The opening game of week four of the Alliance will see San Diego Fleet visit Tennessee to play Memphis Express. This cross conference matchup is set to be a cracker as the Fleet look to extend their winning run to three games and the Express look to finally get off the mark following a very slow start. Despite the fact it’s only week four, both teams have already made a change at the quarterback position. It’s also worth noting this game will feature the top two rushers in the league and both head coaches are quite familiar with each other.
As I just mentioned, both teams have already sacrificed their starting quarterback this season. Mike Bercovici struggled so bad in week 1 that he didn’t even see week 2 and was replaced by Philip Nelson. It seems Mike Martz made the correct decision as since then, the Fleet have won both games they have played. Nelson’s stats haven’t exactly set the world alight it has to be said, he has a 55% completion rate, 403 yards, 3 TD’s and 3 INTs. Despite that, he’s found a way to rack up those W’s. One thing the Fleet will be concerned about is the fact he’s been sacked six times already, especially when you consider Memphis have recorded five sacks in three games.
Memphis made their change a little bit more recently as Christian Hackenburg was subbed out in the second half of last week’s loss to Orlando. Hackenburg had completed just 52% of his passes, thrown three INT’s and no TD’s. He was replaced by Zack Mettenberger who came into the game and threw for 120 yards and two TD’s. He comes into this game against a defence who have given up a substantial amount of yards already this season (523), it seems like a perfect chance for him to make his mark on the AAF.
So obviously both teams have had their issues at the QB role, but neither have had any such problem at running back as Zack Stacy (Memphis) and Ja’Quan Gardner (San Diego) are the top two rushers in the league so far. They have a combined 469 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns this season. I would imagine that both of them will continue to be the main focus of their team’s offence during this game – barring an amazing resurgence from the QB’s.
Mike Singletary of the Express and Mike Martz of the Fleet are two head coaches who know each other pretty well. Back in their NFL days, the pair both coached in San Francisco together with Martz as 49ers OC and Singletary the assistant head coach. However, Singletary did eventually end up getting the top job on an interim basis following the sacking of Mike Nolan. It’s obvious that both coaches know each other’s style and philosophies, so this one could turn into a real tactical battle.
This one should be a real firecracker of a game and if you’re a fan of running offence, this is definitely the game for you. Fleet have the best running offence in the league, Express have the worst running defence in the league. With those stats on hand, it seems like a Fleet win is the likely outcome of this one. So who am I to argue?
Prediction: San Diego Fleet 26 – 20 Memphis Express