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Houston Gamblers

USFL 2023 Week 10: Houston Gamblers (5-4) Odds, Injury Report, Depth Chart, Signings, Preview, Prediction

After allowing 21 points in the fourth quarter to lose to the Birmingham Stallions in week nine, the Houston Gamblers fight for their playoff lives against the New Orleans Breakers.

Houston’s offense struggled to get into the end zone as they leaned on Nick Vogel to hit five field goals in the contest. While Kenji Bahar completed 74 percent of his passes, he only threw for 149 yards and one interception. Mark Thompson was held out of the end zone for the first time this season running for 56 yards on 17 carries. Three turnovers by Houston also didn’t help the team get into the game.

The Gamblers’ defense was a mixed bag of performance as they didn’t get a sack on Alex McGough allowing 292 total yards and 38 points. McGough scored three total touchdowns, but the defense was able to record three turnovers in the game with two fumbles and one interception. This led to a 38-15 win for Birmingham thanks to 21 points scored by them in the fourth quarter to secure a playoff spot.

What this means for Houston is now they sit in third place in the South Division with a 5-4 record and are on the outside for the playoffs. For the Gamblers to make the playoffs, they must beat New Orleans and win the tiebreaker over them as well. Tiebreakers include head-to-head record, best divisional record, strength of victory, best net points, best net touchdowns, and coin toss. Essentially, a blowout win for Houston would help get them into the playoffs.

Game Preview

Line: New Orleans -3.5, O/U 44.5

Date/Location: Sunday, June 18, 2023, at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee

Kickoff Time: 3:00 PM CST

Weather Forecast: Thunderstorms, 84 Degrees, Precipitation 70%, Humidity 71%, Wind 14 mph

TV/Streaming: FS1

Gamblers Injury Report

Two players are listed as questionable on the list offensive lineman Tyler Higby (lower back) and tight end Rodell Rahmaan (right hamstring) being those players. With the influx of injuries to the depth of Houston, Higby is a key piece to their starting lineup so they will need him to be available to play in their biggest game of the season. Rahmaan appears will not play as he showed up on the inactive list.

Gamblers Depth Chart

Gamblers Signings/Cuts/Active-Inactive List

The Gamblers were able to sign safety Jalen Green from Mississippi State to a contract to help build depth in the secondary. What’s interesting about the move is he was signed on Thursday by the team, but on Friday was drafted by the XFL’s Arlington Renegades in the XFL’s Rookie Draft. Green did not show up on their depth chart as he is currently on their inactive list, but that will be a situation to monitor as the Gamblers would like to keep Green for a potential playoff appearance this year and their 2024 season.

After multiple weeks of injury, Houston’s college draft pick, defensive tackle Jeffery Johnson, will be activated once again as he is a go for their game against New Orleans. Fellow defensive tackle Kristjan Sokoli was moved to the inactive roster. Houston’s secondary gets a much-needed boost as they bring back Bydarrius Knighten and Malcolm Washington. Recently signed wide receiver Emmanuel Butler could be making his first appearance with the team on Sunday. Lastly, Jordan Steckler returns from injury in the wake of Higby’s questionable injury status.

Gamblers-Breakers Preview

Photo via Twitter USFLGamblers

New Orleans has been up and down with their offense in the back half of the season, but there is no denying they have plenty of weapons on that side of the ball. Houston’s defense will have their hands full as this is the same unit that scored 38 points on them at the beginning of the season. It’ll be up to the secondary of the Gamblers to hold top receiving targets like Sage Surratt, Johnnie Dixon, and Jonathan Adams. Running back Wes Hills is always a threat to run the ball as well as catch out of the backfield.

Houston needs a big day from not only Thompson on the ground, but Bahar must throw the ball with efficiency. It’s been repeated that Bahar has not been the same since the ankle injury against Philadelphia. This is his chance to redeem himself with a big game. Thompson can’t be held out of the end zone again as Houston leans heavily on him to get them in the end zone, especially in goal-line situations.

For Houston to even be in a position to make the playoffs with what expectations were heading into the season is impressive in itself. Coach Curtis Johnson deserves a ton of credit for the job he has done. Now it’s about doing what they need to do to finish the job and get into the playoffs. New Orleans is challenging because of how good the offense is, but if Houston can find that same offense from the beginning of the season, they could find themselves in this game.

Prediction: New Orleans Breakers 34, Houston Gamblers 28

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. dalton tan

    June 17, 2023 at 2:31 pm

    noon Central Time on FS1 between the breakers and the gamblers in Memphis,TN! Can you please make the change?

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