Location: The Dome at America’s Center, Saint Louis, Missouri

Game Date: Sunday, June 16th, 2024

Time: 5:00 PM EST

Channel: FOX

Streaming: UFL games are available on the Fox Sports app.

DraftKings Odds: Birmingham Stallions (-3), Hamilton Tiger-Cats (+3), O/U 42 points

When the Birmingham Stallions (10-1) and the San Antonio Brahmas (8-3) meet in the UFL Championship game on Sunday, this Game will be a story of two teams that took different roads to the ultimate stage in the first season in the UFL. From the start of the season, the Birmingham Stallions were considered a dominant team in the UFL after winning back-to-back USFL championships in 2022 and 2023. The Brahmas were a team viewed as being lucky to survive the USFL-XFL merger to create the UFL, and many predicted to be the last-place team in the UFL during the 2024 pre-season.

The Stallions, led by head coach Skip Holtz, lived up to the pre-season expectations, with their only loss this year coming from the San Antonio Brahmas in Week 9. In that Game, the Brahmas’ stellar defense managed to stifle the top-scoring offense in the UFL, securing an 18 to 9 victory and ending the Stallions’ 15-game winning streak. This week, the Brahmas face the daunting task of replicating that success and securing a second win against the still-considered best team in the UFL.

For the Brahmas and their coach, Wade Phillips, this Game is pivotal in altering the perception that they are not worthy of this championship game. In the XFL Conference championship game, the Saint Louis Battlehawks were the clear favorites to secure the opportunity to host the UFL championship game in their home stadium, promising one of the most attended championship games in the history of spring football. However, the Brahmas upset the Battlehawks, winning 25 to 15 and claiming the XFL Conference title. The UFL Championship game presents a significant opportunity for decorated head coach Wade Phillips to guide a team to a league championship.

For Birmingham, the story for most of the season has been their ability to dominate the line of scrimmage on offense and defense, along with the emergence of quarterback Adrian Martinez as the most valuable player in the UFL. Recently, the Stallions have struggled to maintain a rhythm on offense, including in the USFL Conference championship game against the Michigan Panthers, which resulted in Martinez being benched and backup quarterback Matt Corral stepping in to seal a 31 to 18 win.

Keys to Victory

Key to Victory #1:  The Brahmas Need to Lock Down Adrian Martinez and Matt Corral

The featured matchup in this game will be a showdown between two of the best quarterbacks in the UFL, with Chase Garbers leading the way for the Brahmas and Adrian Martinez starting for the Stallions. It could also be a matchup of successful backup quarterbacks with Quinten Dormady and Matt Corral if the starter for either team has a slow start in the game. Regardless of who is playing quarterback, the biggest challenge for the Brahmas will be to shut down either quarterback for the Stallions.

It’s a complex mission, given Martinez’s elusive ability and his uncanny instincts when throwing on the run. The Brahmas’ defensive front seven must apply pressure on the Stallions’ quarterback, while also limiting Martinez’s running opportunities. The Brahmas demonstrated their ability to do this in Week 9, and they’ll need to draw on that success if they’re to claim the UFL championship.

Key to Victory #2:  The Team that Wins the Running Game Wins the Game

The return of San Antonio running backs John Lovett and Anthony McFarland Jr. greatly impacted the Brahmas offense last week in the XFL Conference championship game against the Battlehawks. The ability of the San Antonio offense to run the ball effectively, extending drives, allowed the Brahmas to find a way to get their first win against Saint Louis in franchise history. The running game was also significant in Brahma’s first win against the Stallions in Week 9. The Brahmas expect to have their entire stable of running backs available this week against Birmingham.

Running the ball is also essential to the Stallions’ championship culture. This season, quarterback Adrian Martinez led the Stallions’ running game, but CJ Marable and Ricky Person Jr. have also been highly productive, especially in the red zone. The Stallions must establish their running game early in this game; otherwise, they could be overwhelmed by the Brahmas defensive front seven.

Key to Victory #3:  Turnovers Will Be a Deciding Factor In This Championship Matchup

One of the most intriguing aspects of this matchup is the stark contrast in offensive strategies between the Brahmas and the Stallions. The Stallions, known for their explosive plays, manage to avoid major mistakes that could hinder their offense. On the other hand, San Antonio adopts a more aggressive approach, relying heavily on their star wide receivers, Jontre Kirklin and Marquez Stevenson.

If both teams come into this game with a conservative game plan, the Stallions will have a significant advantage. The Brahmas come into this game as a Cinderella team, so it would make sense for San Antonio to break out all of their trick plays and innovative plays on offense to give themselves a chance to take control of this game early. Turnovers will decide who wins this game, and the number of risks each team is willing to take should make for an exciting chess match between two great teams.

Game Analysis and Prediction

The Stallions and Brahmas both come into this game with the expectations of leaving as UFL Champions. Birmingham can overpower teams and control the pace of the game. In the Week 9 matchup between these teams, the Brahmas took control of the game early and allowed their defense to attack the Stallions offense. Taking an early lead is critical for the Brahmas if they intend to defeat the Stallions for the second time this season. When all things are equal, the Stallions have a more robust roster than the Brahmas, but several times this season, the Stallions have stumbled offensively. Both teams come in healthy, so the team that can make plays in big moments and not crack under pressure will leave as the first champions of the UFL.

Game Prediction: San Antonio Brahmas 22, Birmingham Stallions 20

Follow me on X: @AaronSauter7

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author avatar
Aaron Sauter
Aaron Sauter is a 23-veteran high school football coach that is also an fan of all levels of football. He is especially interested in alternative football leagues like the CFL, UFL, and IFL. Aaron enjoys analyzing innovative schemes on offense and defense during his free time.

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