The Pittsburgh Power (1-3) finally got to celebrate a victory this season and what better place to party than in New Orleans? I’m sure the players had a blast on Bourbon Street but now it’s time to get back to work and try stringing a few victories together.
Power quarterback Jordan Jefferson had the best game of his young AFL career by completing 19 of 30 passes for 223 yards and five touchdowns. He added 30 yards on the ground. Most importantly he did not have any fumbles or interceptions. He will need to continue to show improvement this week against the San Antonio Talons (1-3).
The Talons come into this game already down to their third quarterback of the season. After John Dutton and Rohan Davey suffered injuries in their earlier games, the team was forced to bring in Nick Hill to be their quarterback. Hill has struggled somewhat this year by completing 43 of 75 (57.3%) of his passes for eight touchdowns and three interceptions but he does have some success in the past. He’s been one of the biggest threats as a running quarterback so the Power defense will have to be sure to contain him.
Hill’s favorite target is Jomo Wilson, a 4-year AFL veteran, who has produced 28 catches for 389 yards and seven touchdowns so far this year. The Talons need more production out of their other receivers Burl Toler and Dwayne Eley, Jr. If Pittsburgh can contain the damage Jomo Wilson can do they will set themselves up to do well in this game.
Pittsburgh’s receiving corps sees the ball spread around. There is no set number one receiver but Mike Washington, P.J. Berry and an emerging Perry Baker all make plays when called upon. Also keep an eye on Christian Wise who is used sparingly but always seems to catch touchdown passes when the ball is thrown his way.
Defensively both teams rank near the top of the AFL. Pittsburgh is coming off a strong performance against the New Orleans VooDoo where they held New Orleans to 107 total yards and forced three turnovers. Sergio Gilliam leads the Power with two interceptions, including a pick-six last week. Look for Chris LeFlore to continue his strong coverage in the Power secondary. Dominie Pittman has posted three sacks and is emerging as one of the better pass rushers in the AFL.
The Talons have 10 sacks on the year, putting them second in the AFL in that category. Joe Sykes (3.5 sacks), Tim McGill (2.0 sacks) and Victor DeGrate (1.5 sacks) will look to make life miserable for Jordan Jefferson. Jefferson will need to keep an eye on where Fred Shaw is. Shaw leads the Talons with three interceptions and a pick six.
Overall both team’s offenses have struggled this year, so both defenses will be looking to dominate this matchup. It will likely come down to how well Jefferson continues to grow under new offensive consultant Jon Lyles’ offensive scheme. I like what I saw out of the rookie QB last week and hope Lyles was the missing tonic the Power needed to jump start their season.
I think the fact this game is in Pittsburgh should give a bit of a boost to the Power although they’ve only won one home game since the start of the 2012 season. The Power fans at Consol Energy Center are desperately looking for a winner and I think Pittsburgh has the edge in this matchup. Look for a very similar game to last week as both teams will likely score in the 40’s.