What to expect in Philadelphia Stars vs. Pittsburgh Maulers

At 3-3, the Philadelphia Stars The USFL is atop the North Division with four games remaining. However, the rest of the division remains within striking distance at 2-4, including when the Stars face off at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Saturday (9 p.m. ET on FS1 and the FOX Sports app). Pittsburgh Mollers.

Moellers head coach Ray Horton has already surpassed his team’s win total from last season and is now working to do something Pittsburgh failed to accomplish in 2022 – make the playoffs.

Pittsburgh defeated the Stars 21–13 in Week 3, Pittsburgh’s first win of the season. Here’s one thing to watch for from each team in the rematch.

Stars: Can Philadelphia’s offense score a TD in the red zone?

The Stars have won two straight but haven’t scored an offensive touchdown in the last two games.

Philadelphia is 0-for-7 in the red zone in that span. While kicker Luis Aguilar has been impressive, making 11 of 12 field goals over the past two games, the Stars can’t rely on a kicker to finish drives.

Philadelphia needs to figure out how to consistently put the ball in the painted area for touchdowns.

“It comes down to mental mistakes, and that includes me,” Philadelphia quarterback Case Cooks said after Sunday’s win over New Orleans. “I can’t make mistakes or turn the ball over like we did a couple of times today. But I think it comes down to the little things. We have a lot of returners, and sometimes you have to remind them,’ Hey, if you got a move, just make a move.’ Don’t worry about other things.”

The Stars lead the league with 45 accepted penalties for 367 yards. Philadelphia is also tied for second in the USFL with 10 giveaways and had three touchdowns called back due to penalties last week.

So, curbing self-inflicted mistakes will be key for the Stars against Pittsburgh.

Mallers: Can the Mallers create consistency on offense with the run game?

Horton wants Pittsburgh’s offense to be dynamic and explosive, running up the scoreboard. But with the way the Moellers are playing on defense, Pittsburgh could benefit from a run-based, ball-control offense that plays away from opposing teams.

With that in mind, the Mollers need to find a runner who can move the chains. Through six games, Pittsburgh’s leading rusher has been quarterback Troy Williams with 214 rushing yards. But someone from a stable of running backs that includes Madre London, Duane Gary and Garrett Groschek should play an expanded role in the offense.

In Pittsburgh’s wins this season, Moellers averaged 128.5 rushing yards. Despite being pulled last week in favor of James Morgan to try to spark the offense, Williams remains the team’s starting quarterback, Horton said.

“We have to be a team,” Horton said. “Are we the most dominant team in the league? No. Defensively, do I think we are? I do. But you have to have special teams and the offense comes along for the ride.

“So, I’m very encouraged about the team we’re building.”

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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