After only 6 games on the schedule for last week, due to two cancellations, the ELF returns to action this week with only 6 games on the schedule because one cancellation. I went 5-1 last week and I’m still looking for that undefeated week here in the ELF, while I took that off of my bucket list in the CFL column. The good news this week is that Prague announced their return to the league and will finish the season. The other good news this week is that this is the last week before the league takes a week off for week ten, so teams are definitely looking forward to the break.
Panthers Wroclaw(5-3) v. Prague Lions(1-6)
The Panthers are probably one of the teams looking forward to the week ten break the most. They’ve played every week to this point and they entered this week unsure if this game was going to get played. The Panthers have had a couple tough losses recently and the once playoff-bound looking team has stumbled here and is on the cusp of missing the playoffs. The Lions return to the league after a very tumultuous couple weeks with their game last week being cancelled due to players refusing to travel. The Lions have a complete roster overhaul and their first week back is unlikely to result in the outcome they’ve hoped. Like the Panthers, they, too, will welcome the week ten bye week so they can continue to get organized and reset as a franchise that looks to finish the season.
Prediction: Not pretty, or close. Panthers 41-0
Paris Musketeers(2-6) v. Barcelona Dragons(2-5)
The tale of the quarterbacks gets put on hold for another week. QB Conor Miller is not ready to come back yet this week. For those of you who didn’t catch my interview, Miller replaced QB Zach Edwards in Barcelona, where Edwards went to Paris and basically replaced Miller, who played with the Paris Flash last year. It’s a nice little story and it would have been awesome to see these two play against each other. Instead, QB Cartlon Aiken, who was brought in for the injured Miller, gets another chance to shine. Late in the game last week, Aiken really started getting more comfortable and was able to make plays. Barcelona has been competitive all year and they continue to play better than their 2-5 record suggests. Paris, on the other hand, has had trouble with any kind of consistent play. The offensive line looks good one week but follows it up with suspect play, and Edwards struggles to maintain control of the pocket. Last week, Paris lost an extremely competitive game against Frankfurt and they look to rebound this week.
Prediction: Aiken’s athleticism keeps it close; Paris extends late. Paris 28-23
Stuttgart Surge(6-1) v. Milano Seamen(1-6)
The top of the conference takes on the bottom of the conference. The Surge’s hype train has continued from the off-season into the middle of the season and they look to put the dagger into Milano’s inaugural season. The problem? The Surge’s one loss came at the hands of the Fehervar Enthroners, meaning that they’ve fallen into the trap game before and it’s possible it could happen again. The Seamen have had a fairly productive year on offense, it’s just the defense that has really let them down because of it’s inability to maintain the same pace as the offense. Last week, Milano was my only loss as I expected them to end Helvetic’s current run and to the defense’s credit, they did their part. But special teams and turnovers let them down last week and it robbed them of their second win of the season. Unfortunately for Milano, they’re rewarded with a game against the Surge.
Prediction: The score will look better than the actual game. Stuttgart 40-26
Vienna Vikings v. Leipzig Kings was cancelled.
Fehervar Enthroners(1-6) v. Frankfurt Galaxy(6-1)
Being an underdog isn’t anything new to Fehervar. Being an underdog and taking down one of the top in the league is also nothing new to Fehervar. The Enthroners return to action this week after having two weeks off due to the unfortunate cancellation of the Prague game last week. QB Kevin Doyle, Jr who joined the team on a short week before the bye week was able to spend this time getting acclimated to the offense and really getting caught up to speed. While his first start didn’t go as planned, he hopes to use the time off to his advantage, as does the team, and look to play spoiler again. The Galaxy have quietly put together an amazing season. At 6-1, nobody is really discussing this team as a potential championship caliber team, and to be honest, that could be a mistake. QB Jakeb Sullivan has recently returned from injury and the team is getting healthy when it matters the most. They’re also battle tested having played in more close games than others near the top of the league.
Prediction: Closer game than Frankfurt wants, escapes with a W. Frankfurt 27-21
Cologne Centurions(2-5) v. Hamburg Sea Devils(3-4)
Coming out of the bye week, it was announced that QB Preston Haire was hurt(we wish him the best in his recovery), and will miss the rest of the season. Hamburg brought in QB Isaiah Green to replace Haire. Green gives the Sea Devils a more mobile option in the offense and a chance to really open things up with his legs. The Sea Devils have been that pesky, tough team all year as they have proved difficult at times to put away. They love to hang around in games and make most games more competitive than some teams really want. While QB transitions in the ELF have been hit or miss, the Devils look for success with Green. Cologne is also coming off of a bye week, and it was much needed for them. The Centurions needed to regroup as the first half of the season hasn’t gone their way. QB Judd Erickson and company needed to take the rest week to really reinvent themselves and try to finish the second half of the season strong.
Prediction: The stability at QB makes a difference. Cologne 21-18
Helvetic Guards(3-5) v. Munich Ravens(3-4)
Three weeks ago, this game didn’t look like it was going to be much fun to watch. Since the signing of QB Sky Noble, the Guards have gone on a tear and won three straight games. While, I can’t attribute all those wins to Noble’s play and the offense, I certainly can give praise to the defensive unit. The offense was held to under 100 yards of total offense last week, but somehow the Guards put up 31 points and won the game. Ken Hike, Jr put the team on his back and went on to have one of the best single game performances of 2023 across any alternative league. The Ravens have been one of the more frustrating teams to pin down. QB Chad Jeffries and WR Markell Castle look like one of the best duos in the league but the Ravens defense has been so inconsistent you don’t know what you’re going to get each week. To make matters worse for the Ravens defense, they let go of middle linebacker and defensive player of the year candidate Amin Black this week, as they look to make changes to hopefully play spoiler and make a possible playoff push down the stretch.
Prediction: Offense wins games, defensive wins championships. Munich 31-18
Between the releases of Amin Black, Raiders Tirol QB Christian Strong and WR Jarvis McClam leaving the team, paired with the Prague Lions news, the ELF had a whirlwind couple of weeks of news. Hopefully for the leagues sake, things calm down for a little while and we just get a week nine filled with competitive games and great action!
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