Game Preview: Week 2 @ San Antonio Commanders
Week 1 was fun, but now the real work begins. Orlando goes on the road for the only battle of winners in Week 2, facing the San Antonio Commanders. The Commanders made headlines with their defense, but didn’t put many points on the board. The Apollos showed the rest of the league that they can dominate on both sides of the ball. We’re up for a great game on Sunday. Here are my three keys to victory for the Apollos.
Limit the deep ball
The Commanders like to chuck it deep, and I expect them to do so early. Mekale McCay is a big target and favorite of Commanders QB Logan Woodside. McCay saw 12 targets, and while he only caught 5 balls he still managed 80 yards receiving. On the other side of the field, Alonso Moore had only 3 catches, but again a solid yardage total at 78. The Apollos DBs will have to keep the ball in front of them and limit the big play down the field. The play of safeties Will Hill III, who had an excellent game against Atlanta, and Jerome Couplin III will be huge in this factor of the game.
Make Woodside uncomfortable
Logan Woodside played a decent game against San Diego, throwing for 255 yards. That’s more than Garrett Gilbert had, and the Apollos scored 25 more points. That being said, Woodside only completed 50 percent of his passes, going 18 of 36. He also threw 2 interceptions, one of which was a dreadful throw where he rushed and overthrew his receiver.
Both interceptions came with decent pressure, but Woodside wasn’t hit on either throw. If the Apollos can put him under duress, expect Woodside to make some mistakes. Sometimes he’ll just eat it and take a sack, of which he took 3 against San Diego, and that’s also good for Orlando.
Stay balanced on offense
The Apollos scored 40 points against Atlanta with a balanced attack – 27 passes and 25 runs. They were effective in both phases of the game, and had the AAF’s leading rushing in Akeem Hunt (73 yards on 10 carries). This type of balance will go a long way in keeping the Commanders defense at bay. One of the reasons they were able to dominate San Diego last week was the Commanders ability to put the Fleet into obvious passing situations and just tee off. The Apollos need to avoid that to be successful.
When I made my first power rankings of the season, I put the Commanders 5th behind a now two-loss Salt Lake squad. The main reason for that was the Commanders struggled to score points against an average-at-best defense. The Apollos defense is a tad better. I expect Woodside to struggle with the pressure Orlando can bring. I also expect the league’s best offensive line to limit the mistakes against San Antonio’s front seven and keep Garrett Gilbert comfortable. This should be a good game, but it’s one the Apollos should win.
Score: Orlando 30, San Antonio 16