The First Week of the UFL Season is finally here. After the 2023 season were the USFL and XFL went head to head, the 2024 season brings together both entities creating a Spring League super power between Fox Sports and Redbird Capital.

The Battlehawks begin their season at Ford Field taking on the Michigan Panthers who are fresh off their playoff berth in 2023.

Weather:

The Battlehawks will be playing at a Dome in Ford Field.

Betting Odds Per Draftkings (March 29th):

Spread: Battlehawks -2.5

Moneyline: Battlehawks -305, Panthers +245

Over/Under: 42

Depth Chart:

Michigan v stlouis

Three Keys to Victory:

A.J. McCarron:

The “unofficial” MVP of the 2023 season returns to St. Louis to hopefully bring a championship to the football starved city. In Nine games, McCarron threw for over 2,100 Yards and 24 TDs (an XFL record), leading Bruce Gradkowski’s offense. In the 2024 the Battlehawks revamped their Receiving Corps adding Jachour Pearson (out with injury), Jerome Kapp, and Blake Jackson in addition to retaining Darrius Shepherd, Marcell Ateman, and Hakeem Butler, giving A.J. the tools to become one the UFL’s elite QB of 2024.

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Finding the Rushing Attack:

The Battlehawks revamped their Running Back room only opting to retain Mataeo Durant for 2024. With the addition of Jacob Saylors, and Wayne Gallman the Battlehawks add a bit of versatility in their backfield in 2024, hoping to supplement the passing attack. While not many seem to question the proficiency of the Battlehawks Passing game, the rushing attack does have some questions that will need to be answered in week One.

Perry Me in Satin:

The Battlehawks added Pita Taumoepenu in the off-season along with Austin Faoliu to strengthen their Defensive line. Both these players are extremely crucial in navigating the elusiveness of Panthers QB E.J. Perry. With the retention of Travis Feeney as well, look for the revamped Defensive Line to make Perry’s day extremely difficult.

Closing Thoughts and Prediction:

With continuity and “firepower” the Battlehawks match up extremely well against the Michigan Panthers by way of paper. For me the Panthers will have to relay on their underwhelming group of Wide Receivers, due to the strength of the Battlehawks Defense being their front Seven. With the arsenal of weapons that A.J. McCarron yields, I don’t see the Panthers being able to go punch for punch unless they can force a turnover. Overall, look for St. Louis to come ahead in this game winning 30-13, as they attempt to reach the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

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Patrick Rifino

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