Game Seventeen Preview: at Jacksonville Sharks
JACKSONVILLE VETERANS MEMORIAL ARENA - PHILADELPHIA, PA | 6:00 PM CST
TV: NONE | RADIO: NONE
WATCH LIVE (ESPN3) | GAMETRACKER
PREVIOUS MEETINGS IN 2015: MARCH 28 | MAY 23
ALL-TIME SERIES: Jacksonville leads 7-3.
IN JACKSONVILLE: Jacksonville lead 3-1.
THE OPPONENT: JACKSONVILLE SHARKS (9-8, 6-2 AT HOME)
Jacksonville have made quite a turn around on their season after starting out with a franchise worst 0-4 record as they have gone 9-4 since, battling their way to a spot in the National Conference playoffs. One reason for the turnaround is the play of the Sharks' defense, particularly that of defensive lineman Joe Sykes, who currently leads the league in sacks with 17. Another strong addition to the Sharks defense has been rookie defensive back Greg Reid. Reid, who spent time in camp with the VooDoo, ranks fourth in the AFL with nine interceptions.Offensively, quarterback Tommy Grady has had a very strong season completing 392-of-584 passes for 4,529 yards and 93 touchdowns with 11 interceptions, and earlier this season passed the 25,000 yards mark in his AFL career. A pair of league leaders have helped Grady's cause this sesaon. wide receiver Tiger Jones has caught 148 passes for an AFL best 1,962 yards with 36 touchdowns. Fullback Derek Ross leads the league in rushing yardage by a wide margin with 569 yards on 141 attempts. He also has a league leading 33 rushing touchdowns, which is more than twice as much as Arizona's Myklel Beson (16) in second place.
Quarterback Adam Kennedy has been a steady hand since recovering from a shoulder injury sustained against the Spokane Shock on May 2 that caused him to miss four games. In his last six outings Kennedy has completed 123-of-214 passes for 1,141 yards with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions, adding five touchdowns on the ground as well. Despite missing four games with injury Kennedy ranks eighth in the league in total offense with 2,660 total yards, averaging 232.2 per contest. To date this season Kennedy has completed 230-of-372 passes for 2,786 yards with 42 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and has rushed 33 times for a team-leading 105 yards with eight touchdowns.
JACKSON HAS ROOKIE RECORDS IN SIGHT
Despite playing in just ten games so far this season, Roger Jackson enters the 2015 season finale with 71 catches for 844 yards and 16 touchdowns, and is within striking distance of Kenny Henderson's rookie records for receiving yardage (895) and touchdowns (18) set in 2007. Among AFL rookies this season Jackson ranks third in receptions behind Spokane's Anthony Amos (110), and Tampa Bay's Julius Gregory (84) as well as fourth in receiving yards behind Amos (1,205), Tampa Bay's Kendrick Ings (938) and Gregory (908). Among AFL rookie receivers Jackson is third in receiving touchdowns behind Gregory's 24 and Amos' 19.
REMEMBER ME FOR CENTURIES
With 107 catches this season Chris Duvalt is the first VooDoo wide receiver to haul in 100 balls since Josh Bush and L.J. Castille each caught over 100 passes each in 2012, and became just the seventh receiver in team history with 100+ catches in a single season. Just under a month ago against the top defense in the league (San Jose), Duvalt had a career night, setting new career-highs in receptions (15), yards (165), and matching a career high in touchdowns with three. To date this season Duvalt has tallied career-bests with 107 catches for 1,273 yards and 23 total touchdowns (22 receiving).
TAKE DOWN KING
Three weeks ago against Tampa Bay on second and goal with just over four minutes left to play in the first half defensive back Cameron McGlenn stopped Storm quarterback Jason Boltus at the line of scrimmage for his 206th career tackle in New Orleans, breaking the career record for tackles set by DeMarcus Robinson between 2012 and 2013. McGlenn has been credited with 68 tackles this season, good for 20th best in the AFL, and enters this week's game against the Jacksonville Sharks with 465 career tackles in almost five complete seasons of Arena Football.
THE VEGAS TIE
Week 18's game with the Las Vegas Outlaws at the Thomas & Mack Center originally scheduled for July 25 will go down officially as a 2-2 tie despite becoming the first game in league history to be cancelled. Nine days before the teams were set the play the Arena Football League, who is now running both New Orleans and Las Vegas, announced that the game would not be played. In the 28 prior seasons of Arena Football the only other game to not be played was between Cleveland and Pittsburgh in 2012 when a labor dispute led to most Gladiators players refusing to play resulting in a Cleveland forfeit.
LAST TIME: THIRD QUARTER FEEDING FRENZY DROWNS VOODOO
Leading 24-20 coming out of halftime the Sharks would use a 28-0 third quarter outburst, to pull away from the VooDoo 70-41 at the Smoothie King Center on May 23. Sharks quarterback Tommy Grady would eclipse over 25,000 passing yards in his AFL career and finish his night 23-of-28 for 278 yards and eight touchdowns, both Tiger Jones and Joe Hills would finish with nine catches and over 100 yards, as well as four and two touchdowns respectively. For New Orleans, Brian Reader completed 21-of-37 passes for 278 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions, while Roger Jackson led the way for the New Orleans receivers with eight catches for 122 yards and two scores.
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