The Arizona Hotshots are the only Alliance of American Football team in the Western Conference to have a 2-0 record through two games of the league’s first regular season. They were the preseason favorite to win it all in the AAF and they haven’t disappointed so far. They should be able to keep it going this week when they visit the Salt Lake Stallions, who are the only 0-2 AAF team in the Western Conference. They badly need this game to stay in the conference hunt.
These teams already met once this season (in Week 1) when the Hotshots rocked the Stallions 38-22. The difference this time is a change of venue but will that change the outcome?
Arizona Hotshots at Salt Lake Stallions
Date: Saturday February 23rd, 2019 – 3:05 PM ET
Location: Rice-Eccles Stadium – Salt Lake City, Utah
The Hotshots have been a strong second-half team so far in this young season. They scored 19 points in the second half of their Week 1 win over these same Salt Lake Stallions in Tempe, Arizona, then scored 14 fourth-quarter points this past weekend in a comeback win over the Memphis Express in Memphis. Their defense is decent but not dominant, having given up 22 points in Week 1 (Salt Lake) and 18 points in Week 2 (Memphis).
Arizona fell behind Memphis 12-0 in Week 2 due to three first-half turnovers plus another turnover on downs. As soon as Arizona cleaned up its act in the second half, it enjoyed more success.
Arizona is getting good production from the passing game as former Washington Redskins wideout Rashad Ross has been one of the best wideouts in the league. He has nine catches for 170 yards and three touchdowns so far. He has a pretty good bond with John Wolford, who has completed 62.7 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and two interceptions.
This offense looks like it’s figured out it’s identity early on whereas the Stallions, who have already had three different quarterbacks throw a pass through two teams, are still trying to figure things out.
Salt Lake Stallions
The Stallions crumbled on defense in Week 1, giving up 38 points to Arizona. In Week 2, it was the offense that stumbled, scoring just nine points against the Birmingham Iron and getting six of those points off a short drive which started deep in Birmingham territory (muffed punt). It is fairly discouraging to lose two different games in two very different ways.
The Stallions will try to get everyone on the same page this week. They need to rely on their ground game, which has two runners (Joel Bouagnon and Branden Oliver) who are averaging at least four yards per carry. Their quarterbacks are struggling mightily right now as Matt Linehan – who has only attempted 13 passes — leads the way with a 53.8 percent completion percentage. Austin Allen and Josh Woodrum are both below 49 percent. The wideouts aren’t helping much either as De’Mornay Pierson-El leads the group with a paltry 35 yards.
This will be Salt Lake’s first home game of the season, which should give the team a boost. It’s hard to believe that home-field advantage solves all of their problems, though.
The Hotshots are 1-1 against the spread. They rolled in their Week 1 contest and then were made a 14-point favorite for Week 2. They really disappointed bettors in Week 2 as they had to climb out of a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit just to eke out a two-point win. As far as their totals go, they went over in their home game and under the total in their road game.
The Stallions are one of the league’s winless teams at 0-2 but they are 1-1 against the spread. They went over the total in their first game and under in their second game. It’s worth noting that both of their games have been on the road so far and they’re playing their first home game this weekend against Arizona.
Hotshots vs. Stallions Prediction
Hotshots 33, Stallions 26
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