The time for pushing the panic button on the New Jersey Generals 2023 USFL season is now. Mike Riley’s troops are 2-4 after losing three consecutive games. They desperately need to get a win in Week 7 by beating the equally slumping 2-4 Michigan Panthers.
2023 USFL NORTH DIVISION STANDINGS
USFL Week 7 New Jersey Generals Overview
On the glass-half-full side, in a battle for two playoff spots in a parity-dominant North, the Generals, despite being in a three-way tie, two games below .500, are technically in second place, only a game out of first because they are sporting a 2-1 divisional record with head-to-head victories over Pittsburgh and Michigan.
|5/28||Michigan Panthers||1:00 PM||Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, OH|
|6/4||Memphis Showboats||1:00 pm||Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, OH|
|6/11||Philadelphia Stars||7:00 pm||Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, OH|
|6/17||Pittsburgh Maulers||7:00 pm||Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, OH|
Three of the Generals’ last four regular season games are within the North Division. New Jersey will be home in Canton, Ohio, for that entire stretch. The goal is to stay at Tom Benson Hall Of Fame Stadium for the playoffs. One way or another, the Generals’ season ends in Ohio. It’s just a matter of when.
The glass-half-empty side, however, shows a fading 2023 Generals team that is vastly inferior to their 9-1 predecessor a year ago.
New Jersey’s offense, particularly their passing game, has taken a backseat to last year’s low-volume but highly efficient big-play attack. The Generals have struggled to get consistent quarterback play. And ultimately, to find someone who can emerge to fill the shoes of dynamic playmakers like KaVontae Turpin and Darrius Shepherd.
The run game is predictably leading the way again for NJ in 2023, averaging 151 yards per game. But the lack of balance and positive results in their pass game has seen the team take a step backward this season.
The Generals have only five passing touchdowns after six weeks of play, and they are second to last in the league in pass yards.
The sometimes-dynamic DeAndre Johnson needs to stay healthy and play much more efficiently when he is back in the lineup. But for the second week in a row, Kyle Lauletta is getting the start. He played the entirety of last week’s game against Houston and is getting another opportunity to lead the way.
The Generals are hoping that Lauletta can give them the veteran stability that Luis Perez gave them a year ago.
The big plays are also missing from the Generals’ special teams. New Jersey won so many close games a year ago because their return unit was a determining factor in tight contests. In 2023, the Generals are 0-3 in one-score games.
The Generals’ defense has improved from a year ago under grizzled veteran coordinator Ted Cottrell. They were good in 2022 but only registered ten sacks in the regular season. In 2023, New Jersey is tied for most sacks in the league with 16 after six games.
However, the Generals will not be marching into the postseason unless New Jersey’s offense and special teams can raise their play in the final four games.
USFL 2023 Week 7: Michigan Panthers (2-4) vs. New Jersey Generals (2-4), Sunday, May 28, 5:30 pm ET, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio, FS1
New Jersey Generals vs. Michigan Panthers Week 7 Depth Charts/Injury Updates
Generals Game Status Report: S Shalom Luani: Doubtful (R Knee) WR J’Mon Moore: Questionable (R Toe, R Achilles) DT Kalani Vakameilalo: Questionable (R Ankle) DE Tyshun Render: Questionable (R Big Toe) LB Chris Orr: Questionable (R Bicep) OL Isaiah Battle: Questionable (R Calf) WR Darrell Stewart: Full Go (L Foot) LB Mike Bell: Full Go (L Shoulder) DT Kenny Randall: Full Go (L Thumb) WR Warren Newman: Probable (R Toe, R Hamstring) OL Brandon Haskin: Full Go (R Elbow) OL Saige Young: Full Go (Back) DL Tyrone Truesdell: Full Go (L Finger)
Panthers Game Status Report: OL Brodarious Hamm: Doubtful (L Knee) RB Reggie Corbin: Full Go (R Flank) LB Frank Ginda: Full Go (R Shoulder) LB Noah Dawkins: Full Go (L Shoulder) DL Walter Palmore: Full Go (R Ankle) OL Josh Dunlop: Full Go (R Knee) WR Marcus Simms: Full Go (L Hamstring)
The key player missing from Michigan’s lineup is OT Brodarius Hamm, who is Pro Football Focus’s top-graded offensive tackle in the USFL.
Week 7 New Jersey Generals-Michigan Panthers Game Prediction
Like the Panthers, the New Jersey Generals have technically yet to win a home game. Michigan is undefeated away from Ford Field. Both teams are riding long-losing streaks. Something has to give in Week 7.
Sunday’s matchup between the Generals and Panthers profiles as a low scoring one. Mike Nolan’s Michigan squad, like Mike Riley’s, has struggled to score or move the ball consistently, and both teams have leaned on their defenses to keep them in games.
The last time New Jersey and Michigan met was in Week 3; the Generals unlocked rare big plays in their pass game, winning 28-13 and spoiling the Panthers’ home debut.
Although all signs point to the Generals getting back on track, something tells me that Michigan is overdue for a victory and that they are going to exact revenge from four weeks ago. Home hasn’t been where the heart is for either team.
I am going with the outright upset.