The end of season two of the USFL nears as the Pittsburgh Maulers return to Canton, Ohio to take on the Houston Gamblers on Saturday.
The Maulers’ offense rose to the occasion last weekend versus the Stars. But unfortunately, their defense took a turn for the worse. In a 37-31 defeat, the Maulers’ fate has been mostly determined. Winning out will put them at only 5-5. They may play in a weak division, where the Stars lead with a 4-3 record, but it would take a lot to dig out of this hole and make the post-season.
This week, they look to build some positive momentum and get their first home win of the year against the Houston Gamblers. The Gamblers sit at 4-3 themselves at the bottom of their division, coming off of a close 23-20 loss to the Memphis Showboats. The Maulers could very well be fighting for their lives, but so are the Gamblers. We’re in for a battle of desperation in Canton, Ohio this weekend.
Line: Gamblers -3, O/U 43.5
Date/Location: 12:00 PM EST, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio
Weather Forecast: 83 degrees, cloudy skies, Humidity 47%, Wind: 9 MPH
Key Storylines for Maulers
The Maulers simply just need to find a reason to keep playing hard. The outlook looks bleak at 2-5. With just three games to go, they need to be perfect, and get some help on the way to the end if they want to squeak into the post-season. It’s a tall order, but this is the situation they face by being an inconsistent team on both sides of the football. When the offense steps up, the defense falls short. And vice versa, which has been the case for most of the season for Pittsburgh.
The Gamblers have had their struggles and played in a difficult division. They’d be tied for first in the North if it were aligned differently. So this isn’t exactly an even battle as the standings might indicate. Players like Troy Williams, Bailey Gaither, Isiah Hennie, Olive Sagupolu, and Reuben Foster all need to step up and carry this team to the finish line. It won’t be easy, but it’s what’s necessary at this point.
Prediction for Maulers-Gamblers
The Maulers just haven’t proven that they can get the job done. They’ve struggled to hold back late-scoring drives and plays. They play bend-don’t-break defense to a point where it burns them if the offense can’t muster points. Their offense often fails to punch it in on a consistent basis and needs help from scoring plays on the defense or special teams. They just can’t seem to find a formula to get the win when they need it.
Because of those reasons, I can’t take the Maulers to win this game. They’ve been road warriors when they win, and often get blown out at home. Although keeping it close with the first place Stars. I’ll take them to keep it within a score, but they’ll need an extra drive to win, and just can’t convert. Let’s see if they give us all something to follow through the end of this weekend!
Final Score: 23-20, Gamblers win (Maulers fall to 2-6)