07/07/2011 2:18 PM -
The Jacksonville Sharks will return home this Saturday, July 9th, after suffering their second loss of the season in a grueling road trip to San Jose. The Sharks will look to get back on track after their 70-83 loss to the San Jose SaberCats, which snapped their record 13-game winning streak. This Saturday will feature the first matchup between the Dallas Vigilantes (10-5) and the Jacksonville Sharks (13-2) and it will be held on Sea Best Field, where the Sharks are undefeated in the 2011 season. The Vigilantes are in the midst of their own four-game winning streak, which includes a win over the San Jose SaberCats.
The two teams are evenly matched in many statistical categories. The Jacksonville Sharks have the top ranked scoring offense (64.3 ppg) and the Dallas Vigilantes have the fourth ranked scoring offense (59.5 ppg). The Vigilantes have the leagues second ranked rushing offense, running for over 43 yards per game, powered behind the record setting Fullback Derrick Ross who currently has 551 yards in the 2011 season. The Sharks will try and shut Ross down with their 3rd ranking rushing defense. The Sharks are allowing 16.5 rushing yards per game, and their defensive line is currently second in the league with 34 sacks. They will look to chase down the second year Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh, who has taken a dominant stance in controlling the Dallas offense. So far this season, Raudabaugh has thrown for 3926 yards and 78 touchdowns, and Dallas is one of only four teams in the league with three players to each total 1000 yards receiving (Anthony Jones, DeAndrew Rubin, and Matt Fields).
With the exception of last weeks game against the San Jose, the Sharks have been on a rampage. Their 13-game winning streak was a league record, and the loss last weekend has arguably given the Sharks the morale boost they were searching for. Aaron Garcia has the Sharks firing on all cylinders this season. He has thrown for 4123 yards 99 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions through the 2011 season. Receiver Jomo Wilson leads the team with 1491 yards and 39 touchdowns, coming off of a game where he totaled 204 all-purpose yards and five receiving touchdowns. Sharks Fullback, Kirby Griffin who returned two weeks ago will look to make a strong impact, after coming off of a game where he only totaled 33 all-purpose yards.
This Saturday will be a shootout between two of the top teams in the AFL. The Sharks have already clinched first place in the South Division and the American Conference, but the Dallas Vigilantes are still fighting for their Division title, and a win over the Jacksonville Sharks will make a strong statement for Dallas. The Sharks will not make it easy for the Vigilantes, because they are still fighting to clinch home field advantage throughout ArenaBowl.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Will the Jacksonville Sharks be able to contain Derrick Ross in the midst of his historic season? The Jacksonville rushing defense is allowing 16.5 yards per game, and Derrick Ross is averaging 36.7 yards per game.
How is Jacksonville going to respond to the loss against the San Jose SaberCats? Are the Sharks going to get back to their dominant ways, or will they continue to struggle.
How will each team feature the passing attack in the game? Both teams have strong a strong receiving core, with multiple receivers with over 1000 receiving yards.
How are the loss of players going to affect each team? Both the Sharks and the Vigilantes have lost multiple players to other league exemption and the injured reserve list. They have been depending on multiple players to step up and fill in for the holes in the rosters.