The 7-1 New Jersey Generals and 5-3 Philadelphia Stars are set for a showdown two weeks from now in the final weekend of the USFL regular season. The North division title could still be at stake in week ten. But the most important meeting between both teams will come a week later when the USFL playoffs commence in Canton, Ohio.
New Jersey Generals-Philadelphia Stars Playoff Opponents
The Generals and Stars are two of the hottest teams in the USFL. New Jersey and Philadelphia are peaking at the right time. The Generals are coming off their seventh straight victory, a 29-18 conquest of the Pittsburgh Maulers. The Stars are lighting up the sky with quarterback Case Cookus as one of the league’s hottest players. Philadelphia soared past Michigan 46-24 on Sunday. The Stars have won three straight games to get themselves out of a mid-season funk at 2-3 and into a playoff spot.
Week 10 Exhibition Style Showdown?
There’s still one more week of play before the Generals and Stars meet in their regular-season finale. Next weekend, the Stars have a date with the 1-7 Pittsburgh Maulers. The Generals will be playing the 1-7 Panthers in Week 9.
Philly and New Jersey could meet each other in the final week with the North title up for grabs. But for that to happen, the Stars will need to keep their win streak going, while the Generals will have to lose to Michigan.
Assuming those two scenarios happen, a Stars victory over the Generals in Week 10 would put both teams at 7-3 to finish the season. Since the season series between the Stars and Generals would be split. (New Jersey beat Philly back in Week 3, 24-16.) The next tiebreaker would be divisional record, and with both teams at 4-2 in this hypothetical scenario. That means it would come down to the strength of victory tiebreaker (aggregate won-loss% of teams defeated). That’s where things could get complicated. Philly could get the divisional crown under these circumstances. The Generals beat Michigan by only four points earlier this season, and the Stars are coming off of a 22-point win against the Panthers.
However, other than having a psychological boost, winning the division doesn’t have the same benefit as it would in other pro leagues. In the USFL, you don’t get the decided advantage of having a home game. The playoffs are in a neutral site setting in Canton, Ohio.
So that begs the question, Will Philadelphia and New Jersey place value on the outcome of their week ten showdown? The reality is that they shouldn’t, regardless of whether a division title is at stake or not. Both teams should only be focused on winning their playoff matchup against each other.
It’s challenging in the USFL because of smaller rosters to rest starting lineups. But head coaches Mike Riley and Bart Andrus are going to need to employ that type of strategy when their teams face off in two weeks. There’s no reason to risk injuring your most valuable players before the playoffs start.
Week 10’s Philly-New Jersey duel could have the feel of a preseason game. With both teams not only resting or pulling starters early. But by not showing their cards a week before they meet again when a trip to the championship game will be at stake. I would expect vanilla approaches with little to no game-planning whatsoever in week 10.
At the end of any regular season, all teams hope to have something to play for. In week 10, Philly and New Jersey have earned a nothing to play for setting because of their successes. With everything at stake a week later.