The Portland Thunder have three wins on the season, two of which they earned at the Los Angeles KISS’ expense. If Portland wants to keep pace with the Spokane Shock and Las Vegas Outlaws (who have two wins against the KISS of their own) for a playoff spot in the National Conference, they’ll need to secure a third win over the KISS.
Meanwhile, if the KISS don’t want to spend Independence Day as a winless team, they’ll need to beat the Thunder, as their next three games are against the league’s three best teams – the San Jose SaberCats, Arizona Rattlers, and Philadelphia Soul.
Quarterback Alex Carder produced some excitement late in last week’s game against the SaberCats, throwing the first two touchdown passes of his career and showing a nice touch on deep passes. Head Coach Mike Hohensee wouldn’t say for sure who would get the start against Los Angeles, but last time someone sparked the team against San Jose with a couple of late touchdowns, Darron Thomas ended up starting the next game against…the Los Angeles KISS.
The KISS are having some consistency problems. As you can see in the infographic above, they’re really not all that far away from the Thunder statistically. Their chief problem has been that when their offense plays adequately, their defense has been abysmal, and when their defense finally steps up to the plate, as it did last week against the Jacksonville Sharks, the offense throws the game away.
Last week the Sharks missed two field goals and and extra point in the second half, giving the KISS a chance to win the game with a late drive and a PAT of their own, only to end the game with a Danny Southwick interception. If they want to have a chance in this one, the defense needs to continue to perform like they did last week and Southwick will have to at least repeat his performance in the last Thunder/KISS game, where he led the offense to touchdowns on two-thirds of the team’s offensive drives.
The bad news for the KISS: The only good games the Thunder have played on defense have been against Los Angeles, Southwick, or both combined (aka their three wins). Against the KISS/Southwick, the Thunder have stopped 38 percent of drives, which would put them in the league’s top five defenses. Against everyone else, they’re stopping just 12.9 percent of drives, which would be the worst mark in the league – even below the KISS.
Even though this is my only chance to pick the KISS and be right about it over the next month, I can’t believe they can win until they show me they can. Even without knowing which quarterback will play for the Thunder, I’ll take Portland, 57-47.