Week 7 of the AAF is complete as the teams are now starting to jockey for playoff positioning.
On Saturday, the Orlando Apollos opened AAF Week 7 with another dominant victory, defeating the Atlanta Legends 36-6. The Apollos scored on all of their four trips to the red zone and held the Legends to just a total of 225 yards of offense with three sacks and two interceptions. With the win, Orlando is the first team to clinch a spot in the first ever AAF Playoffs.
In the nightcap, the San Antonio Commanders also stamped their class and moved to within one game of securing the Western Conference with a 19-15 win over the the Salt Lake Stallions. But the win wasn’t without drama as Josh Woodrum put the Stallions to within 17-15 with 1:54 left. But Salt Lake’s two point conversion attempt was intercepted and returned to the end zone by De’Vante Bausby.
— San Antonio Commanders (@aafcommanders) March 25, 2019
Then on Sunday, the Arizona Hotshots defeated the San Diego Fleet 32-15 to take over solo second in the Western Conference. The Hotshots got a big games from quarterback John Wolford who passed two touchdowns and ran for a pair. Wolford finished 212 yards on 15-19 passing.
In the second game, Johnny Manziel made his AAF debut but his Memphis Express played well without him and won over the Birmingham Iron with quarterback Brandon Silvers leading the way. Manziel finished 3-5 for 48 yards while Silvers went 24-35 for a total of 266 passing yards. Memphis Express receiver Reece Horn had seven catches for 113 yards, his second straight game with 100-plus catching yards.
So after seven weeks of football action, here’s how the teams standings looks like in the first ever AAF season:
|San Antonio Commanders||5||2|
|San Diego Fleet||3||4|
|Salt Lake Stallions||2||5|
Here is the schedule for Week 8:
|Orlando Apollos||at||Memphis Express||Sat, March 30||2 P.M.||B/R Live|
|San Diego Fleet||at||Salt Lake Stallions||Sat, March 30||8 P.M.||NFL Network|
|Atlanta Legends||at||Birmingham Iron||Sun, March 31||4 P.M.||CBS Sports|
|Arizona Hotshots||at||San Antonio Commanders||Sun, March 31||8 P.M.||NFL Network|
Orlando Apollos at Memphis Express
After suffering their first loss of the season in week 6, the Orlando Apollos were back being the Orlando Apollos: dominating their opposition. Garrett Gilbert had a big bounce back game with 210 passing yards and one score on 15-19 passing while the Apollos’ three-headed monster on the ground combined for three scores and 152 rushing yards on 31 attempts.
On the other hand, the Express got a much needed win to stay alive in the race to the playoffs. Johnny Manziel made his highly anticipated debut but it was “the other” quarterback that gave Memphis their second win of the season. Manziel threw for 48 yards but it was Brandon Silvers who got the win for the Express.
Prediction: Orlando Apollos. Despite the win, I think there is still a quarterback issue in Memphis. Silvers will likely get the start after a strong game but Manziel will always be Johnny. On the other had, the Apollos played week 7 like the previous week never happened. Reece Horn’s back to back 100 yard catching games have helped Memphis a lot in the last two weeks but with Orlando’s pass defense ranked 2nd in the league, I think this is another dominant win on both ends of the floor for the Apollos.
San Diego Fleet at Salt Lake Stallions
The Fleet fell to 3-4 after losing to the Arizona Hotshots in last Saturday crucial western conference game. Quarterback Mike Bercovici threw for a total of 310 yards with one touchdowns but was just 22-43 and threw a pair of interceptions. Receiver Nelson Spruce had 12 catches for 146 yards.
Salt Lake had another strong game from Josh Woodrum who completed 22-35 passes for 229 yards. But still, the Stallions lost to the Commanders in a close game that was won by a Trey Williams touchdown and a Greg Ward Jr. two-point conversion catch with six minutes left in the game.
Prediction: Salt Lake Stallions. Woodrum has passed for a total of 852 yards in his last three games and the Stallions outgained the Commanders 263-240. With San Diego having the worst pass defense in the league (231.14 passing yards per game), Woodrum should continue to play well, which leaves us to defense as the key here. The Fleet leaned too much on their passing game and lost with Bercovici struggling. The Stallions don’t have the best passing defense but theirs have done better than the Fleet’s. I expect Salt Lake to stall the San Diego offense and win this game to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Atlanta Legends vs Birmingham Iron
The Atlanta Legends were back to their old ways in week 7- getting blown out. After back to back wins in weeks 4 & 5, the Legends have lost by a total of 61 points in their last two games. Aaron Murray was sacked thrice and intercepted twice and their offense could only muster a total of 255 total yards against the Apollos last Saturday.
— Atlanta Legends (@AafLegends) March 25, 2019
Birmingham was winning over the Memphis Express in week 7 as they led 25-14 with five minutes left in the game. Iron coach Tim Lewis admitted that his team lost steam in the end game, hence the collapse and the defeat in the first ever overtime game in AAF history. Luis Perez could complete a pass in overtime but we know he’s the 3rd most productive QB in the league.
Prediction: Birmingham Iron. Save for two close victories in Weeks 4 and 5, the Atlanta Legends have been losing badly, by double digits in all five losses and by at least 30 points in three of five defeats. While their overall defense is just in the middle of the pack, Birmingham has the third best pass defense in the AAF. We know what happens to Atlanta when Murray is shackled and pressured. Atlanta is last in scoring at just 11.286 points per game and that’s not enough to win games.. Birmingham bounces back from their Week 7 loss to beat the Legends.
Arizona Hotshots vs San Antonio Commanders
The Arizona Hotshots got a big win last weekend when they downed the San Diego Fleet to gain sole possession of second place in the Western Conference. John Wolford threw for 212 yards with two scores and one pick on a very efficient 15-19 passing. However, the Hotshots lost wide receiver Rashad Ross to an injury and he did not return to action.
The Commanders are the hottest team in the league right now with four consecutive victories. They played very solid on their home field the last time out after a long road trip. The Commanders had a close call with the Stallions and needed a De’Vante Bausby interception to seal the win.
Predictions: San Antonio Commanders. It’s hard not to pick the Commanders right now as they have won four games in a row and are playing on a three-game home stand. San Antonio is on the cusp of clinching the second playoff spot and you bet they’re going for it here. San Antonio’s pass defense is second to last and the Hotshots are the second best offensive team in the AAF. But remember the Commanders won last week despite being outgained. This is a team that makes the big plays when needed.