The Opening Drive Week 5: #1 Orlando Apollos(4-0) @ #2  Birmingham Iron(3-1)

Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo

MESPORTS SOUTH

BIRMINGHAM, ALA-– This match-up is what I like to call and ole fashion, nitty-gritty, southern football showdown that everyone has been eager to see.While the Ole Ball Coach and the Orlando Apollos are the only undefeated franchise heading into Legion Field today.  Don’t expect this to be any less of ball game in light of the Irons undefeated streak being snapped in Week 4 by the San Antonio Commanders. Both the ball clubs will continue to be tested. Now at the midpoint of the season who has more guts and glory in their future?  We are in for an interesting revelation in this early showdown amongst two of the leagues top franchises.

Game Notes: AAF Week 5

Sat. March 9th, 2019

Venue: Legion Field, Birmingham, AL

Opening Snap:  1 PM CT

Network: TNT

Line:-5.5 Apollos 

Gridiron Snapshot

Orlando

When you got you got. It may not always be high velocity, pretty or perfect but my goodness the Ole Ball Coach and the Apollos know how to come up with a win. Orlando has set itself apart as the only remaining ball club untouched at 4-0 heading into another road match-up against the 2nd best ball club in the AAF. The Apollos have enjoyed great success with the offensive juggernaut that Spurrier and company have managed to put together accounting for 29.5 ppg. While all the attention has been placed on the success of Garrett Gilbert and the offense much credit needs to be given to the defensive side of the Apollos.  What has been effective about the defense is that it’s not flashy it is simple but it’s gritty. Plain in simple they find a way and make plays. All and all nothing seems to stop this ball club from pushing until they get throw every hurdle which seems to have proven to be successful.

Birmingham

No team on an undefeated streak wants it to come to an end especially on your home turf. However, for a team to continue to thrive a loss cant be seen as such because that’s when things can easily start to collapse. This loss for Birmingham could help them more than hurt them. The Iron is a good ball club but hadn’t been truly tested until playing the Commanders. Playing a better team helps your team be able to really evaluate and assess just where you stand. Now that the Iron have faced one of the better ball clubs prior going into this afternoons match up they should be able to make some key adjustments to strengthen their game. The Iron have thrived on their run game rushing for 295 yards with 3.0 yards per carrying, and 7 TD to date. The Iron is another one of those ball clubs in the AAF where the defensive silent warriors have also enabled their team to remain on top. The Birmingham D rules with an Iron fist with anything goes approach. They already have 7 sacks and 9 takeaways heading into week 5. The question will this be the first defensive front to put a stop to the Apollo offensive juggernaut?

Keys To The Game

Apollos

No Limits

Keep to the program and play with no limits. The Apollos have seemed to find what works best and most effectively on both sides of the ball. No elements of nature or of the opposing side will stop them from finding a way. The Apollos have got one of the most balanced and efficient ball clubs so plain and simple they need to keep playing and find a way to prevail like they have it seems to be working.

Get it to the Go-Tos

Gilbert to Johnson and other key personnel are going to need to continue to help elevate this ball club into pivotal moments to come up with a win. The Apollos need to continue to manage and control the flow to allow their go-to playmakers to do their job.

Wreck Em & Rack ‘Em

While the attention has been centered on two very proficient offensive powerhouses. It is going to take a key defensive effort for the Apollos to remain undefeated on the road. This matchup will be no different. The key will not to allow Perez along with Richardson to find a way to get their connection flowing. It already is struggling so the Apollos need to put some salt on that wound. If the defense can make some key stops and continue to capitalize on the Irons difficulty in managing turnovers they remain untouched in week 5.

Iron

Limit Turnovers

No matter how many points your offense is scoring or how well your defense is operating. Overlooking the details could still cause you to lose in the end. The Iron is going to have to keep a watchful eye reduce turnovers which played a huge factor in coming up short against San Antonio.

Protecting Football

By paying attention to the details and limiting mistakes the Iron have a better chance of keeping their offense on the field. By doing that they create more opportunities to put points on the board along with controlling the clock. They will need to find every opportunity for this so they can slow down both sides of the Apollos booming game.

Ruling with an Iron Fist

A key for both these ball clubs it is which defensive unit will come up big today for their ball club.  Iron D will need to continue to make big stops and big plays. They have put up strong numbers defensively but haven’t quite faced an offense like the Apollos.

This is going to be one hell of a way to open up Week 5 in the AAF.  While the Iron have been solid on both sides of the ball the Apollos just have been able to operate better under pressure without major mistakes. It is going to come to down to the defense to steal the show in this one. I take the Apollos by TD over the Iron on the road in Week 5.

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Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a Senior Editor and writer for Main Event Sports. She is a veteran SEC sports journalist, NFL Network content writer, and Brown University, graduate. She loves good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order.She can be reached at misskentuckyus2011@gmail.com. Follow her  on Twitter @ Misskyus2011

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