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The ELF Report Week 8 Game Previews and Predictions: The Rhein Fire Are Turning Up The Heat In The ELF

In 2022, in the second season of the European League of Football, the Rhein Fire was added to the league as an expansion team. The Fire had previously existed as a team in NFL Europe from 1995 until 2007. During the Fire’s first season in the ELF, the team went 7-5 and failed to make the playoffs. During the off-season, the Fire made an effort to sign some of the top players in the ELF, including quarterback Jadrian Clark and wide receiver Anthony Mahoungou, and coming into the 2023 season, many experts predicted that the Fire would be a championship contender.

After seven games, the Fire have backed up those championship expectations by going 7-0 to start the season, and they have been dominant on offense and defense. If the ELF playoffs were to start today, they would be the top seed and earn one of the league’s bye weeks in the first round of the playoffs. Following closely behind the Fire is the defending ELF champion, the Vienna Vikings at 6-0, who have been equally dominant and would be the second seed in the playoffs.

For the Fire to continue their hot streak, Rhein must stay healthy. The deadline for signing free agents during the season is August 2nd, and at that point, each ELF team will need to have pre-existing answers to injury situations on their roster. Each week of the season, the Fire have continued to add more firepower to their offense, including American wide receiver Willie Patterson, and this week they signed tight end Chris Mielke. There are several variables for every ELF team each week of the season, and how the Fire manages those issues will determine if they can fulfill their destiny and win an ELF championship.

Let’s take a look at the seven games in the ELF in Week 8.

ELF Week 8 Game Capsules

Game #1

Visiting Team: Berlin Thunder (5-2, 2nd in the Eastern Conference)

Home Team: Vienna Vikings (6-0, 1st in the Eastern Conference)

Date and Time: Saturday, July 22nd at 6 pm CEST

The Berlin Thunder have had an impressive start to the 2023 season, but in Week 7, the Thunder turned the ball over several times. Quarterback Slade Jarman also sustained an injury, which could affect the Thunder’s ability to score points. Defensively, defensive end Kyle Kitchens leads the ELF with 12 quarterback sacks. On offense, Berlin has averaged 36.4 points/game, and defensively they have held opponents to 17.1 points/game.

The Vienna Vikings are the defending ELF champions, and after starting the season with six consecutive wins, they may once again be the best team in the league. The Viking’s offense has shown the ability to run and pass the ball, with quarterback Christopher Helbig and running backs Florian Wegan and Karri Pajarinen leading the offense on the ground and through the air. The Vikings are averaging 40.3 points/game on offense and allowing 17.5 points/game on defense.

Game Prediction: Vienna Vikings 28, Berlin Thunder 24

Game #2

Visiting Team: Munich Ravens (3-3, 3rd in the Central Conference)

Home Team: Raiders Tirol (5-2, 2nd in the Central Conference)

Date and Time: Saturday, July 22nd at 6:00 pm CEST

The Munich Ravens had a big week in Week 7 when they dominated the Milano Seamen. Munich has shown the potential to compete with the established teams in the ELF. Munich’s offense has the potential to score points with quarterback Chad Jeffries, running back Tomiwa Oyewo, and wide receiver Markell Castle. Defensively the Ravens will need to improve their level of play to compete against potential playoff teams. The Raiders are battling for a playoff spot, so this is a good measuring stick for the Ravens. On offense, Munich is averaging 34.3 points/game, and on defense, they are allowing 31.3 points/game.

At the mid-point of the ELF season, the Raiders Tirol would be the last team in as the 6th seed. For Tirol to continue to earn their playoff spot, they will need to beat teams that are not obvious playoff contenders. This week is an excellent opportunity for the Raiders offense to have an explosive game. Tirol boasts a triplet of high-quality offensive players with quarterback Christian Strong, running back Tobias Bonatti, and standout wide receiver Jarvis McClam. Offensively, the Raiders are scoring 25.9 points/game, and defensively they are allowing 16.3 points/game.

Game Prediction: Munich Ravens 24, Raiders Tirol 21

Game #3

Visiting Team: Barcelona Dragons (2-4, 4th in the Central Conference)

Home Team: Stuttgart Surge (5-1, 1st in the Central Conference)

Date and Time: Sunday, July 23rd at 1:00 pm CEST

After losing several playmakers during the off-season, the Barcelona Dragons have fallen on tough times in 2023. The Dragons have the potential to play well with quarterback Conor Miller and receivers Theodor Landstrom and Joshua Johnston. So far, the Dragons have needed more chemistry on offense and struggled to get stops on defense. The Barcelona offense is scoring 20 points/game, and the Dragon’s defense is giving up 20.2 points/game.

Until Week 7, the Stuttgart Surge was the turnaround team of the year with a 5-0 record after being a bottom feeder during previous seasons. A strong defense leads the Surge but has struggled to score points on offense. In Week 7, the Surge offense turned the ball over several times, and the Helvetic Guards turned those points into defensive touchdowns, which puts the Surge in a much deeper hole. Stuttgart has added former Leipzig Kings quarterback Kenyatte Allen; we will see if Allen can get Stuttgart back on track. On offense, the Surge is scoring 21.6 points/game, and on defense, they only allow 15.8 points/game.

Game Prediction: Stuttgart Surge 21, Barcelona Dragons 18

Game #4

Visiting Team: Milano Seamen (1-5, 6th in the Central Conference)

Home Team: Helvetic Guards (2-5, 5th in the Central Conference)

Date and Time: Sunday, July 23rd at 1:00 pm CEST

The Milano Seamen have had a difficult start to their first season in the ELF. During Week 7, the Seamen seemed to hit a low point when they were beaten convincingly by a fellow expansion team, the Munich Ravens. Quarterback Luke Zahradka and wide receiver Jean Constant have helped Milano score points. Milano’s defense needs to step up for the Seamen to have a chance to get a win. The Milano offense is scoring 29 points/game, and their defense allows 35.8 points/game.

The story of the Helvetic Guards would have been very similar to the Milano Seamen, but the Guards are coming off two straight wins. Helvetic’s defense has taken over for their offense and put points on the board. Cornerback Maceo Beard leads the ELF with six interceptions. The Guards have had steady production out of running back Silas Nacita on offense. The Helvetic offense is scoring 12.4 points/game, and their defense allows 29.2 points/game for the season. Helvetic has momentum on its’ side with two straight wins, including upsetting the previously undefeated Stuttgart Surge.

Game Prediction: Helvetic Guards 21, Milano Seamen 17

Game #5

Visiting Team: Cologne Centurions (2-4, 5th in the Western Conference)

Home Team: Rhein Fire (7-0, 1st in the Western Conference)

Date and Time: Sunday, July 23rd at 4:25 pm CEST

The Cologne Centurions have struggled on offense and defense to start the 2023 season. Cologne has found a way to get two wins for the season, but one was a forfeit win due to the Leipzig Kings withdrawing from the league. On offense, the Centurions are averaging 15.8 points/game, and on defense, they are allowing 27.2 points/game.

The Rhein Fire are on a seven-game win streak to open the 2023 season. Quarterback Jadrian Clark leads the ELF with 2,295 passing yards. Rhein also has offensive weapons Anthony Mahoungou at receiver, and the running game has added some balance to the offense. Defensively, the Fire has also played exceptionally well, which makes the Fire a serious championship contender. On offense, the Fire has scored 41 points/game, and defensively they have only allowed 15.6 points/game.

Game Prediction: Rhein Fire 42, Cologne Centurions 10

Game #6

Visiting Team: Frankfurt Galaxy (5-1, 2nd in the Western Conference)

Home Team: Paris Musketeers (2-5, 4th in the Western Conference)

Date and Time: Sunday, July 23rd at 4:25 pm CEST

The Frankfurt Galaxy is one of the most consistently good teams in the ELF. They have had a solid start to the 2023 season and are in a position to return to the playoffs. The next step for the Galaxy is to get back to their championship form after winning the ELF championship in 2021. The Frankfurt offense is scoring 29.5 points/game, and they are allowing 21.3 points/game on defense.

The Paris Musketeers are another ELF expansion team, but they have been competitive. Paris could give Frankfurt trouble early on, and if the Galaxy makes some mistakes, the Musketeers could find themselves an opportunity to get a big win at home. Paris is averaging 20.4 points/game on offense, and they are allowing 29.7 points/game on defense.

Game Prediction: Frankfurt Galaxy 31, Paris Musketeers 24

Game #7 – Canceled

Visiting Team: Prague Lions (1-5, 5th in the Eastern Conference)

Home Team: Fehervar Enthroners (0-6, 6th in the Eastern Conference)

Date and Time: Sunday, July 23rd at 4:25 pm CEST

The Prague Lions let the European League of Football know they have decided not to travel to Feharvar this week and will take the loss forfeited. This decision gave the Enthroners a 35-0 forfeit victory. Prague and Fehervar now have forfeit wins as their only win in the 2023 season.

Follow me on Twitter: @AaronSauter7

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