Week 2 of the USFL season is upon is and so is fresh slate of games taking place this weekend. One of the marquee matchups include a feisty divisional contest between the Birmingham Stallions and the Memphis Showboats.
On the other hand, the Showboats fell just short of a remarkable comeback attempt. They trailed 20-10 at half but crawled their way back and had a chance to take the lead in the final minute of the game. However, Brady White couldn’t connect with his receivers late and turned the ball over on downs to lose 27-23.
The Stallions will look quite different at various positions, as multiple players were put on the the Injured Reserve List, the inactive list or will be missing this week’s game with a short-term injury. With that said, let’s take a deep dive into this matchup between the Stallions and the Showboats.
Memphis Showboats (0-1) at Birmingham Stallions (1-0)
Time: Saturday, April 15th, 7:30PM EST
Location: Protective Stadium – Birmingham, Alabama (University of Alabama at Birmingham campus)
Television Broadcast: FOX
Saturday night’s forecast around Protective Stadium calls for clear skies with temperatures around 66 degrees and will steadily drop into the high 50s by the time the game concludes. Wind won’t be a factor, and the humility will be at 41% at kickoff.
Betting Odds (per FanDuel Sportsbook)
Moneyline: MEM +320/BHAM -400
Spread: MEM +7.5/BHAM -7.5
Over/Under (points): 44.5
It’s amazing what one week can do to a team, as the Stallions are a lot more banged up than they were a week ago. Birmingham will be without a handful of starters from Week 1 in quarterback J’Mar Smith, wide receiver Marlon Williams, defensive lineman Joe Jackson and linebacker Scooby Wright III. The Stallions will also be without breakout running back Bo Scarbrough, fullback Bobby Holly and cornerback JoJo Tillery, who missed the season opener with his ankle injuries.
Key to the Game: Running the Ball
The run game was one of Birmingham’s strengths last season, but has quickly shifted into one of the team’s weaknesses in 2023.
In the season opener, Birmingham rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown. On paper, that doesn’t sound all that bad, except for the part where quarterback Alex McGough accounted for 51 yards and the score. Without him, the rest of the team would have combined for 36 yards on 16 carries. That is 2.3 yards per attempt. Not good.
The Stallions will also be without Bo Scarbrough. Admittedly, he didn’t have his best outing in Week 1 but still boasts as a huge threat on offense that will be missed. They still have CJ Marable and activated ZaQuandre White to the active roster. Nevertheless, one of these two are going to have to find a way to consistently gain positive yardage on the ground and take some of the responsibility of McGough’s back.
Birmingham Stallions vs. Memphis Showboats Prediction
The spread tells the story in this one, as the Stallions enter the contest as a touchdown-plus favorite. Despite that, the team cannot afford to take this game too lightly. They’ve heavy favorites in this one which could give Memphis all the motivation they need to pull off the road upset.
The Stallions offense is going to be the deciding factor in this game. They moved the ball well in Week 1, but are dealing with multiple injuries and it will be interesting to see how the group meshes together. Of course, Alex McGough and CJ Marable have plenty of in-game reps but someone in the receiver room will need to step up without Williams. The ball can’t go to Jace Sternberger every drop back or else the Stallions will be in trouble.
Realistically, the team is going to have some issues without some of the stars on offense and the leaders on defense. There will be some hiccups and probably some mental lapses for the Stallions in this game. However, despite the injuries stacking up, expect Birmingham to pull away in the second half and remain undefeated through two games.
Prediction: Stallions 29, Showboats 17