Week 17 closes in Phoenix when the Arizona Rattlers host the fighting roadsters, the Cleveland Gladiators. The game can be seen Sunday on ESPN2 at 9 p.m ET. Both teams have bye week’s next week so this will end both teams regular seasons. Last time these two teams met, it was a first half battle that saw the Rattlers come back from being down seven after the first quarter to taking a one point lead into halftime.
In the second half, Arizona showed why they are one of the best teams in the league, attacking with more pressure on defense and keeping the pace on the offensive side of the ball. Nick Davila took over the game as usual matching a personal season high in touchdown passes with nine. That matched the same effort over the Jacksonville Sharks just two weeks ago in Week 15.
Also, in the win at Cleveland, Davila and Coach Kevin Guy stayed perfect, beating Cleveland’s Coach Steve Thonn who has never beaten the Rattlers as Cleveland’s Head Coach.
For Cleveland, they know they will be playing the Los Angeles KISS in the first round of the playoffs it’s just a matter of where. If the KISS win one of their last two games it’s over, Cleveland will be on the road.
Since the Glads played the KISS last week and the Rattlers this week, two teams both in the National Conference, the Glads just might try a few trick plays in an attempt to throw off their most likely opponents in the conference playoffs with such a short amount of time in between facing each other.
The Rattlers benefit from the Arena Football League owners choosing to return to conference playoff football. The Rattlers now know their first two rounds of the playoffs with be played at Talking Stick Resort Arena as long as Arizona were to win their first round match up vs the Portland Steel on Aug. 6. As for who is most likely to host ArenaBowl XXIX? The answer will come down to next week (we think) when the Orlando Predators host the Philadelphia Soul.
Along with the Rattlers, All three teams have 12-3 records and the two from the American Conference have this week off. The Rattlers have the tie breaker over the Predators, so a Soul win in Week 18 and a Rattlers win over Cleveland tomorrow, would give the Rattlers the right to host ArenaBowl XXIX for sure should they win the National Conference.
Did you want a twist? Okay!
The WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury have a game scheduled for the night of Arena Bowl XXIX (August 26). ESPN is locked into the date and it cannot be changed. An agreement with Glendale’s Gila River Arena has been made in the event the Rattlers win their conference and have the #1 seed or highest remaining. This would mark the first home in Arizona Rattlers franchise history that there was a home game played outside of their Phoenix home. The Rattlers started play in the AFL in 1992.