ArenaBowl 32 Game Preview
After defeating the defending-champion Washington Valor in both games of the first-round home-and-home series, the Philadelphia Soul will travel to Albany to take on the top-seeded Empire in ArenaBowl 32. This marks the Soul's sixth title game appearance and third in the last four years. Fans can watch this weekend's matchup live on ESPN2 or listen to the action on 97.5 The Fanatic.
The Philadelphia defense contained Washington's dual-threat quarterback Arvell Nelson, the league leader in total offense this season. Over the two-game series, the Second Team All-Arena selection threw five interceptions and was sacked seven times. Leading the way was recent pickup Malik Forrester. The defensive lineman has a league-leading 4.5 sacks this postseason, including three on Sunday. He and the defensive line will look to get pressure on Albany quarterback Tommy Grady, who has been taken to the turf just one time this season.
That sack came at the hands of Soul lineman Sean Daniels during the team's Week 10 win over the Empire. Philadelphia's pass rush appeared to rattle Grady, who completed just eight of 18 passes in the second half while throwing two picks. This week, the Soul will attempt to get pressure on Grady while limiting the impact of his favorite target, 2019 Wide Receiver of the Year Malachi Jones.
Having dismantled the Washington defense, the Soul's high-powered offense will face an Albany team that allowed just 47 points in its two playoff games against the Baltimore Brigade. Philadelphia quarterback Dan Raudabaugh is no stranger to the ArenaBowl, having led the team to four previous appearances and two titles. The nine-year veteran ranks second in passing yards and touchdowns in ArenaBowl history behind only Nick Davila.
The Soul are just the fifth team in league history to reach six ArenaBowls, joining the Arizona Rattlers (10), Tampa Bay Storm (8), Orlando Predators (7), and Detroit Drive (6). Having won the title in 2008, 2016, and 2017, Philadelphia will attempt to add to its trophy case on Sunday at 8 pm at the Times Union Center.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB Dan Raudabaugh
In four previous ArenaBowl appearances, Raudabaugh has averaged 275.3 yards and more than five touchdowns per game. In his only game at the Times Union Center this year, the veteran signal caller went 12-17 for 143 yards and three scores in one half of work.
WR Malachi Jones
The league leader in catches and receiving yards, Jones sat out the second leg of the team's series with Baltimore. In three games against the Soul this season, the 2019 Wide Receiver of the Year has accounted for 382 yards and six touchdowns.
BY THE NUMBERS
5 The Soul recorded a season-high five sacks in the win over Washington on Sunday. Over its last seven games, the team has 15 sacks and 13 interceptions.
Soul Defense This Season
1st 7 Games Last 7 Games
Sacks 4.0 15.0<<
Int 8 13
PBUs 15 22
>>5 on Sunday vs Valor
4 The Soul are looking for their fourth ArenaBowl title in franchise history and third in the last four seasons.
2 Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh ranks second in league history with 1,101 passing yards in four previous ArenaBowl appearances. Only Nick Davila has thrown for more yardage in title games.
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