PREVIEW & LIVE STREAM: #11 Carlstad Crusaders v. Kristianstad Predators

Super Series Semi-Final outcome unpredictable

The first Swedish semi-final will see the defending champion Carlstad Crusaders take on the Kristianstad Predators at home in Karlstad. Check out the LIVE STREAM at the bottom of the article. Kickoff is 5 p.m. local Swedish time, 11 a.m. EST.

The last time these two team played each other, Carlstad came away with the win after taking a lightning fast 21-0 lead in the first quarter and then basically cruising to a 56-35 victory. That game did prove costly for the Crusaders though as defensive back Robin Bahiraei and wide receiver Fredrik Isaksson both left the game with injuries and missed a few games. But they are both back in the lineup and played in last week’s final regular season game against the Orebro Black Knights.

This game pits Sweden’s two top offenses against each other, each with a Swedish national team quarterback at the helm. Normally, they switch each other off on Team Sweden. But Saturday they will be facing one another to battle for a berth in the Swedish championship final.

Can the Crusaders overcome injuries?

A couple of Carlstad players suffered minor injuries in the final game against Orebro so they have rested from practice this week. Running backs Christian Forsman and Brett Koepp and linebacker Daniel Juhlin watched practice together from the sideline earlier this week. But according to the Crusaders there is nothing seriously wrong with them and they are expected to play Saturday. If both Koepp and Forsman sit out though, their replacement, Christian Monclair, can fill in admirably. He had over 100 yards rushing against Orebro last week.

Linebacker Bekim Bujari, new to the linebacking corp, introduced himself with a vengeance last week against Orebro recording 12 tackles in leading the Crusader defense. Carlstad is not expected to make any major adjustments on either side of the ball for this game.

We will see the same Carlstad team we have seen all season.Their offense has steamrollered virtually every opponent, scoring 81 touchdowns and rolling up 5,200 yards in total offense. The Crusader defense also leads the league allowing a mere 14 points per game over the 10 game schedule.

Kristianstad aim to make noise in playoffs

Kristianstad enters the game with the second best offense in Sweden, after Carlstad, averaging 420 yards per game. They have suffered from turnovers through the year though, having trouble hanging on to the ball while also giving up interceptions. The Predator’s turnover ratio reveals how many times they have fumbled away the ball and been picked off. They have a turnover ratio of -14 placing them last in the country while Juhlin has thrown 14 interceptions.

However, they have accumulated 4,200 yards in offense and have Sweden’s best receiver in Marcus Johnsson who had 68 receptions for 1,111 yards and 11 touchdowns in 10 games in 2014. Sorin Pandrea was another favorite target of Juhlin’s with 60 catches for 511 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson finished second and Pandrea third in Sweden in receiving in 2014.

The Predators have a solid defense but have to take a step up in order to beat Carlstad. The key is getting pressure on Carlstad’s quarterback Anders Hermodsson who is big, strong and mobile. A tough combination and a daunting task for the Predator defense. If they can get some pressure up front with defensive end Michael Dawodu leading the way, they can pressure Carlstad into committing turnovers. This will be decisive.

The game will be streamed live this Saturday August 30. Kickoff is 5 PM local Swedish time (11 AM EST).



Source text: Swedish American Football Federation and the Swedish Football Network.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.