The lone undefeated team remaining in the USFL, the New Orleans Breakers (3-0) take their perfect record on the road to face the New Jersey Generals (2-1), 3 p.m. ET at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio on Sunday.
Led by first-year head coach John DeFilippo, the Breakers have been one of the pleasant surprises of the USFL so far this season, knocking off the defending champs, the Birmingham Stallions in a 45-31 shootout last week.
The Breakers take on another team playing well in the Generals. After losing in Week 1 to the Stallions, New Jersey has won two straight, including a 28-13 victory over the Michigan Panthers at Ford Field in Week 3.
Here’s one big question for the Breakers and Generals to consider as they head into this weekend’s matchup:
New Orleans Breakers: Can DeFilippo keep this offense rolling?
Through three weeks, the Breakers have the USFL’s leading passer in McLeod Bethel-Thompson (857 yards), the leading rusher in Wes Hills (301 yards), and the leading receiver in tight end Sage Surratt (257 yards).
The Breakers also lead the league in total yards (393) and points scored per game (35).
So, what can the Breakers do for an encore?
"We put ourselves in the position to be at the top of the division," DeFilippo said. "And obviously that was one of our goals at the beginning of the season, and it is very attainable. But we have to keep going. We are not even close. We are not even close to being there. So, it is pedal to the metal."
New Orleans gets another tough test by taking on a New Jersey defense that is holding opponents to a league-low 14.3 points per game.
Defensively, the Generals are led by linebacker Chris Orr, who has 28 combined tackles and a sack through three games. Joining Orr in New Jersey’s strong effort on that side of the ball are defensive linemen Tyshun Render (two sacks) and Toby Johnson (1.5 sacks), along with cornerback D.J. Daniel (two interceptions).
"This guy has played some really good football for us," Generals head coach Mike Riley said about Daniel. "He has taken advantage of being in the USFL and developing his playing skills. And he takes it real serious, so I’m really proud with how he’s played.
"And defensively, we’ve really made it hard on teams."
New Jersey Generals: Can Darius Victor play keep away from explosive Breakers’ offense?
While the Breakers have the top-scoring offense in the league, the Generals lead the USFL in rushing by averaging 169 yards a contest.
Victor tops New Jersey with 228 rushing yards on 32 carries, for 7.1 yards per carry. Victor also has two rushing touchdowns.
The Offensive Player of the Year in the USFL last season, Victor will have to run well to give the Generals a chance to slow down New Orleans’ high-octane offense.
However, it could be tough sledding for New Jersey’s offense on the ground, as the Breakers have held teams to just 76 yards per game.
Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.