Believe it or not, we’re halfway through the rebooted USFL’s inaugural season. With five weeks of action now in the rearview mirror, there’s a pretty apparent hierarchy among these clubs with some jockeying from week to week. As you may expect, the top spot remains the same with the Stallions remaining perfect on the season, but we do have a new look at the bottom of this list now that there are zero winless teams in the league.
1. Birmingham Stallions (5-0)
Previous week: No. 1
The Stallions remained perfect on the season after taking down the Stars on Sunday. Philly gave them a run for their money out of the gate and pulled out to a double-digit lead in the first half, but Birmingham would eventually turn the tide and never look back. The defense shut out the Stars throughout the second half as the offense proceeded to put up 16 points over that same stretch. They also went on a back-breaking touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that chewed 10:28 off the clock. That ability to close late is a big reason why the Stallions’ perfect season is still intact.
Next game: vs. Michigan Panthers (Saturday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET)
2. New Jersey Generals (4-1)
Previous week: No. 2
The Generals’ lead in the North Division continues to grow and they are now 4-1 on the season after a win against the Breakers. New Jersey largely had their grasp on this game and fended off New Orleans whenever they would close in towards retaking the lead. Through five weeks, the Generals are tied for the fewest points allowed in the USFL. They also ditched the two-QB system they had been rolling out the past few weeks and it proved to be the right move. De’Andre Johnson started over Luis Perez and played well. He completed 66.7% of his throws for 213 yards and an interception, while also rushing for two touchdowns.
Next game: vs. Houston Gamblers (Sunday, May 22 at 4 p.m. ET)
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3. New Orleans Breakers (3-2)
Previous week: No. 3
Kyle Sloter’s struggles are starting to become a serious problem for the Breakers, despite their above-.500 record. He completed just 41.7% of his passes against the Generals last week and — while he threw two touchdowns — he also had two picks, which adds to his league-leading seven interceptions on the year. New Orleans’ defense has bailed out the offense throughout the season and even gave them a shot at times in Week 5 against New Jersey. So far, they are allowing just 17 points per game, which is the second-fewest in the USFL this season and the lowest in the South Division. If Sloter can be just a bit more efficient throwing the football, the Breakers should be able to make noise in the playoffs.
Next game: vs. Pittsburgh Maulers (Sunday, May 22 at 12 p.m. ET)
4. Tampa Bay Bandits (3-2)
Previous week: No. 5
The Bandits have been able to beat up on the bottom dwellers of the league and that continued in Week 5 as they took down the Panthers to move to 3-2. That said, it did take a fourth-down touchdown and a forced fumble by the defense to truly pull away in that game. Jordan Ta’amu put together a strong performance in the win, throwing for 207 yards and two touchdowns while adding 27 yards on the ground. While they may have jumped Philly this week in our power rankings, they could find themselves falling back down this list as these teams will go head to head in Week 6.
Next game: vs. Philadelphia Stars (Saturday, May 21 at 1 p.m. ET)
5. Philadelphia Stars (2-3)
Previous week: No. 4
The Stars had us on upset alert early on Sunday when they built up a double-digit lead over the undefeated Stallions, but it didn’t take long for them to lose control. After going up 17-7 midway through the second quarter, Philadelphia proceeded to get outscored 23-0 for the rest of the game. Part of that was Birmingham finally finding its footing, but the Stars also didn’t put themselves in a position to win down the stretch. The defense recovered a fumble in the third quarter and the offense proceeded to go three-and-out on the ensuing possession, and they committed a brutal roughing the kicker penalty after forcing the Stallions to punt in the fourth quarter. That led to a near 11-minute drive by Birmingham to effectively ice the game.
Next game: vs. Tampa Bay Bandits (Saturday, May 21 at 1 p.m. ET)
6. Pittsburgh Maulers (1-4)
Previous week: No. 8
Welcome to the win column, Maulers! Yes, we’re probably being prisoners of the moment for vaulting them up two spots after sitting at No. 8 for the previous few weeks, but let’s give Pittsburgh — and quarterback Vlad Lee — their moment. After struggling to find solid quarterback play, Lee was brought in last week and it looks like he may have some staying power. He threw for 170 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while adding 20 yards rushing. One of Lee’s touchdowns came at the buzzer as he completed a 9-yard pass to Bailey Gaither to win the game. Gaither went off for 108 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the win. The Maulers are still at the bottom of the league in scoring, but hopefully Lee will be able to make them a more respectable unit in the weeks to come.
Next game: vs. New Orleans Breakers (Sunday, May 22 at 12 p.m. ET)
7. Michigan Panthers (1-4)
Previous week: No. 7
Michigan’s defense has been solid for the bulk of the year and is tied for the league lead in fewest points allowed. It hasn’t translated into many wins, however, which is large in part due to their offense averaging just 17.4 points per game (third-fewest in the USFL). That said, it is encouraging that Shea Patterson put together a strong performance in the loss, throwing for 304 yards on a 62.2 completion percentage. They’ll just need to put together more complete performances going forward, but face a tough task coming up as they’ll play the undefeated Stallions on Saturday night.
Next game: vs. Birmingham Stallions (Saturday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET)
8. Houston Gamblers (1-4)
Previous week: No. 6
If you lose to a winless team, you’re naturally going to take a dip in the rankings. The Gamblers struggled to close out this game and allowed the Maulers — the worst scoring offense in the USFL — to outscore them 12-3 in the fourth quarter. This marks the third-straight week that Houston has lost in the final seconds, which is not the most welcoming trend. Their 23.2 points per game allowed this season is the second-most in the USFL.
Next game: vs. New Jersey Generals (Sunday, May 22 at 4 p.m. ET)