In their regular season finales, the Stallions and Bandits will face off to cap their 10 game runs. Birmingham, already a lock for the playoffs is gunning to regain their momentum after a freak loss to the Houston Gamblers last week. Tampa Bay has unfortunately been eliminated from playoff contention, but these guys have a ton to play for. That’s the beauty of the USFL, and spring football in general. The Bandits are gonna fight like hell, for the opportunity, for the tape, and for each other.
So, the undefeated streak is over. It’s okay. It’s been a wild ride, and while that would have been a cool feather in their cap, we know they’re just focused on going 1-0 this week. So. What went wrong last week that they can correct course on here in the season finale? Houston didn’t exactly light up Birmingham in their 17-15 W, but their defense was absolutely swarming and was able to stutter this offense.
Getting things established on the ground again will be a great first step, but tightening up the passing attack will be important too. After 6 pass deflections and an interception last week, focusing on routes, ball placement, reads will be crucial as J’Mar Smith & co get back on track.
Seth Thomas, DL: Full Go (Shoulder)— Birmingham Stallions (@USFLStallions) June 17, 2022
Chris McFarland, DB: Full Go (Shoulder)
Marlon Williams, WR: Full Go (Knee)
O’Shea Dugas, OL: Full Go (Shoulder)
Jordan McCray, OL: Full Go (Knee)
Victor Bolden, WR: Full Go (Hamstring)
Luckily, Birmingham is coming into this game at near full strength. While we’d love to see guys like sharkdog dominate, it may be for the best if they work him into a rotation, so he can stay fresh for the playoffs. In fact, there may be some of this around the roster, but we’ll have to see how Skip Holtz approaches the situation.
They’ve also brought in some reinforcements for the secondary. Their sole roster move so far this week, they acquired cornerback Josh Nurse. While the team seems entrenched with Tae Hayes, Josh Shaw and Brian Allen as their top 3, Nurse brings some great tools to the table and could prove a valuable addition down the stretch. The 6’3″ 200 pound corner could be a good option to help lock down tight ends and bigger wideouts as he learns the system here.
All throughout, the Stallions look primed to come back strong and finish out their regular season right.
Tampa Bay Bandits
This season, the Bandits offense has largely been the Jordan Ta’amu show. The ascending passer lead the league with 12 TD’s and has amassed 1790 pass yards. He also leads the Bandits in rush yards with 343. Unfortunately, he’s often been trying to play catchup and hero ball, and 11 picks on the year have brought down his efficiency.
The Stallions have a stout defensive front and skilled secondary, so he’ll have to play it smart and protect the football, even if they’re chasing a lead. They’ll also need their defensive stars like Travis Feeney and Emmanuel Beal to step up and make plays against the Stallions.
Game Status Report:— Tampa Bay Bandits (@USFLBandits) June 17, 2022
Matt Burrell, OL: Out (Head)
Quenton Meeks, DB: Out (Head)
Obi Melifonwu, DB: Out (Shoulder)
Christian Campbell, DB: Doubtful (Thigh)
Stephen Griffin, DB: Questionable (Foot)
Jermaine Kelly, DB: Probable (Thigh)
Jarron Jones, OL: Out (Lower Leg)
Unfortunately, their secondary appears in dire straits this week, with CB1 Quentin Meeks out, Obi Melifonwu Out, and two other DB’s listed on the injury report. Hopefully guys like Delrick Abrams Jr., Rashard Causey and Rannell Hall can step up at CB, because they may be the only options on the active roster.
They are going into this matchup undergunned due to injury, so playing smart football will be key.
The game airs today at 4:00 PM Eastern on Fox.