What to expect in Birmingham Stallions vs. New Orleans Breakers

A month ago, the New Orleans Breakers and Birmingham Stallions were playing for supremacy not just in the South Division, but for the best record in the United States Football League.

But with four games left to play this season, the Stallions and Breakers might simply be playing for a place in the playoffs. That’s how tight the race is in the South.

Birmingham (4-2), New Orleans (4-2) and the Houston Gamblers (4-2) are each tied for first place in their division with the Memphis Showboats (3-3) just a game back. However, it’s the Breakers who look most vulnerable heading into their Week 7 showdown against the Stallions on Saturday (4 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app).

After opening the season 4-0, John DeFilippo’s Breakers have lost their last two games. Those losses were away from their home hub in Birmingham, though, and they were two of the worst games they've seen from quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson through six weeks.

In fact, the losses on the Breakers’ record each coincide with the only instances where Bethel-Thompson has failed to pass for at least 250 yards.

On top of that, tailback Wes Hills, who had back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances in Weeks 2 and 3, has failed to rush for 100 yards in each of the Breakers’ last three games.

Getting back home might be just what the Breakers are looking for to regain their form.

That’s one reason to believe the Breakers can pull off the double and beat Skip Holtz’s Stallions for the second time this season. But don't expect it to be easy. The Stallions boast last week’s USFL Offensive Player of the Week in quarterback Alex McGough, who accounted for 133 pass yards and 82 rush yards in their win against Michigan in Detroit last week.

With each passing week, McGough has grown more confident, and Holtz has complimented how he’s grown into the role of starting quarterback, even asking for McGough’s input on play-calling during games.

McGough continues to get help from a receiving corps that is blossoming, with tight end Jace Sternberger and wideouts Davion Davis and Adrian Hardy becoming steady and dependable pass-catching threats just in time for the running game to kick into gear.

Last week, running back CJ Marable became the first Stallion to rush for 100 yards in a game this season, meaning the team’s leading rusher (McGough), has help toting the rock in short-yardage situations.

The Stallions' ability to run the ball against Michigan last week was aided by the defense returning to form with complementary football. After giving up at least 20 points three weeks in a row, the Stallions clamped down on the Panthers, surrendering just 13 points.

In their first loss of the season, the Stallions gave up a gaudy 45 points to the Breakers and allowed 483 yards of offense. John Chavis’ unit will walk into Protective Stadium with a point to prove and a division to retake control of come Saturday.

RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast "The Number One College Football Show." Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to "The Number One College Football Show" on YouTube.