Week 1 of the AAF exceeded expectations of many football fans. The league opened up on Saturday and had a lot of innovations that fans were intrigued by. These included being able to listen into reviews and here the rationale behind calls and teams having to go for two after touchdowns. There was even some violent hitting, exemplified by Shaan Washington’s hit for the Commanders on Saturday night. Fans loved that the AAF was doing a lot of great things that the NFL has refused to. Now, the AAF has a legitimate following and will be looking to continue building momentum in Week 2.
Salt Lake Stallions (0-1) at Birmingham Iron (1-0)
Saturday’s early game features one team looking to bounce back from a bad loss and another trying to hold onto the momentum they gained in Week 1. The Stallions fell on Sunday night to the Hotshots 38-22. Their offense put up the fourth most points in the league last week, but their defense gave up the second most. Salt Lake needs to lock down this week because the Iron put on a show on defense last week. The only shutout of the week belonged to Birmingham as they blanked the Express, who looked to have one of the more star-studded offenses in the league.
Birmingham’s defense was led by Jonathan Massaquoi who had two sacks and led the team in tackles. The team also intercepted the Express twice throughout the game. On offense, Trent Richardson scored twice and looked to feel at home back in Alabama. Salt Lake couldn’t force any turnovers last week and will need to in order to bet the Iron. However, I just don’t see it happening. The Stallions won’t be able to pick up their first win on the road as the Iron stays hot through two weeks.
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Prediction: Iron 24 Stallions 12
Arizona Hotshots (1-0) at Memphis Express (0-1)
Based on last week, this game looks like a game between an elite team and a team that will struggle all season. However, I still believe in the Express. Christian Hackenberg was abysmal last week with an interception and just 3.8 yards per attempt, but I see him bouncing back this week. Arizona is definitely one of the better teams in the league. Everyone expected Trevor Knight to start at quarterback, but John Wolford came in last week and threw for four touchdowns. Two of them went to emerging star receiver Rashad Ross.
Memphis playing at home will allow them to finally get into the groove that I thought they would find at the beginning of the season. The Express will take this week to figure out the offense and let Zac Stacy shine behind Hackenberg. Arizona will keep it close and put up points with the explosive offense they showed off last week, but it won’t be enough. Demarquis Gates will continue to make plays at linebacker and hold of the Hotshots from getting to 2-0. I see the Express getting back to .500 with a win at home this week over Arizona.
Prediction: Express 27 Hotshots 25