Rattlers to open playoffs against Sabercats
The West Division champion Arizona Rattlers (13-5) will open the Arena Football League playoffs with a home game Saturday night against the San Jose SaberCats (12-6) at 7 p.m. at US Airways Center.
The Sabercats pinned a pair of defeats on the Rattlers during the regular season, winning 71-70 in the season opener on March 10 in San Jose and also taking the rematch on May 5 in Phoenix by a 77-70 score.
The other first-round matchups feature Central Division champion San Antonio (14-4) vs. Utah (12-6) on Friday night, defending champion Jacksonville (10-8) vs. Georgia (9-9) on Saturday night and East Division champion Philadelphia (15-3) vs. New Orleans (8-10), also on Saturday night.
The Rattlers enter the playoffs coming off a 47-22 victory over Kansas City. The victory snapped a two-game losing streak.
Arizona boasts the league's No. 4 scoring offense (62.1 points per game) and No. 2 scoring defense (48.9). Quarterback Nick Davila is second to Chicago's Russ Michna in passing efficiency and third in yards per game (305.6). He has thrown 113 touchdown passes and been intercepted 16 times. Maurice Purify is his leading receiver (126 receptions, 1,932 yards, 46 TDs).
San Jose ranks second in the league in scoring (63.5 points per game) but 11th in scoring defense (57.1). Mark Grieb has passed for 5,744 yards and 112 TDs with 20 interceptions.
The three-week playoffs will culminate with ArenaBowl XXV on Aug. 10 in New Orleans. Jacksonville defeated Arizona in last year's championship game.