As the Arena Football League celebrates the Fourth Of July, there are several teams who are in good position heading for the playoffs.
One of those teams is the Arizona Rattlers, who are streaking towards the finish line with a 10-3 record, atop the National Conference. Looking for redemption after their run of three straight titles ended last season, Arizona has already clinched a first round home playoff game and has its sights set on Arena Bowl XXIX.
At this point in the season, the Rattlers have many positives. They have one of the leagues best quarterbacks in Nick Davila. They have a dangerous receiving corp led by Rattlers’ all-time leading receiver Rod Windsor, and they have a defense that has been able to change games, including two weeks ago in their win over Philadelphia.
As many positives as there are, the Rattlers also have concerns.
For one, they are just 1-2 against the top two teams in the AFL- the Orlando Predators and Philadelphia Soul. They were blown out in their first meeting with the Predators and they ended strong but started slow against the Soul in Philadelphia, though they were able to gain revenge with an 80-63 win on June 24.
The other concern is can the Rattlers defense continue to shine without Kerry Reed. Reed has been the heart and soul of the Rattlers defense, but after being lost with an injury earlier this year, the Rattlers have had to have others step up on defense. To this point, it has worked, but can they keep it up through the playoffs?
The Rattlers start the second half of the season on July 9 against the Jacksonville Sharks.