Week 4 Game Preview - Blackjacks vs Brigade
The Blackjacks come back to Boardwalk Hall after suffering a one score loss to the Washington Valor in Week Three. The team only scored seven points in the first half which left them with too much ground to make up in the second portion of the game. The team will need to clean up certain aspects of their play leading up to the game at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday May 18th, at 7:00 p.m. against the Baltimore Brigade (2-1). Fans can watch live on NPCSP+, ESPN 3 and listen to the call on 97.3 ESPN.
"Baltimore has a very strong team," said Ron James, Head Coach of the Atlantic City Blackjacks. "They were in the ArenaBowl last season because they have a group of good players who understand how to win. We have to be ready to keep pace with one of the best teams in the AFL for all four quarters this week."
This game starts a three-game homestand for the Blackjacks and a win to begin would be huge. It will not be an easy task in playing the Brigade, who are led by quarterback Shane Boyd who is second in the league in passing yards with 757 and passing touchdowns with 15. Boyd has also thrown the least amount of interceptions with just one. His receiving core led by Milton Williams, Brandon Thompkins and Joe Hills will need to be countered by excellent coverage from the Blackjacks secondary.
Williams, Thompkins and Hills have a combined 639 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. With that triple threat lining up against the Blackjacks, little to no mistakes can be made. The Blackjacks top three receivers include LaMark Brown, Kendrick Ings and Antwane Grant who have a combined 538 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns. The Brigade also have a + 17-point differential where the Blackjacks have -7. Atlantic City needs to come out with a fast start and can't wait until the second half this time around if they want a chance at getting back to .500 on the season.
The next matchup to look for will be if the Blackjacks defense from Week Two will show up. Arthur Hobbs is still leading the league with 24 tackles and LaRoche Jackson made a jump into the top-five with 16 after his Week Three performance. The Blackjacks have three players in the top 10 for tackles and Baltimore has two. Making tackles in the open field will be important as to not let any extra yards be gained for the Blackjacks defenders.
Brigade defensive back Joe Powell leads the league in interceptions with three so Randy Hippeard needs to be mindful when throwing in his area of coverage. With each possession being so important in the AFL, costly mistakes need to be avoided against this Baltimore team. The Blackjacks defensive line of Monte Lewis, Lynden Trail, Donte Rumph and Antron Dillon need to have another breakout game and get to Boyd as much as possible. If they can bring the pressure, that should limit the amount of time Boyd has to look down field at his receivers. On the other end of the spectrum, Randy Hippeard finished Week Three with 237 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and another rushing touchdown. We have yet to really see a huge performance from Hippeard, who has been very steady for the Blackjacks so far, but it would be great to see him go off in Week Four to start the multiple game homestand.
The last matchup to watch will be if the Blackjacks can get their special teams going this week. After a promising start in Week One, the Blackjacks have been rather quiet on the kick return game. Ings was only able to get 12 return yards on three carries in Week Three and he never had any open space to make anything happen.
The team will need to be better at blocking upfield for Ings and give him more time and space to work with. The other side of the special teams has been sharp, they haven't given up any big returns so far and Mark Lewis has been consistent with his kickoffs. With a return man in Thompkins for Baltimore, who had 47 return yards on four chances last week, deep kicks will be necessary to give the team enough time to get down the field and stop him before he can do anything dangerous. Limiting the starting field position will be something the Blackjacks will need to do as well as Baltimore can move the ball quickly. Every yard is important in the AFL so pinning the Brigade deep every time will be a crucial step to success.
Fans can secure their season tickets for the Atlantic City Blackjacks now with a $50 deposit per seat ($75 for VIP seats) by calling 609-783-9494 or by going to ACBlackjacks.com. A team representative will contact those that have submitted a deposit within a week to select your specific seats, which will be done in order in which deposits were received.
Atlantic City Blackjacks 2019 Season Presented by Tropicana Atlantic City.
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Arena Football League Stories from May 15, 2019
- Week 4 Game Preview - Empire at Destroyers - Albany Empire
- Week 4 Game Preview - Blackjacks vs Brigade - Atlantic City Blackjacks
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