After an underwhelming loss to the Memphis Showboats in week 4, the Michigan Panthers remain in Detroit to take on the Pittsburgh Maulers. While the Panthers defeated the Maulers twice in 2022, this year’s team under the new leadership of Ray Horton has already matched their win total from 2022 and has also offered fans a far more competitive team under Quarterback Troy Williams.
Line: Panthers -3.5, O/U, 41.5 per Odds by FOXBET +145 Maulers, -189 Panthers
Date/Location: Saturday, May 13th, 2023, at Ford Field Detroit, Michigan
Kickoff Time: 12:30 PM EST
Weather Forecast: N/A
TV/Streaming: USA/Fox Sports App
Noah Dawkins appears to be sidelined this week after leaving Week 4’s game with an injury. It appears Terry Myrick will be the next man up in the Linebacker Room for Coach Runza and company. The Panthers also saw Ron’Dell Carter placed on Injured Reserve as well, joining Cory Rahman, Devin Ross, and Denzel Okafor.
After weeks of requesting the USFL has released Depth Charts for fans and media alike come Week 5. Most notably for Michigan in Week 5, the Panthers will most likely see the Pro Debuts of 2023 Draft Picks Levi Bell, and Santrell Latham. Both true rookies will be in position to serve on Special Teams for Week 5, with the possibility of serving in a reserve role on Defense. The Panthers also released former Wolverine and NFL Vet Delano Hill after the signing of Kai Nacua earlier this week.
Keys To Game:
Consistent Quarterback Play:
After a record setting performance from Josh Love in Week 1, the Panthers have regressed tremendously since their victory over the Gamblers almost a month ago. Both Love and Carson Strong have been extremely volatile over the past several weeks with Love playing the majority of the snaps, and the Michigan Offense averaging under 12 points a game since returning home. While many are calling for Carson Strong or Eric Barriere to see a larger workload, it appears Love will get another opportunity to lead Michigan’s Offense against the new look Maulers.
HennieThing is Possible:
Isiah Hennie has been emerging star in 2023, serving as Troy Williams’ and the Maulers Offense most consistent playmaker. Hennie has been done a little bit of everything for the Maulers totaling 383 All-Purpose Yards in 2023 being utilized in the Passing, Rushing, and Returning facets for Pittsburgh. With the Maulers ground game outside of the legs of Troy Williams less than stellar, Hennie may be asked once again to provide a spark if the Panthers can limit the damage Williams brings against opposing Defenses.
Slowing Down the Maulers Defense:
The Pittsburgh front Seven has completely revitalized this team in 2023. Led by Reuben Foster, Boogie Roberts, Kyahva Tezino have made the Maulers extremely competitive over the first four weeks of the USFL season. With Michigan’s Offense struggling over the past two weeks, the Maulers are in prime position to take advantage of an Offense desperate to get back on the right track. Look for Offensive Coordinator Eric Marty to pull out all the tricks in an effort to get Michigan back in the win column.
With both teams looking for a win in a tight North Division Matchup the Michigan Panthers and Pittsburgh Maulers are set to bring their “A” game at Ford Field this Saturday. With Pittsburgh being led by a stout Defense coupled with the emergence of Quarterback Troy Williams, the Maulers have done a complete 180 compared to their controversial 2022 team.
With Michigan dragging along the last two weeks expect them to turn to a heavy dose of Reggie Corbin and Stevie Scott III to make up for an ineffective passing attack, stemming from issues at Quarterback. While I do think Michigan has trouble stopping the dynamic playmaking ability of Troy Williams on the ground, I do think the Maulers continue to struggle “punching it in” and settle for Field Goals, instead of Touchdowns once again. Because of that Michigan wins an ugly game 17-12 and is able to remain competitive in the North Division for at least one more week.