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USFL 2023 Week 9 Preview: New Jersey Generals Face Do Or Die Scenario Against The Stars

Week 9 of the 2023 USFL regular season has arrived. The 2-6 New Jersey Generals are somehow barely hanging on to their playoff lives. Mike Riley’s troops, losers of five straight, will try to stave off elimination on Sunday night against the North-leading (4-4) Philadelphia Stars. A team that knocked the Generals out of the playoffs a year ago.

The Generals have yet to win a “designated” home game at Canton this season. They are 0-3. If New Jersey wants to keep playing in Canton during the North playoffs. The time to win is now.

USFL 2023 North Standings/Playoff Picture/Scenarios


Week 9 North Playoff Scenarios:  The Stars will clinch a playoff spot with a win against the Generals. They also determine the division’s top seed if they win and the Panthers lose. The Panthers will clinch a playoff spot with a win against the Maulers AND a Stars win.

Remaining USFL North Schedule

Week 9
Saturday, June 10
Michigan at Pittsburgh (Canton), 12 p.m. (FOX) 
Sunday, June 11
Philadelphia at New Jersey (Canton), 7 p.m. (FOX)

Week 10
Saturday, June 17
Pittsburgh at New Jersey (Canton), 1 p.m. (USA)
Sunday, June 18
Philadelphia at Michigan (Detroit), 7 p.m. (FOX) 

For the Generals, the path to the playoffs is simple. They must win their last two games against the Stars and the Maulers. A 4-6 finish would put New Jersey at 4-2 within their division and into the playoffs.

No matter what happens in week ten’s matchup between the Stars and Panthers, who close out the 2023 USFL regular season.

Here’s why:

Michigan (3-5) and Philadelphia (4-4) are 2-2 within the North. A Stars loss to New Jersey in Week 9 ensures Philly finishes no better than 3-3 in the division.

A Stars victory over Michigan in week ten guarantees that the Panthers finish with no better than three divisional wins.

Therefore, in the event that New Jersey wins their last two. They will have split their head-to-head games with Philly and Michigan. And get into the playoffs on the USFL’s second tie-breaker. (Best win-loss percentage in games played within the division.)

First things first, the Generals have to find a way to snap their current five-game skid against a team that has historically and recently crushed their spirits and championship hopes.

USFL Week 9 Preview: Philadelphia Stars (4-4) At New Jersey Generals (2-6), Sunday Night, 7 PM EST, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio (FOX)

FOXBet Odds: Philadelphia Stars are favored by 2.5 points. Over/Under: 44

Philadelphia Stars @ New Jersey Generals Depth Charts/Injury Updates

Stars Game Status Report: OL Shamarious Gilmore: Probable (L Knee) LB BJ Bello: Out (R Groin) OL Tristen Taylor: Out (R Ankle) S Joshua Moon: Full Go (L Ankle) LB Joey Alfieri: Full Go (R Knee) DB Ladarius Wiley: Full Go (L Thumb) RB Dexter Williams: Full Go (R Shoulder) S Cody Brown: Full Go (L Foot) WR Devin Gray: Full Go (R Ankle) DL Tyler Clark: Full Go (R Wrist, L Quad)

Two of the Stars’ best players, RB Matthew Colburn and CB Channing Stribling, have been transferred to the team’s injured list. Philly will rely on Dexter Williams to carry the load in their ground game. The loss of Stribling could affect the Stars’ secondary. Veteran NFL WR Cyril Grayson Jr., who was signed by Philly two weeks ago, will make his USFL debut on Sunday night.

Generals Game Status Report: DL Tyshun Render: Out (R Toe) DL Hercules Mata’afa: Probable (R Knee) QB De’Andre Johnson: Probable (Head) OL Calvin Ashley: Probable (Head) DL Tyrone Truesdell: Probable (L Finger, R Shoulder) DL Toby Johnson: Probable (R Toe) DB Paris Ford: Probable (Tooth) RB Darius Victor: Probable (R Hand) S Shalom Luani: Probable (R Knee) LB Chris Orr: Probable (R Arm) WR Warren Newman: Probable (R Toe) OL Brandon Haskin: Full Go (R Elbow) OL Saige Young: Full Go (Back)

The Generals are welcoming back quarterback DeAndre Johnson into their lineup after he missed last week’s action due to a concussion. And just like that, Kyle Lauletta, who had started the previous three games at quarterback for New Jersey, is gone. The veteran quarterback failed to fill the role Luis Perez expertly handled for the Generals last season.

New Jersey is turning to their week one Johnson/Prukop tandem at quarterback. At the same time, recent acquisition Eric Barriere awaits his turn.

Keys To A Generals Week 9 Victory Over The Stars

It’s fitting that Philadelphia Stars turned their season around against the New Jersey Generals in week five. It all started in what can only be referred to as the Luis Aguilar game. A historic performance that saw the Philadelphia kicker connect on eight field goals, including a game-winning 55-yard field goal to net the Stars a last-second 24-21 victory.

Despite generating only 160 yards of offense against New Jersey’s defense, the Stars found a way to break the hearts of their dreaded rival Generals.

The absurd anomaly of Philly’s Week 5 victory over New Jersey set off a chain of events, which saw the then 1-3 Stars soar, while the Generals haven’t recovered since.

If New Jersey doesn’t win on Sunday night. Their demoralizing week five defeat to Philly will be the moment to point to where the Generals’ season and playoff hopes indeed ended.

Although, the Stars’ three-game win streak was snapped a week ago against the defending champion Stallions. Philly has recently seen their offense reach the heights they achieved a year ago after struggling to protect their quarterback and score points in the first half of 2023.

New Jersey has to find a way defensively to pressure Case Cookus and force him into mistakes. Ted Cottrell’s defense greatly succeeded against Bart Andrus’s offense earlier this season. They need to duplicate that effort.

The Generals have been hit with a lethal dose of the same poison they administered to teams a year ago on their way to a 9-1 record.

Opposing teams are controlling the clock at an alarming rate against them. Last week, Memphis possessed the football for over 40 minutes. As a result, not only did the Generals’ offense not have enough opportunities to score, but it tired out their stellar defense.

Somehow, despite having the football for only 19 minutes, the league’s leading rushing attack for the second year in a row rushed for over a hundred yards at nearly seven yards per carry in Week 8.

DeAndre Johnson and Darius Victor need to be at their best against Philadelphia. In Week 5, Victor had arguably his worst game as a pro, fumbling the football thrice. The Generals four turnovers erased one of their best days offensively all season.

It’s time for Johnson and Victor to flip the script on a disappointing 2023 campaign. If they don’t, next week’s Generals game with the Maulers will likely be a Tank Bowl game.

USFL Week 9 Philadelphia Stars @ New Jersey Generals Prediction

Surprisingly the oddsmakers have been kind to New Jersey despite their lackluster play. They have been favorites the last several weeks and are only two-point underdogs this Sunday.

The Generals haven’t shown the same heart and leadership they did a year ago.

Mike Riley, the USFL’s coach of the year in 2022, has had a miserable season, especially regarding game management. He’s either been an absentee landlord at the controls or has taken a white-flag approach in games.

Riley inexplicably conceded defeat a week ago, with his team only down one score late. And did it with a gentle smile on his face. It’s time for Riley and New Jersey to play with fire and act like their lives are on the line.

It’s challenging to assume that the Generals will suddenly flip the switch and play like a well-balanced team. Even if they do, Philadelphia has a better all-around team than them.

The playoffs are not written in the stars for New Jersey in 2023.

Prediction: Philadelphia Stars 23 New Jersey Generals 21

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. 4th&long

    June 9, 2023 at 8:27 pm

    Agree with Riey comments – that was way odd last week. Maybe he is disgusted.

    Having said that – 86ing Kyle Lauletta may be the kick in the butt the teams needs for motivation.

    If it rains Sunday night that could help the running game of NJ.

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