The Jacksonville Sharks have done a lot of impressive things in their brief two-year history: they've posted two double-digit win seasons, they've been to the playoffs twice, they've won an ArenaBowl, and they've never lost to the Tampa Bay Storm. When the two teams meet on March 30 in Arena Football League action, Tampa Bay will be trying to remedy that situation.
It's hard to not get excited about watching the defending league champion Sharks take the field against the last remaining original AFL team in the Storm. These arena teams from Florida sport two of the largest fan bases in the league, and when the South Division rivals get after it on Friday night, you can count on a heated battle.
This particular heated battle may feature a bunch of turnovers. The Sharks (1-1) currently rank last in the league with a minus-5 turnover margin, while the Storm (1-1) are third-worst at minus-3. Each team has a strong pass defense, so yards and points may be hard to come by in this one.
Who to Watch
For the first time in franchise history, the Sharks do not have Aaron Garcia at quarterback this season, and they're struggling with the adjustment. With Chris Leak at the helm in their first game and Omar Jacobs taking the snaps in their second game, the team has stumbled out of the gate, currently ranked second-worst in the Arena Football League in passing offense (216.5 yards per game) and total offense (227 ypg), and fourth-worst in scoring offense (46.5 ppg).
Leak is now suspended, and Jacobs will make his second start of the season after throwing five touchdowns in a Week 3 loss to Georgia--a game in which he also threw four interceptions and lost a fumble. He'll have to find his groove against the league's No. 6 pass defense (251 ypg) in Tampa Bay.
Meanwhile, WR Prechae Rodriguez of the Storm will look to continue his white hot start to his rookie year in the AFL. He currently leads the league in receptions per game (11.5) and receiving yards per game (175). He may find it hard to keep up at this pace, however, because the Sharks sport the league's No. 4 pass defense (231.5 ypg).
On the other side of the ball, Tampa Bay DB Erick McIntosh is a tackling machine, ranking No. 6 in the AFL with his 16.5 tackles, while DB Riley Swanson has two interceptions on the year. With Jacksonville struggling the way it is on offense, McIntosh and Swanson could be in for big games.
Jacksonville has a perfect 4-0 record against Tampa Bay. In two of those games, however, the Storm have knocked the Sharks' starting quarterback out of the game. Jacksonville backup QB Bernard Morris may want to keep his throwing arm loose on the sideline for this one.
The Storm will be trying to get into the win column for the first time in this series when the two teams kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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