USFL Week 4 Recap and Week 5 Preview

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Another week of USFL behind us and another week of awesome games and weird stuff. We had a flag show with the announcers actually arguing with the head ref. We had crazy spread covers. Even got to see some nice mad Todd Haley, which is always a treat in my mind

So here is how week 4 shook up.

Game #1 Philadelphia Stars 26 vs Michigan Panthers 25

The closest game of the weekend, which was surprising to say the least. I think this had more to do with the Stars having a new starting QB after long time spring football legend Bryan Scott  went out last week with an injury. But the good ole Case Cookus came out and cooked…at least a bit. The main story in this game are the turnovers (2 for Cookus 4 for Shea Patterson) and some weird coaching decisions. We thought earlier in the year that Michigan coach Jeff Fisher would just elect to never kick or punt again, but this game he seemed all too happy to take weird field goals in a game where his offense just couldn’t do anything. The Stars move on, the victor in this tight one, and I think they will continue to improve and show us why they’re the second-best team in the north. As for the Panthers, they grabbed QB Josh Love from the Maulers and dropped TikTok star Chase Demoore in a couple of moves. The added QB competition can only be good as it seems Paxton Lynch isn’t coming back anytime soon and Shea Patterson needs someone to either push him or just beat him outright. The Panthers take on the Tampa Bay Bandits, which would have seemed daunting after week 1, but I think the Panthers have a decent shot against a Todd Haley team who looks lost offensively and has similar kicking issues to the Panthers (expect a close one here). The Stars take on the hometown favorite in the Birmingham Stallions, and I don’t think the Stallions win streak comes to an end here. That team has some weird magic juju going on, and while the Stars can keep it close, I just don’t think they can beat the Stallions at home.

 

Game #2 New Jersey Generals 21 vs Pittsburgh Maulers 13

Man, this Maulers team stinks, but every other week they seem to pull out a moral victory. This week, they covered the spread and also looked stinky on offense. The Generals showed why they have the best run game and run defense in the league here, especially with Deandre Johnson in at QB. Which brings me to my point about the Generals. Why this late in a season are you still going the 2 QB route. We see you trot out Luis Perez, and everyone on the field and at home knows exactly what kind of play you’ll be running. I think at this point, the Generals should just keep Johnson in at all times and just roll that way. I also would love to see them pivot to a wishbone or triple option style offense because they still have far and away the best run game. Their QB and 2 RBs are in the top 6 of all rushers in this league, that seems to require a good team to have a run game. The Generals take on the Breakers in week 5 in a game where we could either see explosive plays for some nice points, or a club whacking fest of hard nose running, defense, and special teams. If it comes to special teams, I trust the Breakers more than I do the Generals. Otherwise, it comes down to the status of Breakers’ QB Kyle Sloter who’s been dealing with a groin injury for the past 3 weeks now, either way great game. The Maulers take on the Houston Gamblers, and if you like offense, don’t tune into this game. I’ve also been announcing it everywhere, but if the Pittsburgh Maulers don’t win a single game in this USFL Season I will eat a can of cat food, and I’m a man of my word.

 

Game #3 Tampa Bay Bandits 10 vs Birmingham Stallions 16

The Bandits are doing this weird thing where they, almost every game, abandon the run game and put the entire offense on Jordan Ta’amu’s shoulders. While the guy is good and athletic, I don’t think he’s the kind of player who can just make crazy explosive plays every single play. The offensive line doesn’t help (probably due to short training camps, I mean 2 weeks?!) and he’s not a good enough playmaker to make magic out of nothing. I and many others remember him being awesome on the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL in 2020, but a lost of people fail to remember that team had one of the best rushing attacks in the entire league, which I think left Ta’amu open to use his athleticism to really mess some stuff up out there. As for the Stallions, this team still have some magic. Perennial DAWG and good enough QB J’Mar smith was out this week due to an undisclosed illness, so we had Alex “Mr Magoo” Mcgough out there, and he did his part. The Stallions did just enough yet again with a second half surge that’s becoming a theme among the team from Birmingham. The other thing I wanted to hit on this game is it was flag city, by far the worst game to watch from a pace of play point of view. I swear, I think there were 2-3 drives where it felt like there was a flag thrown on every play. Get your shit together Mike Perriera ok? We back up in this league and I want to see some fun games, not watch refs throw some flags. The Stallions take on the Panthers in what could either be a get right bounce-back, or a slow, methodical drubbing. I see that game going only those 2 directions. The Stallions take on the Stars in what I expect to be an electric game similar to when they played the Generals week 1. Could see the Stallions down at half and have yet another miraculous second half come back win.

 

Game #4 Houston Gamblers 16 vs New Orleans Breakers 23

Man, the Gamblers offense is bad. I thought the Maulers were bad, but when I saw this offense, I physically felt pain. If it weren’t for the Gamblers defense getting a slew of turnovers, this game would have been a Breakers blowout. That’s what I’m choosing to take away from this. Gamblers QB Clayton Thorson has 2 types of throws. He’ll either bomb it downfield 40+ yards or he’ll throw a screen pass. Also, the Gamblers don’t have any semblance of a run game when they play a team like the Breakers, who have one of the top defenses in the league, and I’ll hammer it every chance I get, the best teams in this league have a strong run foundation to build from. I think that a lot of this comes back to the short training camp. The Breakers looked good, but sloppy at the worst moments. They were down at half, but were dominating in the box score. I think as Breakers QB Kyle Sloter heals from his groin injury suffered in week 2 this team will continue to improve. Next week, the Gamblers take on the Maulers in a battle for the bottom. If the Maulers can win any game, it’s this one, and I really don’t want to eat cat food, so Gamblers, please take this as a plea from me to show up in week 5 like you did in week 4, albeit without the turnovers. The Breakers take on the Generals in what I’m expecting to be my game of the week. I’m anticipating a hard fought battle between the best run defense in the league in the Generals, and the best all around defense in the Breakers. Either way, it should be very exciting

USFL Jim’s Power rankings after week 4

  1. Birmingham Stallions
  2. New Orleans Breakers
  3. New Jersey Generals
  4. Philadelphia Stars
  5. Tampa Bay Bandits
  6. Houston Gamblers
  7. Michigan Panthers
  8. Pittsburgh Maulers

*The Gamblers are only higher than the Panthers because they beat them week 1 (that offense was the worst of the week)

My playoff picture as things stand now

North: New Jersey Generals vs Philadelphia Stars

South: Birmingham Stallions vs New Orleans Breakers

I think this holds out the rest of the season, these teams have shown they’re above the rest.

 

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ForeverRanger91
05/14/2022 2:28 pm

The USFL is improving every week. I think they might actually have something.

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