Davila, Rattlers building momentum
Week 7 Arena Football League action saw the Jacksonville Sharks (6-1) suffer their first loss of the season at the hands of the visiting Arizona Rattlers (6-1), 58-48. The road victory was the third straight win for the Rattlers, and could propel Arizona to an extended winning streak.
Jacksonville is the toughest defense in the league, allowing only 44.9 points per game, but Arizona is the No. 1 scoring offense (69.7) averaging nearly 70-points a game. In their head-to-head contest the Rattlers proved to be the better offense, while their defense continued to hold opponents under 50 –points. Arizona is the No.3 scoring defense (49.1 PPG), and combined with such a potent offense the Rattlers look to be on the verge of taking control of not only the National Conference Western Division, but the AFL.
The Spokane Shock (5-2) got off to a 5-0 start and an early jump on the Rattlers in the Western Division, but have dropped their last two games and look to be struggling. Meanwhile, Arizona is only getting better. The Rattlers have now won three straight after starting 3-1 and with the big road win against arguable one of the best three teams in the league their momentum will only grow.
The Rattlers will win their fourth straight in Week 8 when they play host to the Utah Blaze (3-3), while the Shock will try to stop their skid at two games when they take on the Orlando Predators (1-5) at home. While it would seem an easy task for Spokane, Orlando is coming in after earning their first win with Aaron Garcia behind center in his first game since joining the Preds after a rough start to his first season with the San Jose SabreCats.
The Shock are favored by 10, but this is a strong upset possibility. Garcia has something to prove, while Spokane is having to deal with questions about whether their 5-0 start was something they can sustain.
The Tampa Bay Storm (5-2) and SabreCats game is another one to watch. The Storm have won three straight and a win in this one will put them in the mix when discussing the top four teams in the AFL. Like the Sharks, the Storm are undefeated on the road (3-0) and should improve to 4-0 on the road in Week 8.
After Week 7 action, Nick Davila (Rattlers) is the top rated quarterback. Davila has a 133.3 QB Rating and has thrown for 1887 yards and 46 touchdowns while only being intercepted three times. Erik Meyer (Shock) is second with a 128.4 QB Rating, and is the only QB to break the 2,000 passing yard mark so far (2055). He also leads the league with 50 TDs and has only thrown two picks. Adrian McPherson (Storm) is next with a 128.1 QB Rating, has tossed 32 TDs and only a single interception. McPherson has run for 21 TDs as well and leads the league in rushing (258 yards). The Orlando signal caller has totaled 53 touchdowns.
Adron Tennell is Meyer’s primary target and he leads the AFL in both receptions (65) and TDs (22), and is second in receiving yards with 794. Reggie Grey of the Chicago Rush (4-3) leads the league with 812 yards receiving and is second in touchdowns (20).
WEEK 8 PROJECTIONS
Tampa Bay Storm over the San Jose SabreCats by 6
Chicago Rush over the Cleveland Gladiators by 13
Arizona Rattlers over the Utah Blaze by 6
Jacksonville Sharks over the San Antonio Talons by 14
Spokane Shock over the Orlando Predators by 6