The Memphis Express and Salt Lake Stallions both came extremely close to winning in Week 5 of the AAF season, but fell short at the very end. Both of these teams are at 1-4 and buried at the bottom of the standings in their respective conferences, which makes this game an absolute must-win situation for both sides. This is only the first season of the AAF, so “pressure” is a relative thing. However, in terms of making the playoffs, there is supreme pressure on these teams to win this game in Week 6.
Memphis Express at Salt Lake Stallions
Date: Saturday March 16th, 2019 – 4:05 PM ET
Location: Rice-Eccles Stadium – Salt Lake City, Utah
The Express have made small improvements on offense compared to the previous few weeks of the season, but not as much as they originally hoped. They did get better on offense when Zach Mettenberger replaced Christian Hackenberg at first but he’s come back down to earth. Last week, Mettenberger threw a critical interception against Atlanta on a drive when the Express were trying to take a fourth-quarter lead. He finished the day just 9-of-17 for 181 yards, no touchdowns and one pick.
In short, this team is better under Mettenberger because he’s not giving the ball away as much as Hackenberg was. Beyond that, though, this is not a significantly different team. They still have big issues.
Salt Lake Stallions
The Stallions were outplayed most of the night by the San Diego Fleet in Week 5, but they scrambled in the fourth quarter and scored a touchdown and two-point conversion in the final minute to take a 25-24 lead. It appeared that the Stallions had changed the direction of their season but their secondary allowed a long pass by San Diego down the left sideline for nearly 40 yards and the Fleet kicked a last-second field goal to steal a 27-25 win.
Losing close games had been a theme for the Stallions this season. They’re just lacking talent across the lineup and while they tend to fight, they aren’t getting many wins.
Salt Lake’s defense had been doing well in recent weeks, but this was an ugly last-moment collapse against San Diego. We will see if that heartbreak bleeds into this week and affects the Stallions’ level of motivation. This is a favorable opponent for Salt Lake, but the Stallions need to be ready for the challenge.
The Memphis Express are 1-4 straight up. They lost 23-20 to the Atlanta Legends this past weekend. Memphis has been an underdog in most of its games this season, but the Express – who were blown out in Week 1 by the Birmingham Iron – have played close games ever since, losing three of their last four games by four points or fewer. The fourth game in that four-game stretch was a game they won by three points. Each of Memphis’ last four games have been decided by four points or fewer.
After losing 27-25 to the San Diego Fleet last week, the Salt Lake Stallions are also 1-4 straight up. The Stallions had been playing games a series of unders in the previous few weeks, but this game against San Diego went over the number. It is interesting that the two games in which Salt Lake went over the total, not under, were both road games in the Western Division. This is a home game against an Eastern Division opponent.
Express vs. Stallions Prediction
Stallions 24, Express 18
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