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|Team||Point Spread||Points Total||Money Line|
|Tampa Bay Bandits||TBA||TBA||TBA|
Expect this one to be close until the second half when the Stars have typically gone soft this season and the Bandits should cover the spread.
Tampa Bay Bandits
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USFL Player Cheyenne O’Grady as a tight end on the Arkansas
The USFL’s Week 6 starts out with a double-feature Saturday, the first matchup a cross-divisional battle between the 3-2 Tampa Bay Bandits of the South taking on the 2-3 Philadelphia Stars of the North, this second stretch of the spring football season a lead up to the postseason.
The Bandits won their 3rd game last week with major help from QB Jordan Ta’amu who showed both air and ground skills that counter-balanced RB Juwan Washington’s dangerous rush attack that yielded two touchdowns, this Tampa Bay team battling for 2nd place in the South Division.
Last week, the Stars got to be the 5th team to fall to the hometown Birmingham Stallions, the result of a weak second half with zeros on the scoreboard, the final score, 17-30, not the fault of the defense but more of QB Case Cookus who completed just over fifty percent of his passes.
Here are our best predictions, odds, and picks for Bandits vs Stars – good luck, win big!
One of the keys of victory for Tampa Bay will be to stop the Stars passing attack that averages almost 206 yards through the air per game, which happens to be just how much the Bandits defense allows opponents to throw for each time (205.4), too much to get the victory, though.
Expect Philly’s pass attack to continue to improve as their replacement QB Case Cookus learns head coach Bart Andrus’s offensive game plan, though enough game film is now available on Cookus as he has started two games now since starter Bryan Scott’s season ended in injury.
Tampa’s defensive interception leaders include linebacker Christian Sam who has just one pick on top of 33 total tackles and four passes defended as well as cornerback Quenton Meeks who also has an interception with 29 total tackles and four passes defended on the season.
In Week 6, Philadelphia will be facing a Bandits rushing attack that averages 90.8 yards on the ground per game, much of that coming from RB Juwan Washington who has almost 50 carries on the season for 158 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging 3.2 yards per carry in the USFL.
Problem is the Stars struggle against the rush, so far having allowed opponents to run for 193 yards per game, a weak spot that the Bandits will no doubt enlist Washington to exploit, with Philadelphia allowing the teams they play to put 25 points on the scoreboard each game.
Fortunately for Philly, their roster includes the leagues fourth-best tackler this season – linebacker Josh Banderas – a 6’ 3” 240-pound 27-year old pro who has spent some time in the CFL, now with 41 total tackles, 2 sacks, and a fumble recovery for the Stars in 2022.
One of the league’s top-20 receiving targets has been Tampa Bay Bandits tight end Cheyenne O’Grady, right now having caught for 180 total yards from 16 receptions off 22 targets, the sizable pass-catching end a tough to tackle player who has earned 104 yards after the catch.
The connection between Bandits QB Jordan Ta’amu and O’Grady seems to be developing, a relationship counter-balanced by the TE’s willingness to block during run and scramble plays, his Gronk-like skills adding to a Tampa Bay offense that averages 250 total yards per game.
Another bright spot for Tampa Bay’s pass offense is wide receiver Derrick Dillon who so far has caught 12 balls for 213 yards and two touchdowns, the 26-year old LSU alum who stands at 5’ 11” and weighs 185 pounds and spent some time in the NFL’s New York Giants training camp.
Currently, the 12th most productive running back in the USFL is Philadelphia Stars’ Paul Terry, a 24-year old Eastern New Mexico alum who was drafted in the 10th round by the Stars front office, the 5’ 8” 205-pound dual threat back now a huge part of HC Bart Andrus’s offense.
In the four games that Terry has had carries, he has rushed the ball 27 times for 164 yards and a rushing touchdown averaging an impressive 6.1 yards per carry, production enhanced by his ability to run short routes and act as a checkdown receiver for QB Case Cookus.
Terry ranks 15th in the league in all-purpose yards, with 302 total yards of offense including those 164 rushing yards and 120 receiving yards, averaging 30 yards in the air per game, plus he has 18 kick return yards, a valuable multi-tooled player in this league of smaller rosters.
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|Bandits vs Stars Information|
|What||Tampa Bay Bandits vs Philadelphia Stars|
|Where||Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama|
|When||Saturday, May 21, 2022; 12:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||NBC|
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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