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Arena Football League Week Five Preview: Iowa Barnstormers at Pittsburgh Power

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Arena Football League Week Five Preview:  Iowa Barnstormers at Pittsburgh Power
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Iowa Barnstormers DB/KR Jason Simpson could have himself a productive game on Friday night against the …

Week 5 of the Arena Football League kicks off with an April 6 battle between the Iowa Barnstormers and the Pittsburgh Power. Here are some things to look forward to.

Why Watch?

58-28. That was the final score last season in the Power's (1-2) first victory in franchise history. Their victim? The Barnstormers (1-2). Ouch.

This should tell you how bad the beatdown was last year: Iowa WR Jesse Schmidt was held scoreless. Yep, scoreless. Schmidt has been held out of the end zone a grand total of three times in his entire career, and the Power managed to do it in just their second game of existence. You think Schmidt might be looking to remedy that situation on Friday night?

It won't be easy for him, that's for sure. The Power sport the league's best pass defense and the league's best total defense, allowing a paltry 188.3 passing yards and 231.7 total yards per game.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, hasn't been able to break into the win column yet this season with its regular roster, so the team will be looking to do that in front of their home crowd this week.

Who to Watch

Schmidt, of course, is a big one to watch for Iowa, but in addition to No. 22, keep an eye on FB Rodney Filer. While the Power have a stellar pass defense, they rank last in the league in run defense, allowing 43.3 yards per game on the ground. Filer is coming off a game against the Chicago Rush in which he ran for 25 yards and three touchdowns. If Barnstormers QB J.J. Raterink has difficulty airing it out against a tough Power pass defense, expect Filer to play an important role in the game.

Pay attention, too, to Iowa DB/KR Jason Simpson. Pittsburgh ranks last in the league in kickoff coverage, netting only 34.1 yards per kick. Simpson is returning kickoffs at just a tick under 22 yards a piece, and he has already returned one 57 yards for a touchdown this year. The potential is there for No. 6 to break a big one on Friday.

On Pittsburgh's side of the ball, it appears as though Andrico Hines will get another shot at quarterback this week with Bill Stull being placed on Injured Reserve. Hines led the Power to their only win so far this season with 266 passing yards, six touchdowns, and no turnovers against the Orlando Predators--or, at least, some guys wearing Predators jerseys--back in Week 1. How will he fare against Iowa, though, with DB Cameron McGlenn (three interceptions and a fumble recovery on the year) and the aforementioned Jason Simpson (two picks this season) patrolling the defensive backfield?

Power WR Mike Washington is quietly having a great season so far with 303 receiving yards and six touchdowns, averaging 101 yards per game. He's a quick little bugger--and by little, I'm talking 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds--and with Iowa's defense allowing 302 passing yards per game, which is fourth-worst in the league, Washington could find himself having a big game.

The Series

The only time these two teams have met in the past was that 58-28 shellacking that Pittsburgh handed out last season, so make sure you tune in to Ustream on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, 6:30pm Iowa time, to see if the Barnstormers can exact some revenge or if Pittsburgh will even up its season record with a home victory.

The author is a Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @RedZoneWriting and on Facebook.

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