Week 3 of the UFL features a potentially explosive matchup when the (1-1) Saint Louis Battlehawks face the (2-0) San Antonio Brahmas at the Alamodome on Sunday, April 14th, at 3 pm EST.

Saint Louis comes into San Antonio as a 2-point favorite over the undefeated Brahmas. This game features two of the top offenses in the UFL, including a big-time matchup between arguably the best quarterbacks in the UFL after the first two weeks of the UFL regular season.

The San Antonio Brahmas come into this game riding a two-game win streak, including an improbable comeback on the road against the Memphis Showboats, giving the Brahmas a 20-19 win that included a game-winning drive led by quarterback Chase Garbers. The Battlehawks also come into this matchup with momentum after defeating the Arlington Renegades 27-24 in their home opener in Week 2. Based on both teams’ performances in their first two games, fans should expect a fast-paced offensive showdown between two top offenses in the UFL.

We will examine three matchups in this game to determine which team will be victorious in this matchup between XFL division rivals.

Battlehawks quarterback AJ McCarron vs. Brahmas quarterback Chase Garbers

In this game, McCarron and Garbers have established themselves as the best quarterbacks in the UFL. Expectations have been high for McCarron since he announced that he would return for another season to lead the Battlehawks offense, and he brings significant NFL experience playing backup quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals. Garbers spent with the Las Vegas Raiders in the NFL before coming to the UFL. Garbers had primarily been on the practice squad in Las Vegas but did get an opportunity to be on the Raiders active roster as a backup quarterback to end the 2022 season.

Garbers and McCarron have started the UFL season, finding chemistry within their offenses and getting the ball to their top offensive weapons. If they can continue their success in 2024, both quarterbacks are early candidates to earn MVP honors.

While both quarterbacks have several similarities, there is one significant difference between them, and that is their performance in Week 2. Garbers and the Brahmas offense had to overcome a slow start and an avalanche of penalties in Memphis in Week 2. Still, offensively, they got hot in the 4th quarter and erased a double-digit deficit to pick up. McCarron has been consistent in his first two games this season, and in Week 2, the Battlehawks were able to establish a power running game, which should take pressure off of McCarron.

Battlehawks running back Mataeo Durant vs. The Brahmas Front Seven on Defense

During the first eight games of the UFL season, the teams that can establish their running game and control the line of scrimmage have won each game so far. In Week 1, the Battlehawks failed to control the line of scrimmage on offense or defense against the Michigan Panthers, and they narrowly lost the game 18-16. In Week 2, Saint Louis introduced the UFL to running back Mataeo Durant. Suddenly, the Battlehawks experienced a massive boost in their running game, with Durant rushing for 104 yards and a touchdown with only 14 carries.

Offensively, the Brahmas have struggled to run the ball consistently this season, leading to the need to find innovative ways to score points. Conversely, on defense, the Brahmas have one of the best collections of talent in the UFL in their defensive front seven. For the Brahmas, linebackers Jordan Williams and Tavante Beckett must dominate the box and take away the Battlehawk’s ability to run the ball consistently.

Battlehawks kicker Andre Szmyt vs. Brahmas kicker Ryan Santoso

The Brahmas made headlines this week when they announced that they had to move kicker Donald “Deestroying” De La Haye to the injured reserve list after fracturing his neck while making a tackle on a kickoff in Memphis. The injury forced the Brahmas to find a new kicker, which they did by signing former NFL kicker Ryan Santoso. Up to this point in the season, the Brahmas have not attempted any field goals, and that could be a critical factor if they find themselves in a close matchup against the Battlehawks.

For Saint Louis, kicker Andre Szmyt has been outstanding so far this season, and in Week 2, he made a game-winning field goal to help the Battlehawks secure their victory against the Brahmas. That experience of making a big kick with his team’s fate on his shoulders could end up being a game-breaking factor for the Battlehawks. Game-winning field goals have been a theme for Saint Louis due to losing in Michigan as Panthers kicker Jake Bates made a 64-yard field goal to clinch a win against the Battlehawks, and then in Week 2, the Battlehawks defeated Arlington with a game-winning field goal.

Injury Report

The most notable injuries for the Brahmas this week are the loss of kicker Donald De La Haye (neck) and starting center Alex Mollette (leg) moving to the injured reserve list. Additionally, edge players Delontae Scott (shoulder) and Zach McCloud (ankle) have missed multiple days of practice this week. Several Brahmas were also classified as limited in practice, including cornerback BoPete Keyes (groin), edge Jamir Jones (elbow), defensive tackle Jalen Dalton (neck), cornerback Darius Phillips (hip), offensive lineman Derrick Kelly II (hamstring), and wide receiver Landen Akers (hamstring).

The Battlehawks have had better luck with injuries than the Brahmas this season. This week, defensive end Freedom Akinmoladun (illness) missed practice, and middle linebacker Mike Rose (ankle) was limited in practice.

Game Analysis and Prediction

The Battlehawks are the healthier team, and they have momentum after picking up their first win last week. Offensively, the Battlehawks have found balance, with McCarron leading the offense and an improved running game. If they can get running back Mataeo Durant running early, they will have a chance to control the game’s tempo. Defensively, the Battlehawks need to pressure Brahmas quarterback Chase Garbers and keep the Brahmas behind the chains.

The Brahmas team has found success making big plays at critical moments in the game, but they are facing two opponents this week, the Battlehawks, and attrition to their roster. This week, the Brahmas offense cannot afford to get down early, and they must get Chase Garbers in rhythm and Jontre Kirklin, Marquez Stevenson, and Cody Latimer involved in the game early and often. Defensively, the Brahmas defense faces the biggest challenge of the season so far: slowing down the Battlehawks’ running game and applying pressure to prevent AJ McCarron from getting comfortable.

San Antonio Brahmas 28, Saint Louis Battlehawks 27

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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