Arizona Hotshots @ San Antonio Commanders 8 pm eastern, NFL Network
What a week it has been for the Alliance of American Football. After a week seven that included the first overtime game in the history of the AAF, the much-anticipated appearance of Johnny Manziel in Memphis, and record attendance in the San Antonio game we can only imagine what is to come in week eight. With all of that said, the biggest news might have been Wednesday night when majority owner Tom Dundon said this to USA Today:
“If the players union (NFLPA) is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league,” Dundon said. “We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league.”
When this report was published, AAF related social media exploded with rumors, frustration, and mostly confusion. The league has been heading in the right direction for the past few weeks, and this statement slowed down the momentum for the Alliance. It makes sense that if the AAF were to continue, it would need the collaboration of the NFLPA to get young NFL aspiring talent into the league. The logic is there, but the way Dundon handled it has been called into question.
The NFL is the only league that does not have a developmental system, whereas most other leagues have a number of them (MLB: A, AA, AAA NHL: OHL, ECHL, QMJHL NBA: G league). Earlier this month, Alliance head of football Bill Polian said using players from the bottom of NFL rosters who do not have much opportunity to play during the NFL season would be mutually beneficial for both leagues. There are a number of conversations still ongoing to get a deal done, but Dundon has said that week eight could be AAFs last. I doubt it will get that far considering Dundon invested 250 million dollars into the league a couple of weeks ago. But if it is the end, we are in for a treat with San Antonio Commanders against the Arizona Hotshots!
Week 7 Results
Last week, the Commanders scrapped by the Stallions with a 19-15 win, their fourth win in a row. As I already mentioned, the Alamodome attendance was listed as a little more than thirty thousand. Clearly, San Antonio has been football starved for a while now, and their support for the Commanders is fun to see. The offense wasn’t as explosive as it has been the past few weeks, but the defense stepped up in their place. The game ultimately came down to a last-second interception on Salt Lakes two-point conversion attempt sealing the victory for the Commanders. Logan Woodside went 13/19 for 169 yards, one TD and one interception before being replaced due to injury by backup Marquise Williams who went 2/3 for 49 yards.
The Hotshots are also coming off a win, blowing out the San Diego Fleet 32-15 at home. The Hotshots have looked impressive after almost falling to the bottom of the AAF power rankings. Arizona is looking to avoid being swept by the Commanders this season, but more importantly, a win would put this team in good position to be one of the top two in the West. QB John Wolford looked good the past week going 15/19 for 212 yards, two TDs, and one interception. What will be important this week is keeping an eye on star receiver Rashad Ross who left last weeks game with an injury. If he plays, the Hotshots offense will have a better shot against this tough Commanders defense.
There are a number of key factors to look at in this game, what offense will show up for the Commanders, will the Commanders defense be able to contain league-leading rusher Jhurell Presley, how much does Woodside’s injury affect his play, can the Hotshots handle a crowd of nearly 30 thousand screaming Commander fans?
This game has major playoff implications at this point. A win for the Commanders could nearly guarantee themselves the top spot in the West and a win for the Hotshots will put them firmly in a playoff position. It is tough to pick a side, but I think the Commanders have the edge being at home. I cannot imagine a world where these two teams don’t combine for over 43.5 points. Look for big offensive performances by both QBs in what is sure to be the best game of the weekend.
Prediction: Commanders 28 Hotshots 26
Other plays that I like:
Apollos vs. Express over 41
Salt Lake Stallions -3 vs. San Diego
Iron -6 vs. Legends *** (love this play)