Is it too early for a team’s season to be on the line? The Birmingham Iron (3-2) better hope not as they travel across the country to take on the San Diego Fleet (3-2) in the Sunday Alliance of American Football nightcap.
We’re officially into the second half of the AAF season and the Iron were an early favorite, mainly thanks to a smothering defense. But two consecutive losses have Birmingham in a tailspin and two games behind the AAF East-leading Orlando Apollos.
The Fleet, on the other hand, are on the upswing and tied for the AAF West lead. Kick off for this game is set for 8 p.m. EST on the NFL Network.
Birmingham Iron at San Diego Fleet (-5.5, O/U: 35.5)
The Iron were absolutely manhandled by the Apollos last week, losing 31-14 in a game that never felt that close. Orlando moved the ball at will against the league’s best defensive unit, scoring in every quarter on its way to 468 total yards and 34:44 minutes of possession.
Luis Perez has been one of the bright spots of the early AAF season, but that didn’t stop Birmingham from giving him the early hook after a pick against the Apollos. Keith Price came in from the bullpen to go 18-of-29 for 234 yards and a touchdown.
Trent Richardson continues to disappoint on the stat sheet. He had just eight carries last week for 21 yards, though he did score a touchdown. Birmingham’s receiving unit was led by Wes Saxton Jr. who caught three passes for 75 yards.
On defense, the Iron didn’t do much. A group that has consistently forced turnovers and gotten after the other team’s quarterback all season did neither against the Apollos.
While the Fleet might not have been planning on making a quarterback change, it worked out for at least a game. An injured collar bone has likely ended Phillip Nelson’s season, but Mike Brecovici played excellent in relief, going 22-of-43 for 304 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
He had to do it with little help from his running backs. Terrell Watson had five carries for 14 yards to lead San Diego. It wasn’t from lack of trying as the Fleet ran the ball 23 times with five different players to no avail.
Dontez ford led the receivers with three catches for 94 yards. Marcus Baugh had two catches for 65 yards as the big play won the day for San Diego.
Frank Ginda led the defense with seven tackles and a forced fumble. Kameron Kelly had five tackles, four passes defended and three interceptions. Damontre Moore had two sacks and a forced fumble. Shakir Soto picked up a sack.
The Iron have trouble running the ball and the Fleet have the best run defense in the AAF. That could be a real problem. If Bercovici can repeat his performance at quarterback for San Diego, they should be able to pocket this win. Neither team should expect success, running the ball. I see a low scoring, defense-heavy game, so don’t be afraid of the under. Fleet 18, Iron 14
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