After starting the season with two losses, the Houston Gamblers look to bounce back against the Memphis Showboats.
Game two against the New Orleans Breakers went much better for Houston as running back T.J. Pledger had just under 100 yards rushing and quarterback Kenji Bahar threw three touchdowns in the game. Even seeing receivers like Justin Hall and Anthony Ratliff-Williams step up was a major plus for the offense. Their ultimate downfall was the three interceptions Bahar threw with two of them coming in the fourth quarter.
Houston’s defense struggled to stop the run of the Breakers with Wes Hills running for over 100 yards and multiple scores. Poor tackling and missed assignments were another big reason Houston lost their game allowing 38 points in the process. Overall, it was an improvement, but not at the level the Gamblers need to be at to be playoff contenders as they fell to New Orleans 38-31.
They head into week three with an 0-2 record and pressure to pick up a win if they want to stay in the playoff hunt. If there is any consolation for Houston though, they are playing another team that is also 0-2 as the Memphis Showboats are coming off a massive 42-2 blowout against the Birmingham Stallions. Both teams are in desperate need of a win and getting one this weekend would go a long way in their season.
Line: Gamblers -3, O/U 44
Date/Location: Saturday, April 29th, 2023, at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee
Kickoff Time: 6:00 PM CST
Weather Forecast: Cloudy, 66 Degrees, Precipitation 50%, Humidity 72%, Wind 8 mph
Gamblers Injury Report
This week’s injury report is filled with good news for Houston as everyone listed on there is good to play this week. Offensive lineman Tyler Higby appears to be good to go after missing last week’s game against New Orleans. Higby has been dealing with a should injury but should be back in the starting lineup.
Two other key players on this list include running back Mark Thompson and Bahar. Thompson has not played the first two weeks of the season but should be in line for his first action on the field. Bahar was listed again with his foot injury but will be good to start at quarterback.
Gamblers Active/Inactive List
Houston will be happy to have Higby and Thompson active on offense as they should play key roles on offense on Saturday. Higby brings back stability to the line while Thompson gives Pledger that ground-and-pound partner in the backfield that could potentially make them dangerous.
The defense is seeing some movement as they try to find the right lineup to move forward with. Houston has moved cornerback Bydarrius Knighten and linebacker Marcel Spears Jr. to the inactive list. Both players have played this season with Spears Jr. recording three tackles and Knighten recording two tackles on the year.
Houston is catching Memphis at the right time with the Showboats also off to a slow start and some could arguably say the Gamblers have looked better. The Gamblers’ offense found momentum last week thanks to their running game through Pledger and their passing game playmakers. It’ll only get better with Thompson back to run the ball and potentially wide receiver Isaiah Zuber being added to the fold.
It all comes down to the defense and how much pressure they can get on Brady White. Houston has recorded three sacks in two games so far this season, so they need to get more production from their defensive line. Ronheen Bingham, Khalan Tolson, and Manny Bunch have been their top defenders so the Gamblers will need them to step up big in this game.
This is the first winnable game of the season for Houston, and they need to take full advantage of it. While they will still be playing in front of the Memphis fanbase despite it being a home game for Houston, this is a “get right” game for the Gamblers as long as they cut down the turnovers and create some turnovers in the process.