The LFL Week 12 schedule has Atlanta hosting Omaha on Friday in the team’s final home game of the season. The Steam is going to the playoffs, but will be playing the remaining games on the road beginning with a trip to Chicago for the Eastern Conference Championship. Atlanta is the conference wildcard team and has the opportunity to defend the conference crown against the two-time defending LFL champion Bliss.
The meeting with the Heart is the final game for the Steam before the showdown with the Bliss that will determine which team advances to the Legends Cup. Despite a reworked roster, Omaha is not ready to beat Atlanta in their house.
Atlanta leads the LFL in scoring (178 points) with second-year quarterback Dakota Hughes directing an explosive attack that is averaging 44.5 points per game. Hughes, selected as both league MVP and Rookie of the Year last season, has thrown a league-best 13 TD passes this season without being picked off in 63 attempts. She also leads in passing yards (403).
The addition of three-time All-Fantasy Team selection Lauran Ziegler has made Atlanta better on both sides of the ball, but her biggest impact has been as a receiver. Ziggy leads the team (and the league) in receptions (17), receiving yards per game (39.0) and touchdown receptions (6). Zigler also contributes out of the backfield, rushing for 68 yards on 12 attempts and scoring two TDs.
Nas Johnson, one of the original Steammates, leads Atlanta in rushing with 119 yards on 18 carries-good for a 6.6 yards-per-carry average- and has scored four times.
Atlanta had established a reputation as a hard-hitting, physical defense over the first two years of the franchise and the 2015 edition has not only lived up to that rep but has grown the legend with their aggressive, in-your-face style.
The defense is a complete team effort that is led by middle linebacker Leanne Hardin (25.5 tackles, six TFL and one interception) and Adrian Purnell (20.5 tackles, six TFL and one sack). Purnell also has four receptions for 74 yards (18.5 Avg.) with 2 touchdowns on the offensive side of the ball. Zigler has been a difference maker on defense as well, totaling 18 tackles and a fumble recovery.
The addition of QB Anonka Dixon, WR Heather Hudson and DE Leekplay Paye- all past All-Fantasy selections (Dixon/Miami, Hudson/ Baltimore, Paye/ Minnesota)- should help stabilize Omaha, but it will take time for the players to gel as a unit (as the 40-0 shutout loss to Chicago highlights).
Atlanta is the better team and should improve to 3-2 after another comfortable win over Omaha, but after being outscored 230-0 this season simply scoring would be a plus for the Heart.
Steam 2015 Schedule
WK 1: Saturday, April 11 vs. Chicago (L, 27-24)
WK 2: Saturday, April 18 @ Omaha (W, 79-0)
WK 4: Saturday, May 2 vs. Omaha (W, 62-0)
WK 5: Sunday, May 10 @ Chicago (L, 29-13)
WK 14: Friday, July 10 vs. Omaha
WK 20: Saturday, August 15 @ Chicago (Eastern Conference Title Game)
The Steam play home games at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.
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