Storm seeks postseason berth against Washington

Jun 5, 2017 Tampa Bay Storm

The Tampa Bay Storm (6-1) hosts the Washington Valor (1-6) this Saturday, June 10th at AMALIE® Arena on AMALIE Motor Oil Field.  A win for the Storm will clinch a berth in the 2017 Arena Football League postseason.  The win would also extend the team’s winning streak to six games, its longest streak since 2010 when the team made an appearance in ArenaBowl XXIII.  The game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.  Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.

This will be the teams’ third meeting this season, and second in Tampa.  The Storm holds an overall record of 2-0 versus the Valor and a home record of 1-0.  Last time out, Tampa Bay defeated Washington by a score of 53-47.  The Storm has faced a Dean Cokinos-led team a total of 11 times, and it holds a winning record of 7-4 against him, the most victories against any active AFL head coach.

Tampa Bay enters the game looking to clinch its 24th postseason appearance in franchise history.  The team is off to its best start since 2001, when the team began the season 7-0.  A win this weekend would also extend the team’s win streak to six games; the longest winning streak since 2010 when the team made an appearance in ArenaBowl XXIII.

Defensively, the Storm is starting to get hot.  The team has held teams to a League-low 46.7 points per game.  The defensive line has picked up steam, recording 5.0 sacks in two games.  The team’s sack leader is linebacker Dexter Jackson who has 3.5 sacks on the season.  He and the rest of the defensive line have tallied 11.0 sacks, three more than its total in 2016.  Look for this group to get after Valor quarterback Sean Brackett, who was sacked once last week and forced under pressure several times versus the Cleveland Gladiators.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Storm continues to impress with Joe Hills leading the way.  Not to be left out though are LaMark Brown and Kendrick Ings, both of which have 10 or more touchdown catches.  Together, the trio of Hills, Brown, and Ings make up one of the most potent offensive units in the League.  All three are in the top-10 of several receiving categories, including receptions per game.

The Valor comes to Tampa Bay looking for answers.  The team is on a six-game losing streak, suffering from injuries and roster turnover.  Quarterback Sean Brackett stepped in for the injured Erik Meyer, but completed just 55.6% (20-of-36) of his passes this past weekend.  His top target was Josh Reese who caught eight passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns.  If the team hopes to win the offensive game, receivers Greg Carr and Roger Jackson will need to step up.  This will not be an easy task with the Storm defensive backfield patrolling the air.

Look for there to be a hard-fought battle between these two teams.  The Storm will be looking to clinch a postseason berth while the Valor will be looking to keep its playoff hopes alive.