Week 4 of the IFL season featured several matchups that allowed fans to see which teams are early candidates to be contenders in the IFL and which teams appear to be pretenders. It is important to note that many teams will change their rosters significantly throughout the rest of the IFL season, and the teams that make the best adjustments will have the opportunity to run for a playoff spot at the end of the season. Coming into Week 5, the IFL Coaches Poll shows a clear differentiation between the top teams in the IFL and those fighting for respect.

Some top teams have established themselves as perennial contenders, including the Frisco Fighters, the Northern Arizona Wranglers, the Massachusetts Pirates, and the Bay Area Panthers. Some teams, like the San Diego Strike Force, are new to the top half of the coaches poll and still have to prove themselves over the long haul of an IFL season. There are also a few teams to keep an eye on, like the Green Bay Blizzard, which have been out of the playoff picture for a few years but seem to have a significant amount of momentum with the addition of quarterback Skyler Perry. For many IFL teams, Week 5 will be another week to prove they belong and deserve contender status while others try to find firm footing to launch themselves forward.

Last week, we had a tough week predicting winners in the IFL, with a 3-2 record, but overall, we have a 14-5 record for the season when it comes to picking winners in the IFL.

If you want more IFL analysis and commentary, check out the In The Alley podcast with Cody Bryant on YouTube.

Note: All IFL games are available via live stream on the IFL Network on YouTube and Caffeine.tv.

Game #1

Date and Time: Friday, April 12th at 7:05 pm EST

Home Team: Massachusetts Pirates (3-0)

Away Team: Iowa Barnstormers (0-2)

Location: Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts

DraftKings Betting Line: Massachusetts Pirates -14.5, O/U 81.5 points

During the Iowa Barnstormers’ first two games of the 2024 IFL season, the Barnstormers struggled to score points on offense, and they have also struggled to get stops on defense. Offensively, the Barnstormers are healthy with Darius-James Peterson and wide receiver Quian Williams leading the offense; they will need to get into a rhythm early to put themselves in position to have a chance to upset the Pirates. Defensively, Iowa will need to find a way to stop the Pirate’s dominant running game.

The Massachusetts Pirates are coming off a bye week and should be rested and ready to play their best football. Offensively, running back Jimmie Robison has been nearly unstoppable in the Pirates’ first three games, and quarterback Alejandro Bennifield has consistently found his playmakers at wide receiver. Massachusetts plays its best football at home, and if it can stay healthy, it should be able to secure its fourth win of the season.

Game Prediction: Massachusetts Pirates 50, Iowa Barnstormers 37

Game #2

Date and Time: Friday, April 12th at 10:05 pm EST

Home Team: Vegas Knight Hawks (2-0)

Away Team: San Antonio Gunslingers (0-2)

Location: Lee’s Family Forum in Henderson, Nevada

DraftKings Betting Line: Vegas Knight Hawks -7.5, O/U 102.5 points

The San Antonio Gunslingers have had a difficult start to their first year in the IFL after coming from the NAL. Offensively, the Gunslingers and quarterback Sam Castronova have been nearly unstoppable and have been able to score effectively. On defense, the Gunslingers have struggled to get any stops, resulting in the Gunslingers coming up short two games in a row. If the Gunslingers intend to win their first IFL, they must find a way to stop Knight Hawks quarterback Ja’Rome Johnson from running past their defense.

The Vegas Knight Hawks have emerged as an early playoff contender in the Western Conference. Offensively, dual-threat quarterback Ja’Rome Johnson is the clear leader, and Johnson has been able to elevate the play of his weapons on offense. Defensively, the Knight Hawks have been able to get critical stops, allowing their offense to lead them to back-to-back wins to start the season.

Game Prediction: Vegas Knight Hawks 56, San Antonio Gunslingers 52

Game #3

Date and Time: Saturday, April 13th at 8:05 pm EST

Home Team: Frisco Fighters (2-0)

Visiting Team: Quad City Steamwheelers (1-1)

Location: Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas

DraftKings Betting Line: Frisco Fighters -11.5, O/U 84.5 points

Last week, the Quad City Steamwheelers struggled to find chemistry on offense and were also unable to consistently stop the Green Bay Blizzards’ new quarterback, Skyler Perry. Defensively, the Steamwheelers face a similar challenge in 2023 IFL MVP TJ Edwards. They will need to contain Edwards and force him to depend on his wide receivers. Offensively, the Steamwheelers have struggled to find a rhythm with new quarterback Judd Erickson this season.

The Frisco Fighters are a difficult team to beat at home, and quarterback TJ Edwards provides a difficult matchup for the Steamwheelers’ defense. So far this season, Frisco has fallen short of expectations on offense, and that is primarily due to a lack of consistent production from their receivers. Defensively, the Fighters can get stops and do an effective job of pressuring opponents’ quarterbacks.

Game Prediction: Frisco Fighters 45, Quad City Steamwheelers 37

Game #4

Date and Time: Sunday, April 14th at 4:05 pm EST

Home Team: Sioux Falls Storm (0-2)

Visiting Team: Tulsa Oilers (1-1)

Location: Denny Samford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

DraftKings Betting Line: Sioux Falls Storm -1.5, O/U 77.5 points

The Tulsa Oilers come into Sioux Falls with the momentum of getting their first win of the season at home against the Iowa Barnstormers. Defensively, the Oilers have one of the top defenses in the IFL and should terrorize Storm quarterback Billy Hall. Offensively, the Oilers are starting to find their stride with quarterback Daniel Smith and his offensive weapons. Winning on the road is difficult in the IFL, but if their defense can force turnovers, they can pick up a big win in the conference.

The Sioux Falls Storm team is in transition, and they have looked the part to start the season. Quarterback Billy Hall, running back Xavier Jackson, and wide receiver Kentrez Bell have been able to help the Storm score points consistently. Defensively, the Storm have several great defensive linemen, but in the backend, they have struggled to stop opposing offenses.

Game Prediction: Tulsa Oilers 42, Sioux Falls Storm 38

Game #5

Date and Time: Sunday, April 14th at 6:05 pm EST

Home Team: Arizona Rattlers (1-2)

Visiting Team: San Diego Strike Force (2-0)

Location: Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona

DraftKings Betting Line: Arizona Rattlers -2.5, O/U 96.5 points

The San Diego Strike Force is undefeated as they come into Arizona. Offensively, the Strike Force offense features an explosive passing game orchestrated by quarterback Nate Davis. Defensively, the Strike Force has yet to be able to stop their opponents, resulting in putting pressure on their offense to keep scoring. This week may be a game in which the Strike Force needs to find a running game to find a way to control the game’s pace; otherwise, they may be on the wrong end of a shootout.

The Arizona Rattlers have had to deal with significant complications at their quarterback position since they opened the season with a big win at Northern Arizona. If quarterback Dalton Sneed does not return to the lineup this week, then veteran quarterback Lorenzo Brown Jr. will need to get the ball to wide receivers downfield. Defensively, the Rattlers have struggled to stop dual-threat quarterbacks, but this week, they face a pocket-passer and will bring pressure nearly every play.

Game Prediction: Arizona Rattlers 55, San Diego Strike Force 48

Game #6Upset Special

Date and Time: Sunday, April 14th at 6:05 pm EST

Home Team: Tucson Sugar Skulls (1-1)

Visiting Team: Bay Area Panthers (2-0)

Location: Tucson Arena in Tucson, Arizona

DraftKings Betting Line: Bay Area Panthers -7, O/U 96.5 points

The Bay Area Panthers come into Tucson with one of the most balanced teams in the IFL. Offensively, quarterback DaQuan Neal and running back Shane Simpson have been nearly unstoppable in their first two games. Defensively, the Panthers are one of the best units in the IFL, which is unsurprising, with defensive mastermind Rob Keefe leading the Panthers. Going on the road is difficult for any team in the IFL, and this week, they face one of the most robust running games in the IFL, led by Sugar Skulls quarterback Malik Mitchell and running back Mike Jones.

The Tucson Sugar Skulls, led by head coach Billy Back, boast a dominant running game that allows them to dictate the pace of games. Bay Area’s defense will be significantly more robust than the defense they have faced this year, so the Sugar Skulls may have to rev up their passing game if they expect to get a big home win against the Bay Area Panthers.

Game Prediction: Tucson Sugar Skulls 50, Bay Area Panthers 48

Follow me on X: @AaronSauter7

author avatar
Aaron Sauter
Aaron Sauter is a 23-veteran high school football coach that is also an fan of all levels of football. He is especially interested in alternative football leagues like the CFL, UFL, and IFL. Aaron enjoys analyzing innovative schemes on offense and defense during his free time.

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