LIVESTREAM Sweden: Örebro Black Knights @ Uppsala 86ers, Sept. 26, 15:00 CET (09:00 ET)

The Örebro Black Knights might be riding high this week following an historic victory over the Carlstad Crusaders, but the team knows that momentum going into the Swedish playoffs will quickly disappear if they stumble against the winless Uppsala 86ers on Saturday.

“After a big win last week, it’s important that we keep focus and not fall into the trap game – because Uppsala is more than good enough to beat us if we don’t play our best football,” Italian American running back Mike Gentili said of the Superserien season finale.

Despite the persistent donut in their win column, the 86ers look like a vastly different team from where they started this season. Their all-Swedish roster has developed nicely over the course of the year and has proved competitive against several consecutive opponent, falling just short of a much needed breakthrough. With standings across the league already decided, there is no better time than now. Add to this the fact that Uppsala has added linebacker William James who was the second leading tackler in Finland’s Maple League while playing for Maple Bowl finalists, the Helsinki Wolverines, and Mr. All Everything for Uppsala, Joshua Akena, has reason to feel better going into this game

“Facing an Örebro Black Knights team with the momentum from a big win against the Crusaders will be just what we need in order to see where we are strength-wise as we approach the playoffs,” says do-it-all veteran Joshua Akena.

Örebro Black Knights @ Uppsala 86ers, Sept. 26, 15:00 CET (09:00 ET)

Should the 86ers pull the upset, Akena will no doubt play a massive role at both running back and linebacker. So too will his backfield counterpart Oscar Nevermann, with whom he splits carries. Most promising however is the progress of young starting quarterback Viktor Ekberg, who threw for 182 yards and a touchdown last week. Ekberg’s success led to a breakout for receiver Mattias Gauthier and if the two find a rhythm again, it could lead to big results.

Succeeding offensively against the Black Knights may prove easier said than done however. Örebro smothered the Crusaders for much of the game last week and overcoming their veteran secondary will be a real challenge for Ekberg. Jonathan Armendatiz and Eric Murphy are big play performers on the back end, while Josh Murphy has been all over the field at linebacker. Unfortunately for Uppsala, behemoth Sebastian Nilsson, defensive back Lukas Nystrom and linebacker Filip Jonsson will all be back in the lineup this week, further re-enforcing a strong defense.

On offence, the Black Knights will still be without the services of excellent homegrown running back Kasper Wedberg, but that is unlikely to slow down Orebro’s attack. The Italian stallion Mike Gentili arrived in the backfield versus the Crusaders, proving to be a threat both rushing and receiving in his Swedish debut. Quarterback Jake Sisson has also hit his stride, notching his best performance in Sweden by far last week and essentially doubling his totals in all statistical categories. Jesper Lindeus is still the top target in the attack, but Filip Wetterberg broke out against Carlstad and should be a major factor going forward.

Despite their burgeoning offence, newcomer Gentili knows that his team can’t afford to take this game for granted.

“Winning football games on any day at any level is tough – Saturday is no exception,” he emphasized. “Uppsala has been playing better and better down the stretch, and even though they haven’t been able to put together any wins this year – it’s clear on film they are a solid football team with talented guys on both sides of the ball.”

While this game won’t affect the standings, but its result could have serious ramifications on both teams’ confidence come playoff time. Örebro hopes continued momentum will cement their status as a dark horse title contender, while Uppsala are seeking validation for a difficult season.

Watch the game live here. Örebro Black Knights @ Uppsala 86ers, Sept. 26, 15:00 CET (09:00 ET)

Uppsala 86ers Roster (Click image to enlarge)

Örebro Black Knights Roster (Click image to enlarge)

JC Abbott
J.C. Abbott is a student at the University of British Columbia and amateur football coach in Vancouver, Canada. A CFL writer for 3DownNation, his love of travel has been the root of his fascination with the global game.
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