Monday, June 27, 2022

USFL Week 7 Power Rankings: Philly Stars climb into top half of league, Stallions still perfect at No. 1

Just four weeks remain in the USFL season and it looks like we’ll be heading down to the wire to see who’ll make the playoffs, specifically in the South Division. While the still-undefeated Stallions are sitting pretty with their playoff hopes, the Breakers and Bandits are just a game apart in the standings. Meanwhile, the Stars only have a two-game lead for the second and final playoff spot in the North, but it would take quite the turnaround for either the Panthers or Maulers to make a playoff run. Still, this final month should be a doozy. 

As we gear up for Week 7, let’s take a look at where each team stands. (Check out all of our USFL news here, including standingsschedule, and scores.)

1. Birmingham Stallions (6-0)

Previous week: No. 1

Another week, another win, and another No.1 spot for the Stallions, who moved to 6-0 with a win over the Panthers. Not only has Birmingham remained perfect, but they also have added a new weapon into their offense with running back Bo Scarbrough, who joined the club on May 9. He carried the ball 16 times in Week 6 for 105 yards and a touchdown. Not a bad piece to add to the already top-scoring offense in the USFL. 

Next game: vs. Pittsburgh Maulers (Sunday, May 29 at 2 p.m. ET)

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2. New Jersey Generals (5-1) 

Previous week: No. 2

The Generals pulled out a win on Sunday, but it came on the final play of the game as quarterback Luis Perez snuck it over the goal line at the buzzer. While the Gamblers did have New Jersey on its heels, N.J. was dominant throughout portions of Week 6, particularly during the third quarter where it held the ball for the entire 15-minute period. The Generals are two up in the standings in the North Division with four weeks remaining, giving them a nice cushion to reach the postseason. That said, the injury to quarterback De’Andre Johnson (who left the game in the first quarter) does bear watching. 

Next game: vs. Tampa Bay Bandits (Saturday, May 28 at 12 p.m. ET)

3. New Orleans Breakers (4-2)

Previous week: No. 3

Defense has the Breakers nipping at the heels of both the Stallions and Generals in these power rankings. They’ve allowed the fewest points in the league thus far, and that dominant defensive play was on full display in Week 6. Cornerback Ike Brown was able to haul in both of New Orleans’ turnovers against the Maulers, including a 97-yard pick-six. While New Orleans wasn’t exactly prolific through the air against Pittsburgh — just 101 total passing yards — it was encouraging that quarterback Kyle Sloter was able to protect the football and turned in a clean turnover sheet. 

Next game: vs. Michigan Panthers (Saturday, May 28 at 9 p.m. ET)

4. Philadelphia Stars (3-3)

Previous week: No. 5

The Stars move up one spot in the rankings thanks to their win over the Bandits in Week 6. Philly was able to play strong complementary football throughout the matchup with Tampa Bay as turnovers by the defense were answered with points by the offense more often than not. Even with a 3-0 turnover advantage, however, the game was still on the line in the final seconds before the Stars defense shut down the Bandits’ offense at Philadelphia’s 5-yard line. The Stars are one of the highest-scoring offenses in the league but have allowed a USFL high of 25.5 points per game. If that defense can play more like what we saw last weekend, they could be a tough out in the postseason.  

Next game: vs. Houston Gamblers (Sunday, May 29 at 6 p.m. ET) 

5. Tampa Bay Bandits (3-3)

Previous week: No. 4

You just can’t turn the ball over three times and expect to win, especially when two of those turnovers gave the ball to the opposition deep in your own territory. Even with all that said, Jordan Ta’amu did have the ball in his hands to win the game in the final seconds, but the Tampa Bay offense couldn’t execute. The Bandits are still within striking distance of a playoff berth at the moment, but a matchup against the Generals next week could very well put a nail in their coffin if they aren’t able to limit the turnovers.  

Next game: vs. New Jersey Generals (Saturday, May 28 at 12 p.m. ET)

6. Houston Gamblers (1-5) 

Previous week: No. 8

After a week relegated to the No. 8 spot, the Gamblers are back up to No. 6 in these rankings. However, that’s about the only thing they can hang their hat on these days as they lost on the final play of the game for the third week in a row in Week 6. Late-game execution has been horrid for the Gamblers, but they have shown flashes that illustrate they have a much higher ceiling than both the Panthers and Maulers. Quarterback Clayton Thorson leads the league in passing touchdowns and was solid this past week, scoring three touchdowns on a 78.9 completion percentage. While Houston has been able to get off to hot starts, they don’t keep it up for four quarters and struggled to keep drives alive, as evident in the Generals more than doubling their time of possession. 

Next game: vs. Philadelphia Stars (Sunday, May 29 at 6 p.m. ET) 

7. Michigan Panthers (1-5)

Previous week: No. 7

After keeping the Stallions within a field goal at the half, the Panthers were left in the dust over the final two quarters, being outscored 20-7. Michigan had no answer for Birmingham’s ground attack and allowed 5.6 yards per carry and two touchdowns in the loss. When you’re giving up that level of production on defense and boast an offense that is second-worst in the USFL in scoring, you’re going to end up with a record that is well below .500. 

Next game: vs. New Orleans Breakers (Saturday, May 28 at 9 p.m. ET)

8. Pittsburgh Maulers (1-5)

Previous week: No. 6

Pittsburgh had its moment in the sun with a brief bump up last week, but they’re back down to where they truly have belonged all season. They are averaging a league-low in points scored, which has contributed to them having the worst point differential in the USFL. The Maulers showed a little fight in the second half against the Breakers last weekend, but an interception at the beginning of the fourth quarter that extended New Orleans’ lead to 20 points was too much to overcome. 

Next game: vs. Birmingham Stallions (Sunday, May 29 at 2 p.m. ET)

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