The Pittsburgh Power (0-3) offense has been cursed all season and now they have to go to the Graveyard to face the New Orleans VooDoo (1-2). This could be the last stand for starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson who has struggled mightily in his short AFL career.
Considered a frontrunner for Rookie of the year, Jefferson has instead jumped to the top of "Bust Of The Year" in the AFL with an abysmal 49 of 92 (53.3%) completion record and only 508 yards passing in three games. He also has an 8/5 Touchdown/interception ratio and a QB rating of 68.5.
His one saving grace has been the 96 yards rushing but that alone has not made up for all the turnovers he's had. He's also fumbled the ball often including an untouched loss of the ball last week against Chicago. Coach Stingley said on the Power Hour radio show on TribLive Radio that both Jefferson and Shane Austin are getting equal reps with the first team offense this week.
Overall the Power offense has averaged 27.4 PPG which is horrendous by AFL standards and needless to say they have not been competitive in any of their games so far. The saving grace for this team is that the American Conference will send four teams to the playoffs and most of the Power's competition is also struggling. Any kind of spark could get this team moving in the right direction and the playoffs remain a possibility.
The struggles of the passing game have kept the stats of Mike "The Joystick" Washington (27 rec, 270 yards, 3 TD) and P.J. Berry (16 rec, 160 yards, 2 TD) down, but both remain solid receiving targets when the ball is thrown their way. The Power had signed Wes Lyons to play wide receiver but he suffered a season ending injury in his first practice and was placed on IR.
New Orleans has also struggled offensively with only 38.3 PPG. It's better than Pittsburgh but that's not saying much. VooDoo quarterback Kurt Rocco has been a shell of himself this year, completing 54 of 114 passes (47.4%) for 651 yards, 10 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Rocco has proven in the past to be a strongly effective quarterback so the VooDoo hope he can bounce back into shape. Zack Eskridge replaced Rocco in the lineup last week and might get the start this week.
Whoever starts at quarterback will likely target AFL veteran receiver Donovan Morgan. Morgan missed the first game of the season but has caught two touchdown passes in both games he has played this year. He is a consistent all-arena playmaker who has plagued the Power the past two years while he played for the Philadelphia Soul. Courtney Smith currently leads the VooDoo with 19 catches for 276 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Defensively the Power need to make more splash plays, especially given the sorry state of the offense. If the offense isn't going to score on a regular basis, someone has to pick up the slack. Sergio Gilliam, Chris LeFlore and Christian Wise have blanketed receivers well all season but only have one interception to show for it. "Big Play" Alvin Ray Jackson is also looking for his first interception of the year after leading the entire AFL with 14 last year while playing for the VooDoo.
The VooDoo secondary is led by AFL veteran Eddie Moten who has two interceptions in 2013. Demarcus Robinson leads the team in tackles (20.5) and has the ability to make game changing plays. The VooDoo only have three sacks through three games, so the Power offensive line should have an easier time of things after giving up 11 sacks through their first two games.
Overall this is a battle of the two worst offenses in the league and the time is now for the Power to step up and try to get a win. I'm on record as saying the Jefferson experiment should have ended this week, but given the short week the Power might have been hampered in terms of preparation time for Shane Austin. Regardless, if Jefferson struggles again it's time to pull the plug.
Don't expect a ton of offensive fireworks by either team, and both defenses should generate a couple of turnovers. Homefield advantage will definitely play a big part in this one.