USFL Power Rankings: Paradigm Shifts In The Postseason

USFL Power Rankings: Paradigm Shifts In The Postseason

The USFL had an incredible weekend of football, as the inaugural postseason was a sight to see. Both games were extremely entertaining, with Birmingham and Philadelphia coming out as the victors.

Saturday was filled with big time plays, and exciting highlights. All four teams played solid football, which made each matchup come down to the wire.

Let’s take a look at where each team stands after semi-finals Saturday, and what the key takeaways are for every franchise.

#4: New Orleans Breakers (6-5)

Disappointingly for New Orleans, the same issues that troubled them during the season were present in the playoffs. Offensive miscues, unforced errors, and turnovers robbed the team of reaching their full potential against Birmingham. While Kyle Sloter had some decent moments, a couple of interceptions hurt the Breakers early on, and they never fully recovered.

Defensively, New Orleans looked terrible. Birmingham got almost whatever they wanted. When the team desperately needed a stop, they couldn’t get it. Once the fourth quarter came around, their body language was quite negative. It seemed like they knew they lost, which is never something you want to see.

Ultimately, the Breakers couldn’t get out of their own way – and that alone resulted in their season’s end.

#3: New Jersey Generals (9-2)

Of all the organizations to go down first, not many were expecting New Jersey to fall. But, they did. After defeating the Stars twice during the season, Mike Riley’s group just couldn’t recapture that same intensity in the postseason. What really hurt this team, though, was their inability to capitalize on opportunities. Multiple times, the Generals were in a scoring position, and failed to put points on the board. This is what caught up to them in the end, as their defense couldn’t hold Philadelphia off forever.

There certainly were some important plays made by KaVontae Turpin and Darius Victor, but that was about all the offense Riley got. Luis Perez didn’t play a terrible game, but made a couple of mistakes down the stretch that lost them the ball game. After such an incredible season, it’s a bit underwhelming for it to finish in this fashion.

That being said: the New Jersey Generals will be back. You can bet on that.

#2: Philadelphia Stars (7-4)

Wow. Now that, that was something special. Philadelphia proved to the entire nation just how good of a football team they are. It wasn’t always pretty. It wasn’t the cleanest game. But, in the words of Case Cookus: a win is a win. The Stars successfully knocked off the USFL’s best team, and did so in dominant fashion. Sure, the score was close. Yes, they were down at the two minute warning. However, if you look at what all went down, it was clear that Philadelphia’s defense controlled the game – dictating the game at their own pace.

Case Cookus is a warrior. The amount of violent hits he takes each game is ridiculous – yet he continues to fight through all the adversity. On Saturday, Cookus led this team to victory, even after Matt Colburn went down. Not to mention, Cookus had to be taken out of the game for a drive with an injury as well. His determination is what Philadelphia needs, as it sparks the rest of the team. On top of that: Maurice Alexander stole the show, with his 88 yard punt return to put them ahead for good.

With how hot the Stars have been since week six, don’t be surprised if they lift the trophy on Sunday.

#1: Birmingham Stallions (10-1)

We’ve been waiting for the Birmingham Stallions to regain their swagger. It’s been a little while since we had seen the team play a complete game. On Saturday, Birmingham looked like the best unit in the USFL. From top to bottom, it was an unbelievable performance. J’Mar Smith was sensational. He put the Breakers to sleep, making a major impact throughout the night. With Smith now playing at a high level, it opens up so much for Skip Holtz’ offense.

As has been the case all year long, Birmingham’s defense was fantastic. They only allowed three points in the second half, which allowed their team to pull away when they needed to. DeMarquis Gates was an absolute leader, no surprise. They successfully made Kyle Sloter feel uncomfortable, and that allowed their defense to take over in the second half.

If the Stallions continue to play like they did against New Orleans, this team will likely be hoisting the first USFL Championship trophy this year. It will be no easy task against the Stars, but Birmingham is as talented as anybody.

Final Thoughts

Generally speaking, the USFL’s inaugural playoffs were very entertaining. Both matchups brought fans plenty of excitement across the board.

With only one game left in the USFL’s 2022 season, you will definitely want to tune in this Sunday. Birmingham takes on Philadelphia at 7:30PM ET on FOX, to see who will take the crown this year.

What did you think of the USFL’s inaugural playoffs? Who do you think will win the Championship game? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!