USFL WEEK 6 PREVIEW & PICKS

BY ADAM GREENE

We have officially crossed the Rubicon and are now in the second half of the USFL season.


TV ratings took a slight dip last week which is a shame. It was probably the best week of football delivered by the USFL up to this point.

But, hey, they’re still playing and we’re going to try to cash in on the odds while we can before the XFL blows this whole thing out of the water next year.

SATURDAY

TAMPA BAY BANDITS AT PHILADELPHIA STARS (+2.5, O/U: 40.5)

Last week the Bandits held off a surprisingly spunky Michigan Panthers squad, winning 27-20. The Stars were just the latest victims of the Birmingham Stallions, losing 30-17. They led 17-14 at the half and never scored another point in 30 minutes of professional football.

Tampa Bay got another solid day at QB from Jordan Ta’amu. He finished 15 of 24 for 207 yards and two touchdowns and added 27 yards on the ground. The Bandits have been a horrible rushing team, but Juwan Washington did punch it into the end zone twice and run for 48 yards in the process. John Franklin III caught five passes for 81 yards and a score.

Case Cookus kept the reins for Philadelphia, but finished a pedestrian 19 of 35 for 215 yards. Paul Terry carried the ball just twice, but gained 52 yards and scored a touchdown. He also caught five passes for 43 yards.

Tampa Bay is angling to be a middle of the pack team and winning this one won’t change that. Todd Haley has got to get more out of his running game, but Ta’amu and the passing offense should be enough. Bandits 20, Stars 17

MICHIGAN PANTHERS AT BIRMINGHAM STALLIONS (-6, O/U: 37.5)

After enjoying the sweet smell of victory, the hapless Panthers fell right back into the fragrant foliage of defeat, losing 27-20 to the Tampa Bay Bandits last week. The Stallions continued charging through all USFL opponents, keeping their perfect record intact with a 30-17 beatdown of the Philadelphia Stars.

Michigan tried everything to throw the ball, with four different players, none of them former NFL first round pick Paxton Lynch, attempting a pass. Shea Patterson had his best day as a USFL quarterback, completing 62.2 percent of his passes for 304 yards, one touchdown and one pick. He also added 46 yards rushing. Lance Lenoir Jr. caught six passes for 86 yards and La’Michael Pettway hauled in five for 80 yards and a touchdown.

For Birmingham, J’Marr Smith led the way with a 17 of 22 passing day for 203 yards and a TD. CJ Marable had 23 carries for 114 yards and a TD. Marlon Williams had five catches for 74 yards and a score.

No team has touched the Stallions yet and the Panthers sure as hell won’t be the first to hang a loss on the only team playing in its home stadium. Stallions 33, Panthers 10

SUNDAY

PITTSBURGH MAULERS AT NEW ORLEANS BREAKERS (-8, O/U: 36)

Look at you, Maulers, playing like a real football team. Yes, the worst team in all of professional football finally picked up the first victory in its franchise’s history when Pittsburgh knocked off the Houston Gamblers, 21-20, thanks to a fourth quarter comeback no less. The Breakers took it on the chin against one of the league’s better squads, falling 27-17 to the New Jersey Generals.

Vad Lee, signed off the street last week, brought honor to his name and house by leading the Maulers to victory. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 170 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while rushing for 20 yards. Bailey Gaither caught eight passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Tre Walker had 10 catches for 92 yards.

Kyle Sloter dishonored his own house, completing just 15 of 36 for 155 yards, two touchdowns and two picks for the Breakers. Jonathan Adams hauled in four passes for 60 yards and a TD.

The Breakers took a solid stumble a week ago and everyone has to be excited about Vad Lee’s storybook outing, but football has a way of snapping back to reality quick. Breakers 27, Maulers 13

HOUSTON GAMBLERS AT NEW JERSEY GENERALS (-7, O/U: 39)

Nothing but shame and scorn should be heaped upon the Gamblers as they became the first team to taste the sting of a Pittsburgh Maulers defeat, losing 21-20 after surrendering 12 points in the final quarter. The Generals can claim to be the league’s second best team after knocking off the New Orleans Breakers 27-17.

Clayton Thorson was pretty awful for Houston, completing just 45.8 percent of his passes for 165 yards, one TD and one pick. Mark Thompson rushed 17 times for 80 yards. Isaiah Zuber had three catches for 72 yards and a touchdown.

New Jersey finally leaned into the fact that they had one quarterback clearly outperforming the other guy and went the whole way with De’Andre Johnson. Now, Luis Perez hasn’t been bad himself and the Generals should be applauded for acing the QB portion of their preseason draft when so many USFL teams soiled the bedsheets at that position. Johnson, with his ability to make plays with his arm and his legs has been clearly the best option. Last week, he completed 14 of 21 passing for 213 yards and an interception while rushing for 39 yards and two touchdowns. With the threat of Johnson keeping the ball, Darius Victor found plenty of holes running himself with 17 carries for 95 yards and a score. KaVonte Turpin caught five passes for 106 yards.

With the ball firmly in Johnson’s hands, the Generals are a real threat to the Stallions for league supremacy. It might not be settled until the championship game, but here’s one thing I’m pretty sure about. Houston can’t hang with Jersey. Generals 34, Gamblers 20

Last week

Straight up: 2-2

Against the spread: 3-1

Season

Straight up: 10-10

Against the spread: 10-10

Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.

Connect with us our socials on Twitter and Instagram for the latest sports news, viral moments, betting odds and the occasional memes.

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