By Jonathan Von Tobel
Philadelphia (-1.5, 94.5) @ Baltimore
At the beginning of the AFL season, the Philadelphia Soul looked primed for a run to a third consecutive Arena Bowl title -- with possibly the Brigade as the only team standing in its way. Fast-forward to Week 6, and the Soul has lost two in a row, one of those snapping a 20-game home win streak. The road ahead doesn’t get easier with a trip to Baltimore for a meeting with the team that started the losing streak. The issue with Philly seems to be an offense that has lost its continuity over the last few weeks. Against the Brigade three weeks ago, the Soul managed just 21 points, and last week Philadelphia turned it over four times, three of which came in the second half. Special teams got in on the struggles when kicker Adrian Trevino not only missed a field-goal attempt, but sailed a kickoff out of bounds giving the Empire a short field. In short, the way Philly is playing, the team shouldn’t be favored on the road.
As for the Brigade, it was caught off guard last week, as was I, by the Valor handing the QB reins over to Shane Austin and benching Warren Smith. Baltimore still scored on six out of nine possessions, but two possessions ended in bad interceptions by Randy Hippeard. The Brigade offense remains a force, but defensively Baltimore can have its lapses. Expect the Soul offense to have a bit more to offer this weekend.
It seems the power rating on Philly remains a bit too high, as it should not be favored on the road in this spot. The Soul has lost two in a row, one of which was to this team in this building. Baltimore is on par with the Soul offensively, and should be the favorite by 1 ½ points. While it’s not a huge edge, every point matters, so take a flier with Baltimore. As for the total, I lean Under. Philadelphia’s offense has been nowhere near consistent, and it has the horses to pressure Hippeard.
VON TOBEL’S PICK: Baltimore, Under