Up The Gut: AAF Week 6

With the Orlando Apollos dominating, parity is suddenly a problem in the AAF, Shaun Morash says

The DA Show
March 14, 2019 - 4:11 pm
Garrett Gilbert Orlando Apollos AAF

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By Shaun Morash

Cold Open
Parity may suddenly become a problem in the AAF after Saturday's beatdown in Birmingham. The excitement level for the, at the time, two best teams in the Eastern Division was so palpable the league and Turner flexed the game to TNT. What we got was the most noncompetitive game of the weekend, in a three-score blowout by the Apollos. 
With that, Orlando is 5-0, two games clear of the Iron in the East and three games clear of the Legends. Having already won their only two road games they will play this year in the Western Division, it is hard to envision the Apollos tripping up all season. An undefeated storyline may be a good thing for the league's regular season. Steve Spurrier toying with opponents before pulling away in the fourth quarter creates some fun, and even a villain, like the Warriors in the NBA. However, come the postseason, if the Apollos blow out each opponent in their two playoff games while winning a championship, that lasting memory before we turn the page to Season 2, up against the XFL, won't be a memorable one. The league is chasing Orlando, and they better get competitive quickly for the sake of this league's success. 

League Musings

-San Diego as a city reminded everyone how low it was of the Chargers to leave town. It what may have been the most fun fourth quarter of a game this season, the crowd in the former home of the Chargers was legitimately making noise and the energy was felt through television as Kameron Kelly was pumping up the crowd. Ultimately, Mike Bercovici led the team on a game-winning drive, and those fans may be rewarded to a home playoff game if they continue playing this way in the second half of the season.

-CBS Network TV has jumped back in the mix for AAF action after their Opening Night success and ahead of televising the league's championship game. They will air Memphis and San Antonio on Saturday, April 6th, and then a Sunday afternoon playoff game in mid-April. Their willingness to want more AAF games on their Network channel shows the ever-growing success the league's ratings are having. 

-Rick Neuheisel's team in Arizona continues to befuddle. After two straight losses, they came out Sunday Night and were non-competitive in the first half at home versus San Antonio. Their late run was interesting, but ultimately John Wofford's time as the starting quarterback should – and could – be nearing an end. This team should be on the arm of Trevor Knight for the rest of the season.

-Ken Zampese has Aaron Murray and the Atlanta Legends’ offense cooking. It was unfair to the players in Atlanta to have their initial head coach in Brad Childress bolt in hopes of an NFL job he still has not gotten, as well as Mike Vick be relieved after seemingly not taking the job of offensive coordinator seriously. What resulted was an 0-3 start where then backup quarterback Aaron Murray was assisting defensive-minded head coach Kevin Coyle in play-calling. Zampese came aboard three weeks ago, Matt Simms got hurt, and now the Legends have rattled off two straight wins and feel like they have a chance to take over the Iron for the second playoff spot in the East. If that happens, Ken Zampese may be the single reason why.

Potential NFL Player to Watch

Kameron Kelly, Cornerback, San Diego Fleet. The former San Diego State Aztecs star went undrafted in last spring's NFL Draft and spent some time with the Dallas Cowboys in the preseason. He is the ideal kind of player that needed some real playing time and seasoning in the Alliance to show NFL scouts what he is truly made of, while also learning to be a professional. He continues to improve and had three interceptions, including a pick-six, in the Fleet's win over the Stallions on Saturday. The NFL is starving for playmakers in the secondary; Kelly may fit that mold. 

My Picks

I was 2-2 last week. Not great, not bad. For this week:

Express +8.5 @ Stallions: The Stallions’ loss in San Diego was a heart-breaker. That is tough to get back off the mat and lay the wood versus an express team that has been far more competitive since Zach Mettenberger took over at quarterback. Bottom line: This will be a close game with both teams running the ball a lot, ticking the clock, and more than a touchdown is way too rich to lay.

Apollos -9 vs Hotshots: Arizona's season is in collapse mode, and facing the AAF's version of the Patriots at home won't make matters easier. The Apollos pick off quarterbacks left and right, and this could be the end of John Wofford's tenure. Expect another Orlando blowout. 

Commanders +1.5 @ Legends:  Vegas is begging the novice AAF fan to jump on the red-hot Legends at home laying a low number. However, the Commanders are coming to town and to this point have been the best team in the West. I expect two touchdowns from Kenneth "Mia" Farrow on the ground, big plays down the seam from Greg Ward Jr., and for the fans in Atlanta to leave the stadium longing for the Thrashers to come back to the city. This is my best bet of the week.

I am sitting out the Iron-Fleet game Sunday Night. While a big one, it is by far the toughest to call.
Thanks for reading, as always, and you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MrazCBS.