Fresh off another disappointing loss, the Michigan Panthers go back to the drawing board as the team heads to Canton to take on the New Jersey Generals who dropped their third consecutive game last week. Michigan offensive struggles continue to be their biggest concern, and the tea, shook some things up this week by “releasing” Ish Hyman and signing former Nevada RB Toa Taua to alleviate some of the workload from Reggie Corbin and Stevie Scott III. Hyman was recently claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Maulers, while the Panthers have yet to fill his roster spot as of Friday afternoon.
Line: Panthers +6.5, O/U, 39.5 per Odds by FOXBET -303 Generals, +220 Panthers
Date/Location: Sunday, May 28th, 2023, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio
Kickoff Time: 5:30PM EST
Weather Forecast: 77F Degrees, Mostly Cloudy, Wind 8 MPH, Precipitation 1%
TV/Streaming: FS1/Fox Sports App
Standout Offensive Tackle will not be playing this week due to a Left Knee injury. Hamm has been the Panthers best offensive lineman, grading as the highest player at the position on the team. Josh Dunlop looks to replace Hamm at Right Tackle for Week 7 for the Panthers.
DEPTH CHART and ROSTER MOVES:
In addition to Hamm not participating this week, the Panthers also deactivated 2nd Year veteran Terry Myrick in favor of 2023 Draft Pick DeShaun White. Myrick has been a spot starter for Michigan this year with the team utilizing Frank Ginda and Noah Dawkins as the team’s primary Linebackers. Also, returning to the active roster is Garrett Marino, James Walker and Kyle Markway. Walker who was a 2023 NFL UDFA, was not drafted by the USFL in February and will be making his professional debut this week.
Keys to the Game:
While Reggie Corbin exploded on the scene especially in week two, his impact since then has been extremely limited since the asking the Panthers coaching staff for the “damn ball”. Corbin’s workload has increased in special teams and more importantly the receiving game however the former Illinois Running Back has only amassed just 132 rushing yards in the past Four games. While Stevie Scott continues to muscle his way in the trenches for “tough yardage” the Michigan offense is in dire need of a breakout performance from the All-USFL Running Back if the Panthers look to make a playoff push.
Finding a Field General:
The Generals come into Week 7 with a question at Quarterback. While many believe DeAndre Johnson is the true QB1, in Week 6 Mike Riley sent out Kyle Lauletta to lead the Generals, while Johnson remained on the sidelines Active, yet did not play a snap. One may hope Riley returns to Johnson, whose improved mightily as a Passer in addition to his established dominance as a runner, however it is all speculation to see what the workload of both Quarterbacks will be moving forward into the final Four weeks of the season.
Keeping Loving Me:
While Josh Love showed some improvement in week 6 and was given the opportunity to play the whole game, several mental blunders hurt the Panthers in earning a victory this week. Michigan is in due or die mode with Josh Love who has thrown for 836 Yards 7 TDs to 5 INTs. While many call for the electric Eric Barriere it seems that the Panthers are fully invested in Love while they remain in the playoff hunt.
Until the starting Quarterback for the Generals was released the game in my opinion was a bit of a toss up between the North Division rivals in the “Northern Duel”. While both teams are due to for a win to keep pace with the now 4-3 Stars, the Generals go into week 7 without standout Defensive players like Chris Orr, Shalom Luani, and Tyshun Render along with dependable Wide Receiver J’Mon Moore. The team has also announced that Kyle Lauletta will be leading the team in Canton on Sunday vs, the dynamic DeAndre Johnson. With the combination of defensive injuries combined with the lack of explosiveness of Lauletta, the Panthers could be in line to take down the “wounded” Generals.
While Michigan is far from a fine-tuned machine, the Panthers receiving corps and defense match up well against New Jersey. Michigan needs to find a bit of consistency from their signal caller Josh Love and hope for him to distribute the ball effectively and precisely to Trey Quinn, and TE Cole Hikutini. While the loss of the Ish Hyman will hurt in the passing attack and even on special teams, the Panthers will maximize the potential of A.J. Richardson a versatile athletic Wide Receiver out of Boise State, in addition to Kaden Davis a shifty slot Receiver who spent part of 2022 with the Denver Broncos on their practice squad.
Ultimately, I expect Breeland Speaks and Frankie “Two Times” Ginda to be the stabilizing force to will the Panthers to victory in Week 7. With a less mobile Kyle Lauletta combined with the dynamic ability of Speaks and Levi Bell on the edge with Garrett Marino providing pressure from the interior, the Panthers are primed to feast on the former Richmond Quarterback. When it comes down to it I see the Panthers Winning 21-10 with 7 of those points coming from defensive or special teams score, as Michigan pushes to second in the North Division.