The GFL North #1 Braunschweig New Yorker Lions (14-0) will play host to the GFL South #4 Stuttgart Scorpions (6-8) Saturday, September 21 as the German Football League quarterfinals get underway.
The Lions, winners of four of the last six German titles but none since 2016, look poised to make another run this year. Meanwhile, Stuttgart lost their five last games of the year and have not won a game since beating the Munich Cowboys on July 13.
The Scorpions are making their first appearance in the GFL playoffs since 2015 when they lost to the Dresden Monarchs in the quarterfinals.
Obviously, one of the keys today will be the play of the quarterbacks.
Lions quarterback Brandon Connette did not throw for as many yards, 2,221 compared to the 3,547 yards Stuttgart’s Michael Eubank threw but he was far more efficient. His QB rating was 185.2 compared to 141.2 for Eubank. Also, Connette’s average yards per completion was 16.9 versus 12.4 for Eubank. But the most glaring stat is interceptions. Connette threw a mere four picks all season while tossing 28 TD passes. That’s one interception in every 3.5 games. Eubank threw one in just about every game with almost the same number of touchdown passes, 30.
Another key difference is rushing yards.
Eubank is a pure passing quarterback while Connette can run with the ball as much as pass.
While Connette may not have thrown for nearly as many yards, he ran for almost five times more yardage while scoring 17 touchdowns on the ground compared to six for Eubank.
There is no question that Connette has better protection up front enabling him more time but his decision making ability also helped. Eubank had to rush many more throws as proven by the number of sacks. Connette was sacked only six times in 14 games while Eubank was brought down in the backfield 24 times.
With Eubank facing the best defense in the league in terms of yardage (224.1 allowed) and second best, barely, in terms of points (179), he knows his delivery will have to be even quicker and more accurate.
Lions running back Chris McClendon has 1,475 yards rushing and led the league spearheading the top rushing offense in Germany averaging 233.9 yards a game. In other words, Braunschweig has a ton of weapons including wide receivers Nicolai Schumann (476 yds) and Christian Bollmann with 518 yards receiving lead the team.
For Stuttgart, running back Giacomo De Pauli has rushed for 796 yards while explosive wide receive Tyler Cooperwood who finished the year with 979 yards, out of the lineup and back in the US due to an injury, Eubanks will rely on Luca Faschian (841 yds) and Pascal Flöser (547 yds).
Nevertheless, with the stingiest defense and a ball control offense wit explosive capabilities, expect Braunschweig to coast into the semifinals.