LIVESTREAM Germany: Braunschweig New Yorker Lions @ Cologne Crocodiles, July 31, 15:00 CET (3:00 pm, 9:00 am ET)

The Cologne Crocodiles (3-2) will host the New Yorker Lions (2-3) in this key GFL North matchup.

Both teams are two skilled squads looking to get hot in the second half of the season as the playoff picture begins to form. Cologne is especially confident heading into the final stretch of the season after a blowout win, while the Lions have added a long list of new players in a strong effort to stop their previously unheard-of three-game losing skid.

The Crocodiles head into the game lead by the league’s top passer Christian Strong at the helm. Strong currently sits atop the German Football League with 1,758 yards passing and 18 touchdowns, often finding receivers Aaron Jackson and Markell Castle. Castle has made the most of the Crocodiles play calling, leading the league in both receiving yards with 680 and receiving touchdowns with nine. Expect this pass-happy offense to be slinging the rock more than 40 times again as Strong looks to continue his success in Cologne’s air raid attack. The Cologne offensive line will have to protect the Canadian passer against talented Lions pass rusher Samuel Kargel in order to keep the offense in rhythm.

Braunschweig New Yorker Lions @ Cologne Crocodiles, July 31, 15:00 CET (3:00 pm, 9:00 am ET)

Defensively, Cologne’s front seven must play well today against a Lions offense looking to run the ball often. Martin Pinter has been a standout defender for this unit putting up an impressive 13 tackles for a loss and five sacks. Linebacker Dylann Bakker has also been a versatile defender making 29 tackles and an interception. Fans can anticipate these two defenders to be busy once more today against a Lions offense that relies heavily on the run and short passes.

Lions running back Exavier Edwards has led the charge for this Lions offense. The Midland University (NAIA) defensive back has transitioned well to the offensive backfield showing off his speed, athleticism, and tenacity while running the ball. Edwards is averaging nearly 98 yards a game on the ground to go along with five touchdowns. Quarterback Jake Kennedy is hungry to play well today as Kennedy and the rest of the Lion’s offense need to get back on track and avoid turnovers to get the win today. Expect Kennedy to target receivers Paul Boggdann, Mika Wickinger, and Justus Holtz to get this New Yorker passing game flowing. Lions management stayed busy during the break adding some new weapons to this offense. Italian and former CFL global receiver Jordan Bouah joins the New Yorker franchise along with Polish offensive lineman Mateusz Samczuk.

The defense should get a boost as the 2019 champions have recently signed a large group of versatile athletes during the summer break. First off safety Darrian Winston comes to Braunschweig after an outstanding season in Poland where he quickly made a name for himself as a big-hitting safety. Winston is joined by former all-conference defensive back Eric Jackson (Mercer University NCAA D1 FCS), along with versatile athlete CJ Okpalobi. Okpalobi has played both running back and defensive back for the Tampere Saints (Finland) and the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns in his international career. Fans should expect to see him all over the field once again today. Expect all three of these athletes to play immediately and bolster a Lions secondary that has struggled against the GFL’s top wideouts. The addition of Winston, Okpalobi, and Jackson comes just in time as the New Yorker secondary will be tested often today facing the league’s top passing attack. At the line of scrimmage, defensive end Samuel Kargel will get some help opposite of him as Polish pass rusher Eryk Paszkiewicz joins the Lions defensive line after a successful season with the Bialystok Lowlanders. New French Linebacker Paul Veritas joins veteran David Muller as the New Yorker Lions linebacking core expects more production in the second half of the season.

This could be a playoff preview as these two proud franchises aim to make a run at the postseason. For the Lions, they desperately need this win if they want to avoid having to face a loaded Unicorns team in the first round of the post-season, or worse missing the playoffs entirely. Today should give fans a glimpse at how their new players can mix with their core of domestic talent.  Cologne, on the other hand, has been up and down so far this season. Now entering the second half of the season they intent to steady the ship and set sail for a post-season run of their own.

Watch the game live here. Braunschweig New Yorker Lions @ Cologne Crocodiles, July 31, 15:00 CET (3:00 pm, 9:00 am ET)

Cologne Crocodiles roster (Click to enlarge)

Braunschweig New Yorker Lions roster 

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football