The USFL is right on the doorstep of doing what the AAF and XFL could not: Completing a successful spring season. The AAF and XFL failed for different reasons, but the USFL has shown this year that pro football apart from the NFL could have a future.
We are set for postseason football in Canton, Ohio, as the Philadelphia Stars and New Jersey Generals will play Saturday, June 25 at 3 p.m. ET, and then the New Orleans Breakers and Birmingham Stallions will play later that night at 8 p.m. ET. However, we still have one more week in the regular season.
Below, we will break down who has the best odds to win the USFL Championship from the final four.
Birmingham Stallions (8-1): +170
The hope for an undefeated season is over, as the Stallions suffered their first loss of the year to the Houston Gamblers Saturday, 17-15. There was only one touchdown scored all game, and that came from Birmingham. I really don't know how much stock you want to put into this relatively meaningless loss. Vegas still views the Stallions as the favorites to win the USFL Championship, but a late-season dip in performance scares me.
The quarterback play hasn't been fantastic for Birmingham, but you could say that about any team in this league. J'Mar Smith is the leading passer for the Stallions with 1,501 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. Bo Scarbrough has brought some energy to this offense, as he's averaging 62.8 rushing yards per game in his five contests, which leads all Stallions rushers. Marlon Williams, Victor Bolden Jr. and Osirus Mitchell have all made plays in the receiving game during the year, and Bolden actually leads the USFL in all purpose yards with 1,110.
The Stallions defense is one of the best units in the league, as they rank first in yards allowed per game (267.1) and second in points allowed per game (15.9). The linebacking dynamic duo of DeMarquis Gates and Scooby Wright is incredibly fun to watch, and they seem like players who will up their performances in the postseason.
New Jersey Generals (8-1): +200
At this point in the year, the Generals have established themselves as the second-best team in the USFL, but could they be the team that wins it all? While the Stallions lost their first game of the year last week, the Generals haven't lost since Week 1 -- and that loss came to the Stallions!
The Generals have the best offense in the USFL. They average a league-leading 342.7 yards per game, and have the No. 1 rushing offense with an average of 158.7 yards per game. Running back Darius Victor leads the league with nine rushing touchdowns, and KaVontae Turpin leads the league in both receiving yards (472) and punt return yards (184). New Jersey also statistically has the second-best defense in the league, just barely behind Birmingham. This unit may be the worst in the USFL in forcing fumbles, but they are tied with the Gamblers in recording the second-most interceptions with 11.
The quarterback situation is something to watch. Luis Perez is the leading passer with 1,062 yards, six touchdowns and one interception, but I like the versatility De'Andre Johnson brings under center. He rushed for 277 yards and four touchdowns in eight games played. Overall, this team absolutely could find themselves on top when it's all said and done.
New Orleans Breakers (6-3): +350
The Breakers have been relatively up and down all year. Their 34-3 win over the Tampa Bay Bandits in Week 2 was incredible, and then their 27-17 loss to the Generals in Week 5 was disappointing. New Orleans opens up the postseason against Birmingham, who it lost to less than two weeks ago, 10-9. Expect another close game in a couple weeks.
The Breakers are known for their passing offense, as they average a league-leading 204.1 passing yards per game, and Kyle Sloter is currently the leading passer with 1,798 yards. However, he's thrown just nine touchdowns as opposed to 11 interceptions. Zach Smith has been getting some run under center over the past few weeks. Breakers running back Jordan Ellis also leads the league with 564 rushing yards.
While the Breakers defense leads the league with just 140 points allowed all year, they haven't always had the ability to completely dominate a game. Even if the defense is doing their job, offensive struggles can put contests in jeopardy. Overall, this is a well-rounded team, but can they remain consistent for two weeks, and step up when it matters most?
Philadelphia Stars (6-3): +400
The USFL Championship longshot is Philly. However, this Stars team absolutely could surprise some people and make a run. They lead the USFL in turnover differential at +9, lead the league in interceptions with 13 and are tied for second in forced fumbles with 10. While that may make the defense sound elite, they actually allow the second-most yards per game with 338.7. The Stars defeated the Pittsburgh Maulers by just one point on Sunday, but won the two previous games on their schedule by 22 points and 11 points. Overall, Philly is on a four-game win streak.
Offensively, quarterback Case Cookus is fourth in the league with 1,090 passing yards, tied for second with 10 passing touchdowns and has thrown just four interceptions. Tight end Bug Howard is an intriguing weapon, as he is tied for second in the league with four receiving touchdowns.