ELF: Barcelona Dragons and Tirol Raiders clash in battle of unbeatens

The Barcelona Dragons are set to travel to Innsbruck, Austria for a matchup with the Tirol Raiders on Saturday in a battle of undefeated teams as the European League of Football heads into its third weekend of action.

After a pair of victories on the road, the Raiders are eager to play a game in Innsbruck for the first time all season and put on a show for their fans. The Raiders beat the Munich Ravens 59-38 to open the season and followed that up with a 22-7 win over the Helvetic Guards in more of a defensive battle. Now, though, they face perhaps the toughest test of their season to this point, as the 2-0 Dragons roll into town.

Following an offseason that led some to wonder if they could return to last season’s playoff-caliber form, the Dragons have silenced their doubters with wins over the Guards and the Milano Seamen. Though each of those teams are new to the ELF this season, they are certainly not to be taken lightly, and Barcelona took care of business in each of those contests. Just like their opponents this week, The Dragons face their biggest challenge of 2023 on Saturday.

The top storyline of this game should be a meeting of the top two passing attacks in the league to this point. Barcelona’s Conor Miller leads the league in passing yards (with 755) and touchdowns (with 8), while Christian Strong of the Raiders is right on his tail, ranking second in the league in both of those categories. Furthermore, receivers Theo Landström of Barcelona and Jarvis McClam of Tirol rank 1st and 2nd in receiving yards, with 290 and 262, respectively. Landström is tied for the league lfourad with five receiving touchdowns, while McClam has four total touchdowns, including a passing touchdown and a kickoff return for a score. Both teams have other outstanding receiving threats as well, as Josh Johnston of the Dragons and Philipp Haun of the Raiders rank 5th and 7th in receiving yards, respectively.

For Barcelona, the key to victory will be continuing to avoid negative plays, as Miller has not taken a sack nor thrown an interception so far this season. On the other side, the Raiders must do what they can to disrupt Barcelona’s offense. Fortunately for them, they have one of the top pass rushes in the league, as defensive lineman Niklas Gustav currently leads all players in sacks with 5.5.

With the top two offenses in the league facing off, we could be in for an exciting, back-and-forth, game. Which team will move to 3-0 and take control of the Central Conference?

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.