The 2023 USFL champion will be crowned in less than three weeks, but there’s still plenty to be determined when it comes to the playoff picture. Much of it will come down to the final week of the regular season next Saturday and Sunday; we did, however, learn a few things in Week 9.
For starters, we learned that while the defending champion Birmingham Stallions didn’t always look like the best team this season, make no mistake: the Stallions are the team to beat. Birmingham became the first team to clinch a playoff spot — the only team to do so with just one regular-season week remaining — after dismantling the Houston Gamblers.
So, who else will make the playoffs? Two teams make it from each division, and we’ll dive into every team’s chances below, but first a look at the Week 9 scores.
Pittsburgh Maulers 19, Michigan Panthers 7
New Orleans Breakers 31, Memphis Showboats 3
Birmingham Stallions 38, Houston Gamblers 15
New Jersey Generals 37, Philadelphia Stars 33
South Division playoff race
The Stallions (7-2) are in the playoffs. The New Orleans Breakers (6-3) sit a game back, and split their two games with Birmingham during the regular season, so they still have an outside shot at the top seed. The other two South teams — the Houston Gamblers (5-4) and Memphis Showboats (5-4) — need a win in Week 10 combined with a Breakers loss to have any chance at getting the No. 2 seed.
The South teams all play each other in Week 10 — Stallions vs. Showboats on Saturday, and Breakers vs. Gamblers on Sunday.
The Stallions’ two losses this season came against the Breakers in Week 3 and Gamblers in Week 5. Since the start of last season’s USFL reboot, Birmingham has gone just 2-2 against Houston and 16-1 against every other team combined.
Stallions quarterback Alex McGough added to his case as league MVP on Sunday, throwing for 208 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT (his first…