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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Week 16 Preview: Chicago Rush at Philadelphia Soul #PhillySoul

PHILADELPHIA (July 3, 2013) - The back-to-back East Division champion, Philadelphia Soul (9-5), look to extend their win streak to five games as they host the Central Division leading Chicago Rush (8-6) this week at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday, July 6 at the Wells Fargo Center. With a win, the Soul can tie for first place in the American Conference with the Jacksonville Sharks (10-5).

"Chicago is playing at a high level right now," said Soul head coach Clint Dolezel. "They've won four of their last five. We know we're going to have to put pressure on Coffman and try to disrupt their offense. We also need to control Reggie Gray because he's one of the most explosive guys in the League. To come out on top, we need to make sure we score when we have the opportunity."

The Soul offense is led by QB Dan Raudabaugh, who has been having the best year of his career this season. Heading into this week, he ranks No. 1 in the league in passing yards (3,800), No. 2 in passing efficiency (125.7) and completion percentage (68.9), No. 3 in total yards and No. 4 in total offense per game (270.8).

Philadelphia has scored 59.4 points per game while averaging 273.4 yards through the air (No. 5) and 33.9 yards on the ground (No. 3). Raudabaugh's top target has been Tiger Jones, who ranks No. 1 in the AFL in receiving yards (1,755), No. 4 in receptions (121) and is tied No. 8 in receiving touchdowns (30).

The Soul defense has been stout in the red zone (No. 2) and against the run (No. 3). DL Bryan Robinson is No. 2 in sacks (10.0) and tackles per loss (15.0), while DB Rayshaun Kizer ranks in the top ten in passes defended (No. 6) and interceptions (T-No. 8). 


Although they have a winning record, the Chicago offense has been in the middle of the pack so far this season: No. 6 in scoring, No. 8 in passing and No. 9 in rushing. Their biggest weapon is Reggie Gray, who is one of the most explosive playmakers in the league. Gray averages 14.6 yards per catch (No. 4), and is No. 2 in all-purpose yards per game (178.6), receiving yards (1,623) and receiving touchdowns (38). He has the second-most touchdowns among non-quarterbacks and ranks No. 4 in kickoff return average.

Chicago head coach and 2013 AFL Hall of Fame nominee Bob McMillen's team has three members of the defense that rank in the AFL's top 20 in tackles per game (Calvin, Hall and Pleasant). Jorrick Calvin and Vic Hall also rank in the league's top 10 in passes defended.

The key of this game will be the play of wide receivers Tiger Jones of Philadelphia and Reggie Gray of Chicago. With both teams ranking near the bottom in pass defense (Philadelphia at No. 10 and Chicago at No. 12), Jones and Gray will likely standout in this game. Whichever quarterback can get the ball to their best playmakers the most, will likely find themselves with a win.


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