Steve Spurrier and his Orlando Apollos side will be looking to remain undefeated and extend their record to 4-0 when they visit Utah to take on the Salt Lake Stallions this week.
The offence gets most of the attention for the Apollos but it is worth noting that the defence has more than held its’ own so far this season. The Apollos’ defence has held teams to less than 18 points per game so far this term, and is showing no sign of letting up. The Stallions aren’t too bad defensively either as they have allowed just 27 points in their last two games.
One thing is for certain, the Stallions are going to have to find a way to stop this steam train Orlando offence. They’ve been by far and away the best team in the league on the offensive side of the ball this season putting up 98 points so far – 25 more than any other team.
Quarterback Garrett Gilbert has thrown for 827 passing yards, 5 TD’s and 0 INT’s so far this season. Helped by a healthy wide receiving corp in Jalin Marshall, Chris Thompson and Charles Johnson who have 27 catches, 555 yard and 3 TD’s between them in the early going. It’s also worth mentioning running back D’Earnest Johnson who has racked up 171 rushing yards with 6.6 yards per carry.
There’s a famous soccer phrase that goes something along the lines of “The best form of defence, is attack” and I can see that being a real factor in this game. The only way for Salt Lake to keep the Orlando offence at bay is by making sure their own offence is out there as much as possible. I would expect the Utah side to run the ball at every opportunity – something which would be consistent with their season so far as they are averaging 111 rushing yards per game. They are also second in the league in terms of average time of possession, keeping the ball for an average of 32:37 per game – If they can keep that up then they will give themselves a real chance.
I wouldn’t be too surprised if one of the two defence’s really come out and make their mark here. Both teams have been particularly brutal offensively so far, but despite their offensive superiority, the Apollos are still restricting teams to less than 18 points per game. Terrance Garvin and Keith Reaser are two defensive players to keep an eye on for Orlando as the pair are responsible for five of the teams six interceptions to date. It’s worth noting they’re still the only team in the league to register a pick six too.
On the other side of the pitch, someone to look out for is Karter Schult. Schult leads the league in sacks so far this season with four to his name so far – that’s half of his teams total amount. Another thing to look out for is what will happen in the fourth quarter with the Stallions giving up just 12 points in the final quarter of the game so far this season.
This has every chance of being by far the best game of the weekend and the AAF obviously agree as the game has been moved from Saturday afternoon to the NFL Network’s primetime slot. Both teams are looking good for this one but despite everything I just wrote, I can’t look past Steve Spurrier and his Orlando side for this one.
Prediction: Salt Lake Stallions 18-32 Orlando Apollos