Philadelphia Soul: Week 8 Game Preview
Coming off their fourth loss in five games, the Philadelphia Soul (3-4) will host the Atlantic City Blackjacks (3-4) in the final matchup of a three-game homestand. With five games remaining in the regular season, Sunday will have serious postseason implications, as the teams sit in a tie for the fourth and final playoff spot. Fans can watch live on NBC Sports Philadelphia+, ESPN3 or the ESPN app, or listen to the action on 97.5 The Fanatic.
Both teams are coming off brutal losses, as the Soul fell to the Washington Valor for the second time this season, while the Blackjacks lost on the road to the previously winless Columbus Destroyers. Despite throwing for 296 yards and five touchdowns, quarterback Dan Raudabaugh completed just 50% of his passes against Washington.
He'll face a Blackjacks defense that has held opponents to a league-best 198.9 passing yards per game, more than 30 yards fewer than the next closest team (the Soul). However, that hasn't translated to the scoreboard, as Atlantic City is allowing 43.9 points per game, tied with Columbus for the most in the league.
The Soul are 9-5 all-time against Ron James-coached teams, including seven straight wins dating back to 2014. In the season opener, Philadelphia handed the Blackjacks their first-ever loss behind two pick-sixes by franchise interception leader James Romain. The implications of this weekend's rematch are not lost on the veteran defensive back.
"Here in Philadelphia we have a certain type of standard and we're not living up to that standard right now," Romain said on Sunday. "Every week from here on out is a must-win...I don't care how we've got to do it. We have to win by any means necessary."
The Soul have not posted multiple losing streaks in a single regular season since 2014. Kickoff is
scheduled for 4 pm at the Wells Fargo Center.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
DB James Romain
In the season opener, Romain intercepted two of Blackjacks' quarterback Randy Hippeard's passes, taking both to the house. The 2018 AFL Defensive Back of the Year's three pick-sixes this season are as many as the rest of the league has combined.
WR LaMark Brown
Brown posted career highs in receiving yards (150) and receiving touchdowns (5) in the loss to Columbus in Week 7. He was nearly as effective in the season opener against the Soul, catching eight passes for 90 yards and three scores.
BY THE NUMBERS
7 The Soul have won seven straight games against Ron James-coached teams, including this year's season opener.
4 In two starts in place of the injured Aaron Wascha, wide receiver BJ Bunn has four touchdowns, all of which have come in the third quarter.
0 Atlantic City is 0-3 on the road, allowing 47.7 PPG in those three games, including Week 1's 48-41 loss in Philadelphia. The Blackjacks are 3-1 at home, allowing a touchdown fewer per game (41.0 PPG).
Atlantic City This Season
W-L 3-1 0-3<<
PPG 40.0 41.7
Opp PPG 41.0 47.7
>> Includes 48-41 loss at Philadelphia in Week 1
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