Cobras vs Pirates: Pre-Game Notes
Carolina Cobras (9-5, 2nd in NAL) vs. Massachusetts Pirates (8-6, 3rd in NAL)
Saturday 7:00PM EDT
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Week Two: It has been 14 weeks since these two teams last played. There have been massive roster changes on both teams in that time, so while the Cobras won the last game these two played 50-22 these are really only the same uniforms.
Playoff Tough: The Carolina Cobras are the defending NAL Champions and are 2-0 in playoff games in their history. This is their second season in the playoffs in two seasons in the league. Massachusetts is also on their second playoff run in two years, but last year they lost in the first round to Columbus, and we hope that will happen again for them this year.
Playoffs: This is the Cobras game you must be at if you possibly can, we need your help Cobra Nation. Tickets are either $10 or $20 for ALL Seats other than Snake Pit Section (first two rows on the sidelines). Yes, you read that right, just $10 or $20 for ALL Seats other than the Snake Pit Section!! Hurry and get them, because they are going fast! In the other playoff matchup, the Jacksonville Sharks will be hosting the Columbus Lions on Tuesday August 6th to decide the final spot in the NAL Championship game.
How They Rank: This is a battle between the #2 Scoring Offense of the Cobras (51.4/game) vs #3 Scoring Defense of the Pirates (47.1). On the other side of the ball it is the #3 Scoring Offense of the Lions (48.4) vs the #1 Scoring Defense of the Cobras (31.1).
League Leaders: The Cobras finished the regular season as the leaders in the following categories: Scoring Defense (31.1), Total Defense (181.6), Total Offense Yards Per Play (6.2), Rushing Defense (15.9), Pass Defense Efficiency (95.4), Passing Defense (165.6), Passing Yards Per Completion (11.8), Passing Yards Per Attempt (7.0), Field Goal Attempts (17), Fumble Return TDs (4), Opponent Penalties Yards Per Game (55.8), Red Zone Defense (63.6%). Individually Charles McCullum is #1 in Total Offense Avg/Play (7.1), Total Offensive Yards (3,007), Total Offensive TDs (74), Yards Per Rush (4.4), Passing Yards/Completion (12.4 NEW NAL Record), Passing Yards/Attempt (7.3), Passing Yards (2,883), Passing TDs (66). Jordan Jolly is #1 in Reception Yards (1,210) which is a NEW NAL Record, Receptions (104 Tied NAL Record), Receiving TDs 31 (Tied NAL Record). Cedric Poole is #1 in Kick Return TDs. Mike Green leads Passes Defended (44 NEW NAL Record). Micah Robinson is #1 in Tackles for Loss with 17.0.
The Real Season Starts Here: Yes, you can look at the standings, but at this point they mean absolutely nothing. Last season it was #4 Columbus Lions beating the #1 Seed Massachusetts Pirates to make it to the NAL Championship. This is where every mistake counts as does every big play. This is simply win or go home.
Back in the Groove: In talking to Coach Back earlier this week he confessed that the Cobras have been preparing for Massachusetts for the last two weeks, so that, plus his suspension for the game, could explain a lackluster performance against Columbus. Take out that game and the Cobras have shut out their opponents in 12 of the 14 quarters before that game. Watching this team in practice this week you can better believe they are focused on the task at hand.
Turnover Battle: Carolina comes into this game with a +17 turnover ratio which is #2 in the NAL. The Pirates on the other hand come in with a -1 turnover ratio. This is the playoffs, so I am not scared to predict, the team that wins the turnover battle is the eventual winner of the game.
Matchup to Watch: The Trenches You have great playmakers on both sides of the ball, this is going to come down to the dirty jobs. How does the Cobras offensive line hold up against a Pirates defense that has 30 sacks, while the Cobras line has given up 24. On the other hand, can the Cobras defense keep up the pressure, they have 36 sacks on the year compared to the 25 given up by the Pirates.
Last Meeting: April 20, the Cobras dominated the Pirates 50-22 in Greensboro to go 2-0 in week 2.
Series History: Carolina leads the series 4-1 including both games this season.
QB 1 Charles McCullum 232-394-15 2,883 yards and 66 TDs passing
WR 4 Jordan Jolly 104 Receptions 1,210 yards 31 TDs receiving
WR 11 LaVon Pearson 64 Receptions, 731 yards and 19 TDs receiving
DB 17 Michael Green 62.0 Tackles 10 INTs, 44 Passes Defended and 1 TD
JLB 27 Pasquale Vacchio 33.5 Tackles 7 INTs 3 Fumble Recoveries 2 TDs
QB 10 Sean Brackett 244-396-15 2,523yards and 57 TDs.
WR 1 Mardy Gilyard 84 Receptions 950 yards 29 TDs Receiving
WR 81 Thomas Owens 59 Receptions 577 yards 10 TDs Receiving
DB 23 Lawrence Austin 63.0 Tackles 10 INTs, 33 Passes Defended, 2 TDs
DL 99 John Griggs 26.5 Tackles, 12.0 TFL, 9.5 Sacks, 1 Safety
Article by: DJ Wagner
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