This upcoming weekend is Sweden’s Super Serien Playoffs! The Stockholm Mean Machines will travel to play the Örebro Black Knights , Sunday at noon, in a #2 vs #3 semifinal matchup. The Mean Machines have proved to be a force in the league this season, thanks to an offense accustomed to making big plays all season. The Stockholm team is wants to return to European relevance, and the first step is to defeat the Black Knights for a chance at the Super Serien Title.
LETS REWIND THIS MATCHUP
The Black Knights beat the Stockholm Mean Machines 29-26 at home, way back in April. The two teams that played in that game do not come close to resembling what we will see this weekend. A few weeks ago (June 8th), Örebro overcame a 2 touchdown deficit to beat the Mean Machines in the last few seconds with a score of 40-35. This most recent shootout is more of what we are likely to see. The Mean Machines have fine tuned their offense to score, and to score often. Örebro has done the same, utilizing a stable of running backs and their dual threat quarterback.
MEET THE STOCKHOLM MEAN MACHINES
Numbers never lie, so I will let the Mean Machines stats speak for themselves. League rankings are included.
Points Per Game: 29.8 (#2)
Rushing Yards Per Game: 141 (#3)
Passing Yards Per Game: 199.2 (#3)
Total Yards: 2722 (#3)
Turnovers Lost: 8 (#2)
3rd Down Conversions: 41% (#2)
4th Down Conversions: 44.4% (#3)
Red Zone Conversions: 74.3% (#4)
Points Allowed Per Game: 30.6 (#3)
Yards Allowed Per Game: 381.2 (#5)
Turnovers Forced: 16 (#2)
3rd Down Conversions: 47.6% (#5)
4th Down Conversions: 46.7% (#4)
Red Zone Conversions: 82.6% (#3)
Anders Hermodsson, QB – 52.5%, 1594 yds, 16 tds, 6 int / 252 rush yds, 10 tds
Emil Knutsson, RB – 754 yds, 6 tds / 197 rec yds, 1 td
Matthew Retzlaff, WR – 810 yds, 11 tds / 32.3 KR avg
Pontus Westman, LB – 49 tkls, 6 tfl, 1 sack, 1 int
Trolle Geuna, DB – 36 tkls
Malcom Engstrom, DL – 32 tkls, 14 tfl, 5 sacks, 1 pbu, 1 int, 4 ff
Peder Jungstedt, DB – 31 tkls, 9 pbu, 2 int
Omar Fall, DB – 26 tkls, 1 pbu, 2 int
STOCKHOLM MEAN MACHINES KEYS TO WIN
Stop the run
The Örebro Black Knights will run the ball, and they will do it often. The addition of American Gennadiy Adams has just reinforced that philosophy with the team. In just one game the runningback averaged 8+ yards per carry and had over 200 yards rushing. Unfortunately, that game was against the Mean Machines. Stockholm must not let history repeat itself if they want to change the outcome of the last two meetings with the Black Knights.
“Örebro’s runningbacks are probably the best in the league. We spend a lot of time planning for them.” – Fredrik Pilbäck, HC Mean Machines
Keep offense balanced
Anders Hermodsson can throw, and Matthew Retzlaff can catch, that is no secret. But the Mean Machines have a very good running game led by Emil Knuttson, and complimented by Hermodsson. Stockholm will need to force the Black Knights into favorable situations by using an even mix of the run and pass game. This will be to keep Örebro’s defense off balance and more susceptible to give up the big play that the Mean Machines are known for.
“The keys for this game is simply to run the ball and stop the run.” – Jakob Gorecki, DL Mean Machines
Take advantage of opportunities
The Mean Machines are second in the Super Serien in turnover margin (+8). In this matchup, they will need to make sure to capitalize on every mistake the Black Knights make, with either turnovers or points. Stockholm does not need to make this a slow game of grid it out football, they need to be aggressive and create big play opportunities.
Get Matthew Retzlaff involved
This is an obvious key to the game, and will happen for sure. But the Mean Machines might want to consider keeping Retzlaff active instead of using him in big play spurts this game. If Retzlaff gets the ball early and often, the Mean Machines could get ahead in this game and force the Black Knights to change their offensive strategy.
PERFECT PERVIS VIEW
This game will be a great one, that is for sure. If the last game was any indication, there will be LOTS of scoring in this game. The Black Knights running game looks to be unstoppable behind one of the best offensive lines in the country. Gennadiy Adams is fresh and ready to carry the offensive load if he must do so. I do not think the Mean Machines defense will be able to stop this run game. But I do believe they can slow it down, enough to win if done properly. The Mean Machines can score quick, or drive the field 4 or 5 yards at a time. In this game, I think they will go fast not slow, and focus on stopping the run early, forcing the Black Knights to be a passing offense. If they are successful in this, the Mean Machines will be on their way to a playoff win.
If you are interested in finding out what Örebro Black Knights players and coaches think about the upcoming game, go to PerfectPervis.com to see their interviews. Or you can click the links below.
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