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IFL Week 1 Preview: The Arizona Rattlers And Quad City Steamwheelers Kick-Off The 15th Season of The IFL

This week the teams of the IFL return to action as the 15th season of the Indoor Football League begins. There will be a two-game slate of games, and three of the top 5 teams from the IFL’s Pre-Season Coaches Polls play in Week 1 of the 2023 IFL season. The Arizona Rattlers, Frisco Fighters, and Quad City Steamwheelers have been selected as favorites to compete for the IFL National Championship in August. These three teams also share the distinction of having their season end in 2022 with losses but look to bounce back after a busy off-season.

Game #1

Visiting Team: Arizona Rattlers

Home Team: Quad City Steamwheelers

Location: Vibrant Arena, Moline, Illinois

Date and Time: Friday, March 17th at 8:05 pm EST

Where to Watch: The game will be live-streamed on

This season’s opening game between the Arizona Rattlers and the Quad City Steamwheelers features #1 and #5 ranked teams in the Pre-Season Coaches poll. It also features a battle between the #1 ranked IFL quarterback Drew Powell (Arizona Rattlers) and #2 ranked IFL quarterback EJ Hilliard (Quad City Steamwheelers) according to the IFL’s Pre-Season Quarterback Power Rankings. The Rattlers and Steamwheelers ended the 2022 season, losing close games to the Northern Arizona Wranglers in the post-season, and are looking to win the IFL National Championship in 2023.

During the 2022 season, the Arizona Rattlers were a 14-4 team with the #1 ranked Offense and #1 ranked, and they were 9 out of the ten last games of the season. During the Western Conference Championship game, they were upset at home by the Northern Arizona Wranglers by a score of 52 to 51. However, the Wranglers went on to win the IFL National Championship game after defeating the Rattlers.

The Quad City Steamwheelers had an 11-8 record during the 2022 season, but they won 5 out of 7 games to end the season. They also scored road upsets against the Massachusetts Pirates and Frisco Fighters on their way to the IFL National Championship game. Unfortunately, like the Rattlers, the Steamwheelers lost that championship game to the Northern Arizona Wranglers 47 to 45.

The Steamwheelers and Rattlers come into the season with their starting quarterbacks from 2022, the top two quarterbacks in the IFL as the season begins. The Rattlers Drew Powell threw had 217 completions on 326 pass attempts for 2,630 yards while scoring 53 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. Powell also ran for 734 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2022. The Steamwheelers EJ Hilliard had 143 completions on 241 pass attempts for 1,810 yards and 35 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. Hilliard also ran for 681 yards and 25 touchdowns. In addition to the quarterbacks, both teams bring back their top wide receiver and key lineman on both sides of the ball.

With both teams having a short training camp after a long off-season, it will take some time for both offenses to get into mid-season form. While the IFL is an offense-driven league, and both offenses should come out scoring, there could be issues with offensive efficiency and penalties. Both teams expect to play for a championship in 2023, which should be a recipe for an exciting opening game.

Prediction: Arizona Rattlers 44 Quad City Steamwheelers 40

Game #2

Visiting Team: Frisco Fighters

Home Team: Green Bay Blizzard

Location: Resch Complex, Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin

Date and Time: Sunday, March 19th at 4:05 pm EST

Where to Watch: The game will be live-streamed on

The second game of the opening week of the 2023 IFL season features the Frisco Fighters and Green Bay Blizzard. According to the IFL’s Pre-Season Coaches Poll, the Fighters are the #3 team in the IFL. Frisco posted a 15-3 record in 2022 and had the 2nd ranked Offense and 5th ranked Defense. Green Bay comes into the 2023 season after multiple losing seasons with a 5-9 record in 2021 and a 6-10 record in 2022. The Blizzard is the #12 team in the Pre-Season Coaches Poll. In 2022, the Blizzard had the 13th-ranked Offense and 3rd-ranked Defense.

During the 2022 season, the Frisco Fighters were one of the hottest teams in the IFL but were upset at home by the Quad City Steamwheelers in the Eastern Conference Championship game. After coming up short during the 2022 season, the Fighters have been aggressively recruiting and working to take their performance to the next level in 2023. Like college football, the IFL is a league driven by the team’s ability to recruit and retain talent each off-season. With a short pre-season, it is imperative for the new players acquired by the Fighters to learn quickly and settle into their role for Frisco.

The Blizzard’s off-season focus has been attempting to upgrade their Offense for the 2023 season. The Blizzard’s Defense is one of the best statistical defensive units in the league, but the failures on Offense have limited Green Bay’s opportunities to become playoff contenders. Green Bay addressed that situation by acquiring a host of new offensive playmakers, including quarterbacks Max Meylor and Ja’Rome Johnson. However, it is unclear which quarterback will be the starting quarterback, so both will likely contribute early in the season.

The Frisco Fighters come into this season with high expectations. They have established that they are one of the top teams in the IFL, but they will need to prove it on the field. Green Bay has more questions than answers on Offense, and while they have had a successful defense, they will need to score if they want to beat a team with the skill level of the Fighters. It is essential to consider that the Fighters will be opening the season on the road, and the Blizzard have played significantly better at home during the last two seasons.

Due to the season’s first game, both offenses may start slow. However, the Fighters and Blizzard bring solid defensive units to the game. Ultimately, the Blizzard’s lack of offensive chemistry will not allow them to keep up with a Fighters unit that expects to be a high-scoring team.

Prediction: Frisco Fighters 52 Green Bay Blizzard 24

Follow me on Twitter: @AaronSauter7

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