After exacting their revenge on the Gamblers in week 1, the Panthers and Stars travel to Ohio to battle it out at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. The Stars who represented the North Division in the 2022 USFL Championship, beat up on the Memphis Showboats with Case Cookus picking up where he left off throwing three touchdowns against the revamped Memphis Showboats.
Line: Panthers +3, O/U 46.5 per Bet MGM Sports Book +130 Panthers, -155 Stars
Date/Location: Sunday, April 23th, 2023, at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium Canton, Ohio
Kickoff Time: 7:00 PM EST
Weather Forecast: Overcast. Low 36F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.
TV/Streaming: FS1/Fox Sports App
Per the Michigan Panthers twitter the Panthers look to be relatively healthy going into week 2. Still listed as questionable is KiAnte Hardin, while Cory Rahman was placed on IR. The Panthers signed Tyree Robinson from East Tennessee State. Robinson played under Defensive Coordinator Steve Brown while in college.
Keys to the Game:
Case Cookus has been the USFL’s top Quarterback since the middle of last season. The NAU Quarterback not only lit up the Showboats through the air but also through the ground leading the team in rushing. With Cookus now given the full reigns of the offense, the Stars boast one of the more dynamic offense’s in the USFL. The Panthers did activate Delano Hill, a former UofM Safety with NFL experience, due to Cory Rahman being injured. Look for Cookus to attack the former Seahawk often and early.
Show me the Love:
Josh Love dominated week one in the USFL, setting a record for completion percentage going 19/21 and earning player of the week honors for the USFL. With the Panthers facing a bit more of a formidable Defense in week two, going up against Stars defenders like Channing Stribling and Adam Rodriguez the Panthers may face some offensive regression possibly. Love does look like a different Quarterback in 2023, flourishing in Eric Marty’s system and could silence a lot of doubters with another solid performance.
Speak to Me:
Breeland Speaks put together an all-time great performance against the Gamblers in week one. The former Ole Miss product put together a 3-sack performance, often times overmatching which offensive lineman on the Gamblers. With the Panthers Defensive Line clearly revamped and remotivated in 2023, look for Speaks to continue to have his way with the USFL and earn his way to an NFL contract after the season.
If the Panthers want to prove that their week one victory wasn’t a fluke their matchup with the Stars is a great test. Last season the Panthers dropped both games to Philadelphia one on a missed 21-yard field goal attempt and the second on a Case Cookus five touchdown performance. With Michigan revamped and retooled this Sunday night matchup may be primed for a good ole fashioned shoot out.
While Philadelphia may have more “Star” power, Michigan seems more well-rounded and a bit deeper on defense. With a reinvigorated Josh Love, look for Michigan to play a clean efficient game that includes plenty of RPOs, and seam routes that made Michigan so effective last week.
Ultimately, I think Michigan wins 29-22 in a revenge game showing the Stars and the rest of the USFL “Don’t Sleep on the Panthers”.