USFL Week 2: What to know about each game

USFL Week 2: What to know about each game

Apr 22

The first weekend of USFL action was a thrill a minute.

There were exciting comebacks, bone-rattling hits, eye-popping feats of athleticism and much more.

Now, with four games having been played, we have a good feel for the fun this league brings to the table. And as we head into Week 2, there are four more games on the slate — one Friday night, two on Saturday, and a finale on Sunday.

What should we expect to see? 

Here is a primer for Week 2:

Michigan Panthers (0-1) vs. New Jersey Generals (0-1)

Friday, 8 p.m. ET on USA

Last week: The Panthers fumbled the ball nine times — including five combined from quarterbacks Shea Patterson and Paxton Lynch — in a 17-12 loss to Houston. Patterson did find his game in the second half, finishing with 192 passing yards. 

The Generals lost to Birmingham 28-24 despite outgaining the Stallions 408-277 and dominating time of possession 37:55 to 22:05. Coach Mike Riley's two-QB system — Luis Perez and De'Andre Johnson — showed promise.

Players to watch: For Michigan, keep your eye on running backs Stevie Scott III and Cam Scarlett, who combined for 138 rush yards on 33 carries last week.

For New Jersey, it will be interesting to see if Johnson can wrest more playing time from Perez. Johnson was a major threat with his legs last week, leading the Generals with 98 rushing yards.

Pittsburgh Maulers (0-1) vs. Philadelphia Stars (0-1)

Saturday, 12 p.m. ET on FOX

Last week: The Maulers were the only team that failed to score a touchdown in Week 1, falling 17-3 to Tampa Bay. Pittsburgh aims to be a smashmouth running team but averaged only 2.8 yards per carry — though the Maulers did outgain their foes 89-64 on the ground.

The Stars struggled to protect quarterback Bryan Scott in a 23-17 loss to New Orleans, though he did end up leading all passers in Week 1 with 202 yards.

Players to watch: For Pittsburgh, keep an eye on linebacker Kyahva Tezino, who was an absolute beast in Week 1, with 12 tackles — including two tackles for loss — and an interception.

For Philly, receiver Chris Rowland has quickly built a rapport with Scott. The Tennessee State product led the Stars in targets (nine), receptions (seven) and receiving yards (74).

Birmingham Stallions (1-0) vs. Houston Gamblers (1-0)

Saturday, 7 p.m. ET on FS1

Last week: The Stallions staged a stunning comeback to beat New Jersey, as backup quarterback J'Mar Smith stepped in for an injured Alex McGough to spark a 28-24 victory and earn Player of the Week honors.

The Gamblers put on a stifling defensive display against Michigan, building a 17-0 halftime lead on the way to a 17-12 victory. Houston forced nine fumbles on the day — nine! — and Reggie Northrup returned one of them for a touchdown.

Players to watch: For Birmingham, it'll be hard to keep your gaze off of receiver Osirus Mitchell. The 6-foot-5 Mississippi State product averaged a stunning 19.2 yards per catch (five receptions for 96 yards) in Week 1.

For Houston, there are several big hitters on the defensive side of the ball, including Northrup. Keep your eye on linebacker Donald Payne, who was everywhere in Week 1, racking up 19 tackles.

New Orleans Breakers (1-0) vs. Tampa Bay Bandits (1-0)

Sunday, 3 p.m. ET on NBC/Peacock

Last week: The Breakers' pass rush was a force, notching six sacks in a 23-17 win over Philadelphia. They also scored both on defense and on special teams — talk about being impressive in all three phases of the game!

The Bandits were the only team to win by double digits in Week 1 (17-3 over Pittsburgh), earning the top spot in RJ Young's USFL Power Rankings.

Players to watch: For New Orleans, watch the backfield duo of Jordan Ellis and T.J. Logan Jr., who combined to rush for 145 yards on 33 carries (4.4 yards per carry).

For the Bandits, much of the early buzz has been around QB Jordan Ta’amu, who passed for 185 yards last week and looked in complete control of the offense.