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Legends to build on shock win? Get Alliance of American Football Week 5 tips

Leigh Copson 8 Mar 2019
(Photo: Alliance of American Football/

Alliance of American Football predictions for Week 5 of the 2019 AAF season. Can the Orlando Apollos maintain the only 100% record left in the AAF, and will the Arizona Hotshots make a return to winning ways after suffering back-to-back defeats? Read on for all of our free predictions and betting tips.

Orlando Apollos at Birmingham Iron (Saturday 19:00 GMT)

The rookie AAF season may only be four weeks old but this is already a huge matchup in the Eastern Conference. Orlando overcame the snowy conditions in Salt Lake to improve to a perfect 4-0 with a 20-11 victory over the Stallions a week ago, but Birmingham were unable to keep pace with the Apollos as their fourth-quarter fightback fell just agonisingly short in a 12-11 defeat at the hands of San Antonio. The Iron know that another defeat here will see them fall two games behind Orlando at the halfway stage of the season, so if they want to have any shot at winning the conference crown they simply have to get the ‘W’ this Saturday. But can they? No offense has shone more than the Apollos, who have racked up a league-leading 118 points through four games with quarterback Garrett Gilbert leading the charge with the aid of a talented group of wide receivers that includes Charles Johnson and Jalin Marshall. They also have some standouts on defense too with Earl Okine and Andrew Ankrah racking up three sacks each through the first four weeks while Terence Garvin has amassed three interceptions, so this will be a massive challenge for Birmingham. The Iron do have an outstanding defense though – arguably the best in the league. Their players may not be setting standards individually, but this unit has only given up 33 points so far this season to set the standard in the league by some distance, and they go into this match knowing that Orlando had a hard time against that tough Memphis defense a couple of weeks ago. Therefore you have to believe this Iron defense will give their team a chance – the big question is can the defense deliver on their side of the football? This is where it gets tricky – their last two home games have seen them put up a combined total of just 23 points and that sort of output just won’t get the job done here. So while the Iron could run the Apollos close here, I have to back Orlando to improve to 5-0. 

Salt Lake Stallions at San Diego Fleet (Sunday 01:00 GMT)

San Diego appeared to be building up some momentum when they bounced back from a season-opening defeat to San Antonio by beating the Atlanta and avenging that loss to the Commanders, but that was brought to a screeching halt last weekend when head coach Mike Martz made a ridiculously risky call that ultimately handed victory to Memphis. The Fleet raced out of the blocks as they put up 14 points in the first quarter, but with just over four minutes to go in the game the score was locked at 23-23 and that was when Martz took a massive gamble. Instead of punting from his own 32-yard-line on fourth-and-three, the former Super Bowl winner went for a fake punt and it backfired badly to give Memphis great field position. They went on to convert a game-winning field goal and Martz was left to face the wrath of the fans and the media. All will be forgiven this weekend if they can bounce back with a win, and they have an excellent shot against 1-3 Salt Lake. The Stallions pulled off an upset in Week 3 as they became the first team to beat Arizona, but they were no match for Orlando a week ago despite the conditions favouring them and their 0-2 road record suggests there will be more disappointment against a San Diego team that are 2-0 at home. However, you need to look at more than records for this one. The Fleet have lost quarterback Philip Nelson to injury and that has left Martz having to choose from Mike Berovici, who struggled in Week 1, and Alex Ross, who toiled against Memphis last weekend. That does not bode well for a meeting with a Salt Lake defense that have tightened up considerably since giving up 38 points on opening night, so I have a feeling there could be an upset on the cards here.

Memphis Express at Atlanta Legends (Sunday 20:00 GMT)

These two teams went into Week 4 having failed to win a single game so far, but they both emerged from it with a ‘1’ in the win column thanks to a couple of surprise wins. Memphis’ defense had been looking pretty good through the first couple of weeks despite the team’s poor record, but they were in desperate need of some life on the offensive side of the football and finally got it in Week 3 when Mike Singletary axed Christian Hackenberg in favour of Zach Mettenberger. The Express offense has officially become ‘The Mett Show’ since then – he almost led them to a come-from-behind win over and did lead them to a come-from-behind win over San Diego a week ago, sparking this unit into life in the process. Memphis are not the only ones to have benefited from a quarterback change though. Atlanta fans had been begging for head coach Kevin Coyle to replace Matt Simms with Aaron Murray and they finally got their wish a week ago when injury forced Simms out of the game early one. It was a move that paid off as Murray threw for 253 yards and rushed for a team-leading 54 yards in a shock 14-11 win over Arizona, but can he follow that up with leading the Legends to a victory over Memphis on Sunday? Atlanta will be favoured as the home team, but I believe we could see the Express record their first ever road win here. Mettenberger has been the spark they needed on the offensive side of the football and that defense remains one of the toughest in the entire league despite the fact they have given up 90 points so far. They have a tendency to bend and not break in the redzone, and that spells trouble for a Legends team that have had a real issue finishing off drives. This could turn out to be a very close encounter, but right now I feel there are more reasons to be positive about Memphis than there are to be positive about Atlanta.

San Antonio Commanders at Arizona Hotshots (Monday 00:00 GMT)

The race for the Western Conference title looks set to be a thriller with three teams locked at 2-2 and the fourth just one game behind, and that means Sunday’s showdown between Arizona and San Antonio is a massive one. The Hotshots came into the inaugural season of the AAF as the bookies’ pick to win it all, and things started well enough as they rolled over Salt Lake before staging a 14 –point fourth-quarter comeback to beat Memphis. That first-half struggle against the Express offered some worrying signs though and since that night the offense has stalled, putting up just 26 total points in back-to-back defeats at the hands of Salt Lake and Atlanta. Arizona desperately need to get back to winning ways in Week 5, but it is not going to be easy against a San Antonio team that moved atop the Western Conference a week ago. The Commanders rebounded from defeats to San Diego and Orlando by becoming the first team to beat Birmingham this season, and that success was built on the back of a strong defensive showing that kept the Iron out of the endzone until the fourth quarter. That defense needed to be on top of its game too, because there has been a serious lack of productivity on offense when it comes to points. Their two victories so far have via final scores of 15-6 and 12-11, and only once this season have they managed to put more than 15 points on the board. Kenneth Farrow and Mekale McKay have shone in terms of rushing and receiving yards respectively, but quarterback Logan Woodside has completed less than 50% of his passes and has already thrown five picks. So if Arizona’s offense sparks back into life here it is difficult to see San Antonio keeping pace with their hosts. But will the Hotshots fire up or fizzle out again? I am beginning to have some concerns that they may have been overrated coming into the season, but I am going to give Arizona the benefit of the doubt for one more week. The Commanders did slow the Iron offense right down a week ago, but this Hotshots unit is a better group and this San Antonio defense did cough up 37 points against Orlando and 31 points against San Diego, so it is hardly unbeatable. On their own turf I am backing Arizona to stop the rot and climb back above .500.

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Legends to build on shock win? Get Alliance of American Football Week 5 tips

Alliance of American Football predictions for Week 5 of the 2019 AAF season.

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