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Pittsburgh Maulers vs. Philadelphia Stars Breakdown

Three USFL hub stadiums have already opened for business this year, but now, it’s time for Michigan to open its doors to springtime football. Sunday, week three shifts to the Detroit hub. Just as people in Ohio love their football, the sport is just as adored up north.

The state of Michigan plays host to one of college football‘s greatest rivalries every other year. While Sunday’s first game of the doubleheader doesn’t have quite the same luster and history that the annual Ohio State vs. Michigan rivalry has, it’s a territorial showdown all the same to begin the day.

Pittsburgh Faces Philadelphia on Sunday in Detroit

The Pittsburgh Maulers (0-2) look to secure their first win of the season when they face quarterback Case Cookus and the Philadelphia Stars (1-1). Live coverage of Sunday’s ballgame begins at noon ET/ 11 am CT on NBC Sports from Ford Field, the home stadium of the NFL’s Detroit Lions.

Like all USFL games airing on an NBCUniversal-owned platform, Pittsburgh/ Philadelphia will stream live on Peacock this weekend. As previously stated, the Maulers vs. Stars game is the first half of a doubleheader.

Later on in the afternoon, Ford Field’s primary hub tenant, the Michigan Panthers (2-0), play host to the New Jersey Generals (1-1). The kickoff time of the second game of the day will be just past 4 pm ET/ 3 pm CT on FOX Sports. More on that game later.


Slight Chance of Rain Expected on the Drive to the Game Sunday

Thankfully, Ford Field is a domed stadium, so the weather is not a factor for both games themselves, but what about driving to the game? Cool conditions are expected for those spectators who’ve bought tickets with a 30 percent chance of rain.

Temperatures are forecast to top out in the low-50s on Sunday afternoon under mostly cloudy skies.

Pittsburgh Maulers vs. Philadelphia Stars Betting Odds

As of Friday afternoon, the oddsmakers have the Philadelphia Stars installed as a -6 1/2-point favorite on the points spread and a -278 favorite on the money line. The Pittsburgh Maulers counter as a +205 underdog on the money line.

The over-under is set at 42 1/2 points. If you plan on betting on this or any other game happening over the weekend, please wager responsibly.

Will Pittsburgh’s Issues Continue This Week?

It’s been a broken record for the Pittsburgh Maulers so far this season. They’ve yet to register a single touchdown on offense through the first two games, only mustering a single field goal by placekicker Nathan Hierlihy against New Jersey last Sunday afternoon.

So far, Pittsburgh’s most notable highlight this season has been a league-record 82-yard punt return for a touchdown versus New Orleans by Isiah Hennie on the opening Sunday night in the Birmingham hub. When a team can’t score an offensive touchdown, they’re not going to win, plain and simple.

It starts with consistency at quarterback for the Maulers. Entering week three, they’ve utilized a two-quarterback system with James Morgan out of Florida International by way of Bowling Green getting a sizable chunk of the snaps under center.

Troy Williams out of Utah has also gotten some playing time for the Maulers but has only thrown for 93 yards all told. Morgan is going to need protection up front from the offensive line if Pittsburgh is to have success this week and in the weeks to come.

Look For Reuben Foster to Have a Big Day

Fans of the San Francisco 49ers know all about linebacker Reuben Foster. Chosen with the No. 31 overall selection in the 2017 draft, he hadn’t set foot on the gridiron since 2018 thanks to his past legal issues which led to his release from both the San Francisco and Washington Commanders organizations.

Since joining Pittsburgh’s defense in February, he’s made up for lost time, recording 15 tackles through week two. Foster’s had a troubled past, but since he returned to the field, he’s shown tremendous potential.

If Reuben Foster can neutralize both quarterback Case Cookus and tailback Matt Colburn on Sunday afternoon, it could be the best game of his career.

Matt Colburn Should Break Loose This Week

After the 2022 USFL season came to a close last July, Matt Colburn, who ran for 457 yards with eight touchdowns, signed a contract with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars during preseason in August.


This never panned out, as he was placed on waivers the following week. Subsequently, Colburn returned to the Stars’ roster in November ahead of the new season.

If there’s one thing that opposing defenses have learned, it’s that they can’t hold this running back down forever. While he’s only rushed for 53 yards on 14 attempts with one touchdown so far this year, he can bust loose at any given moment.

Should Colburn be able to make a wave of tacklers mistime their steps, it’s game over. As long as he’s able to get some blocks, he’ll have a productive afternoon on Sunday.

Amani Dennis Brightest Star on Defense in Philadelphia

So far, the Philadelphia Stars’ defense has been anchored by cornerback Amani Dennis. Even though last weekend’s game in Canton against the Michigan Panthers ended in defeat, he picked off Josh Love for his second interception in as many weeks to start the season.

Given the fact that the Stars are playing against a winless Maulers team this Sunday afternoon, one would expect that Amani Dennis will step in front of an errant pass to make another turnover. His colleagues on the defensive line should be able to cover Pittsburgh’s receivers easily.

Look for Dennis to challenge the Maulers and pick off two passes this week.

Final Thoughts

We’re now in week three of the USFL. If the Maulers are to have any shot down the stretch, they’ll need to win away from the Canton hub on Sunday.

Should the Maulers drop to 0-3 after the game, fans will want to have their fingers close to the panic button as the calendar turns to May.

Prediction: Philadelphia 31, Pittsburgh 14.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

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