The home stretch of the Alliance of American Football's inaugural season has arrived with Saturday featuring half of the Week 8 schedule.
With just two weeks remaining after Week 8, there is still jockeying for playoff position in the Eastern and Western Conferences.
The Orlando Apollos have already clinched one of the two postseason spots in the east. They entered Week 8 owning the AAF's best record (6-1), one game ahead of the San Antonio Commanders.
While the Apollos have taken care of business for themselves, they can still make an impact on the playoff race Saturday. The Birmingham Irons will clinch the second postseason spot in the east if Orlando wins and they beat the Atlanta Legends on Sunday.
AAF Week 8 Scores
Orlando def. Memphis, 34-31
Salt Lake def. San Diego, 8-3
Salt Lake 8, San Diego 3
Things have gotten interesting in the Western Conference thanks to Salt Lake's 8-3 win over San Diego in a defensive battle.
San Diego drove down the field with a chance to win after getting the ball back on its own three-yard line with two minutes remaining. Quarterback Mike Bercovici experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows on consecutive plays during that drive.
Bercovici completed a 23-yard pass to Marcus Baugh on fourth-and-12 to get the ball into Salt Lake territory. His next pass was underthrown and picked off by Steve Williams to secure a victory for the Stallions.
Salt Lake's lone touchdown of the day was almost a turnover when quarterback Josh Woodrum dropped the snap. He was able to pick the ball up and hand it to Terron Ward for the score late in the first half:
Neither team moved the ball well in this game with four turnovers combined. San Diego had a 264-244 edge in total yards, but Salt Lake controlled the clock with 37:57 minutes of possession.
The win moves Salt Lake into a tie with San Diego at 3-5 with two games remaining. Arizona owns the second playoff spot in the west with a 4-3 record leading up to Sunday's game against conference-leading San Antonio.
Looking ahead to next week, the Stallions figure to have an advantage against the 2-5 Atlanta Legends. Arizona has a matchup with Birmingham, while San Diego has to go against Orlando.
Orlando 34, Memphis 31
Orlando held on for dear life in a 34-31 win over Memphis at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Memphis started the game on a bad note when Johnny Manziel left in the first quarter after taking a blow to the head. The former Heisman Trophy winner was trying to tackle Orlando safety Will Hill following an interception.
With Brandon Silvers taking over at quarterback and their season potentially on the line, the Express stormed back from a 22-9 deficit in the third quarter by scoring 22 straight points.
Memphis' defense came up huge on back-to-back possessions with a stop on fourth down and a strip-sack by DeMarquis Gates that Jonathan Cook recovered and returned for a score.
Orlando finally got back on track in the fourth quarter when Garrett Gilbert found Charles Johnson in the end zone to cut the deficit to 31-28 with 4:59 remaining.
Rainy weather in Memphis worked against the home team when punter Ryan Winslow mishandled a snap that gave Orlando the ball back at the Express' 28-yard line. De'Veon Smith scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:36 remaining after a replay review:
The victory continues Orlando's dominance against Eastern Conference competition. The Apollos are a perfect 5-0 in those games. Their point differential of plus-100 is easily best in the AAF. The Arizona Hotshots enter Week 8 second in that category at plus-25.
Memphis' slim postseason hopes now depend on it winning out and hoping Birmingham loses its final three games.