Amid a five-game stretch in which they have fallen four times, the Philadelphia Soul (3-4) will take on the Atlantic City Blackjacks (3-4) in the last of their season-long three-game home stand Sunday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Soul currently hold the tiebreaker with the Blackjacks for the fourth and final playoff spot; they look to avoid their second losing streak of the season — and their first multiple losing streaks within a single regular season since 2014.
Last week, the Soul fell 48-41 at home to the reigning AFL-champion Washington Valor, while the Blackjacks fell to the then-winless Columbus Destroyers on the road, 54-50. Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh completed just 50 percent of his passes, despite throwing for 296 yards and five touchdowns. He will have a chance to rebound on Sunday against Atlantic City, who has allowed 43.9 points per game, tied with Columbus for the most in the league.
.@2FiveGetLive’s message for @soulfootball moving forward from Week 7 loss to reigning champion @WashingtonValor: “Win. Win. I don’t care how we have to do it, we have to win.” #ForPhilly pic.twitter.com/SOBIfWmZKv— Matt Rappa (@mattrappasports) June 9, 2019
After Sunday's matchup, just one of the Soul's remaining four games will be at home — Saturday, June 29 against the league-best Albany Empire.
Last Meeting vs. Blackjacks: Week 1 (Home) — Saturday, April 27, 2019
The Soul's only previous meeting against the Blackjacks came in the 2019 season and home opener, a 48-41 victory for the Clint Dolezel-led team despite at one being falling behind 20-7. The game was the Blackjacks' first in franchise history, which yielded their first-ever loss.
Soul DB James Romain had two pick-sixes in the game, setting the team's all-time interceptions record. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh completed 21 of his 31 attempts, with one interception, and combined for 151 yards and two touchdowns, one each to Darius Reynolds and Darius Prince. Fullback Adrian Ferns rushed for three touchdowns, while netting 12 total yards.
By the Numbers:
- First Downs: Soul 17, Blackjacks 10
- Rushes-Yards (Net): Soul 12-8, Blackjacks 1-1
- Passing Yards (Net): Soul 151, Blackjacks 171
- Passing Attempts-Completions-Interceptions: Soul 21-31-1, Blackjacks 18-26-2
- Total Offensive Plays-Yards: Soul 43-159, Blackjacks 28-172
- Kickoff Returns-Yards: Soul 3-38, Blackjacks 4-76
- Interception Returns-Yards: Soul 2-73, Blackjacks 1-10
- Fumbles-Lost: Soul 1-1, Blackjacks 1-1
- Penalties-Yards: Soul 5-30, Blackjacks 7-24
- Possession Time: Soul 35:17, Blackjacks 24:43
- Third-Down Conversions: Soul 3/8, Blackjacks 3/4
- Fourth-Down Conversions: Soul 3/4, Blackjacks 0/0
- Red-Zone Scores-Chances: Soul 5-5, Blackjacks 4-6
- Sacks by, Numbers-Yards: Soul 1-7, Blackjacks 0-0
- The Blackjacks are 0-3 on the road this season, allowing 47.7 points per game, while the Soul are 2-2 at home, averaging 46.0 points per game.
- The Soul are 9-5 — 7-0 since 2014 — all-time against Ron James-coached teams.
- The Blackjacks will play in the second of their four-game stretch of all road games; they fell to the then-winless Destroyers to start the stretch.
- The Blackjacks defense has held opponents to an AFL-best 198.9 passing yards per game, more than 30 yards fewer than the next closest team (Soul).
- Filling in for the injured Soul WR Aaron Wascha, rookie wide receiver BJ Bunn has four touchdowns, all in the third quarter, spanning two starts.
- What to Watch For:
- The Blackjacks have allowed 12 rushing touchdowns this season, three more than any other team. Soul FB Adrian Ferns rushed for three of those in the season opener.
- Ferns had a rushing and receiving touchdown in the Soul's Week 7 loss to the Valor.
- Penn State football alumnus Devon Still, founder of the Still Strong Foundation, will serve as Sunday’s honorary captain.
- Soul DB Romain picked off Blackjacks QB Randy Hippeard twice in Week 1. The 2018 AFL Defensive Back of the Year has three pick-sixes this season, which are as many as the rest of the league has combined.
- Hippeard threw a season-high six touchdowns in Atlantic City's Week 7 loss to Columbus. The QB has zero interceptions in his last three games, an improvement over his five interceptions in the first four games of the season.
- Blackjacks WR LaMark Brown has the fourth-most touchdowns this season, 14, besting Soul WR Darius Prince by just one (13). Last week, Brown posted career highs in receiving yards (150) and receiving touchdowns (5), while against the Soul in Week 1, he caught eight passes for 90 yards and three scores.
- AFL leaders, entering Sunday (click to expand):
- Friday, June 14:
- Placed on League Suspension: OL Marvis Brown, WR Damond Powell
Soul Injury Report:
- Kickoff: 4 p.m.
- TV: NBCSP+, ESPN3
- Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic
- Saturday, June 22, 2019: at Columbus Destroyers (1-7), 7 p.m.
- TV: NBCSP+, ESPN3; Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic