Ethan Hewett | February 15th, 2020
Week one of the XFL was just about everything that people expected it to be. It served its purpose as an extension of the football season and provided quality play along the way. We had it all, defensive shootouts, blocked punts, blowouts, sideline interviews abound, and a fresh take on the game of football.
The question now is if the XFL can sustain this type of success. It’s time to dig into the week two matchups to see who stays undefeated and who gets their first win of the year.
New York Guardians (1-0) @ D.C. Defenders (1-0)
Time: 2 P.M. EST
Spread: D.C. (-6.5)
The Guardians are coming off a 23-3 blowout of the Tampa Bay Vipers in week one. The Guardians made their case for the best defense in the XFL picking up five sacks, three turnovers, one touchdown and allowed the fewest points of the week. Getting caught up in New York’s defense can almost distract you from how poor their offense was. They averaged five yards a play, went one for 10 on third downs, and averaged 2.8 yards per rush which will not cut it against D.C.
The Defenders had a bit of a scare against the Seattle Dragons in week one. Down 13-12 at halftime, D.C. would storm back to claim a 31-19 victory. Cardale Jones put on quite the performance but will have a challenge this week taking on a good New York secondary. New York’s offense is going to have to be much better this week to keep up with a Defenders offense that had the most explosive pass offense in week one averaging nine yards a play.
Straight Up: Defenders 25-18
Against the Spread: D.C. (-6.5)
Tampa Bay Vipers (0-1) @ Seattle Dragons (0-1)
Time: 5 P.M. EST
Spread: TB (-3)
One of these two teams is going to get a win this week. Tampa Bay is coming off a disappointing week one, while Seattle struggled offensively in the second half against the Defenders. Surprisingly, the Vipers led the XFL in total yards in week one but were awful in the red zone going zero for four. The Vipers also have quarterback injuries this week with Aaron Murray already declared out and Chase Litton is also questionable. Quinton Flowers is expected to get the start today against the Dragons.
Seattle heads into their home opener this week 0-1. Starting quarterback Brandon Silvers is questionable after suffering an ankle injury late against D.C. bringing in backup B.J. Daniels. This will be a defensive battle as both offenses are dealing with injuries and have struggled situationally so expect a low scoring game in this one. I like Tampa Bay here mainly because they are slightly more efficient on the offensive side of the ball.
Straight Up: Vipers 18-16
Against the Spread: SEA (+3)
Dallas Renegades (0-1) @ Los Angeles Wildcats (0-1)
Time: 3 P.M. EST
Spread: DAL (-4)
Dallas is coming off a tough home loss to the St. Louis Battlehawks, but the good news is that Landry Jones is expected to start at quarterback this week. This will hopefully spark a Hal Mumme air raid offense that failed to test the deep ball and averaged just 5.1 yards per pass (seventh) in week one. The Wildcats will have to contend with a balanced attack on offense with Dallas also averaging 4.8 yards per rush.
Los Angeles found themselves on the wrong end of a 37-17 game against the Houston Roughnecks. First string quarterback Josh Johnson was forced to miss due to injury, and the passing attack struggled because of that. LA also put up a poor 20% third-down rate in week one. Johnson is still listed as questionable for Sunday’s match and with a Renegade defense that can get after the quarterback, this game could get ugly quickly for the Wildcats.
Straight Up: Renegades 29-18
Against the Spread: DAL (-4)
St. Louis Battlehawks (1-0) @ Houston Roughnecks (1-0) GAME OF THE WEEK
Time: 6 P.M. EST
Spread: HOU (-8)
St. Louis enters the second half of their two-game road stretch coming off a big win against Dallas in week one 15-9. Jordan Ta’amu looked impressive putting up 209 total passing yards along with adding 77 rushing yards. St. Louis was six for 12 on third down and converted on 75% of their redzone trips. While they lead the league in rushing yards, their top two running backs in Matt Jones and Keith Ford are both listed as questionable for this week’s game.
This game features the two finalists for “XFL Star of the Week” between Ta’amu and the winner, Houston quarterback P.J. Walker who threw four touchdown passes last week against the Wildcats in a 20-point blowout. Walker will be taking on a Battlehawk defense that had four sacks last week and whose secondary looks dangerous featuring safety Kenny Robinson. On the defensive side, the Roughnecks will have to slow down the most balanced offense in the XFL.
Straight Up: Roughnecks 25-23
Against the Spread: STL (+8)
STL @ HOU Over/Under: 50
Two of the four games in week one went over 50, and the other two were under 26. While Houston did put up 37 in week one, this St. Louis defense is good and can get after the quarterback. The Battlehawks also have a developing rookie quarterback so don’t expect them to put up monster numbers on offense just yet.
St. Louis is the most underrated team right now, and while Houston is explosive I don’t expect them to run away with this game. The Battlehawks love to run the ball, even with Ta’amu and they will grind this game out. St. Louis could win this game outright, but I easily anticipate them covering the eight-point spread.
TB @ SEA Over/Under: 45
As mentioned above, this is going to be a defensive battle as both offenses are not ideal at the moment. The Vipers put up a lot of yardage but couldn’t capitalize while Seattle combusted in the second half offensively. With 21 combined points between these two teams in week one, I wouldn’t dream of this game getting over a total of 35.
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Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images