WEEK 5 GAME PREVIEW - BLACKJACKS VS EMPIRE
Wed, May 22, 2019
The Atlantic City Blackjacks will have quite the test in Week 5. The league leading Albany Empire come to town as the only undefeated team remaining this season. Led by veteran quarterback Tommy Grady and superstar wide receiver Malachi Jones, the Empire are a complete team all around. Playing against an undefeated team, the Blackjacks look to play their most complete game yet and hope to hand the Empire their first loss of the season. Fans can watch live on NBCSP+ and ESPN 3 or listen to the call on 97.3 ESPN on Saturday, May 25 at 7:00 p.m.
“There is a reason why Albany is undefeated at this juncture in the season,” said Ron James, Head Coach of the Atlantic City Blackjacks. “They are an exceptionally talented football team and are excellent in every facet of the game. We look forward to facing the league’s best team this weekend.”
The biggest and most obvious matchup to watch is Tommy Grady against the Blackjacks defense. Grady leads the league is passing touchdowns with 23 and in quarterback rating with 127.6. His 5.8 touchdowns per game is the best in the league along with his completion percentage of 70.2%. It’s going to take a collective effort with everyone playing their best to slow Grady down.
The defense had a great game in Week 4 with Kiante Northington getting two interceptions, Nick Haag forcing a fumble and Marvin Ross getting seven tackles. They will need to replicate this performance and improve on it to stop the Empire offense. The other big threat is Grady’s main target. Malachi Jones leads the league in receptions with 33, receiving yards with 529 and is tied for first with eight receiving touchdowns. He was the Rookie of the Year and Wide Receiver of the Year last season and is showing no signs of a sophomore slump. Besides Jones, the other weapon Grady will utilize is Quentin Sims. Sims has seven touchdowns with 158 receiving yards so the Blackjacks will have to cover multiple threats on the field on Saturday night.
The next task will be to stop the Empire defensive line and backs led by Joe Sykes, Jeramie Richardson, and Tevin Homer. Sykes took home the Defensive Player of the Year award last year and continues to be a force. Sykes has 1.5 sacks this year which is good for second in the league. Richardson has two forced fumbles which is tied for first in the league. Homer sits in second behind league leader Arthur Hobbs in tackles with 26 and has one interception on the year. With Cornelius Lewis missing last weeks game due to injury, Hippeard was sacked twice in Week 4, something the Blackjacks will need to fix leading up to Albany. Hippeard also threw two more interceptions in Week 4 and will need to be on target as to not give Albany extra possessions.
The final matchup to watch for will be how the Blackjacks’ receivers can get open and give Hippeard good looks. LaMark Brown continues to produce through the first four weeks and Kendrick Ings has produced more and more every week. Brown pitched in with two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown in Week 4. Ings had two receiving touchdowns, 91 receiving yards and 77 kick return yards in Week 4. Antwane Grant had another six receptions for 54 yards. If Ings can give Hippeard and the offense good field position with his returns and Brown continues to score touchdowns, this game has the potential to end in a very high score.
Fans can secure their season tickets for the Atlantic City Blackjacks now with a $50 deposit per seat ($75 for VIP seats) by calling 609-783-9494 or by going to ACBlackjacks.com. A team representative will contact those that have submitted a deposit within a week to select your specific seats, which will be done in order in which deposits were received.
Atlantic City Blackjacks 2019 Season Presented by Tropicana Atlantic City.
About Atlantic City Blackjacks
The Arena Football League’s newest franchise, the Atlantic City Blackjacks will begin play in Spring 2019 at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. Season memberships for the inaugural 2019 season are on sale now. For tickets, contact the Atlantic City Blackjacks sales department at (609) 783-9494 or by going to ACBlackjacks.com. Follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @AFLBlackjacks
About the Arena Football League
The Arena Football League enters its 32nd season in 2019. Since its inception in 1987, the AFL showcases a fast-paced, exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets. With the addition of two new teams in Atlantic City, N.J., and Columbus, O.H., the League totals six teams for 2019: Albany, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Columbus, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. Each team will play 12 regular-season games in 2019. One can find the League on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using the handle @OfficialAFL.
Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall and the Atlantic City Convention Center are owned and funded by the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA). Spectra provides both Venue Management and Food Services & Hospitality to Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall and the Atlantic City Convention Center. Spectra is an industry leader in hosting and entertainment, partnering with clients to create memorable experiences for millions of visitors every year. Spectra’s unmatched blend of integrated services delivers incremental value for clients through several primary areas of expertise: Venue Management, Food Services & Hospitality, and Partnerships. Learn more at SpectraExperiences.com.
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Eldorado Resorts is a leading casino entertainment company that owns and operates twenty-eight properties in thirteen states, including Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In aggregate, Eldorado’s properties feature approximately 27,500 slot machines and VLTs and 800 table games, and over 12,500 hotel rooms.
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