Courtesy: Atlantic City Blackjacks Media Relations
The Atlantic City Blackjacks (4-7) have officially been eliminated from playoff contention after the Washington Valor (6-5) secured the last sport with their victory in Week 12. After the Blackjacks’ loss to the Soul in Week 11, their playoff fate was no longer in their own hands. Washington needed to go on to lose their final two games while Atlantic City needed to win their final game. That is now not the case and the Blackjacks will be playing a meaningless last game of the season against the Baltimore Brigade (6-5). Fans can watch live on NBCSP+, ESPN 3, or the ESPN app, or listen to the call live on 97.3 ESPN on Sunday, July 21 at 4:00 pm.
“We are still preparing for this game like any other this season,” said Ron James, Head Coach of the Atlantic City Blackjacks. “We’re going to give the fans one last round of excitement on the year and we want them to realize how much we appreciated their support throughout the season. We will get better this offseason and are looking forward to getting back out there next year.”
With nothing on the line in their final game of the season, the Blackjacks will simply look to go out on a high note while looking to show the fans their appreciation for welcoming them into this city in their first year. It was an exciting inaugural season for the Blackjacks and their fans, and the future looks bright as the AFL is expanding for next season in the coming weeks. If Atlantic City can pull out a victory, they will have completed the season sweep over Baltimore and finish two-games under 0.500.
Baltimore might be resting some of their starters as they put in their backup quarterback in the final stages of their Week 12 game against Washington. This could make for some surprising matchups and give these second-string players a chance to prove to the organization to keep them aground for next season. With the injuries accrued by both quarterbacks for Atlantic City, it’s up in the air as to who will be setting up under center for this game. It doesn’t make much sense to put a semi-healthy quarterback into a meaningless game. Whatever the case, the fans deserve to see an exciting final game of the season.
LaMark Brown and Antwane Grant should be dangerous as usual in this matchup where the offense has put up 83 points in their two games against Baltimore this season. Brown has compiled 26 total touchdowns so far this year. He has career-highs in receiving yards, receiving and rushing touchdowns and is two receptions away from another career high. The Baltimore defense will have their hands full with containing both these guys plus any other support from the Blackjacks’ offense.
On the other side of the ball, the defense will be healthy and look to have another stellar game against the Brigade. The 34-points allowed in their last meeting is the least amount of points given up this year. It all came down to the last play as Antron Dillon was able to block the attempted game-winning field goal as time expired. As previously stated, Baltimore may go with their backup Shane Morris in this game, who the Blackjacks’ defense has not seen yet. Morris threw for 105 yards and two touchdowns in relief of starter Shane Boyd. It will be interesting to see how many other starters will see limited time for rest come Sunday.
Lastly, look for the special teams to make a difference. There has been a decent amount of onside kicks attempted in the past few weeks and the Blackjacks were able to recover two big ones in their Week 11 game against the Soul. There was an unfortunate interception that took place on one of the next plays, but the team showed their ability to get on the ball first. Any way a team can get an extra possession is big and fans should expect to see Mark Lewis try for a few of these onside kicks to snag an extra possession. With Kendrick Ings still hurting from an injury, Keiron Jones looks to build on his kick returning abilities. So far, he has 14 returns for 216 yards and a touchdown. The amount of time and space he has been getting is not ideal for big returns, but when he does have it, he seems to find the right holes and there is potential for him in this position. With one more game to show his abilities, Jones will look to do damage in the return game.