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16th July 2019

AAF: Express @ Apollos Preview

The 0-2 Memphis Express will be hitting the road in week 3 to take on the high-flying Orlando Apollos. Without a doubt, the home field advantage, statistical dominance and poor run of form for Memphis will almost certainly see the Apollos get to 3-0.

Memphis will try to keep the scoring down by exploiting the clock through the run game whilst the Apollos will want to get the ball in the air and downfield as quickly as physically possible.

The Express will have to deal with Christian Hackenberg starting, which itself puts doubts on their chances to even get on the board, although head coach Mike Singletary has implied he may look to Brandon Silvers or more likely
Zach Mettenberger if things don’t improve for Hackenberg.

The Apollo meanwhile will be bringing high flying Garrett Gilbert to the dance who has been unbelievable thus far. 4TDs, 0INTs and 393 yards nearly put Gilbert in the history books last week vs San Antonio.

If the Express is to stand any chance of a victory in week 3 they’re going to need to get everything perfect.

Running back Zac Stacy will need to continue to build on his strong start against a relatively average Apollos run defence, conceding 5.19 yards per play in last weeks Commanders encounter.

Stacy is currently tied for the league lead in rushing yards with 159 in the first two games. We’ll need to see a continuation of successful runs if Memphis wants to keep the ball away from Garrett Gilbert.

Memphis also need to reduce the amount of explosive plays they’re giving up. Orlando come into the game with a dominant deep ball and a key component of stopping the league leading 620 yard passing machine will be Channing Stribling. Stribling, who bounced around 5 NFL teams in a little under 2 years has looked good so far but we’ll need to see his best performance if he’s to stop
Charles Johnson and Jalin Marshall.

The Apollos lead the league in scoring, Memphis will need a miracle on the defensive front if they’re to keep their EC playoff hopes alive.

I expect Orlando to stack the box against the run forcing Hackenberg to throw it. If the Express fall behind early it will be interesting to see how long Hackenberg stays in before a change is made.  He must know this is likely his last chance to prove he has any quality at the pro level.

Prediction:

Memphis Express 17 – 44 Orlando Apollos

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