The marquee game of Week 6 of the NFL Europe season will decide the league's top dog.
In a scheduling quirk that occurs every season in NFL Europe, the Amsterdam Admirals (4-1-0) and Rhein Fire (4-1-0) will play the second game of a home-and-home series on Saturday at LTU Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany. Last week, Amsterdam came away with a 35-31 home victory to end Rhein's winless season. Packers-allocated players Chad Lucas and Tory Humphrey each caught touchdown passes for the Admirals.
The victor of this weekend's game will earn sole possession of first place in the league. The Admirals have won seven of the last nine contests between the two teams. Amsterdam still boasts the No. 1 offense in the league, amassing 361.8 yards per game and 160 points. Five of the top six wide receiver performances have been produced by Admirals receivers. The Fire have the NFLEL's top defense, allowing 247.2 yards per game and are have a league-best 12 turnover ratio (18 takeaways, six giveaways). Rhein's offense offers a mixed bag, leading NFL Europe in average time of possession (34:01), but is last in the league in yards per rush (3.4) and have given up a league-high eight sacks.
Also Saturday, the Berlin Thunder (2-2-1) play at the Frankfurt Galaxy (3-2-0), with Berlin besting Frankfurt the last six times the teams have played. Frankfurt ranks first in red zone offense and defense, scoring on 84.6 percent of their attempts and holding opponents to a 66.7 percent success rate. The Galaxy also top NFL Europe with a 151.6 yards per game rushing and are second overall, offensively. The Thunder have gained 63.7 of their offensive yards on passing plays and are second in NFLEL in passing offense with a 198.0 yard per game average. Frankfurt may fare well against Berlin's passers, as they lead the league with eight quarterback sacks.
On Sunday, the Hamburg Sea Devils and Cologne Centurions face off, with both teams hoping to get out of the NFL Europe cellar. Hamburg has yet to earn a victory (0-4-1) and Cologne (1-4-0) has not won since their season opener. Cologne has proved to be effective running the ball, averaging a league-high 4.9 yards per carry. Hamburg, on the other hand, is struggling to find a way to move the ball at all. Their quarterbacks have completed a NFL Europe-low 44.6 percent of their passes and the overall offense ranks last with an average gain of 4.1 yards per offensive play this season. The Sea Devils have led in the fourth quarter three of five contests, resulting in two losses and one tie.
Week 6 Schedule (all games on NFL Network)
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Berlin at Frankfurt, 12:00 PM (CT), Live
Amsterdam at Rhein, 7:00 PM (CT), Tape Delay
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Hamburg at Cologne, 9:00 AM (CT), Live
Packers in NFLEL
S Atari Bigby (Amsterdam Admirals) - With five starts at free safety, is second on the team with 31 tackles (18 solo), adding three passes defensed.
WR Vince Butler (Amsterdam Admirals) - As a reserve WR, has made four catches for 42 yards and one rush for 13 yards.
CB Therrian Fontenot (Rhein Fire) - Has started four games at left cornerback and is credited with 10 solo tackles and two interceptions among six passes defensed...Was dubbed Defensive Player of the Week for Week 2 after a two-interception performance in a 22-0 shutout of Berlin.
TE Tory Humphrey (Amsterdam Admirals) - Has started all five contests at tight end, catching 10 passes for 104 yards and one TD.
WR Chad Lucas (Amsterdam Admirals) - Has started all five games at wide receiver...Leads NFLEL in touchdowns with seven; is second on the team in receptions with 14 for 265 yards...Was awarded Offensive Player of the Week for Week 4 after catching a league-record four touchdowns in a 38-31 victory over the Berlin Thunder; he finished the game with six catches for 120 yards.
DT Jerome Nichols (Frankfurt Galaxy) - In five starts at left defensive tackle, has made 14 tackles (13 solo), including three sacks.
C Pete Traynor (Rhein Fire) - Has started all five games at center.
QB Brian Wrobel (Berlin Thunder) - Serving as backup, has completed 12 of 29 passes for 134 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, for a passer rating of 52.9.
NFL Europe League Standings
Amsterdam Admirals (4-1-0)
Rhein Fire (4-1-0)
Frankfurt Galaxy (3-2-0)
Berlin Thunder (2-2-1)
Cologne Centurions (1-4-0)
Hamburg Sea Devils (0-4-1)
Week 5 Results
Amsterdam 35, Rhein 31
Berlin 24, Cologne 13
Frankfurt 17, Hamburg 13