The Arizona Hotshots entered the the season as the favorites to win the inaugural AAF title and while they showed well in Week 1, they’ve struggled since. They were a two-touchdown favorite in Week 2 and had to dig out of a huge fourth-quarter hole to pull out a win, and they lost in Week 3. Now they’ll host the Atlanta Legends, who have been the worst team in the AAF so far. A loss here would really sour the once-positive outlook for Arizona.
Atlanta Legends at Arizona Hotshots
Date: Sunday March 3rd, 2019 – 8:05 PM ET
Location: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona
The Legends were outscored 28-6 by the Birmingham Iron last weekend before scoring a garbage touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The end result was a 28-12 loss that dropped Atlanta to 0-3. The Legends did move the ball, creating five different scoring chances inside the Birmingham red zone, but scored only 12 points on those numerous possessions. The Legends have not scored more than 12 points in any of their three games this year, giving them even fewer points than the Memphis Express, the other team in the Eastern Conference which has yet to win a game this season. They’re averaging a paltry 4.4 yards per play while scoring just two touchdowns in three games.
The bigger concern is that this team can’t stop turning it over. They’ve coughed up 10 turnovers in three games. Obviously, putting their defense in bad positions has led them to them giving up at 30.1 points per game.
Atlanta was supposed to have former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick as its offensive coordinator, but Vick had to duck out of that role before the season due to personal reasons. The last-minute adjustment has really seemed to harm the coaching staff and its relationship with the players.
The Hotshots won a 38-22 game over the Salt Lake Stallions in Week 1 at home, but going on the road to Salt Lake in Week 3 was a different story. Salt Lake’s defense was completely different from what it showed in the season opener as they held Arizona’s offense to just 15 points. Arizona has to regroup, but coming home to play the league-worst offense from Atlanta is just about a perfect scenario. Arizona will also relish the fact that a two-game road trip is over.
A big issue for this contest is the status of quarterback John Wolford. He was knocked out last week with a back strain and is questionable. Backup Trevor Knight came in and struggled, going just 6-of-15 for 68 yards.
The encouraging news is that Arizona has not given up more than 23 points in any of its three games, and now gets to face the AAF’s worst offense. If Arizona plays anywhere close to its capabilities on offense, it should be able to hold Atlanta’s offense under 20 points.
The Legends have not yet played a game with more than 46 total points this season and have averaged 10 points a game on offense, the worst in the AAF. Atlanta, like most AAF teams, is a magnet for under games. All four of the AAF games from Week 3 finished with fewer than 43 points. Atlanta is 0-3 both straight up and against the spread.
The Hotshots went over the number in Week 1 but have played in consecutive games — in Weeks 2 and 3 — with 38 combined points. Arizona is 2-1 straight up but 1-2 against the spread. What makes the Hotshots harder to gauge from a betting perspective is that they have played two of their three games against the same team: Salt Lake. Arizona’s other opponent was Memphis. Arizona won that game by only two points (20-18) over Memphis and did not cover the spread.
Legends vs. Hothots Prediction
HotShots 30, Legends 15
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