The USFL Week 5 Saturday game features a cross-divisional matchup between the South’s 3-1 New Orleans Breakers and the North’s 3-1 New Jersey Generals, two teams that look like postseason candidates already as this 10-game spring football season hits its halfway mark.
Last week, the Breakers almost beat themselves during their eventual win over the Houston Gamblers, 23-16, with multiple penalties plus three interceptions by QB Kyle Sloter who also essentially won the game with his 29-yard TD pass to WR Jonathan Adams with seconds to go.
The 3-win Generals sit atop the USFL’s North Division by a game after taking care of the winless Pittsburgh Maulers last week, 23-13, their defense holding strong while New Jersey’s league-leading rushing attack averages a whopping 178.3 yards on the ground per game. Here are our top picks, predictions and odds for the Breakers vs. Generals. Good luck!
Generals Week 5 Predictions
Can the new placekicker for the Breakers continue to contribute?
Despite the high quality of football in the USFL, spring football’s weakest area has been (arguably) the special team play. This is a difficult part to learn in so little time. The Breakers have a new placekicker.
The Breakers’ new placekicker is Taylor Bertolet, Johnny “Football” Manziel’s kicker back at Texas A&M where he was named Second-team All-SEC in 2015, a 29-year-old who has had a lot of NFL camp and practice squad experience with eight separate teams starting in 2016.
Last week in his first game kicking for New Orleans, Bertolet kicked a 50-yard field goal right off the bat to tie the game and he helped earn the win by booting for 11 points – 3 field goals out of 4 attempts plus 2/2 extra point attempts, more production than his predecessor had in 3 games.
Can the Generals stop New Orleans’ deadly pass game?
The New Jersey Generals are excellent against the pass this season, so far keeping their opponents to less than 177 yards through the air per matchup, a defense that also keeps opponents to about 16 points per game compared to the 23.3 that the Breakers tend to score.
New Orleans has the league’s leading passer in QB Kyle Sloter who has completed 94 passes for 1,054 yards and 5 touchdowns while getting intercepted 5 times, his QBR of 122 ranked fifth best in the USFL, a tough player to neutralize but that will no doubt be the Generals’ game plan.
The Generals defense is also tough against the run, allowing opponents to gain just 67 yards on the ground per game, a tough group with no real coordinator but run by committee via HC Mike Riley, Defensive Line Coach Robert Diaco, and DB Assistant Coach Dominique Franks.
Breakers Key Player: (LB) Jerod Fernandez
New Orleans is going to face New Jersey’s effective run game in Week 5 using one of the league’s top tacklers, linebacker Jerrod Fernandez, a North Carolina State grad who was selected by the Breakers in the 21st round and continues to be the team’s best take down artist.
In four games, the 27-year old Fernandez has made 39 total tackles (25 of them solo) plus he has forced a fumble and defended a pass, the 5” 11″ 227-pound playmaker still without a sack, though he did have three of them while playing for the Wolfpack from 2014 through 2017.
This matchup with the Generals should prove to be a great tackling-ground for Fernandez and no doubt he will continue to get defensive help by the team’s other lead tackler, outside linebacker Vontae Diggs, who has 34 tackles, a 37-yard pick-six and a pass defended this year.
Generals Key Player: (RB) Darius Victor
The Generals are excellent on the ground, with 28-year-old running back Darius Victor their most productive at that position after four games, the 5′ 8″ 209-pound Towson alum who has NFL camp experience (Saints, Cardinals) as well as XFL (Guardians) experience to rely on.
So far this season for New Jersey, Victor has carried the ball 49 times for 213 yards and a league-leading 4 rushing touchdowns, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, production matched by his backfield counterpart, Trey Williams, who has 47 carries for 203 yards but no touchdowns.
As effective as the Victor-Williams one-two punch has been, the Generals leading rusher this season continues to be QB De’Andre Johnson who has 44 carries for 230 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns, averaging 5.2 yards per carry, a clear sign that the NJ offensive line must be tops.
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How to Watch Breakers vs Generals
Breakers vs Generals Information What New Orleans Breakers vs New Jersey Generals Where Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama When Saturday, May 14, 2022; 3: 00 PM ET How to watch FOX