It’s typically an advantage for the Memphis Showboats to play at home. The team doesn’t have to endure a hectic travel schedule, the game is on familiar turf, and they can count on the support of a passionate fan base cheering them to victory. But the Showboats are looking to break a four-game losing streak and get back on a winning track, and hosting the 5-0 Birmingham Stallions may not be the preferred way to do it. Last month, when the Showboats visited Birmingham, the Stallions outplayed them on both sides of the field and scored a decisive 33-14 victory.

The Visiting Team

When we welcome visitors into our home, we expect them to be courteous and respectful. But just like rude and inconsiderate houseguests who trash our home and stay up all night partying, the league-leading Stallions threaten to disrupt the entire household. By the end of their visit, we can’t wait for them to just pack up and leave.

Over the past few weeks, the Stallions have looked unstoppable with their weekly quarterback rotation keeping opposing teams off balance. Whether the team is relying on the swift-footed Adrian Martinez or the very competent Matt Corral behind center, Head Coach Skip Holtz and the Stallions appear to have found a winning formula.

Although the two quarterbacks are evenly matched in their passing game, Martinez is having a superior season on the strength of his rushing ability. He is currently leading the league in rushing with 302 yards on 26 carries and averaging an outstanding 60.4 yards per game. Martinez has developed an uncanny ability to rip off huge blocks of yardage at a time. That statistic is particularly impressive when you consider that, except for Battlehawks’ RB Jacob Saylors, most of the league running backs haven’t come close to that number.

In addition, to Martinez, the Stallions’ ground game features the dynamic duo of Ricky Person, Jr. and C.J. Marable, both of whom rank among the league’s top 10 running backs this season. Person is currently leading the league with 5 TDs on the season.

Complementing the strength of their offense, the Stallions have a strong defensive presence as well. Kyahva Tezino is currently leading the team in tackles with 35 and Lorenzo Burns presents another imposing threat with 24 tackles. Although starting kicker Chris Blewitt has missed the last two games due to injury, Ramiz Ahmed has done a solid job filling in and both kickers have only missed one FG each and earned respectable 46-yard FGs.

Let’s Hear It For the Home Team

As the Showboats regroup and shake off the lingering after-effects of last week’s disappointing loss to the Panthers, the team is back at work and focused on preparing to take on a division rival that is currently on cruise control headed for the playoffs.

While it isn’t clear who will be this week’s starting QB, both Case Cookus and Troy Williams are better quarterbacks than the Showboats’ 1-4 record would indicate. Both of these men have good arm strength and are capable of delivering solid strikes in heavy coverage. The receiving core, led by Vinny Papale and Daewood Davis, is a key strength for the team. Papale leads the team with three touchdowns and that stat puts him among the league leaders this season. Daewood Davis leads the league in scoring the longest TD after last week’s eye-popping (82-yard) reception from Williams.

The biggest weakness of this team is the number of sacks allowed by the Showboats with an inexcusable combined total of 25. Although Cookus is known for his mobility (74 yards on 15 carries in 4 games) he has frequently found himself in danger because the offensive line protection hasn’t been there.

Speaking of mobility, the ground game has also been disappointing this season with Darius Victor struggling to regain his form following a pre-season injury. In five games, Victor has 131 yards on 49 carries with 1 TD. RB Titus Swen, who has been used primarily for kickoff returns and as an occasional backup to Victor, has 25 yards on 15 carries.

The Memphis defense will have their hands full this weekend trying to curtail the Stallions’ offensive weaponry. But Malik Lawal is proving to be a strong defensive threat with 27 tackles on the season, and Delrick Abrams (24 tackles) had a critical interception in the game against the San Antonio Brahmas. A strong defensive effort from these two, along with the team’s sack leader, Jordan Ferguson, (23 tackles) and Kyree Woods (21 tackles) could make it a long afternoon for the Stallions.

Although the Showboats are up against a tough challenge this weekend, it’s not inconceivable that the home advantage might make the difference. Instead of the Stallions coming in as unwelcome houseguests, perhaps the Memphis Showboats will put on a show and the Stallions will depart after the game, looking more like geldings.

author avatar
Sue Levine
Sue Levine spent the past five years creating and producing a successful weekly health and wellness podcast starring a wonderful iconic woman as the program host. As part of Sue's responsibilities, she scripted every episode and discovered a genuine love of writing. When the podcast ended late last year, she shifted the focus of her writing to covering pro sports. A passionate fan of NFL and UFL football as well as fantasy, she is delighted to be able to share her articles with other football fans.

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