Here are some quick things to look for while watching the AFL Divisional games.
Statistics can lie
The Cleveland Gladiators recorded only 20 sacks during the regular season but that doesn't mean they can't put pressure on the quarterback. Look for the Gladiators' defensive line to put pressure on Georgia Force QB Chris Greisen. Cleveland will be aggressive and tenacious and try to block throwing lanes. Even if they can't get to Greisen, the Gladiators will make life difficult for the best offensive line in the playoffs.
Turn up the tempo
The Grand Rapids Rampage has a very innovative offense that is fun to watch because of its creativity. Look for the Rampage to change their game plan this week in an attempt to confuse the veteran Chicago Rush defense. Grand Rapids has been somewhat of a feast-or-famine team, so look for it to try and start fast, impose its will early and control the flow of the game. The Rampage will try to turn this into a high-scoring affair.
Catch and run
Greisen does a great job taking what the defense gives him. He gets the ball out quickly and anticipates well in getting the ball to WRs Troy Bergeron, Tiger Jones and Carl Morris. Look for Greisen to try to avoid the Gladiators' pass rush and complete multiple underneath routes to his receivers. Hitches and crosses will be used a lot because they will allow Greisen to give Bergeron, Jones and Morris the best opportunity to make use of their run-after-catch ability.
Read and react
The connection between Philadelphia Soul QB Matt D'Orazio and WR Chris Jackson has developed much more quickly than expected. Both players are smart and will be able to take advantage of the New York Dragons' gambling secondary. Jackson has great hands, tremendous concentration and the ability to read a defense. No defensive back in the league can cover him one-on-one. Look for Jackson and D'Orazio to read when the Dragons are gambling and then adjust routes to torch the secondary for big gains. New York lacks defensive discipline, which will lead to a big game for Jackson.
Crossing the line
New York and Philadelphia have already played twice know each other very well. The Dragons must be careful not to let their cockiness work against them. New York has been known to take some cheap shots and do a lot of trash talking but cannot afford to make mistakes in that area this week. Look for the Dragons to play aggressive but not cross the line and commit silly penalties.
Gary Horton, a pro scout for Scouts Inc., has been a football talent evaluator for more than 30 years. He spent 10 years in the NFL and 10 years at the college level before launching a private scouting firm called The War Room.