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What to Expect in Houston Gamblers vs. Pittsburgh Maulers

June 2, 2023 - United States Football League (USFL)
Houston Gamblers News Release

The great divide in the USFL this season has been between the South Division - where every team is 4-3 or better - and the North Division - where every team is 4-3 or worse. The difference has been a 9-3 record for South teams against the North, and the league plays its fourth and final round of non-division games this weekend, with a chance to further the gap between the two.

The only two USFL teams who aren't within a game of first place in their divisions - the Pittsburgh Maulers and New Jersey Generals, both 2-5 - are 0-3 against South Division opponents, but really need such a win at home this weekend if they want to keep any postseason hopes alive.

On Saturday (Noon ET), Pittsburgh (2-5) faces the Houston Gamblers (4-3), who lost to Memphis last weekend but are still tied for second in the South. To pull off an upset, the Maulers will need to reverse trends that have led to their struggling record, still mathematically alive with three weeks left in the regular season.

Pittsburgh has struggled to score points consistently - the league has had three games out of 28 this year in which a team has scored three points or less, and the Maulers have two of them, getting shut out by Memphis and managing only three in a loss to New Jersey. Some of that is due to a league-low four touchdown passes (every other team has at least seven) from quarterback Troy Williams.

Ray Horton's Maulers defense has had its moments, as linebacker Kyahva Tezino leads the league with 77 tackles, with six of them going for losses. Former 49ers star Reuben Foster, who has returned to pro football after a four-year absence and has 37 tackles in five games, is the league's second-highest-rated player according to Pro Football Focus. Foster has been limited by an arm injury but should be full-go for Saturday's game.

Greg Auman is FOX Sports' NFC South reporter, covering the Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers and Saints. He is in his 10th season covering the Bucs and the NFL full-time, having spent time at the Tampa Bay Times and The Athletic. You can follow him on Twitter at @gregauman.

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