After 10 weeks of regular season action, just four teams remain in the USFL as the playoffs are set to kick off this weekend. Unlike the previous collection of games this season, these four clubs will not be playing at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. For the postseason, these next two games (including the championship on July 3) will be held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, adding a different wrinkle for these teams as they look to be the last ones standing.
As for the teams, we've had a good idea of who'd be playing in the playoffs for quite some time now. The South Division will see the Stallions (9-1) face off against the New Orleans Breakers (6-4) in the late game, and it'll be the New Jersey Generals (9-1) going toe-to-toe with their North Division rival Philadelphia Stars (6-4) in the opener.
Below, you'll find a full breakdown of these teams along with a guide on how you'll be able to watch these playoffs unfold.
Philadelphia Stars vs. New Jersey Generals
The Generals were able to pull away in the North Division pretty early on and had their playoff ticket punched for a few weeks. After losing to the Stallions in the regular season opener, New Jersey won nine straight to end the year and is arguably one of the hottest teams in the USFL entering these playoffs.
Not only do they boast a defense that allowed the fewest points in the division, but they also have an offense that led the league in total yards (349.4). A large part of their success offensively has come on the ground where they have rushed for a league-leading 160.6 yards per game this season. The combo of Trey Williams (second-most rushing yards in the USFL) and Darius Victor (most rushing touchdowns in the USFL) in the backfield has anchored that attack on offense along with quarterback Luis Perez.
While the New Jersey defense has allowed just 18.2 points per game this season, it will have its hands full when it faces the Stars. Philadelphia comes into the postseason with the highest-scoring offense in the league (26.2 points per game) and arguably the best quarterback of the bunch in Case Cookus, who took over as the Stars' QB in the middle of the season. In six starts, he finished the year with 1,334 yards through the air, 12 touchdowns and just five interceptions while completing 62.5% of his passes.
These two teams are extremely familiar with one another as they just went head-to-head in the regular season finale where the Generals were able to escape with a 26-23 win. Back in Week 3, New Jersey beat Philly, 24-16.
How To Watch
New Orleans Breakers vs. Birmingham Stallions
The Stallions have been the class of the USFL from the jump and were even flirting with a perfect season all the way up to Week 9. They finished the season with the top-scoring offense in the South Division and held opponents to just 16.9 points per game (second lowest in the USFL). They also were able to get after the quarterback better than any other club in the league, notching 27 sacks on the year. A large part of that production came from edge rusher DeMarquis Gates, who led the team in tackles (62) and sacks (6.5)
That strong start to the year helped Birmingham clinch a playoff spot early on, but they have limped to the finish line of the regular season after losing to the Houston Gamblers in Week 9 and then rolled out a sloppy performance in the regular-season finale against Tampa Bay, despite coming out with a win. Could that make them ripe for the picking against New Orleans? It will be fascinating to see how they perform now that they won't have the home-field advantage of playing in Birmingham as these playoffs swing to Canton.
Speaking of the Breakers, they are coming off a 20-3 loss to the Gamblers in the regular season finale, but that was mostly due to head coach Larry Fedora opting to rest several key starters including quarterback Kyle Sloter. The Breakers signal-caller finished second in the USFL in passing yards, but only had nine passing touchdowns on the year with 11 interceptions (second-most in the league).
Defensively, New Orleans has boasted the best overall defense in the USFL in terms of points allowed (16.4 per game). While they have largely been able to keep opponents out of the end zone in a similar fashion to the Stallions, New Orleans' offense hasn't been as potent. The Breakers are the lowest-scoring offense in these playoffs, totaling just 19.6 points per game in the regular season.
That could pose a problem against Birmingham, who beat them twice in the regular season and allowed them to average just 11 points in those contests.