We’ve officially reached the half-way point of the Alliance of American Football season and Sunday’s action sees teams face off that are battling to remain relevant in the young league. Your Sunday slate begins at 3 p.m. EST when the Memphis Express (1-3) travel to the dirty south to take on the Atlanta Legends (1-3). Both teams are coming off their first victories of the season after making moves at quarterback.
The game will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network. Here’s the line and totals.
Memphis Express at Atlanta Legends (-1.5, O/U: 38.5)
If one of the potential highlights of the AAF was the rebuilding of former NFL quarterback prospect Christian Hackenberg, that project has been shut down for numerous OSHA violations. Hackenberg was sent back to the bench in favor of former LSU standout Zach Mettenberger and Memphis responded by winning a game, 26-23, over the San Diego Fleet.
Mettenberger was a pedestrian 18-of-25 for 174 yards and a touchdown, but he didn’t turn the ball over, so that made him an immediate upgrade over Hackenberg, who I will remind you, was seen as a possible first round NFL pick after his junior season at Penn State. Insane. Mettenberger also ran one in for a score.
Mettenberger didn’t get a lot of help in the run game, with former St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy carrying the ball 18 times for 39 yards. Reece horn led the receiving corps with four catches for 63 yards.
On defense, Corey Vereen racked up two sacks and Drew Jackson along with Latarius Brady each notched a quarterback takedown. Vereen added two forced fumbles. Drew Jackson led the team with 13 tackles, four for a loss, with four passes defended and a pick.
It looks like the Matt Simms era in Atlanta is over and the keys to former University of Georgia standout Aaron Murray. Murray was 20-of-33 for 254 yards in a 14-11 victory over the Arizona Hotshots last week. He was efficient and kept the ball moving, as the Legends amassed 25 first downs, 454 total yards and possessed the ball 37:49.
Murray was his own leading rusher, carrying the ball seven times for 54 yards. Brandon Radcliff had 12 hauls for 48 yards and Denard Robinson carried the ball nine times for 43 yards and a score. At receiver, Tarean Folston led the way with five catches for 66 yards. Malachi Jones had two catches for 50 yards.
On defense, former Stanford standout Ed Reynolds continues to pad his resume, leading the team with eight tackles, all solo, with two for a loss. Tavaris Barnes, J.T. Jones and Tracy Sprinkle all posted sacks. Jones added a forced fumble.
Both of these teams waited far too long to fix the biggest problems on their teams; the quarterbacks. Now it comes down to who can make up for the lost ground over the first month of the season the fastest. I like Murray more than Mettenberger as a quarterback, but I think the former LSU star has a better supporting cast, especially on defense and at running back. Murray had to do far too much by himself last week. I like Memphis in a close one. Express 19, Legends 15
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