Week 4 in the UFL features a matchup between two teams that have exceeded expectations for each of their teams coming into the 2024 UFL season. Before playing in the UFL, the Panthers and the Brahmas were similar because both teams needed to establish a firm identity for their team in the USFL for the Panthers and the XFL Brahmas. In the UFL, both teams have jumped out to a 2-1 start, good enough for the Panthers to be in second place in the USFL conference and for the Brahmas to be in a three-way tie for first place in the XFL conference.

The Michigan Panthers (2-1) have found success this season behind a balanced offense and an aggressive defense. While Michigan is not a flashy team on offense, they do an excellent job of picking up first downs and can get the ball in the end zone. Defensively, the Panthers have been aggressive, with their front seven terrorizing opposing quarterbacks and containing their opponent’s running game.

The San Antonio Brahmas (2-1) have approached the first three games of the UFL season sporting a wide-open offense that can potentially be explosive. The Brahmas offense has struggled with slow starts the last two games, including Week 2 when they needed a dramatic 4th quarter comeback against the Showboats and Week 3 when they came up short on a comeback against the Saint Louis Battlehawks. Defensively, the Brahmas linebackers Jordan Williams and Tavante Beckett have been disruptive forces. San Antonio faces another challenge, which includes a significant number of injuries, including their quarterback Chase Garbers on injured reserve.

Let’s look at three matchups that will determine whether the Panthers or Brahmas can continue to stay near the top of the standings in their respective conferences.

Michigan Panthers quarterback EJ Perry vs. Brahmas quarterback Quinten Dormady

For the Michigan Panthers, EJ Perry is coming into Week 4 after having one of his best games of the season for any quarterback in the UFL. Offensively, the Panthers struggled to run the ball against the Houston Roughnecks. Still, Perry displayed his dual-threat capabilities by producing big plays in the passing game and picking up critical yards on the ground as the Panther’s leading rusher. If Perry can repeat last week’s performance, Michigan’s offense will be complicated to contain.

The Brahmas face a momentary setback on offense this week due to the loss of quarterback Chase Garbers. The injury to Garbers gives backup quarterback Quinten Dormady a chance to step up and show he has what it takes to lead the Brahmas to a victory.

Dormady will need to make quick decisions and get the ball to his weapons, Jontre Kirklin at wide receiver and tight end Cody Latimer. This game is Dormady’s first opportunity to play in 2024, so it is reasonable to expect another slow start for the Brahmas offense. If the Brahmas can establish their running game early, it will take significant pressure off Dormady’s shoulders.

Michigan Panthers Defensive Front Seven vs. San Antonio Brahmas Offensive Line

The most impressive aspect of the Panthers’ performance through their first three games this season has been their defensive front seven. Each week, the Panthers’ front has been able to slow down their opponents’ running game. Last week, the Michigan defense took over their game against the Houston Roughnecks when they applied suffocating pressure on Roughnecks quarterback Reid Sinnett.

The Brahmas offensive line faces obstacles with significant injuries to their starting offensive line. San Antonio’s injured reserve list nearly has an entire offensive line listed, which has required the Brahmas to adjust their roster to maintain the quality of their offensive line. With several new faces on the Brahmas offensive line this week, they must develop chemistry quickly. With a new quarterback behind center, it will be necessary for the offensive line to pick up blitzes and protect their quarterback.

Michigan Panthers kicker Jake Bates vs. San Antonio Brahmas kicker Ryan Santoso

Michigan Panthers kicker Jake Bates has quickly become a darling of the UFL and has attracted significant interest from NFL teams. Bates has shown he can hit long, game-winning kicks even under non-ideal conditions. Having a kicker with Bates’ skill set is a massive advantage because they have a realistic chance to score points if they can get the ball past the 50-yard line.

Last week was the first week of UFL action for Brahmas kicker Ryan Santoso. Santoso successfully made the Brahmas’ first two field goals of the season against the Battlehawks. A reliable kicker could mean the difference between winning and losing if the game is close.

Injury Report

The Michigan Panthers come into San Antonio with a relatively healthy roster. Michigan did have several players miss practices this week, including linebacker Noah Dawkins (leg), wide receiver John Hightower (ankle), wide receiver Marcus Sims (leg), outside linebacker De’Gabriel Floyd (knee), offensive tackle Jarrett Horst (elbow, knee), and offensive tackle Ryan Pope (shoulder). Safety Sean Malone (quad) and inside linebacker Deshaun White (hamstring) were limited in practice this week.

The Brahmas’ most critical injuries are the eight players on their injured reserve list, but they also had some injuries on their active roster. Both defensive tackle Jalen Dalton (foot) and running back Anthony McFarland (shoulder) missed practice this week. Several Brahmas were limited in practice, including outside linebacker Delontae Scott (shoulder), outside linebacker Jamir Jones (hamstring), cornerback Bryce Thompson (foot), outside linebacker Zach McCloud (ankle), and wide receiver Landen Akers (hamstring).

Game Prediction

This week’s matchup favors the consistent play of the Michigan Panthers versus the explosive allure of the San Antonio Brahmas. Michigan will need to come out and set a physical tone and control the pace of the game if they intend to come out of the Alamodome with a critical road win. The Brahmas will need to quickly get into a rhythm on offense with Quinten Dormady at quarterback, and defensively, they need to contain Perry and the Panthers offense.

Michigan Panthers 27, San Antonio Brahmas 21

Follow me on X: @AaronSauter7

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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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