After taking down their North Division rivals last week 24-10, the Michigan Panthers return to Ford Field in Week 3 to welcome the New Jersey Generals fresh off their first win of the season. The Panthers lost both games to the Generals last year in 2022, however this year’s Michigan squad is a completely re-tooled and revamped team, currently lead by second year USFL veterans Josh Love and Reggie Corbin. While Corbin is fresh off his bi-annual trashing of the Philadelphia Stars, Quarterback Josh Love has emerged as one of the USFL’s top signal caller in the USFL this season.
Line: Generals +4.5, O/U 43.5 per Odds by FOXBET +160 Generals, -213 Panthers
Date/Location: Sunday, April 30th, 2023, at Ford Field Detroit, Michigan
Kickoff Time: 4:00 PM EST
Weather Forecast: N/A
TV/Streaming: FOX/Fox Sports App
The Panthers look to be with Offensive Tackle Denzel Okafor in week 3, who is listed as “Out” with a Right Knee injury. Okafor has been utilized as a reserve Offensive Lineman for the Panthers appearing in two games for Michigan in 2023. The Panthers may also be without former CFL lineman Garrett Marino who is listed as questionable with a Lower Back injury. Marino has recorded 3 tackles and 0.5 sack for Michigan in his first year in the USFL.
The Panthers made no additions or subtractions to their roster this week however, did activate both Ryan Nelson (OT) and Kiante Hardin (CB). Nelson could be making his Professional debut on Sunday, while Hardin played with the CFL’s BC Lions in 2021 starting 11 games for the Canadian franchise. In addition to Okafor being placed on the inactive roster, DB Keandre Evans will also not be active this week. Evans has totaled two tackles so far in the 2023 USFL Season.
Keys to the Game:
Keep Em Under Pressure:
The Panthers Defense continues to overwhelm opposing Offensive Lines led by former NFL 2nd Round Pick Breeland Speaks, who leads the USFL with 4.0 Sacks. The Panthers Defense is ranked in the top two of multiple defensive categories in the USFL, with two members of the team winning Defensive Player of the Week Honors in Back-to-Back Weeks. With the Panthers taking on two mobile quarterbacks, look for Michigan to continue to keep the pressure on making both DeAndre Johnson and Dakota Prukop uncomfortable.
Run Reggie Run:
After a quiet week one, Reggie Corbin exploded for almost 200 All-Purpose Yards in week 2, including two touchdowns. Corbin was a 2022 All-USFL Running Back however, in 2023 has been asked to do a bit more. Corbin has already surpassed his 2022 in receptions and with the Panthers only rostering Two Running Backs Corbin has shown off a tad bit more versatility for the Michigan Offense. While the Generals look to be considerably worse compared to their 2022 squad, look for Corbin to continue his “revenge tour”, after being passed on by NFL squads.
Catch the Football:
Sometimes the keys to the game are simple. The Panthers Wide Receivers took a bit to get going last week in Canton due to the less desirable elements and field conditions. Panthers Receivers were credited with several drops with WR Joe Walker being credited with Four of them. With the Panthers playing at Ford Field this week, look for the sure handed Joe Walker to rebound in week 3.
The Panthers have continued to the league on notice with a dominating win in week 2, enroute to their return to Michigan. With the Panthers both in the top echelon of the league in offensive and defensive categories, Michigan has a great opportunity to extend their Northern Division lead by improving to 3-0 (2-0 in Division), by defeating the Generals.
For the Generals, they’ll have to find some consistency at Quarterback, in an effort to allow Cameron Echols-Luper and the Generals Running Backs to get the Offense going. The Generals will be getting back Running Back Trey Williams for the first time this season, in hopes of giving the Generals a spark-plug for the Generals in week 3. While the Generals had a plethora of success running a Two-Quarterback system in 2022, in 2023 both Johnson and Prukop have had issues consistently moving the football through the air.
With the Panthers welcoming Charles Woodson, Bobby Hebert and Wrestling Legend “Big E” to Ford Field, this Sunday Michigan should have plenty of motivation to put on a show for the fans of the Panthers. With the elements taken out of the equation, look for Josh Love and the Panthers Offense to overwhelm the Generals Defense that lacks star-power outside of Chris Orr (LB), Shalom Luani (S), and Toby Johnson (DL). Because of the lack of explosiveness at the Generals Quarterback position through the air, I think Michigan takes a quick lead that New Jersey can’t recover from. Michigan wins this one 28-9 enroute to a 3-0 record and a commanding 2-0 Division record in 2023.