The Wild USFL Playoff Picture After Week Five

The Wild USFL Playoff Picture After Week Five

We’ve officially reached the halfway point in the USFL 2023 season. Usually, we’d have some clarity by now on the playoff picture – and which teams have higher odds of making it in.

However, this is not the case. The past two weeks of action, in particular, have surprised us all. Both divisions are being turned upside down. Upsets, and unexpected victors, have completely changed the landscape across the league.

Let’s take a look at each USFL division, and where every team currently sits in the seeding.

USFL North Division

1: New Jersey Generals | 2-3 | 2-1 Division | L1
2: Pittsburgh Maulers | 2-3 | 2-1 Division | W1
3: Michigan Panthers | 2-3 | 1-2 Division | L3
4: Philadelphia Stars | 2-3 | 1-2 Division | W1

At first glance, this is insane. Every single team in the division is 2-3, which means that the path to the playoffs is similar for each group.

Seeding Breakdown:

– New Jersey holds the #1 seed because they have the best division record, including a win over Pittsburgh.
– Pittsburgh is #2, because they beat Michigan & Philadelphia, leading to a stronger division record.
– Michigan sits at #3, with a win over Philadelphia (which is their only victory against division opponents).
– Philadelphia is in last because they lost to Michigan, and have a losing division record. However, they did just beat New Jersey; so if NJ and Philly have the same record next week, Philadelphia could hold the advantage, which is a wild potential scenario.

We’ve never seen anything quite like this in spring football. The parity is absurd. Just when it seemed like Michigan and New Jersey would run away with the division, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia gained ground.

To make things even more interesting, no North teams play each other in week six. The final few weeks of the USFL season are poised to be intense, especially if the North maintains a similar structure.

USFL South Division

1: New Orleans Breakers | 4-1 | 2-1 Division | L1
2: Houston Gamblers | 3-2 | 2-1 Division | W3
3: Birmingham Stallions | 3-2 | 1-2 Division | L1
4: Memphis Showboats | 2-3 | 1-2 Division | W2

The South isn’t as tight as the North, but it is closer than one would think.

Seeding Breakdown:

– Obviously, New Orleans holds the top seed, with the best record in the Division.
– Houston beat Birmingham this past weekend, which gives them the head-to-head advantage, alongside the better Division record.
– The Stallions aren’t in the playoff picture, despite having a winning record. Being 1-2 in the division is not doing them any favors at the moment.
– Memphis might be last in the division, but just handed New Orleans their first loss. However, their two losses against Houston and Birmingham will cost them if they can’t even the series later in the season.

Right now, everything is still up for grabs in the USFL South. New Orleans seems to have a firm grip – but again, they just lost to Memphis. The Showboats and Gamblers are surging – winning their last two matchups.

Houston, in particular, has been on fire. Despite missing their starting QB in Kenji Bahar, they seamlessly took down the Stallions on the road.

Division wins are always the most important. As is the case with Birmingham, they risk missing the playoffs with a winning record if these trends continue.

Second Half: Primed For Excitement

The next five weeks in the USFL are bound to bring fans plenty of entertainment. With the parity between both divisions, literally anything can happen.

2023 starkly contrasts 2022. A season ago, the division winners were pretty clear after the first several weeks.

This time around, trying to make a reasonable prediction seems impossible. The North is basically a clean slate at this point, with the division title in everyone’s reach.

Meanwhile, while the Breakers do control the South, they aren’t guaranteed to win the division. Additionally, the fourth-seeded Memphis Showboats have won two in a row, so the battle for the first and second playoff berths will be vicious. Again, it’s anyone’s game.

Final Thoughts

Week six will prove to be intriguing. Each team in the South will play a team in the North. The last time this happened (week four), the South swept 4-0.

It all kicks off this Saturday, at 12:30pm ET on USA Network, as the Memphis Showboats host the Pittsburgh Maulers.

What are your thoughts on the USFL playoff picture? Which teams deserve to make the postseason? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!