New Orleans Breakers

What to Expect in Michigan Panthers vs. New Orleans Breakers

June 2, 2023 - United States Football League (USFL)
New Orleans Breakers News Release

Despite boasting one of the best offenses in the USFL, the New Orleans Breakers have lost their last three games after winning four in a row to start the season.

They'll look to bring that losing streak to an end when they play the Michigan Panthers at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Breakers and Panthers are each fighting for playoff spots in their respective divisions heading into Week 8. New Orleans (4-3) is a game behind South Division leader Birmingham and tied with Memphis and Houston for second place. But the Breakers would not make the playoffs under the USFL's tie-breaking rules if the season ended today.

A win against the Panthers would not only keep them in the hunt for the playoffs but keep them within striking distance of the Stallions with two games to play in the regular season.

But the Panthers (3-4) have plans of their own, and a playoff bid would be Michigan's first since the prior version of the league in 1984. After losing four in a row, the Panthers earned their first win since Week 2 with a 25-22 victory against the Generals last week.

They were aided by solid performances from quarterback Josh Love and running back Reggie Corbin, plus a kickoff return for a touchdown from Kaden Davis.

Defensively, the Panthers continue to lean on defensive end Breeland Speaks, who has notched 39 tackles, including seven sacks, through seven weeks of play.

It will be up to Speaks and the defense to try to slow down McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Wes Hills, Sage Surratt and one of the most explosive offenses in the league.

Bethel-Thompson (passing yards), Hills (rushing yards), Surratt (receiving yards) lead the league in three major offensive categories. The Breakers also average a league-leading 342 yards of offense per game, but they have had a hard time scoring points over the last three weeks.

After scoring 20-plus points in each of the first four weeks of the season, the Breakers have averaged just 13.3 points per game over the last three. Alternatively, the Panthers have scored at least 24 points in every one of their wins this season and averaged just 10.75 PPG in each of their four losses.

This might simply be a game where the first team to score 20 points wins as they chase the chance to play in the postseason.

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.

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