Wow, can you believe the Arena Football League regular season is already over? It flew by, it’s like most of us weren’t even aware it was going on!
Nevertheless, the AFL Playoffs start today, and four teams have punched playoff tickets with hopes of hoisting the 30th Arena Bowl in two weeks.
With only five teams in the league, that means four teams made the playoffs and only two playoff games before the Arena Bowl, let’s take a look at the first of those two matchups, with the Baltimore Brigade traveling to Philadelphia to take on the top-seed Soul.
Matchup: #4 Baltimore Brigade (4-10) at #1 Philadelphia Soul (13-1), 4 p.m. EST
Betting Line: Soul 20.5
TV: CBS Sports Network
A true David vs. Goliath matchup, as the premier team left in the AFL, and the league’s defending champions, the Philadelphia Soul play host to the expansion Baltimore Brigade in what will be the fifth meeting of the season between the two teams.
Philadelphia dominated the regular season meetings 3-1 and winning outscoring the Brigade by 82 points in those four games, the largest point differential in any team matchup this season, even with Baltimore handing the Soul their only loss.
The final score of the four regular season games, Philly listed first, were 69-34, 61-56, 42-49, and 70-21.
The Soul, as you might expect, come in with the league’s highest scoring offense at 58.4 points per game, nearly 8 points per game better than the next closest team. They also boast the league’s best defense, giving up just 42.1 points per game, five points better than the next closest team.
In contrast, Baltimore comes in next to last in the league in scoring at 44.3 points per game, and dead last in scoring defense, giving up a whopping 53.5 points per game, worst in the league by more than two points per game.
Philadelphia quarterback Dan Raudabaugh led the AFL in touchdown passes with 82 this season, and had the highest QB rating in the league at 122.0.
But Baltimore, despite being an expansion team, has a solid quarterback in its own right in Shane Carden, who had only six fewer yards than Raudabaugh this season, and passed for 63 touchdowns in 13 games.
The Soul also boast three wide receivers who were among the Top-6 in TD receptions this season, all catching at least 20 TD passes, while the Brigade’s leader, Reggie Gray, had 15 touchdowns on the season.
Prediction: Honestly, I don’t see any way this game is close. Yes, Baltimore did beat Philadelphia once this year for their only loss, but two of the Soul wins were absolute massacres that were over by halftime. If Baltimore has any chance at staying in this game, and it’s a bit if, they need to find someway to get stops, which have been rare for the league’s worst defense.
Soul 62, Brigade 41