The time has come. In the words of Bruce Buffer, it’s time!
Skip Holtz returns as Birmingham’s head coach after leading his squad to a championship and league-best 9-1 record in the regular season. John Chavis also rejoined the Stallions as the defensive coordinator.
The roster is loaded on both sides of the ball. Quarterbacks J’Mar Smith and Alex McGough are returning along with running back Bo Scarbrough, a massive mid-season addition last year that ran for 134 yards and a touchdown in the championship game. While Victor Bolden left for the XFL, the Stallions leading receiver, Marlon Williams, is back with a great opportunity to make a name for himself.
Scooby Wright III, the linebacker that had the pivotal, game-sealing pick-six in the USFL Championship, will command the defense yet again. The Stallions will be without their leading tackler and sacks leader from last season in DeMarquis Gates, who now resides on the Chicago Bears roster. Nevertheless, the defense is still a strong unit, and Birmingham is well equipped to make a run at the title for a chance to repeat.
New Jersey Generals (0-0) at Birmingham Stallions (0-0)
Time: Saturday, April 15th, 7:30PM EST
Location: Protective Stadium – Birmingham, Alabama (University of Alabama at Birmingham campus)
Television Broadcast: FOX
Saturday night’s forecast around Protective Stadium calls for cloudy skies with temperatures around 72 degrees with light wind. While no precipitation is expected, there will be around 70% humidity.
Betting Odds (per FanDuel Sportsbook)
Moneyline: NJ +175/BIR -210
Spread: NJ +5.5/HOU -5.5
Over/Under (points): 39.5
Birmingham Stallions vs. New Jersey Generals Prediction
This is the most intriguing matchup of opening weekend. Both teams went 9-1 last season with the New Jersey Generals’ only loss being to the Stallions in the 2022 season opener, 28-24. In this game, the Generals took the lead a three-point lead with just under two minutes remaining, but the Stallions stormed back. J’Mar Smith scrambled for the game-winning, two-yard touchdown with 29 seconds left to give his team the victory.
Ultimately, this was the only matchup between both teams, and the rematch has the chance to live up to expectations with a slight advantage towards Birmingham.
The Stallions have the edge of returning some key players from last year’s championship run. It’s a massive plus that Smith has been with coach Holtz in college at Louisiana Tech and now in Birmingham. Plus, the overall talent across the roster gives them a boost over the Generals, which was represented in the spread for the game.
Meanwhile, the Generals will be missing some valuable capital in 2023. KaVontae Turpin, the 2022 USFL MVP, landed a gig with the Dallas Cowboys and won’t be returning. Additionally, starting quarterback Luis Perez made the jump to the XFL. This leaves two massive holes on the offense that may be difficult to recover from in just one year.
At the end of the day, the Stallions have the edge of returning a lot of offensive firepower that will just be too much to overcome for the Generals. Feel comfortable laying the points and taking Birmingham to win this game.
Birmingham Stallions 27, New Jersey Generals 17