Baltimore only has those two wins so far, by a combined six points, with the two teams last meeting during Week 8 of the AFL campaign in the “Charm City” with the Brigade winning that shootout, 63-60.
Anna Tarullo and I get you set for a lot of what you need to know for Friday night’s game, right here on MonumentalSportsNetwork.com in this video presentation of “Brigade Gameday!”
In addition to everything we covered in “Brigade Gameday” – here are some other items you need to know to get you set for some Friday night fun!
**Cleveland’s offense is better than Baltimore’s so far (as expected) but stats don’t always tell the whole story. The Gladiators are out-passing the Brigade 288-259 in passing yards per game and 31-6 in rushing yards per game with an overall edge of 319 – 265 per game.
**The Brigade’s defense is allowing 271 passing yards per game, so clearly this should be an area where the Gladiators could have a lot of success.
**In Baltimore’s last game, a loss in Tampa, Shane Carden had five touchdown passes and no interceptions. Per Jackson Filyo of MSE Communications, Carden has thrown for at least five touchdown passes in every game since Week 2 (the win at Cleveland).
**One of Carden’s best targets is Julian Talley, who is one of three receivers in the AFL with four-straight weeks with at least two touchdown catches, joining Joe Hills of Tampa and Darius Reynolds of Philadelphia. The last time these two teams met saw Talley racking up five catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns.
**As we mentioned in “Brigade Gameday” the game could come down to special teams. Brandon Thompkins, a former member of the Gladiators, contributed seven receptions for 110 yards and a score along with 68 yards on three kick returns. Thompkins has 4,898 career return yards, and if he can add 102 to that mark this week , he'll be the 26th man in AFL history to rack up 5,000 career return yards.
On April 29, 20016, while a member of the Orlando Predators, Thompkins scored SEVEN touchdowns in one game at Cleveland to beat the Gladiators.
Another Thompkins, Kendall, had the go-ahead 54-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the last meeting between the two teams.
**For Cleveland, Quentin Sims leads the AFL in receiving yards with 962. Sims is averaging 120.2 receiving yards per game in 2017. In his last 16 games dating back to last year, Sims has 1,850 receiving yards, including 10 performances of at least 100 yards.
**A Reason to Watch (besides the above)? : We mentioned the two close victories for the Brigade in the first two meetings and wins, both by three points, which generally should indicate a close game tonight, a probability not lost on Brigade Head Coach Omarr Smith believes. "It’s going to come down to the last possession. When we play Cleveland, it comes down to the last possession.”
**Watch the game live on Monumental Sports Network!
Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for eight seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five years. He covers the Redskins, Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade for Monumental Sports Network (www.DCHotRead.com). Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN