In Week 9 the Michigan Panthers faltered to the Pittsburgh Maulers in what was a “win and in” scenario, luckily for Michigan the Stars also lost their matchup to the New Jersey Generals despite the heroics of Case Cookus. Michigan and Philadelphia both now have the opportunity to once again face off for a “win and you’re in” scenario at 7pm taking place at Ford Field.
Line: Panthers +1.5, O/U, 42.5 per Odds by FOXBET +110 Stars, -110 Panthers
Date/Location: Sunday, June 18th, 2023, at Ford Field Detroit, Michigan
Kickoff Time: 7:00PM EST
Weather Forecast: N/A
TV/Streaming: FOX/Fox Sports App
The biggest surprise of this week was not only benching of Josh Love but the deactivation of the San Jose State Product. Love has had his ups and downs this season, winning player of the week honors twice however, also be responsible for some of the worst Quarterback play the USFL has seen. Starting in his place is not Brian Lewerke whose been with the team since Carson Strong’s injury, but E.J. Perry who has only been on the roster since the release of Eric Barriere.
Can E.J. Perry play a clean game:
Coming off the Panthers worst QB performance of the season. Offensive Coordinator Eric Marty made a huge decision to bench Josh Love and go with the Ivy-League stand out E.J. Perry. Love as we stated earlier has been extremely hot and cold throughout the season however, was the Panthers most experience Quarterback on the roster. In week 10 with the playoffs on the line the burden now lies with Perry to play a clean game that will be aided by the rushing attack of Corbin, Scott, and Richardson. While not the most ideal situation the Panthers offense is primed to lean on their Running Backs, and their aggressive defense in hopes of sneaking into the Playoffs in 2023.
Leaning on the Defense:
The Panthers defense exploded for 7 sacks in week 9 led by the likes of Breeland Speaks and Levi Bell. In week 10, Mike Nolan’s and Steve Brown’s Defense will once again be asked to shoulder the load in hope of giving the Michigan Offense plenty of opportunity to keep the game close and provide them with short field’s if possible. With Philadelphia’s weakest position group being the Offensive Line, and Michigan greatest strength being their Front Seven, look for Speaks, and company to continue to wreck havoc on Stars Quarterback Case Cookus whose been taking a beating all season.
Dominating the Kicking Game:
With a young Quarterback in Perry, taking advantage of scoring opportunities, and being able to “flip” the field, will be crucial in the Panthers formula for a victory in week 10. The Panthers Special Teams unit consist of Cole Murphy (K), and Kyle Kramer (P), who are quietly having an extremely successful season despite getting overshadowed by specialist like Luis Aguilar, Alex Kessman, Brock Miller, and Matt Mengal. Whether it’s kicking the ball through the uprights, or flipping the field 45 yards, both specialists will need to bring their “A” game in hopes of keeping Michigan competitive against the Stars.
For the Panthers all eyes will be on E.J. Perry this Sunday, as fans and media of the USFL will be curious to see how the young Quarterback performs in his regular season professional debut. While the Panthers have answered questions about their receiving corps, and Defense the ability to consistently push the ball down field remains an open conversation for all watching the USFL.
The main battle to watch out for in this game, will be the Panthers Defensive Line vs the Stars Offensive Line. One of the most underrated signing this season was Offensive Tackle Drew Himmelman joining the Stars and providing some much-needed relief for Quarterback Case Cookus. As we saw in Week 9 for the Stars Himmelman’s absence from Left Tackle changed the whole dynamic of the final drive as Airon Servais was not able to provide any sort of protection for Cookus ultimately leading to a forced fumble.
Unfortunately for Panthers fans I do think the overall experience of the Stars may be a bit much as I do think Philadelphia pulls out a 24-13 Victory over Michigan. With that being said crazier thing have happened in the USFL, and fans can expect both teams to provide a heroic effort in hopes of garnering a playoff appearance.