Week 9 of the USFL is in the books, and the final playoff spots are officially locked up. With only one more week of the regular season, teams who’ve secured a playoff spot will probably look to rest some key players before the postseason. However, those out of the playoffs will likely try to end their season with one final win in Week 10.
1. New Jersey Generals (Last Week: 2)
The New Jersey Generals take over the top spot in the rankings after beating the Michigan Panthers in a close game, along with the Birmingham Stallions receiving their first loss of the season.
DeAndre Johnson got the start for New Jersey but was taken out of the game after an interception on his second drive. He completed 5/8 passes (62.5% comp) for 60 yards and an interception, also running 5 times for only 4 yards before coming out of the game. He’d be replaced by Luis Perez, who completed 10/16 passes (62.5% comp) for 92 yards and a touchdown on the day.
Tre Williams led the rushing attack for New Jersey, totaling 11 carries for 62 yards. However, their only rushing touchdown of the game came from Cam Echols-Luper, who took one rush into the endzone on a 24-yard play. Leading the air attack was wide receiver Darrius Shepherd, who hauled in 8 receptions for 99 yards and 1 touchdown on the day.
The Generals played a decent game defensively but allowed the Panthers to hang in the game until the very end. The team totaled 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 10 pass deflections, and a forced fumble, with highlight players including cornerback Trae Elston, linebacker D’Juan Hines, and safety Mike Bell Jr.
With the North Division first seed locked up tight and a banged-up football team, I’d imagine Mike Riley rests or at least limits some of the team’s key players in their final matchup.
2. Birmingham Stallions (Last Week: 1)
The Birmingham Stallions fall to the 2nd spot in the rankings after taking their first loss of the season from the Houston Gamblers.
J’Mar Smith got the start, and despite being held out of the endzone for the majority of the game, he played decently well. Smith ended the day completing 28/41 passes (68.3% comp) for 260 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, along with 4 rushes for 21 yards.
Bo Scarbrough took the majority of the carries for Birmingham, taking 11 rushes for 31 yards. However, CJ Marable would take quite a bit of the workload as well, totaling 9 rushes for 26 yards, along with 3 receptions for 25 yards. Wide receiver Victor Bolden Jr led the Stallions’ air attack, racking up 8 catches for 74 yards on the day.
Defensively, Birmingham played pretty well despite the loss. However, you could tell this team needs some rest heading into the playoffs. They ended the game with a total of 2 sacks, 7 tackles for loss, and 3 pass deflections, with top players including linebackers Scooby Wright III and DeMarquis Gates, along with Safety Christian McFarland.
The Stallions are heading into the final week of the season with the top playoff spot secured and a handful of injured players. One would have to expect coach Skip Holtz to be limiting a few of the team’s best players in Week 10 before they head into the postseason.
3. New Orleans Breakers (Last Week: 3)
New Orleans stays in the 3rd ranked spot after a win over the Tampa Bay Bandits in Week 9, locking them into the 2nd playoff spot in the South Division.
It was a sloppy game for Kyle Sloter, who finished the game completing 7/14 passes (50% comp) for only 48 yards and an interception. His backup, Zach Smith, also saw some action, completing 5/6 passes (83.3% comp) for 51 yards and 1 touchdown, also running 4 times for 25 yards.
Running back Anthony Jones led the rushing attack, totaling 11 carries for 59 yards. However, Jordan Ellis also took a bit of the workload, totaling 14 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown. Leading the air attack was tight end Sal Canella, who hauled in 3 receptions for 34 yards on the day.
On the defensive side, New Orleans played a great game, keeping Tampa Bay out of the endzone until late in the game. The team totaled 3 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 9 pass deflections, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. Highlight players on the Breakers’ defense in Week 9 include safety Greg Eisworth II, linebacker Jerod Fernandez, and defensive end Nigel Chavis.
With only one game left in the regular season and a playoff spot finally locked up, one would assume coach Fedora will be letting this banged-up team rest a bit before heading into the playoffs.
4. Philadelphia Stars (Last Week: 4)
The Stars stay in the 4th ranked spot after barely getting the win against the Pittsburgh Maulers.
Case Cookus got the start at quarterback, but his backup KJ Costella would also see some playing time. Cookus completed 5/13 passes (38.5% comp) for only 62 yards and an interception before getting replaced. In relief, Costella completed 4/10 passes (40% comp) for 69 yards on the day.
Running back Matt Colburn II led Philly’s ground attack, totaling 12 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown, also grabbing 1 catch for 6 yards. His cohort, Paul Terry, also found the endzone, totaling 4 runs for 5 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Jordan Suell led the Stars in receiving, totaling 3 receptions for 47 yards on the day.
Philly played a great game defensively despite how close of a game it turned out to be. The team totaled 2 sacks, 1 tackle for loss, 2 interceptions, 4 pass deflections, 4 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. Top players from the Stars defense in Week 10 include linebacker Te’Von Coney, and safeties LaDarius Wiley and Ahmad Dixon.
The Stars are on their way to the playoffs but are in an interesting predicament. In Week 10, they’ll have a matchup against the New Jersey Generals, who’ll they’ll meet again only one week later in the playoffs. Additionally, both football teams are pretty banged up. It should be an interesting final game, to say the least.
5. Tampa Bay Bandits (Last Week: 5)
The Tampa Bay Bandits are still in the 5th ranked spot after their Week 9 loss to the New Orleans Breakers.
It was not a great day for Jordan Ta’amu, who was not able to get his team into the endzone until late in the game. He completed 22/39 passes (56.4% comp) for 288 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, and also rushing 9 times for 86 yards.
Besides Ta’amu, the Bandits rushing attack struggled, with running back Juwan Washington taking only 2 carries for 9 yards, also grabbing 1 pass for 7 yards. Wide receiver Rashard Davis led Tampa Bay’s air attack, totaling 6 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown.
Their defense played pretty well despite the loss, totaling 3 sacks, 3 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 4 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. Top players on the Bandits’ defense include linebacker Anthony Butler, cornerback Delrick Abrams Jr, and safety Antonio Reed.
The Bandits fell short of the playoffs, but now Todd Haley can get his guys some rest. It’s been a long season for Tampa Bay, who’ve fallen rather short of their preseason predictions.
6. Houston Gamblers (Last Week: 6)
The Gamblers stay in the 6th ranked spot after delivering the Birmingham Stallions their first loss of the season.
Kenji Bahar continued to start at quarterback in place of the Injured Clayton Thorson, and has played well, completing 16/24 passes (66.7% comp) for 164 yards and a touchdown, also rushing 6 times for 36 yards.
Taking the majority of the carries for Houston was running back Devwah Whaley, but he struggled, totaling 11 carries for only 15 yards, and 1 catch for 3 yards on the day. Wide receiver Tyler Palka led the Gamblers’ air attack, hauling in 6 receptions for 83 yards. However, the team’s only touchdown through the air came from wide receiver Isaiah Zuber, who totaled 3 receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown.
Houston’s defense played well as they have all season, totaling 2 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 6 pass deflections. Top players on the Gamblers’ defense in Week 10 include cornerbacks Will Likely and Micah Abernathy and linebacker Donald Payne.
Kenji Bahar has looked good in place of the injured Clayton Thorson. Unfortunately, the season is nearly over for the Gamblers. They’ll likely try to end the season on a high note with an upset over the playoff-bound Breakers in week 10.
7. Michigan Panthers (Last Week: 7)
The Panthers stay in the 7th spot in the rankings after losing a close game to the New Jersey Generals in Week 9.
Josh Love continued to start at quarterback for Michigan, but his backup Eric Barriere saw some playing time as well. Love completed 12/21 passes (57.1% comp) for 168 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions, also running once for 5 yards before getting replaced. In relief, Barriere completed 14/24 passes (58.3% comp) for 286 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception.
Stevie Scott III led the rushing attack for Michigan, totaling 13 carries for 36 yards, also grabbing 1 catch for 12 yards. Wide receiver Joe Walker led the air attack, totaling 7 receptions for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ishmael Hyman also scored in week 9, totaling 5 receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Panthers played a decent game, totaling 2 sacks, 4 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 5 pass deflections, and a forced fumble. Top players on the Panthers’ defense include linebackers Frank Ginda and Terry Myrick, and cornerback Jameson Houston.
They’ve started to figure things out with Josh Love at quarterback. Unfortunately, they still haven’t been able to finish games, and there’s only one game left in their season.
8. Pittsburgh Maulers (Last Week: 8)
The Maulers stay at the bottom of the rankings after losing a very close game to the Philly Stars.
Vad Lee got the start for the Maulers, but Roland Rivers saw some playing time as well. Lee ended the game completing 17/28 passes (60.7% comp) for 146 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions, also running 4 times for 12 yards. In relief, Roland Rivers completed 0/3 passes.
Garrett Groshek led the Maulers in rushing, totaling 11 carries for 48 yards. however, Madre London would see a good bit of touches as well, taking 9 rushes for 34 yards, also grabbing 1 catch for 3 yards. Pittsburgh’s leading receiver was tight end Hunter Thedford, who hauled in 3 receptions for 50 yards.
Despite the loss, Pittsburgh’s defense played a decent game, totaling 4 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 6 pass deflections, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery. highlight players on the Maulers’ defense include linebackers Kyahva Tezino and Zane Zandier, along with defensive end Carlo Kemp.
The Maulers’ season’s been over for weeks, but their players are still trying to put up a fight week after week. Michigan might try to end things on a high note in Week 10, but Pittsburgh isn’t going to make it easy for them. Unfortunately, if Kirby Wilson has anything to say about it (and you know he will), some poor coaching decision(s) will be made, and the Maulers will likely lose their final game of the season because of it.