The second game of the USFL’s Saturday Week 7 double-header has the 4-2 New Orleans Breakers who own 2nd place in the South taking on the 1-5 Michigan Panthers who are tied for last place in the North, a win key to keeping both teams alive for the upcoming postseason.
The Breakers are now 4-2 after taking care of one-win Pittsburgh last week, 26-16, a game kept in check by New Orleans defense who kept the Maulers scoreless in the first half, this team averaging 131 rushing yards a game with a QB, Kyle Sloter, who leads the league in production.
In Week 6, the one-win Panthers looked impressive in their first half against the undefeated Birmingham Stallions, but the second half was a different story as Michigan’s defense allowed 20 more points while the offense could only come up with a third quarter touchdown.
Breakers vs Panthers Predictions
Can the Panthers Offense Find the End Zone More Often?
The Panthers have only won one game this season and they are in the middle of a three-game losing streak for a reason – they struggle to score, right now averaging just 17.3 points per game, not enough for a team whose defense allows opponents to score an average of 18.8.
The Panthers rushing attack is solid starring Regginald Corbin who is ranked third in the league among running backs with 69 carries for 408 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns, that run offense averaging almost 158 yards on the ground per game, though in last week’s loss they had 91.
Michigan QB Shea Patterson must upgrade his pass attack and Panthers HC Jeff Fisher and OC Eric Marty must figure out a better passing game plan, right now that part of the offense averaging just 156.5 yards through the air per game, less than what they earn on the ground.
Can the Breakers Stop the Panthers’ Rush Attack?
One thing Michigan can do well is run the football, so far averaging 156.5 yards on the ground per game, so it’s a good bet that New Orleans DC Jonathan Tenuta will be focusing on a way to neutralize that rush attack, a goal shared no doubt with Defensive Line coach Paul Spicer.
To get that job done, watch for playmakers like linebacker Frank Ginda, the team’s leading tackler this season with 49 total tackles and a sack, the 24-year old from San Jose State having had NFL camp experience as well as pro experience in the XFL with the New York Guardians.
Another decent tackler on the Panthers is linebacker Terry Myrick who already has 34 total tackles with 20 of them solo, a line of defense that could help New Orleans stay in the hunt for the playoffs since another win would keep them a game ahead of the 3-3 Tampa Bay Bandits.
Breakers Key Player: (RB) Anthony Jones
The New Orleans Breakers have a solid rushing attack that is helped along by RB Anthony Jones, his efforts in the last two outings have been noticed, so far with 30 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown in those two games, a huge factor in the team’s win last week.
Against the porous Pittsburgh Maulers defense, Jones was able to have his best game of the season, posting 22 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown while averaging 4.6 yards per carry, an effort that helped his Breakers total 173 yards on the ground in that victory.
To win here against the tight Panthers defense, New Orleans’ run game must step up against an opponent whose defense allows an average of 112.8 rushing yards per game, also a chance for Jones to catch some passes, last week with 2 catches for 20 yards through the air.
Panthers Key Player: (PK) Cole Murphy
Two weeks ago, Panthers HC Jeff Fisher made a smart move to stop the team’s kick-related bleeding and cut successful punter but failed placekicker Michael Carrizosa and brought in Cole Murphy, an undrafted free agent out of Syracuse who can boot the ball through the uprights.
In just two games, Murphy has already blown past Carrizosa’s placekicker numbers, right now with 13 total points off three-for-three field goals made and four-for-four extra point attempts, as well, already the 8th ranked kicker in the USFL against guys who have played far more games.
Last week, Murphy put the Panthers on the board in the first quarter by booting a 56-yarder for three points, a sign to the other seven teams that kicking does matter, a lesson that Michigan finally learned after getting burned too many times by a missed fourth quarter kick.
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How to Watch Breakers vs Panthers
Breakers vs Panthers Information What New Orleans Breakers vs Michigan Panthers Where Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama When Saturday, May 28, 2022; 9: 00 PM ET How to watch FS1