Good.

Prediction: Going to be a little bold here and plum for a Giants to get their revenge 28 - 21.

AFC Rangers @ Prague Black Panthers - 14:00 GMT

The most relevant aspect of this game is the fact that one team will finally break the goose egg in their win column and let the other team take the lead in the wooden spoon race. 

I hate to undermine the importance of any game, but neither team is relevant to the league with how poorly they have been performing and so the only relevance that this game has is in helping to determine which club will lie in the leagues basement until next time they meet.

When it comes down to the on field match ups there's two big things to keep an eye on, can the AFC Rangers slow down the Prague Black Panther passing game and can the Black Panthers deal with the Ranger running game? Neither team's performances so far have given us any idea of how these two aspects of the game will play out and so I really think that this game is a coin flip.

When your team has won a game yet, wearing pink isn't an option.
© Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography

Players to Watch
Rangers: Craig Maynard, Quarterback #5. As usual the Rangers success rests squarely upon Maynard's shoulders, can he carry them to a win?

Black Panthers: Tomas Svoboda, Linebacker #52. To shut down Maynard and the Ranger run game someone has the pile up the tackles.

Prediction: A close game that's ultimately decided by the quick strike ability of the Black Panther passing game. Black Panthers win 31-24.

Sunday 12th May

Raiffeisen Vikings @ Danube Dragons - 13:30 GMT

When these two teams met a couple of weeks ago, the game looked poised to turn into a shootout with the powerful Tunde Ogun in the backfield for the Dragons and the maestro Christopher Gross conducting the Vikings offence. Sadly however, it was a pretty uneventful affair as the Dragons, who suffered turnovers woes, only managed to eek out 12 points on the leagues best defence.

With the Vikings coming off a hard fought victory last weekend over the Giants and the Dragons having had a de facto bye week due to a postponement, this game has the potential to be a lot closer if the Dragons have been using their time wisely and figuring out what went wrong in the two team's first meeting. 

The Vikings kept a close eye on Ogun last time out.
© Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography

Whilst Tunde Ogun is a huge threat to any defence, the Vikings did an excellent job in keeping the big guy quiet which went a long way to securing the victory. The key to this game however will be stopping the Vikings high flying offence, who average 37.4 points per game and haven't faced a defence that has been able to slow them down all season. If the Dragons manage to hold them around the 20 point mark then then the game could get very interesting, however, I have my doubts that they can do so.

Dally has to step his game up from his performance a couple of weeks ago.
© Kellner Holly Thomas/Gridiron Photography

Players to Watch
Vikings: Michael Zweifel, Wide Receiver #7. Had a big game last weekend and has earned more and more trust from quarterback Christopher Gross which could lead to even more production.

Dragons: Jonathan Dally, Quarterback #8. Had a poor game by his own standards the last time these two met and will need to make amends to give his guys a shot at the win.

Prediction: At this point in the season I can't see the Vikings dropping a game to anybody and so I think they take it on the road 31-17.

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