Game Preview: UFL Championship, Birmingham Stallions vs San Antonio Brahmas, Sunday June 16, 2024

  • UFL Championship, Birmingham Stallions (10-1) vs San Antonio Brahmas (8-3)
  • Sunday June 16, 2024 at 4:00 PM CT (5:00 PM ET)
  • The Dome at America’s Center, St. Louis, MO
  • Tickets: Ticketmaster and Stubhub
  • Network: FOX (Streaming)
  • Announcers: Curt Menefee (Play-by-play), Joel Klatt (Color Analyst), Devin Gardner (Sideline reporter).
  • Odds: Birmingham -3, O/U 41.5 (DraftKings)

In week twelve of the season, we finally have the inaugural UFL Championship game featuring the USFL and XFL Conference Champions. To get to this game, last week the Birmingham Stallions defeated the Michigan Panthers 31-18, while the San Antonio Brahmas defeated the St. Louis Battlehawks 25-15.

This will be the second game between the two franchises, with the Brahmas handing the Stallions their only loss of the season back in Week 9 with a score of 18-9.

Not only does Birmingham have the opportunity to avenge their only loss of the regular season against San Antonio, the Stallions will also be going for a historic three-peat. The last franchise to win three straight titles in the NFL, NBA, MLB, or NHL was when the Los Angeles Lakers accomplished the feat 22 years ago, in 2002.

What do we know?

Last week against the Michigan Panthers, Birmingham started slow, trailing 18-3 in the second quarter. They managed to turn things around by scoring the final 28 points of the game. It was in Week 4 that quarterback Matt Corral had last taken a snap for Birmingham, but he came off the bench to replace Adrian Martinez and led the offense on two touchdown drives late in the third quarter.

Due to the second-half surge, Birmingham outgained Michigan 365-253. Corral was 9-of-11 for 120 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Martinez finished 10-of-19 for 164 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. C.J. Marable led the way for the Stallions on the ground, rushing for 77 yards on eight carries. Kyahva Tezino paced the Stallions’ defense with seven total tackles, while Ike Brown grabbed two interceptions to go along with Daniel Isom picking off Michigan quarterback Danny Etling and returning it 48 yards for a touchdown.

Despite the win, it was still concerning that Birmingham and Michigan both coughed up the ball four times, and the Stallions racked up 11 penalties for 111 yards. It was their worst showing in the past three spring seasons.

Despite Matt Corral’s performance, Stallions head coach Skip Holtz is sticking with league MVP Adrian Martinez to start this game, but he admits he has Corral in his back pocket in case Martinez comes out flat. Essentially, Birmingham has a two-headed snake at their disposal, something San Antonio must prepare for.

In Week 9 of the UFL season, the Birmingham Stallions’ 15-game winning streak came to an end at the Alamodome as they fell to the San Antonio Brahmas, 18-9. The Brahmas defense dominated, holding quarterback Adrian Martinez to 18 of 32 passes for 211 yards, throwing one touchdown and one interception, and rushing for 56 yards on five attempts.

It was a matchup of San Antonio’s top-scoring defense versus Birmingham’s top-scoring offense, and the Brahmas prevailed by holding the Stallions to less than 10 points.

The Brahmas used a pressuring defense, while quarterback Chase Garbers returned from injury and found his rhythm in the second half, completing 16-of-23 passes for 139 yards. Garbers’ health has improved since this game, leading the Brahmas to a win in the XFL Championship game against the St. Louis Battlehawks, where he completed 15-of-21 passes for 197 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.

The Brahmas offense dominated the XFL Championship game, amassing a season-high 410 total yards. They also recorded the league’s longest rush of the season on a 69-yard Anthony McFarland Jr. score on their first play of the second half, as well as the team’s longest reception of the season on a Chase Garbers-to-Justin Smith 63-yard touchdown connection in the second quarter. It is clear that the Brahmas are peaking at the right time.

The Brahmas running game peaked in their previous game, with both John Lovett and Anthony McFarland averaging over 6.0 yards per carry and totaling 213 yards on the ground. This marked the first time the team had gone over 200 rushing yards all season.

On offense, these two teams stack up closely, with Birmingham having the edge in all statistical categories. Over the season, Birmingham averaged 26.5 points and 347.5 yards per game, with 31 touchdowns, and a 300:21 possession time on the season. Meanwhile, San Antonio averaged 19.2 points and 296.6 yards per game, for 24 touchdowns and a time of possession of 290:00 on the season.

Defensively, the two teams are close in all statistical categories. Over the season, Birmingham allowed 18.0 points per game, completed 628 tackles, with 29 sacks and 8 interceptions. Meanwhile, San Antonio allowed 15.3 points per game, completed 635 tackles, with 32 sacks and 4 interceptions.

What should we expect?

These two teams are relatively evenly matched, with the Brahmas having the glory of being the only team to beat the Stallions in 2024. Can they do it again? Of course, they can. But will they? We cannot be sure.

What we do know for sure is that both of these teams will come to play, and this should make for a very entertaining game.

Oddsmakers have determined this will be a close game, awarding a 3-point spread to Birmingham. If you want to know who to bet on in this game, I would go with the favorite. Even if you do so, be prepared to lose your money, because the supposed underdog has a good chance to take the win.

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