Opening weekend for the USFL is in the books. The debut slate for this latest spring league had a little bit of everything for the average football fan. We had a last-second decision between the Stallions and Generals, some solid quarterback play highlighted by Bandits signal-caller Jordan Ta'amu as he led his team to an opening win against Maulers, and there was even a player cut by his team over a desire to have pizza. Seriously.
Now that games have actually been played (here's a look at the standings and schedule), we do have a bit more to digest as we round up these teams for our latest power rankings. While there's no change at the top of this list, there's plenty of movement elsewhere, including a previous sixth-ranked team jumping into the top three.
1. Tampa Bay Bandits (1-0)
Previous week: No. 1
The Bandits quickly showed why they were the top-ranked team heading into the season with their opening win against the Maulers. Jordan Ta'amu came out sharp, completing all five of his passes for 58 yards on an opening touchdown drive. From there, Tampa Bay worked with a lead throughout the game. Tight end Cheyenne O'Grady looks like he could be a key piece to the Bandits offense as he led the team with 11 targets, eight receptions, and 86 receiving yards. Pepper Johnson's defense was also all over the Maulers throughout the evening and limited them to three points while allowing just 3.3 yards per play and totaling three sacks.
Next game: vs. New Orleans Breakers (Sunday, April 24 at 3 p.m. ET)
2. New Orleans Breakers (1-0)
Previous week: No. 3
The Breakers took a while to get rolling offensively -- failing to score on their first six possessions -- but they were able to move the ball on the ground. New Orleans finished the game with 171 yards rushing and two touchdowns, which helped push them over the edge against Philadelphia. While the offense took some time to get into a rhythm, it was the defense that kept them afloat. They were able to get on the board first after a pick-six in the first quarter and accounted for even more points after blocking a punt that resulted in a safety.
Next game: vs. Tampa Bay Bandits (Sunday, April 24 at 3 p.m. ET)
3. Birmingham Stallions (1-0)
Previous week: No. 6
Birmingham was able to will itself to victory over the Generals in a thriller. Quarterback J'Mar Smith, who came in under duress following an injury to Alex McGough, flipped a switch in the second half, completing 11 of his 17 passes for 156 yards. The Stallions scored touchdowns on their final three possessions, including a 2-yard go-ahead score run by Smith with 29 seconds left in regulation. Osirus Mitchell was the go-to target in the passing game as he finished with five catches for 96 yards and a touchdown. Birmingham's defense also came up with a couple of timely stops, including a forced fumble just before halftime.
Next game: vs. Houston Gamblers (Saturday, April 23 at 7 p.m. ET)
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4. Houston Gamblers (1-0)
Previous week: No. 7
The Gamblers managed to put together a 17-0 lead at halftime but nearly collapsed in the second half as the Panthers went on a 12-0 run over the final two quarters. The Houston defense forced multiple fumbles, including two in the first half that directly led to points that helped them build the early lead. While they were able to pull out the win in the opener, their offense -- which averaged just 3.9 yards per play and finished with 174 total yards -- will need to improve if they want to be looked at as serious contenders this season.
Next game: vs. Birmingham Stallions (Saturday, April 23 at 7 p.m. ET)
5. Michigan Panthers (0-1)
Previous week: No. 2
Turnovers were the Panthers' Achilles heel in the opener. Both quarterbacks -- Shea Patterson and Paxton Lynch -- fumbled the football in the first half, which resulted in points for the Gamblers and helped them build a double-digit lead by halftime. While the team did rally with a 12-point second-half while shutting Houston out, those early struggles were too much to overcome.
Next game: vs. New Jersey Generals (Friday, April 22 at 8 p.m. ET)
6. New Jersey Generals (0-1)
Previous week: No. 8
It was a hard-fought effort by the Generals against the Stallions as they came out on the losing end in the final seconds. In a game that close, two missed field goals aren't going to set your team up for success and naturally contributed to the loss. They also broke down defensively on the final drive of the game and struggled to contain J'Mar Smith once he entered the game. While Luis Perez finished with a respectable box score (13 of 18 for 143 yards and two TDs), he attempted just a handful of passes in the second half.
Next game: vs. Michigan Panthers (Friday, April 22 at 8 p.m. ET)
7. Philadelphia Stars (0-1)
Previous week: No. 4
There were too many mistakes made by the Stars to expect them to pull out a win over the Breakers. On special teams, they missed two field goals that took six points off the board and they had a punt blocked that resulted in a safety. Quarterback Bryan Scott was also picked in off the first quarter and it was returned 37 yards for a touchdown. The two turnovers for the game and 3.9 yards per play average needs to improve as they move forward.
Next game: vs. Pittsburgh Maulers (Saturday, April 23 at 12 p.m. ET)
8. Pittsburgh Maulers (0-1)
Previous week: No. 5
It wasn't a great effort by the Maulers out of the gate as their offense struggled early. Both Josh Love and Kyle Lauletta saw time under center but the passing game left little to be desired (they didn't even attempt a pass through their opening two drives). Pittsburgh failed to reach the end zone during their three red-zone trips, which effectively left them in the dust in their matchup with Tampa Bay. The Maulers defense did shut out the Bandits in the second half, but the offense has a lot of questions heading into Week 2. Also, it's never a good look when a player is cut because he wanted pizza over chicken salad.
Next game: vs. Philadelphia Stars (Saturday, April 23 at 12 p.m. ET)