Updated: April 13, 2007 12:09:03 PM PDT

Tony Graziani has to overcome the Dallas crowd.

Editor's note: This week's game of the week is the Monday matchup (ESPN2, ESPN360, 8 p.m. ET) between the Philadelphia Soul and the Dallas Desperadoes. Merril Hoge takes a look at this powerhouse matchup.

The key to this game may be the home crowd. Dallas has a great stadium and exuberant fans who can will this team to a win. That might not sound like a big deal, but it is when you're playing in a game as big as this one. These are easily the two best teams in the AFL and the Soul would love to pin a loss on Dallas to pull them to even with one loss apiece.

Fans should watch the Dallas defense because it doesn't get the publicity it deserves for being one of the best defenses in the league. It's easy to overlook the defense because of the magnificence of the offense, but this defense is stunning. They will have their hands full with Tony Graziani and this Soul offense, but the Desperadoes will pull through.

Dallas = Undefeated?
Can Dallas go undefeated?

The Desperadoes have a legitimate shot to go undefeated this season. They have an excellent defense that is augmented by one of the best offenses in the league. They are a team that knows how to handle success and realize the importance of every game. Also, when this team gets going and locked in it really looks like they are in the backyard just throwing the football around having a good time. This team isn't afraid to just get out there and have fun and that could be the key to a potentially great and legendary season.

The only team that is stopping them is the Philadelphia Soul who they have to play twice. The Soul only have one loss and were thought by many to be a better team than Dallas before losing for the first time last week. Much like Dallas they have a quick strike offense and a defense that has the ability to make stops.

If Dallas is able to get past Philadelphia this week then they may be able to cruise undefeated into their next meeting in Week 14 in Philadelphia

-- Merril Hoge


From Gary Horton's chat to previewing all the big games, we have Week 7 in the AFL covered.
Mark Schlereth's Top 5 games of Week 7
Philadelphia at Dallas
Monday, ESPN2, 8 p.m. ET,
Los Angeles simply must put last week's loss behind it and focus on Arizona. Arizona proved it can put points on the board, so this won't be a walk in the park for LA.

Los Angeles at Utah
Friday, 9 p.m. ET
Two fantastic passing teams go at it in this tilt in Utah. The Blaze have to find a way to stop the Avengers three good wide receivers or this game will be over quickly. Meanwhile, the Avengers have to find a way to limit Joe Germaine's downfield passing opportunities.

San Jose at New Orleans
Friday, 8 p.m. ET
New Orleans jumped out to an impressive start this season, but they've wilted as of late against teams they probably should've beaten. Starting quarterback Andy Kelly had to leave last week's game due to a concussion and he might not play, but this will be a good game.

Colorado at New York
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
An upset could be brewing here as New York might be starting to pull it together. There have been some signs that they get it recently and they could give Colorado a run.

Nashville at Arizona
Saturday, 10 p.m. ET
Throw the records out with this game because I don't believe either one is completely out of the playoff race. Arizona has the ability to put up big numbers offensively, while Nashville has one of the stronger running teams in the league.

Gary Horton's April 10 chat wrap
Tim: What went wrong for the Soul in their first loss to the Force this week?
Gary Horton: I really thought their secondary did not play very well. This is a group that I really liked. Obviously, the Georgia offensive line did a good job in pass protection and I've learned that in this league, your success in the secondary is directly related to the pass rush you get up front. Georgia QB Greisen had a lot of time to throw and he really exposed the Soul DBs in man-to-man coverage. Philadelphia tried to get physical with a lot of jam techniques, but once the Georgia receivers got by them, it was a mismatch. On the other end, the Soul offensive line which has been great only allowing one sack, had a rough night and QB Tony Graziani got hit more in one game than he had the entire year. That didn't help.

Dawg1Man (Ohio): San Jose vs Dallas in the ArenaBowl. you agree?
Gary Horton: Well, I love Dallas and I think they're the best team in the league right now. I think San Jose has a good chance because of their experience and they have been able to endure a very tough early season road schedule. I really liked Orlando at the beginning of the season, but something's missing there. I think the championship race will come down to Dallas, Philadelphia, San Jose, Georgia and maybe Utah and Los Angeles. And also, a team that's under the radar right now, is Chicago and remember a year ago, the Rush were mediocre during the regular season before turning it on in the postseason. You can not count them out.

Mike (Las Vegas): Why did the Gladiators release Shaun King?
Gary Horton: I have heard that King had become a distraction, openly questioning the coaching staff. But again, that's just the rumor. I know when you're losing like they are and especially when you're losing badly, the worst thing that can happen is for players to lose trust in their coaching staff. Right now, this team is a mess with not good enough players and now total instability at the position. The biggest job these coaches have is to keep the players from bailing on them. When you play in a city where winning is everything, it's difficult for fans to get excited about a product that's not very good.

Primo (LA): Gary what do you make of the LA Avengers? Does their upcoming schedule allow them to go on a little bit of a run here?
Gary Horton: Like San Jose, LA had a brutal early season road schedule. But they survived it. I really like their personnel and the way they're playing. I really like their up and coming QB Sonny Cumbie. I also think they have an underrated defense and they can create turnovers and make big plays on both sides of the ball. But just as I start to really like them and their chances to go on a run, we're staring at a tough road game at Utah. They will need a great defensive game to decide this one.

For Gary Horton's full chat transcript, click here.

Out of Bounds: Arena Football


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