It’s hard to believe that the USFL’s inaugural season is already halfway done. With five weeks behind us, things are going to heat up heading into the second half of the year. So far, fans have been provided with plenty of entertainment each week.
We're midway through the season and there's been some absolutely 🔥 plays so far 🙌
No one has been eliminated from playoff contention quite yet, meaning that every organization still has a chance. That being said, some teams have played at a championship caliber level, while others have not.
We're halfway through the season and these guys sit on top of the offensive leaderboards 🔥
Let’s take a look at where each team stands at the halfway point, and what needs to happen for their championship hopes to either keep growing, or simply stay alive.
New Jersey Generals (4-1)
Clearly, the New Jersey Generals have a clear path to the playoffs – and the championship. They are the only team in the North Division to have played at a steady level all year long. This team is exceptional across the board – and it starts with the offensive game plan.
Mike Riley has done an excellent job with New Jersey, putting them in a fantastic position. Their fierce ground attack, paired up with DeAndre Johnson’s development, is lethal in so many ways. As of right now, New Jersey is certainly the favorite to come out of the North.
Half way through the battle, but there’s more work to do.
Philadelphia has their work cut out for themselves, and it isn’t going to be easy. The team lost their star QB in Bryan Scott, and there is no word on whether or not he can return. While the Stars still have plenty of outstanding pieces, it’s hard to see the team going far without Scott – who provides them with that championship experience.
Case Cookus is filling in relatively well, but hasn’t quite found a rhythm yet. On the defensive side of things, the team has struggled to get stops when they need them most. Philadelphia has to find some level of offensive consistency if they want to be taken seriously moving forward.
While Jeff Fisher’s Panthers are only 1-4, this team has plenty of playoff potential. Defensively, Michigan has been one of the best in the league – and their ground game has been on fire with Reggie Corbin. Quite simply, Shea Patterson is the key factor in whether or not Michigan can make a playoff push.
If the Panthers can stop shooting themselves in the foot down the stretch – and if Patterson can play solid football, Michigan can absolutely find themselves in the playoffs. And you know what they say: anything can happen in the playoffs.
These first 5 weeks of the season have been a grind. Looking forward to the next 5 😎🐾
Surprisingly, the Pittsburgh Maulers might just have a shot at making the playoffs. Sure, they’ve had an abysmal start at 1-4. But, with how weak the North Division has been, that second seed is still up for grabs. Now that the team has a better quarterback in Vad Lee, the Maulers can go on a run in this second half.
The big question here is: can Kirby Wilson coach the team to victories? He will play a major role in their potential success moving forward. Pittsburgh has a lot of talent, they just need to figure out how to properly utilize it. Winning their divisional games against Michigan and Philadelphia is a must, otherwise they can kiss their postseason hopes goodbye.
Just because Birmingham is undefeated, does not mean that the team is unbeatable. With that being said, this team is electrifying to watch. Skip Holtz has built an outstanding culture with his Stallions, as they have fought through adversity week after week without any quit.
Birmingham has mastered the art of finishing games strong – which is probably the most important aspect of any sport. As long as this team continues to play complete football across the board, odds are Birmingham will be in the 2022 Championship game.
UNDEFEATED THROUGH THE FIRST 5 GAMES! Cannot WAIT for the next 5. #GiddyUp 🐎
New Orleans has shown signs of weakness over the past couple of weeks – but boast some of the USFL’s most elite talents. Defensively, the team has played quite well, especially during the first few weeks. Similar to Michigan’s situation, New Orleans’ championship aspirations ride on their quarterback.
Kyle Sloter has to play at a high level for four quarters. When he does, the team wins. When he doesn’t, the team loses. It’s that simple. If Larry Fedora can get this team to cut down on the turnovers, New Orleans will be well on their way to the playoffs, and beyond.
Even though Tampa Bay currently sits in the third seed, the Bandits have shown some tremendous growth over the past couple of weeks. Jordan Ta’amu is looking a lot more like himself, and the defense has picked up the intensity when needed. Todd Haley has put his group in an excellent position to make a run, and it all starts with getting his quarterback in an early rhythm.
As cliche as this sounds, Tampa Bay just needs to play smart football – something they have not consistently done. If they can continue to improve as a group as the weeks go by, it would not be surprising to see Tampa Bay sneak past New Orleans.
Time is running out for the Houston Gamblers. Fans are frustrated, and for good reason. The team has been in a winning position every single week, but lost their last four games. Kevin Sumlin has not found an offensive closer – someone who can win them ball games in the clutch.
It all boils down to the fact that Clayton Thorson has not stepped up in the big moments. Obviously, that has to change in the coming weeks. This group is so talented – from running backs, to wide receivers, to elite defenders – Houston has it all, except a reliable quarterback. While nothing is impossible, Houston’s chances of making the playoffs are looking slimmer with each passing week.
We’ve had 5 weeks of football and we’re ready for more 😤
Week six has some excellent matchups on deck, starting with Philadelphia vs. Tampa Bay at 1pm EST tomorrow on NBC. Grab your popcorn, the show is only beginning in the USFL.
Which teams do you think will make the USFL Championship Game? What are some things you want to see during these final five weeks? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!