Odds taken from DraftKings
|Team||Point Spread||Points Total||Money Line|
|New Orleans Breakers||+2.5 (-110)
|Tampa Bay Bandits||-2.5 (-110)
After watching the Bandits play it seems like they could be the USFL team to beat.
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The final USFL Week 2 matchup features two 1-0 teams from the South Division who showed up big last week, the New Orleans Breakers taking on the Tampa Bay Bandits in what promises to be a solid defensive showing with occasional bursts of impressive offenses included.
It’s a new league so the defenses will show up first, and the New Orleans Breakers held their Week 1 opponent to under 20 and that was enough to take the win, and now QB Kyle Sloter has a chance to further develop his offense together with OC Noel Mazzone and HC Larry Fedora.
It was fun to watch the more relaxed version of HC Todd Haley lead his Tampa Bay Bandits to a Week 1 victory, and QB Jordan Ta’amu looks promising if he can keep from throwing the football to the other team and get more passes to talented tight end Cheyenne O’Grady (below).
The New Orleans Breakers won their week one game against the Stars, but despite getting that victory they started out slowly with their first six possessions coming without a score, a turnaround made possible by their relentless rushing attack that went for 171 yards and 2 TDs.
QB Kyle Sloter posted a respectable QBR of 102.2 in week one, his 17 completions coming off 27 attempts (63%) for 150 yards but no touchdowns, with both team TDs coming from their rushing attack, with RBs Jordan Ellis and T.J. Logan Jr. each with a trip to the endzone.
No doubt HC Larry Fedora’s Week 2 game plan will include a faster offensive start, and getting the wide receiver room more involved, including Chad Williams and Johnnie Dixon, certainly could help, with RB T.J. Logan Jr also a potential target having posted 4 catches last week.
When assessing these USFL quarterbacks, it is important to remember that they have had three weeks to learn their teammates’ and coaches’ names, let alone the playbook, which is not a lot of time but that did not keep players like Tampa Bay QB Jordan Ta’amu from shining in Week 1.
Ta’amu, an Ole Miss alum, is just 24 years old and he has already spent time in several NFL camps (Texans, Chiefs, Lions, Washington, Panthers) and he has the size (6’ 3” and 214 pounds) to compete as a professional but he must get better at accurately throwing the ball.
In week one, Ta’amu threw two interceptions, and he was sacked once for a loss of five yards, but his 20 completions off 32 attempts (62.5%) for 185 yards and a touchdown were enough to help Tampa Bay earn its first USFL win, but he must limit the interceptions if he expects to play.
A solid defensive player who has experience in five different football leagues including the CFL, AAF, and the Arena Football league, linebacker Vontae Diggs brings his size (6’ 2” and 230 pounds) and experience to New Orleans as one of their primary defensive stoppers.
In week one against the Philadelphia Stars, Diggs was essential as he posted 10 total tackles as well as an interception that he ran back 37-yards for a touchdown, a solid day for the 26-year “Most Outstanding Rookie” in the CFL in 2019 for the Edmonton Elks before being released.
Also putting in a solid day’s defensive work in week one for the Breakers was inside linebacker and NC State alum Jerod Fernandez, who posted 12 total tackles against the Stars, a 27-year old 5’ 11” 227 pound tackling machine who was selected in the 21st round of the USFL Draft.
Nothing better than a tight end who can block AND catch the football, and it looks like that is the type of player the Tampa Bay Bandits scored in the 34th round of the USFL Draft when they selected Cheyenne O’Grady, an Arkansas alum who brings a solid skillset to the new league.
In week one, the 25-year old O’Grady used his size (6’ 4” and 245 pounds) and ability to run quick routes to get open to hook up with QB Jordan Ta’amu in the team’s Monday night win over the Maulers, posting 8 catches off 11 targets for 86 yards averaging 10.8 yards per catch.
Another target for the Bandits is RB B.J. Emmons who caught all three of the passes he was targeted with for 23 yards (7.7 yards per catch), a valuable check down receiver who carried the ball 19 times in week one for 40 yards and a touchdown with one fumble.
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|Breakers vs Bandits Information|
|What||New Orleans Breakers vs Tampa Bay Bandits|
|Where||Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama|
|When||Sunday, April 24, 2022; 3:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||NBC & Peacock|
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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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