With two games left in the season and playoff hopes still alive for the Predators, the team will travel to Albany to take on the Empire in a do-or-die game.
The Predators (3-7) will end their season on a two-game road trip with the Empire (6-4) first up on the list Saturday.
Orlando was on a bye week after a four-game losing skid, giving the team time to get focused and remain in the playoff race.
“What’s behind us is behind us,” receiver and defensive back Larry Beavers said. “As a team we are staying focused. We are ready to go.”
The offensive unit has had a turbulent year with highs and lows throughout the season. But an area which stands out the most is the receiving unit, which is led by receiver Clarence Williams who has 10 catches for 509 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“All of our receivers are elite,” receiver and defensive back Brian Foy Jr. said. “In practice (the defensive backs) lock them up I’m not going to lie. But that’s what makes them so good because I believe they are going against the best defensive backs in the league every week in practice.”
The defensive back unit has been a standout since the beginning of the season, led by defensive back Joshua Jenkins who leads the team in tackles with 54 and now interceptions with five.
The Empire have had a strong season led by receiver Darius Prince, who leads every receiving statistical category in the NAL with 86 catches, 1054 yards and 33 touchdowns. If the Predators find a way to stop the reigning league champions' deadly receiver, the Predators could be set for a good day.
“They’re very skilled, athletic and well-coached,” head coach Jeff Higgins said. “They play the arena football game like veterans regardless of any rookies on their team.”
In order to have a chance at the playoffs, the Predators are in a must-win scenario in the last two weeks of the season. The Predators need the Columbus Lions (5-5) to lose this week against the Carolina Cobras (8-4) and in the following week, if the Lions lose their next game and the Predators beat the Empire, next week's game will be a matchup for the fourth and final playoff spot between the Lions and Predators.
“The guys are all focused and locked in,” Foy Jr. said. “They know what’s at stake and they know we have to win these last two games. We have to come out and give it our all, because I know I am.”
The game is set to kick off AT 7 p.m. at MVP Arena in Albany, N.Y. The game will be streamed via the NAL YOuTube Channel.