Only one game remains in the 15th season of the Elite Football League. Yup, you read that right -- after 58 games [56 regular season, 2 conference championship games], we're at Game #59. The one that everybody aims for, but only a few are able to play in once [if you're a multi-championship game apparent, you're f**king lucky then].
Memphis [12-2] by the Numbers
@Jetsqb101 has done hell of a job putting this offense together. As a promoter of the current offensive trend in the EFL where teams are eschewing the running game in favor of an all-out aerial attack utilizing their running backs as extra receivers - the Memphis Mambas stand as the face of the passing game in the EFL today. With picture-perfect quarterback Martin Isaac leading the offense by distributing the ball with remarkable efficiency, their top three receivers [DeAnderson Sabathia Jr, Sunshine Titan, Mr. Cornholio] all topped 1K receiving yards and double-digit touchdown seasons. Running back Cameron Millwall, Tragedy Helmsley and fullback Waffler Goodpancake all had at least 36 receptions and 350 yards apiece. That's scary. Who do you pay attention to on a given play? The Reign defense are going to be on their heels all game long.
The Mambas' defense has been a revelation in their own right too. Cornerback Isaac Martin led the defense with 85 tackles, 5 interceptions and 19 pass deflections [!!!], but he wasn't the only one doing the heavy lifting for Memphis. Their linebacking core of Jaime Orion, Jackson Gser, Clint Bobsky have been playing out of their minds, and safety Lamarcus Oshiomogho has been a factor in both the running and the passing game. All of these guys have been key contributors to the Mambas' #1 scoring defense and the #3 total defense. It's kinda easy to focus when your team's offense is racking up points, so all you need to do is protect the lead... but this defense is your no ordinary "Bend but don't break" umbrella... they don't even bend that much either.
Los Angeles [7-7] by the Numbers
Under the tutelage of the now-departing @Alecbama -- the Reign turned some heads around at the beginning of the season when they decided to let go of some notable names such as Big Huge McLarge, John Smith and Wizard Blanko. Their replacements seems to have filled the departed shoes quite fairly well as Los Angeles now finds themselves in the championship picture yet once again. The offense is spearheaded by second-year quarterback Max Byrd, who aired it this year without any restraint and to success more often than not. He was aided by a dynamic trio of receivers in Preston Kelley, Duke Starscream and Travis James, who all accumulated at least 1,300 receiving yards apiece. Running back Charlie Hudson continued his renaissance as a receiving back with 816 yards on a team-high 91 receptions. Los Angeles turned back the clock on Seattle in the Western Conference Championship game by pounding the ball relentlessly -- so there's more dimensions to this offense than meets the eye.
The Reign defense was the perfect definition of 'Bend but don't Break' as this unit gave up the most yards [actually more than the offense gained] -- but when it came to winning games, they did what they had to do in order to advance. A'Brick Wall led the defense with a league-high 108 tackles and 7 sacks. The safety duo of Reuben Foster and C. Umonkalo combined for at least 100 tackles apiece, showing their sideline to sideline speed. Don't forget about the other safety in Ben Faeger or linebacker Punk Unkhippie who may have peaked early, but are still solid defenders.
Head to Head
Week 3 (@ Memphis) - Memphis 42, Los Angeles 13
At Memphis early on in the season, it was a very fairly close first quarter with both teams earning a touchdown apiece. The Mambas' passing game started to shine in the second quarter with two passing touchdowns, staking themselves a 21-10 halftime lead. The second half was all Memphis as the dynamic backfield duo of Helmsley and Millwall combined for 3 touchdowns. Even though Los Angeles outgunned Memphis by nearly 100 yards, Memphis made the most of their chances [as well as capitalizing on four Reign interceptions].
Week 8 (@ Los Angeles) - Los Angeles 34, Memphis 24
Coming into the game red-hot at 6-1, Memphis was stopped short in their tracks by an up-and-down 4-3 Los Angeles team. Los Angeles aired the hell out of the ball, passing the ball 53 times out of 55 total offensive plays while outgunning Memphis by 85 yards for the second consecutive time. This victory was aided buy a 21-0 first-quarter run with two passing touchdowns from Byrd to Kelley, sandwiched around a Faeger pick-6. Memphis ate into the deficit and was trailing by a touchdown by the end of three quarters -- but their offense cooled off as Reign put the stops in the fourth quarter to win 34-24.
S15 EFL Championship Game Prediction
Memphis 34, Los Angeles 27
I predict this game's final score being closer than people think. Los Angeles outgunned Memphis in both games, but lost the first game because of their own interceptions. I think Los Angeles is going to jump out to an early lead, only to see Memphis knot the game up by halftime. Memphis will jump out to a two-touchdown lead early in the second half off a pair of Reign miscues, then hang on to dear life in the fourth quarter as the Reign mount a comeback to come up a possession shy.