The Memphis Express are headed to face the Orlando Apollos in week three of AAF play. The Express come into this game with an 0-2 record after a 2 point loss last weekend a thrashing during week 1. Orlando has shown to be a great team in this league with an early 2-0 record. This early polarizing play has produced a massive 15-point line in favor of the Apollos at home.
Express Are Struggling Already
When breaking down teams after such a short time and with very few results, we need to do our best to determine what is good and what is bad. One thing that we all know is that Christian Hackenberg is BAD. I want to do the best I can to avoid bad QB play, and the line shows me that I’m not alone. In 2 weeks, Hackenberg has a 50% completion rate for a total of 168 passing yards. Talk about horrible. I want nothing to do with this guy, and I think this team might not either. I would not be surprised to see Hackenberger benched at some point in the game, if not at the beginning. Just to pile on, the Apollo secondary is one of the best secondaries in the league. I believe they are the best overall, which only makes Hackenberg an even worse player in this game.
Not only does the quarterback situation for the Express stink, but the WR group is not what you’d hope for. Reece Horn and Pig Howard both have 7 catches in their two games for under 100 yards while no one else has eclipsed the 2 catch mark. 2 games and only 2 players with more than two catches? That is a big YIKES from me. Zac Stacy has been solid for this team, which is the only reason they could hang around in their last game. Stacy is averaging over 5 yards per carry on over 15 carries a game. The issue I have with Stacy and the Express running game is their putrid passing attack and what it will allow teams to do. If I was Orlando, I would play really aggressive run defense and dare Hackenberger to throw the ball around a little bit. There is no reason that they shouldn’t sell out to stop the run, so it will be interesting to see what they do in the matchup.
Apollos Are A Serious Contender
The Apollos are my favorite team in the league from a personnel standpoint, and they have shown why in their first two games. The biggest thing for this team is their passing attack. Charles Johnson, Jalin Marshall, and Chris Thompson are all legitimately good wide receivers that have a true skill set and role. Charles Johnson has 11 catches for 225 yards and a touchdown in his first two weeks. He is playing like the best receiver in the league by a longshot, and I don’t see that play stopping here. Jalin Marshall is another player that is in the top 5 in receiving yards this season for the Apollos.
Garrett Gilbert is one of the best passers in the league, and that also shows up in the early statistics. I expect this passing game to light it up again. The running game has been kind of muted in the first two games, but we saw D’Ernest Johnson get a lot of second-half lead-back work, which is something I am noting for the future. The passing game has been so great that the RBs haven’t had to do much, but they still have performed well. Johnson is a 7.1 yards per carry on 13 touches, while Hunt is at 5.8 on 12 touches.
Apollos Will Emerge Victorious
15 points is a really large number, but this may be one of the biggest mismatches of the season, especially with rather healthy teams. I expect the Apollos to get whatever they want on the offensive end and that should carry them to a large victory. My biggest concern is that the Apollos don’t have to try to win and this causes problems for the spread. However, in two games, we have seen the Apollos keep their foot on the gas for more than enough to assume that they will do similar things here. Give me the Apollos -15 at home.