Week 8 of the USFL 2023 season pits two teams on opposite sides of the spectrum. The league’s coldest team versus its hottest. The fading New Jersey Generals, losers of four straight, and the Memphis Showboats, winners of their last four games.
USFL 2023: Week 8 New Jersey Generals Preview/Overview
What a difference a year makes.
In 2022, the New Jersey Generals marched to a 9-1 regular season record as one of the USFL’s best teams. Flash forward to today, and Mike Riley’s troops are the worst team in the league, and the Generals have taken several steps back from a year ago.
Some of that concerns their failure to restock after significant losses in the offseason properly.
A slide from 2022 was expected. After all, they lost their starting quarterback, an NFL pro bowl receiver/returner, and several key contributors from last season.
Nevertheless, what has stood out the most, and it’s something that carried over from last season’s demoralizing playoff loss to Philadelphia, is New Jersey’s ineffective leadership in close games.
They are 0-4 this season in one-score outings. That falls squarely on the shoulders of head coach Mike Riley, his staff, and his players. The team has failed to come through when it has counted the most.
On paper, all is not lost YET on New Jersey’s 2023 campaign.
The Generals are somehow, mathematically alive at 2-5 in the North, only a game behind the Panthers for the second playoff spot. They have split their season series with Michigan and have matching 2-2 divisional records.
New Jersey’s backs are against the wall in these final three weeks of the regular season, and the odds are heavily against them engineering a turnaround. They face a surging Showboats team this Sunday and then their ultimate kryptonite, Philadelphia, in Week Nine, before wrapping up what appears to be a lost season against the Maulers. It’s now or never for the Generals.
2023 USFL NORTH DIVISION STANDINGS
USFL 2023 Week 8: Memphis Showboats (4-3) vs. New Jersey Generals (2-5) Preview, Sunday, June 4, 1 p.m, FOX and FOX Sports App, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio
Point Spread: Generals favored by 2, Over/Under 41.5
New Jersey Generals vs. Memphis Showboats Week 8 Depth Charts/Injury Updates
Generals Game Status Report: DE Tyshun Render: Out (R Toe) QB De’Andre Johnson: Doubtful (Concussion) OL Calvin Ashley: Doubtful (Concussion) S Shalom Luani: Questionable (R Knee) LB Chris Orr: Probable (R Bicep) DL Kalani Vakameilalo: Full Go (R Ankle) WR J’Mon Moore: Full Go (R Toe, R Achilles) WR Warren Newman: Probable (R Toe) OL Brandon Haskin: Full Go (R Elbow) DL Tyrone Truesdell: Full Go (L Finger) DL Kenneth Randall: Full Go (L Thumb) OL Saige Young: Full Go (Back) QB Kyle Lauletta: Full Go (L Knee) TE Woody Brandom: Full Go (R Hip)
- As expected, QB De’Andre Johnson will be out after suffering a concussion last week against Michigan. Kyle Lauletta will make his third straight start at QB. Dakota Prukop will back him up. The good news for New Jersey is that LB Chris Orr, and S Shalom Luani, who missed last week’s game, are slated to return.
Showboats Game Status Report: DT Frank Herron: Out (L Knee) S Lamont McPhatter: Out (L Ankle) S Kyree Woods: Out (Concussion) TE Jay Jay Wilson: Probable (L Ankle) DE Jeff McCulloch: Out (L Foot) CB Jermaine Kelly: Doubtful (R Groin) TE Daniel Helm: Probable (L Ribs)
- Memphis’s best edge rusher Jeff McCulloch will miss Sunday’s game. Safety Kyree Woods is also another significant player missing in action. He has been one of the league’s best defensive backs.
Generals-Showboats Matchup Preview
The over/under set by oddsmakers makes sense. The Generals being favored by two points doesn’t. And it goes beyond New Jersey’s inconsequential winless record in games hosted at Canton.
So many things are working against New Jersey heading into Sunday, even though their defense leads the league in fewest points allowed (128).
Keep in mind that the Showboats defense is no slouch, either. Memphis has allowed the second-fewest points in the league (139). Impressive, considering that Birmingham scored 42 against them in Week 2.
The Generals have the league’s worst turnover margin at minus-4. On the flip side, they square off against a Memphis team with the league’s best turnover margin at plus-4.
The Cole Kelley-led Showboats don’t beat themselves. Todd Haley’s Memphis offense faces a banged-up New Jersey defense that must be worn out from carrying their inconsistent and imbalanced offense.
Another lopsided area in this matchup is the average field position for both teams.
New Jersey’s kicking specialists have been terrific. Kicker Nick Sciba, arguably the Generals’ best off-season acquisition, has been perfect on all 20 of his kicks. Standout punter Brock Miller’s hangtime, sees him with the league’s best punt net average.
However, the Generals in the post-Kavontae Turpin world are last in kick return average. Second to last in punt return average. New Jersey’s special teams have not been exceptional at all this season.
Conversely, The Showboats lead the league in average field position with 28.6 yards per kick return.
Memphis is playing brilliant complementary football. New Jersey is not.
USFL Week 8 New Jersey Generals-Memphis Showboats Game Prediction
Everything here points to a Showboats victory on Sunday.
Memphis is clicking on all cylinders and peaking down the stretch, and New Jersey is falling apart. Instead of leading the pack as they did in 2022, they are in danger of being the first team eliminated from playoff contention in a parity-filled USFL.