The National Arena League (NAL) is just about set for Week Two action in the 2019 season tomorrow with the Jacksonville Sharks (0-1) and the Columbus Lions (0-1) going head-to-head on Friday night. The following night, the Massachusetts Pirates (0-1) look to redeem themselves against the Carolina Cobras (1-0). Last week wasn’t all sunshine for the Pirates, putting up 22 points on the Cobras and allowing 54 points.
NAL: Pirates to Redeem Themselves in Week Two
It is not very common that there are back-to-back games where the same two teams play each other without a Bye Week in between.
The NAL this season has a handful of these matchups throughout the course of the season, so this won’t be a rare sight this year.
This time, the game is in Greensboro, NC. This could turn very ugly for the Massachusetts Pirates because the home team is typically the one who has the advantage.
Last week, the Pirates already got their “home field advantage”, but didn’t capitolize on it. Could the tables turn this week or will this game have the same result?
The Massachusetts Pirates offense looked really slow and seemed bothered by the Cobras defense last week, only tossing the ball for 138 yards in the air.
The running game was fairly okay, especially for the Pirates, who are pass-heavy to begin with, but nothing really impressed anybody. It could just be a Week One slump and they could quickly get over that speedbump, but it is extremely tough to turn everything around in just a week.
The Pirates defense didn’t put many good statistics on the board either. Just a slow day in the office. If they continue to play like this, they will find themselves on thin ice before we know it and could be in jeopardy of not making the playoffs here early, especially with the league having talent all over.
For the Pirates to win, they must throw the Cobras off guard and pull out just about every hat trick they have in store. Perhaps they were saving their best plays or styles for this week. Only time will tell.
The Cobras seemed to sneak back up at the very top of the leaderboard after last week’s dominating performance against the Pirates. Putting up 54 points, throwing for 248 yards, and forcing turnovers and sacks will almost guarantee a victory. We say “almost” because nothing is guaranteed in arena football, as we learned last week in Jacksonville.
Obviously, to win games, teams must start real strong and be able to finish. This Cobras team last week looked like they could’ve gone a full 120 minutes before showing signs of slowing down.
They were moving the ball with ease and had almost no mistakes last week. The great news is that they are facing the same team again, which means they are able to put up the same beating if Massachusetts allows it.
The only downfall to this Cobras team is the kicking situation. Last year, the Cobras had Craig Peterson, who was picked up by the Columbus Destroyers of the Arena Football League (AFL).
This left Carolina in a scramble to find a kicker with just days before kickoff. They found South Carolina Native Nick Belcher to take over the kicking duties. Belcher nailed a drop-kick and a deuce last week, but missed five of six PAT’s, an All-Time NAL record. If this continues, the Cobras might be making a business decision to let Belcher go.
Thankfully for the Cobras, one or two points wasn’t the determining factor of who won the game last week, and likely won’t be how this game will be decided as well. They should be able to handle the Pirates this weekend.