The Birmingham Stallions are coming down the stretch of the 2023 USFL regular season and will face another difficult opponent this upcoming weekend. With the regular season title up for grabs, the Stallions will take on the New Orleans Breakers (4-2) at Protective Stadium.
This will be rematch of the Week 3 outing where the Breakers defeated the Stallions, 45-31. Birmingham will look to return the favor in a game that could decide the South Division title.
Heading into the game, the Stallions have been through their fair share of ups and downs, going 2-2 the past four weeks. Last Saturday, they defeated the Michigan Panthers 27-13 behind a masterclass performance from quarterback Alex McGough. He threw for 133 yards and two touchdowns on 24 pass attempts while adding 82 yards and a score on the ground. He’s been the engine of the Stallions offense that have needed him to step up at every turn. They will need another great performance from their signal caller in this one.
Meanwhile, the Breakers have been spiraling the past two weeks, suffering back-to-back losses. Despite starting the year as one of the most dominant offenses, they scored just 10 points in both games.
As aforementioned, the USFL season is wide open, as every team has lost at least two games. Even though there’s only four weeks left, the playoffs are wide open for any team to make their mark with Vegas giving the best chance of winning it all to the Stallions. Although they sit in third place in their division, Birmingham remains the favorite to win the USFL championship, according to FOX Bet.
Line: Stallions -1.5, O/U, 45.5 per Odds by FOXBET -133 Stallions, +105 Breakers
Date/Location: Saturday, May 27, 2023, at Protective Stadium, Birmingham, Alabama
Kickoff Time: 4:00PM EST
TV/Streaming: FOX/Fox Sports App
Keys to the Game
Force Bethel-Thompson into tight situations
McLeod Bethel-Thompson shredded the Birmingham defense in their last meeting. He threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns while completing 71.4% of his passes. Early on, he was riding high as a potential MVP candidate. In their last two losses, though, he’s been uncharacteristically bad, as he’s committed five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumbles lost) since then. He also hasn’t been completing his passes as consistently, leading to less scoring opportunities and successful drives.
Nevertheless, he still leads the USFL in passing yards and will need to pick apart his weaknesses and make him force things. Birmingham can’t let him get hot or else the could suffer a similar outcome to their first meeting.
Stuff the Run gaps
Just like Bethel-Thompson, the Breakers have the leading rusher in Wes Hills. He leads the league with 500 rushing yards and has the second-most rushing touchdowns with eight. In spite of that, he hasn’t had a standout game since Week 4. In their last two games, he’s rushed for 112 yards on 32 attempts (3.5 yards per carry). He’s yet to find the end zone in three weeks and will be hungry to get there, especially when he scored three times against the Stallions in Week 3.
Hills has a knack for finding a way to make an impact in games, whether it’s on the ground or in the passing game. Defensive coordinator John Chavis should have a pair of adjustments ready for this upcoming matchup to make sure he doesn’t replicate his performance.
As the line shows, this is going to be the tightest matchup of the weekend. Both teams are motivated to take this one; Birmigham wants to avenge their loss while New Orleans would like to get back into the win column.
A lot of the keys to victory for the Stallions will need to be defensive adjustments. Birmingham’s offense put up 31 points, which should’ve been good enough to win, but the defense couldn’t get a stop. They gave up 45 points but haven’t given up anything near that since.
Birmigham’s offense is loaded with talent, but the difference in this one could be its defense. They’ve gotten healthier on that side of the ball in recent weeks and it proved to be a big factor in last week’s win. They will need to do a better job of forcing turnovers and generating sacks
It’s going to be a tight matchup, and the game will probably be decided based on who has the ball last. Additionally, it will depend on which quarterback will out-duel the other. McGough has proven to be the better and more consistent quarterback and should narrowly will his team to victory.
Prediction: Stallions 30, Breakers 28