The Portland Thunder had a tough week, although no one outside of San Jose had an opportunity to see how tough it was. They lost on the road to the undefeated San Jose Sabercats by a comfortable amount and lost top WR Jamar Howard to an injury for the next couple of months.
Their reward for getting past that game? Now they’ll travel across the country to take on the league’s OTHER undefeated team.
They’ll try to make up for Howard’s absence with more plays to former Soul receiver V’Keon Lacey as well as former fourth receiver Perez Ashford, who produced career highs in Howard’s absence in San Jose.
However, the defense will also have to try to slow down the league’s top scoring offense, as the Soul average 61 points per game. (The Thunder’s last two opponents, San Jose and Arizona, are second and third in the league, respectively).
Fourth down looks like it could play a huge role in this game, as well, as the Soul lead the league in fourth-down conversion rate, having converted nine of their 12 opportunities, while the Thunder are tied with the Voodoo for last in the league, having converted just three of 11 chances. The Soul are second in the league in stopping fourth-down conversions as well, having given up a first down on just three of 12 fourth-down plays.
All in all, the Thunder are going up against a better team while missing one of their biggest weapons, on the road, across the country…it’s going to be pretty difficult to get back to .500 on the season.
On the bright side, because the game isn’t in San Jose, Thunder fans will at least have the opportunity to see how the team looks against a potential ArenaBowl team.