USFL North: Every team’s key takeaway from Week 1 and what to expect for Week 2

After another successful kickoff, the USFL is now underway after playing their first four games last weekend on April 15th and 16th. With big plays and big surprises from week one, it’s safe to say we will have a fun season ahead of us.

Here are our key takeaways from each team in the North Division and what to expect from them going forward into week two of the 2023 USFL season.

Michigan Panthers (1-0)

As one of the teams who came into the 2023 season with a new head coach in Mike Nolan, the Panthers had a question mark hanging above their head. Now that the season has started, that question mark may be withering away as Michigan had the second biggest margin of victory after defeating the Houston Gamblers by 16 with a 29-13 final score.

The one thing from the Panthers that you couldn’t help but notice was the electric connection between QB Josh Love and WR Joe Walker. To put in perspective, Love threw for 215 yards and Walker accounted for 105 of them.

The Panthers may have faced a lackluster Houston team, so there isn’t too much to be excited about just yet. However, Michigan has a chance to prove themselves early as they have a much stiffer Week 2 test against the Philadelphia Stars.

Philadelphia Stars (1-0)

Speaking of Philadelphia, they are the other team to come out of the North Division undefeated after Week 1. Ranked as our #1 team heading into the 2023 season, the Stars showed us why they belonged there.

In the first game of the season, the Stars beat the newly branded Memphis Showboats 27-23. One thing for certain is Case Cookus is back 100% healthy and is returning with a vengeance after the 2022 Championship loss. Cookus ended Week 1 with 212 passing yards and three touchdowns. Philadelphia’s defensive playmaker, Channing Stribling, also set the tone early with an opening drive interception.

Heading into Week 2, the Stars face a hungry Panthers team who had a big win in their Week 1 matchup. However, if Philadelphia’s “Stars” can continue to play as advertised they should hand the Panthers their first loss of the season.

Pittsburgh Maulers (0-1)

When looking at this team there is really only one name that deserves some type of mention and that is Reuben Foster. Not only did the linebacker have a league leading 12 tackles in Week 1, but he was also helping the Maulers offense do their job by forcing a fumble that helped the team score a touchdown.

For as subpar as the Maulers played on offense they were still surprisingly tied at halftime before losing 22-15 to the New Orleans Breakers. Since its only one game into the season, there is no reason to go into panic mode.

However, you can see the Maulers need to desperately figure something out on offense. It will be very hard for Pittsburgh to compete this season if defense and special teams are the only ones putting up points. The road does not get much easier as they face the New Jersey Generals in Week 2.

New Jersey Generals (0-1)

New Jersey had a very tough test in Week 1 as they faced the reigning USFL Champion Birmingham Stallions. It even seemed as if the Stallions were too tough of a test for the Generals as they suffered the biggest defeat of the week losing by 17 in the 27-10 contest.

The Generals looked a bit lost in their first game without 2022 USFL MVP KaVonte Turpin. This was blatantly apparent due to the team only putting up 10 points. Last season, New Jersey ranked 3rd in total points scored. Granted, they faced last year’s champions, but 10 points is still an extremely low number for the Generals.

Thankfully, they still have the reigning 2022 USFL Offensive Player of the Year in Darius Victor. However, last game he only saw eight total carries which is definitely not enough of a workload for a running back like Victor. Luckily enough, New Jersey has a great chance for a bounce-back game against the Pittsburgh Maulers in Week 2

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