The Memphis Express were coming off of a pretty good Week 4 performance and looked like they were about to turn things around but they suffered a heartbreaking loss to Atlanta in Week 5 and are sinking like a stone with a lead weight tied to it. They were in a good position to pull out the win but a very untimely interception snuffed out what looked to be a winning scoring drive with just over three minutes left in the game. Atlanta had enough time to march down the field and nail the game-winning field goal. Meanwhile, the Stallions had similar results as they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Salt Lake couldn’t hold on to a late lead and eventually lost on a last-second field goal. Both teams are in desperation mode as they face each other in Week 6.
Date: Saturday, March 16th at 4 PM ET Live From Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City
Memphis is looking much better than they did to start the season but they are still struggling in many areas. Opponents are averaging more pass completions, more interceptions, more rushing yards and more sacks. Zach Mettenberger has definitely been better than Christian Hackenberg but he is still prone to making bad decisions. Running back Zac Stacy leads the team with 273 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns but his efforts are not enough to carry the sagging team.
Memphis’ defense is nothing to write home about either. No player has more than a single interception and defensive tackle Julius Warmsley is the only player on the team to have registered more than one sack. He has recorded 1.5 sacks. Confidence isn’t at an all-time high but they should take solace in the fact that their Week 6 opponent is also rather fragile at the moment.
Salt Lake isn’t quite as bad as their record would indicate. They lost to Arizona in Week 1 but got their revenge on the Hotshots in Week 3. They kept it respectable against the red-hot Apollos and their losses to Birmingham and San Diego were by 3 points and 2 points respectively. They can at least have confidence in their defense. Of course, their offense, which has averaged 18 points, looked almost unstoppable in the fourth quarter last week. Despite ultimately losing, they should be able to build on that momentum in front of a home crowd.
Stallions quarterback Josh Woodrum has shown flashes of brilliance but he has also shown why he is playing in the AAF and not in the NFL. He has a pedestrian 823 passing yards and his three touchdown passes have come with four interceptions. Running back Joel Bouagnon leads a ground attack that often finds itself sputtering. However, Memphis is the type of defense that can make Salt Lake’s offense look pretty good.
If there is one thing that we should have learned about the AAF is that not many teams should be laying a full converted touchdown. Aside from the Apollos and, to a lesser extent, the Hotshots and Fleet, offense has been tough to come by although we saw plenty of scoring last week. The Express are more than deserving of the underdog role but eight points is a big number in this league.
The Pick: Memphis Express +8
After the under had been so dominant in recent weeks, every game went over the total in Week 5. The books don’t seem to be panicking to adjust totals with three of the four Week 6 games having totals of 40 or less. With that said, the Express are far more explosive with Mettenberger at quarterback while the Stallions have recorded 20-plus points in three of their five games. I’ll bite.
The Pick: Over 39.5