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Iowa Barnstormers vs. Orlando Predators (Week 5 Preview from Mike Rose)
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Fresh off of their first arena football betting victory of the season, the Iowa Barnstormers (1-2, 1-2 ATS) will look to improve to .500 on the year at the expense of the winless Orlando Predators (0-2, 0-2 ATS), who will be playing their first home game of the season. Both teams are in dire need of a victory this week, as each could fall three games behind the first place team in their respective conferences with a defeat. This will be the first matchup between the Predators and Barnstormers since the 1999 playoffs, when Orlando ended Iowa’s season with a 48-41 victory at “The Barn” in Des Moines. The Barnstormers haven’t visited “The Jungle” since 1998, and is 1-1 all-time in visits there.
QB Ryan Vena hasn’t exactly had a warm return to the AFL after playing in the af2 for a couple seasons. He has completed just 55.1 percent of his passes and has thrown 14 TDs against five picks. Yes, adding six rushing touchdowns helps matters, but the bottom line is that five INTs in three games is unacceptable at this level, which is why the Barnstormers are in the position that they’re in. Both WR Jesse Schmidt and WR Todd Blythe have six touchdowns apiece to lead the team in scoring. The Barnstormers have conceded at least 60 points in all three of their games.
The Predators may find a way to test the futility of those defensive numbers on Friday night. QB Nick Hill, playing in his first year at the AFL level, hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire in his two outings. Sure, he’s completing a ton of passes at a high percentage (61/82 in two games), but the mass majority of his throws are made just a few yards in front of him. His 584 yards and seven touchdown passes against two picks isn’t cutting it at this level. WR TT Toliver is one of the most explosive all-purpose players in this league, as he has already accounted for 384 yards and three scores in two games. Orlando’s bigger problem might be a defense which has only gotten four stops in two weeks, only two of which were forced turnovers. The defensive line also hasn’t come up with a single sack on the year. The Predators lost last weekend on the road by 26 points in a game that was never really that close. The last time the team was beaten down that badly on the road was back in the 2004 playoffs when they suffered a 58-15 loss to the Chicago Rush.
The Predators currently sit as six-point favorites at the time of this publication.
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