The league-leading and undefeated Portuscale Dragons (9-0) will play host to their chief rivals in Portugal’s North division, the 7-1 Porto Mutts Sunday, March 18 at Soares dos Reis Game Park in Porto, Portugal.
The two teams have been on a collision course all season. In their only other meeting this year, the Dragons eked out a 12-7 win.
The Mutts need to win this game by at least six points and then win their final game against the Braga Warriors. This is the final regular season game for Portuscale and a win would advance them automatically into the semifinals with a much needed bye week. If they lose by six points or more, and the Mutts win against Braga in their final game, the Dragons will be forced to play three games in four weeks, or four games in five weeks in they make it to the semifinals.
The Dragons offense is explosive led by quarterback Awal Umaru (#9). Running backs Carlos Matos #30 and Luis Pinto #45 have been steady all season. With a receiving corps of Miguel Vasconcelos #13, Bruno Pintão #11 and Diogo Helena #84, they can dominate.
On the other side of the ball the Dragons want to dominate the turnover battle giving the ball to their offense. Forcing fumbles will not be an easy task, although they rely on their linebacking crew of Nuno Silva #17, Hugo Lopes #1 and Bruno Pinheiro #49 and their run stuffers DLs Fábio Duarte#78 and Pedro Quaresma #37.
The Dragons defensive backs, Sandro Lopes #40, Arthur Brandalise #2 and Pedro Ferraz #20 should have an impact on the game. The Mutts rely more on their running game which means that on the 3rd downs there is a chance for turnovers, which is helped by the abilities of the Dragons pass-rushers, Pedro Soares #56 and Tiago Fontão #16.
Porto’s offense is suffering through some injuries but tight end #96 Gonçalo Van Zeller, and wide receiver #6 Ricardo Cunha are difference makers.
Stopping the Dragons potent offense will be a challenge and the Mutts defense will have to rely on their safeties, #33 Nelson Fernandes and #47 Paulo Vasconcelos, to keep everything in front of them. They will have the help of playmakers like #38 LB João Mota, #99 DE Nuno Simões and #6 DB Ricardo Cunha.
This is definitely the game of the week in Portugal.
Watch the game live here. Porto Mutts @Portuscale Dragons, Sunday, March 18 4:30p (11:30a EST, 5:30p CET)