Week 5 Rundown: Expect the Unexpected
So we know everything there is to know about Season 21, right? Don't let what you know fool you, there's probably plenty we haven't seen yet. So where will the upsets come from this week? Each week, the SFL will run through the biggest headlines of the week, touching on every result and every preview in the process. Let's go >>>>>>>>
- How about in Charleston, where the Predators have their home opener vs. unbeaten Florida (Saturday, 6:30 pm ET)? The Preds, while 1-2, lost a close one in Jacksonville, topped a 2-1 D.C. team and, well, let last week get away from them. Charleston won the last two games against Florida in the APF era and want to make a statement. Who knows what Florida's walking into.
- What about Monday Night (8:15 pm ET), when Los Angeles heads to Alamo City? The Artillery are riding a high of balance in victories over strong teams in Minnesota, Vancouver and Houston. Why can't the Lycans crash the party? If LA were to win this game, they're going to have to: stay healthy - the Artillery have far more depth than LA and they'll need to be at full strength, unlike last week when they lost both starting safeties in a loss to Seattle; stay alive - get down too far on Alamo City and the game is sure to spiral; and lastly, they need to find big plays in their offense. Only one player has a play of over 30 yards through three games. Remember last Monday night's game between unbeaten Fort Worth and winless Tulsa? You just never know.
- So maybe major upsets won't happen. If not this week, then maybe the major matchups will deliver. How 'bout out West, where Arizona (3-1) hosts Vancouver (2-1) - Satruday, 6:45 pm ET. Arizona has a loss to Seattle (3-1) and Vancouver has a loss to Alamo City (3-0) so both of these teams are pretty great in their own right. The last time Arizona hosted Vancouver was Season 15 when the Legion hung 49 on 'em. This season, all eyes are on league sack leader Achilles Paptonis (5.0). The legion defense as a whole are tops in sacks with nine and top five in interceptions, with seven - despite playing only three games. Ashley Jackson, who leads the league in passing touchdowns (9) has landmines everywhere to avoid.
- We're back in Houston for a major South showdown - this time Fort Worth (3-0) comes to town to face the HeadHunters (2-1) - Sunday, 9:00 pm ET. If Houston loses their only two South Division home games back-to-back weeks, that won't bode well for their division title hopes, so this one feels bigger for them. Look for Robert Garrett Jr. to get more involved: he's got 71 yards on just 2 grabs and has shown his explosiveness when given the opportunity. Houston's defense can't be as aggressive in the secondary after getting burned last week and a hopefully retooled redzone offense could be the difference in this one.
- Don't sleep on the Saturday afternoon block (1 pm ET) to kick off the weekend. D.C. (2-1) heads to Baltimore (2-2) to face the Vultures. Both teams have won two straight. Louisiana may be 1-3, but all their losses have been by razor-thin margins and Jacksonville's one loss was a weird one to the V8s. Depending on how you look at it, we're talking about two top teams in this league going head-to-head just trying not to add another loss to strong resumes. Plus that Jacksonville offense and Louisiana defense has been an experience through four weeks, if you haven't seen them in action yet. I talked about it in our feature article about balance this week.
- Who doesn't like a cornered animal game? In this case, it's cornered people as the Desperados (0-3) and Aztecs (0-4) search for answers (Saturday, 9:00 pm ET). It's a shame someone's got to lose this one, but at least someone's gonna win it. Both teams have one clear deficiency: Tulsa's Douglas Brown is 29th in a 27-team league in rushing yards. In a running era, that's just not good enough - they have to get him going. Mexico City has 16 turnovers in four games and has only forced one - ONE! Dexter Jackson leads the league with nine TFLs but he needs some help. They've got to stop turning it over, and start forcing some mistakes.
- What's the rest look like? Las Vegas heads to Portland (Saturday, 9:15 pm ET) with the Fleet still reeling from owner Jacob Bouvette losing his home in Washington State Wildfires. They don't want to lose back-to-back games at Evo9X Stadium, but the Fury have looked strong. Atlanta hosts Carolina and Queen City travels to Motor City in the Sunday afternoon block (6:30 pm ET) and San Diego heads to Denver Sunday night, 9:15 pm ET, in what feels like an early must-win game for the struggling Mavericks offense.
You're all caught up. We'll leave you with some underrated quarterback facts through the first four weeks:
- Did you know Florida quarterback Ron Cockren has only thrown six incompletions this season? Yeah Biletsky's doing most of the work but that's still impressive when 12 signal callers have completion %s in the 50s, 10 quarterbacks have completion %s in the 60s and only three have completion %s in the 70s. Sling it Ron!
- This stat concerns some quarterbacks who have thrown over 100 passes this season. Trellis Blanton is on pace for zero turnovers - he has no interceptions in 100 attempts. Jack Wigmore is on pace to throw 6 INTs this season; Ty Ptak, Jay Cue and Colin Pierce are on pace to throw 12 INTs. If you include QBs who have still thrown less than 100 passes, the number on pace for 12 INTs or less this season climbs to 16 different players. The SFL record for fewest INTs in a 12-game season is 11: Matt Willson (Season 10) and Jonny Pichler's (Season 14). It's nice to have interceptions under control.
- Every eight passes this season, Alamo City's Ace Fenech and Florida's Ron Cockren has thrown a touchdown. What?! Jackson's thrown one every 10.5 passes. Shabazz Psynergy has thrown one every 11 passes. With stats like these, it's amazing teams aren't throwing more.