Europe’s top team, Germany’s Braunschweig New Yorker Lions seem to have found the form that took them to the German Bowl in 2014. They are clicking in all phases of the game. This week they are hosting the Berlin Rebels battling to make the playoffs in the GFL North.
Although the 4-4 Rebels lost to the Lions in their home opener 31-9, they have established a potent offense with bruising running back Lawrence McCoy leading the league in rushing with 1,174 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. In fact the Rebels lead the league in team rushing averaging over 200 yards a game. They will be up against the second best defense against the rush though as the Lions give up only 75 yards a game. This will be an interesting matchup. Rebels quarterback Darius Outlaw led the Berlin Adler to the Eurobowl title in 2014 and is no stranger to playoff-like football.
Lions quarterback Casey Therriault is really hitting his stride since returning to Braunschweig in June. Last week he shredded the Kiel secondary completing 26 of 32 passes (81%!) for 344 yards and four touchdowns. Anthony Dable caught 11 of those passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns. With David McCants in the backfield, and a veteran offensive line the Lions are formidable on offense.
Defensively the Rebels are led by defensive end Rory Johnson and linebacker Baris Atakan. Johnson as among the league leaders in sacks while Atakan has 43 tackles and six sacks under his belt so far this year.
The Lions defense has been outstanding all year with linebacker Kerim Homri a key figure. He has recorded 50 tackles while defensive lineman Mamadou Sy has been a nightmare for quarterbacks recording seven sacks so far in 2015.
The Rebels are in a tough spot fighting for the last playoff spot. Two of their losses this year have been to division rivals the Hamburg Huskies, who are parked right above them in the standings. So they have to finish ahead of the Huskies as a tie won’t help. Braunschweig seems to have clear sailing having disposed of both Dresden and Kiel in formidable fashion. They will no doubt finish first in the North.
Will the Lions get complacent and drop one to a Rebels squad that needs a win badly? Or will they prove that they are as good as they were in 2014?