USFL Week 10 takeaway: Panthers earn first pick in 2023 draft by winning match between two worst teams

The USFL didn’t have to worry about deteriorating in the final week of the regular season, as the league took matters into its own hands to prevent teams from losing to improve the draft’s condition. Sunday’s game between the Pittsburgh Maulers and Michigan Panthers provided a unique opportunity for the league to try something new, as teams entered the game with the league’s worst record at 1-8.

Here’s a closer look at the league’s new wrinkles and the rest of our takeaways in Week 10 as the regular season draws to a close.

Strikes lose the game, the best selection

with the two The semi-finals are already set With the final week of the regular season approaching, the league had no matches with any effects in Week 10… that is, until it created one. The NFL announced this week that the winner of the Maulers-Panthers game will receive the #1 overall pick in the 2023 USFL Draft, rather than the loser who settled the league’s worst record and “earned” that selection.

The Panthers defeated the Maulers 33-21 to take first place in the 2023 draft—and first pick in every round after that. Michigan, with a score of 2-8, would have the #1 pick in each round while the Maulers would have a second-place finish each round – despite finishing with the league’s worst record at 1-9.

Paxton Lynch, a former NFL first-round player, completed 22 of 30 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Panthers to victory. It would be the second consecutive season that the Panthers have finished first in the NFL draft, using the first pick in the inaugural draft to pick quarterback Shea Patterson — who was released from the team in May and signed with the New Orleans Breakers days later.

The USFL has plans for a second season in 2023, so there has been some incentive should the Spring Football League return. It has not been determined if all matches will be played in a central location (as they did this season with Birmingham, Alabama). The league will host its playoffs in Canton, Ohio beginning Saturday, with the first two semifinal games featuring the New Jersey Generals against the Philadelphia Stars at 3 p.m. ET, followed by the Birmingham Stallion against the New Orleans Breakers in the other at 8 p.m. ET. The two winners will play in the championship game the following Sunday, July 3, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Generals beat the Superstars six days before they meet again in the playoffs

The Philadelphia Stars and New Jersey Generals had carved out their playoff positions before Week 10, and had secured two automatic berths in the Northern Division. They will face each other in the playoffs in six days, also kicking off in Week 10. It was a game that had no effect on the division’s standings (the Generals had already grabbed the Northern League), making it the final of the regular season. Setting the semi-final match.

The Generals managed to hold out against the stars 26-23, ending the season with nine straight victories. New Jersey’s only loss was to the Birmingham Stallions in the NFL opener, falling to them 28-24 times in April. The Generals swept the Stars when they finished 6-0 in the Northern Division, defeating Philadelphia by one score in both games.

New Jersey’s biggest margin of victory this season was just 11 points, but the Generals are finding ways to win close competitions. They will be preferred to play in the championship match.

Stallions take first place in the league

The Birmingham Stallion defeated the Tampa Bay Bandits 21-18 to finish 9-1 this year. If the NFL ranks first in the playoffs, it will be the stallions who finish the same record as the Generals but beat them in the only game of the season.

Birmingham won’t have the domestic stadium advantage it gained throughout the regular season with the playoffs moving to Canton, but Stallions pose a threat to reclaim their first league title. It only allows 16.1 points per game and only 268.9 yards per game, both ranking first and second in the league. Stallions are also third in the USFL in yards per game (326.3) and second in dash per game (136.5).

Football management and strong defense are the reasons why stallions and generals finished with the best records in the league. Looks like they’re ready for the rematch in Canton.

The second-place teams are scary in the playoffs

The Superstars and New Orleans Breakers both swept the first-place teams in their league heading to the playoffs, but don’t sleep in these second-place teams in Canton next weekend. New Orleans lost to Birmingham by nine points in the first game and just one point in the second – which Brandon Aubry set with a field goal with less than two minutes to play.

The Superstars lost to the Generals by eight points in the first meeting and three points in the Week 10 match which had no effects. Philadelphia has allowed the most yards per league game (151.2), but has the second most sacks in the league with 25. Stopping the run will be key for Philadelphia if the Superstars want to shake off their tightness.

Unlucky gamblers end up with a high note

The Houston Gamblers started the season 1-7 with six of those losses, five points or less and two in the last game of the game. Houston finally found some luck in the last two weeks, though, handing the Birmingham Stallions their only regular season loss in Week 9, then beating the New Orleans Breakers 20-3 in Week 10.