08/03/2010 7:00 AM -
The South Division Champion Jacksonville Sharks (12-4) host the Orlando Predators (8-8) for the opening round of the 2010 Arena Football League Playoffs Friday, August 6. This marks the first playoff action in Jacksonville since the Jaguars lost the AFC title game to the Tennessee Titans 33-14 in 1999. The match up will be featured as the AFL's Game of the Week and broadcast nationally on the NFL Network for the third consecutive time this season.
These two South Division rivals have faced each other twice this season - once in Jacksonville April 16 and again in Orlando June 18. Both games were AFL Games of the Week broadcast on the NFL Network. In each contest, the home team got the better of the visitors.
The two games were extremely similar, but resulting in opposite outcomes. The first contest, April 16, was the first home game in Sharks history. With over 11,000 in attendance, and thousands more watching on NFL Network, the Sharks got their first taste of home blood winning 57-31. The game featured Aaron Garcia going 21-of-29 for 206 yards and 6 touchdowns, Jomo Wilson the recepiant of 3 of those touchdowns. Kirby Griffin would score 2 rushing touchdowns on 3 carries. The highlight of the game was T.T. Toliver’s touchdown catch over the wall - a catch which was featured on ESPN’s top plays.
The second match up opened the game with a 22-2 run by the Predators. The lone points by the Sharks came from a blocked PAT by linebacker RaJohn Myles that would be returned by back-up quarterback - and starting Jack Linebacker - Bernard Morris. The Sharks allowed 70 points to be scored by an opposing for the first and only time this season.
The record is tied 1-1 in this series. The Sharks hold a slight edge in point differential 105-101. Jacksonville also holds the edge on total offense in the series with 504 yards to Orlando’s 493. The Predators, however, have out rushed the Sharks 78 yards to 16.
The quarterback comparison also shows similar numbers. Predators signal-caller Nick Hill has a combined 45-of-67 completed passes for 435 yards and 9 touchdowns this series. Garcia has thrown 41-of-64 passes for 496 yards and 13 touchdowns. Hill has thrown double the interceptions of Garcia with four, three coming in the first game. Garica has thrown one in each of the previous games this season. Hill has been sacked 6 times where as Garcia has not taken a single sack in this series.
This game has all the makings of an instant classic between the two rivals. Though only 140 miles (driving) from Amway Arena, the Sharks will clearly have home field advantage on Sea Best Field.
AFL Playoffs: American Conference Round 1 #4 Orlando (8-8) at #1 Jacksonville (12-4) Friday, August 6, 8:05 pm EDT #3 Tampa Bay (11-5) at #2 Tulsa (10-3) Saturday, August 7, 8:00 pm EDT
National Conference Round 1 #4 Arizona (10-6) at #1 Spokane (13-3) Friday, August 6, 11:00 pm EDT #3 Chicago (10-6) at #2 Milwaukee (11-5) Saturday, August 7, 8:00 pm EDI
AFL Playoffs in Jacksonville: #4 Orlando at #1 Jacksonville First Round of 2010 AFL Playoffs Sea Best Field at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena SharkFest at 5:30 pm, Show starts at 7:35 pm NFL Network Broadcast