ELF: Previews and Predictions Week 8

I’m back this week after missing a week last week due to real life getting in the way. If I had done a column last week, I would have gone 5-2, with one game being a no contest due to the forfeiture of Leipzig. Regardless, I’m back this week to try and go undefeated, as that accomplishment has still alluded me, so far, through seven weeks.

Berlin Thunder(5-2) v. Vienna Vikings(6-0)

An extremely important game in the Eastern Conference. Right now the Vikings hold a two game lead on the Thunder and they have a chance to really put the conference out of reach for the Thunder with a victory this week. Last week the Thunder rolled over the struggling Prague Lions, while the Vikings earned a tough victory against the always dangerous Wroclaw Panthers. The Vikings remain one of two unbeaten teams in the league and so far, they’ve avoided the disastrous injury bug. Berlin on the other hand remains without starting QB Donovan Isom, but replacement QB Slade Jarman is playing like he hasn’t missed a stride, despite not being in the ELF to the start the year. We saw a major upset last week, will that upset trend continue here with the first game of the week? Not if the Vikings have a say and bring their top game with them.

Prediction: Berlin plays Vienna tough; second week Vienna has to come from behind. Vienna 34-30

Munich Ravens(3-3) v. Raiders Tirol(5-2)

An important game for the Ravens as they try and hang onto a potential playoff spot. Munich has been surprisingly good this year, albeit a bit inconsistent on defense, and they look to put their stamp on the Central Conference. Last week the Ravens’ offense took no mercy on the Milano defense scoring 56 points, while the Raiders’ offense struggled against a solid Barcelona defense. Both teams possess a really strong offense, with the Raiders boasting a much better, and more consistent, defense. The Ravens do have a bright spot and emerging star in LB Amin Black. Black has been on an absolute tear since week three and has put himself in the conversation for defensive player of the year. He’ll have to have one of his best games of the year to contain this Raiders offense. Can the Ravens slow down the dangerous duo of Christian Strong and Jarvis McClam? Or will we see our second upset in as many games to start week 8?

Prediction: Munich impresses, almost pulls off the upset. Raiders 27-26

Leipzig Kings and Panthers Wroclaw is cancelled.

Barcelona Dragons(2-4) v. Stuttgart Surge(5-1)

Trying to rebound after the surprising upset loss last week, the Surge welcome in the struggling Dragons. Barcelona really struggled offensively last week, only putting up 3 points against the tough Raiders defense. After having a hot start to the season, Connor Miller and the Dragons’ OL came crashing back to Earth rather quickly and it’s been tough for the offense ever since. And to add injury to insult, Miller was moved to the IR this week and the Dragons will have newly signed QB Carlton Aiken under center. They currently sit second from the bottom in scoring in the Central Conference. The Surge last week were embarrassed; there’s no other word to describe the performance last week against the Helvetic Guards. They couldn’t move the ball on offense and Jan Weinreich looked lost at times. The Surge come into this week with another QB under center, though. Weinreich has completed his time with Stuttgart and they signed former Leipzig King QB Kenyatte Allen, who finds a new home rather quickly. Will Allen and the Surge be able to avoid a trip to upset city again, or will the Dragons find their early season offense and pull off the upset?

Prediction: Ugly game that the Surge find a way to win. Stuttgart 20-13

Milano Seamen(1-5) v. Helvetic Guards(2-5)

Two weeks ago this game would have been the easiest game for me to pick, but since that time the Guards have rallied off two straight wins, including an impressive dominant performance against Stuttgart, with new QB Sky Noble under center. The Guards defense has been playing lights out during that stretch that, as well. They held the Surge to 13 points last week and two weeks ago held the Dragons to 19 in their overtime win. You could argue that the Surge’s offense(27 points through two weeks) and Barcelona’s aren’t as fluent as Milano’s though. While it’s odd to consider a 1-5 team amongst the better offensive units, the Seamen qualify to be talked about in that category. Their weakest point has been the defense and it continued to struggle last week against Munich. In order for Milano to walk away with the win in this game, they’ll have to outpace the Helvetic offense and get a little help from their defense along the way. Can the Guards go 3 in a row or will the Seamen sail back into the W column?

Prediction: The grinding style of Helvetic doesn’t hold enough steam. Milano 38-22

Cologne Centurions(2-4) v. Rhein Fire(7-0)

Once again the Fire roll into the week atop my power rankings and it doesn’t look like they’ll slow down anytime soon. This week they welcome the Centurions. Cologne is well rested – after having an unexpected bye week last week due to the cancellation of the Leipzig Kings game, the Centurions have been able to rest and get back to full strength. Rhein, meanwhile, will play their 8th straight game and despite being undefeated, are looking forward to their bye week to get some much needed rest for the playoff push. The Centurions will look to play upset special this week and after seeing what the Guards did to Stuttgart last week, they’re going to be motivated to play the role of spoiler. Jadrain Clark continues his MVP-type season and will look to add another notch to his resume at Cologne’s expense.

Prediction: Not close, unfortunately. Rhein continues their dominance. Rhein 41-23

Frankfurt Galaxy(5-1) v. Paris Musketeers(2-5)

For the Galaxy, they welcomed back QB Jakeb Sullivan from IR last week, and were immediately met with a hard fought victory against the tough Hamburg Sea Devils. For the Musketeers, QB Zach Edwards finally cracked the top ten in passing yards after last week’s loss to the Fire. While the Galaxy won, it didn’t happen because of the offense. Sullivan struggled to get into rhythm with his offense, which led to a poor outing for the entire team, offensively. Luckily they were bailed out by how well the defense played. Paris played Rhein tough, and despite coming up in the L column, looked much better as a cohesive unit than they did in the beginning of the year. The offensive line has come together and it has allowed Edwards to make plays and keep the scoreboard lit up. If their defense can come together, it’s possible Frankfurt could fall into an unexpected trap game.

Prediction: Paris tries their hardest to complete the trap, falls short. Frankfurt 28-25

Prague Lions v. Fehervar Enthroners

I’m not going to spend a lot time on this one as it appears the Prague Lions are going to suffer the same fate as the Leipzig Kings. The unfortunate part of running a football team is underestimating the expenses that come with owning a team. It appears that, as of right now, the Lions will not be continuing with membership in the ELF. While nothing official has been announced, players for Prague and reports coming out of Prague, describe the franchise to be in a tough financial state including players having not been paid since May. The Lions did make some free agent signings this week, but newly appointed QB Nate Cox, was advised by his camp to not continue playing for the Lions due to poor playing conditions and facilities. It’s an extremely unfortunate development surrounding one of the expansion teams in the league, and all my positive energy and vibes go towards the players, coaches and staff that will potentially be losing their job due to this development. It’s extremely unlikely that this game gets played this weekend.

Prediction: Game doesn’t get played, but if it does. Fehervar 38-3

We’ll see how week 8 goes, obviously, I’m going to only count the games that get played this week. With the week being constricted to 6 games(it appears as of now), the goal is to hit that 6-0 spot on the predictions.

~Michael Washington

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