Ethan Hewett | February 22nd, 2020
Another exciting week of XFL football approaches, and with that, there is a fresh four-game slate for this weekend. Entering week three two teams remain undefeated and two teams have yet to taste victory in the new league. With quarterback play becoming a huge factor, which guys are going to step up this week and make a name for themselves? Let’s break down the four games lined up for Saturday and Sunday.
All spreads and totals according to Caesars Sportsbook
Houston Roughnecks (2-0) @ Tampa Bay Vipers (0-2)
Time: 2:00 PM EST
Spread: TB (+6)
Houston comes into Tampa Bay with a lot of momentum after a close 28-24 home victory over the St. Louis Battlehawks. P.J. Walker has emerged as potentially the league’s first “star” and has led Houston to be one of the more efficient offenses in the XFL. The Walker to Cam Phillips combo has been dangerous as Phillips caught all three passing touchdowns against St. Louis.
On the other side of the aisle, Tampa Bay has had a bad start to the XFL season. After scoring only three points in week one they followed it up with a nine-point performance in their loss to the Seattle Dragons last week. The quarterback situation has been rough with starter Aaron Murray being sidelined with a foot injury and it doesn’t look like he is going to start this week either.
Don’t let Tampa Bay’s big yardage numbers fool you, this team is 0 for 7 in the red zone and are tied for most turnovers in the league with five (all interceptions). Houston wants to have a shootout and Tampa Bay won’t be able to keep up.
Straight Up: Houston 26-12
Against the Spread: HOU (-6)
Dallas Renegades (1-1) @ Seattle Dragons (1-1) GAME OF THE WEEK
Time: 5:00 PM EST
Spread: SEA (+4.5)
With Landry Jones under center in week two, the Renegades were able to grab their first win of the season. Jones was also assisted by Cameron Artis-Payne who put up the best rushing totals for a single game (14/99/2). This offense looked great in the second half against the Los Angeles Wildcats but will be up for a challenge as they head to Seattle to take on the Dragons and a much better defense.
Seattle sits at 1-1 on the year after winning their home opener last week against the Tampa Bay Vipers. Offensively, quarterback Brandon Silvers has been average outside of 60-plus yard touchdown to receiver Keenan Reynolds. This team should run the ball more as they average just over four yards per carry.
This is my game of the week because both defenses have a lot of potential with two offenses that can produce. If Dallas can get ahead early they should be alright, but things could get interesting if it’s close at halftime.
Straight Up: Dallas 28-22
Against the Spread: DAL (-4.5)
New York Guardians (1-1) @ St. Louis Battlehawks (1-1)
Time: 3:00 PM EST
Spread: STL (-10)
Football is back in St. Louis. After a big road win in week one, St. Louis traveled to Houston where it was a tale of two halves scoring only six points in the first and outscoring Houston 18-7 in the second. St. Louis is very close to being a big-time threat in the XFL.
Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu has continued to have rookie struggles throwing two picks last week, with the second coming at the cost of a Houston touchdown. However, running back Matt Jones leads the league in rushing yards (129) and Ta’amu is third (109).
New York looked like a decent team in week one with a blockbuster defense. However, offensive woes were exposed in week two. Quarterback Matt McGloin looked pedestrian throwing for 95 yards along with two interceptions in their shutout loss to the DC Defenders. The running game looked slightly better but this team has a long way to go offensively. Potentially even going after a new quarterback.
This is the biggest line of this week, and rightfully so. St. Louis is one of the best teams in the league while the other was shut out last week. If Ta’amu can play a clean game with no costly turnovers the Battlehawks should be victorious in their home opener on Sunday.
Straight Up: St. Louis 29-15
Against the Spread: STL (-10)
DC Defenders (2-0) @ Los Angeles Wildcats (0-2)
Time: 6:00 PM EST
Spread: LA (+8)
If I could have two games of the week, this would be the second one. DC is coming off a huge 27-0 shutout last week against New York and will be traveling to Los Angeles for their first road game. Quarterback Cardale Jones has led a Pep Hamilton offense to a 2-0 record and leads the league in passing yards. The offense does lack explosiveness out of the backfield so look for Donnel Pumphrey to try and change that this week against the lackluster defense of the Wildcats.
Los Angeles nearly pulled off a big comeback win against Dallas last week but fell short 28-15 bringing them to 0-2. Of the winless teams in the XFL, Los Angeles has better odds to win but they are still not great. The Wildcat defense has been poor, and Josh Johnson struggled to find a rhythm early on last week. However, Johnson does have Nelson Spruce at receiver who has turned into one of the better pass catchers in the league.
Los Angeles is going to have to step up defensively if they want to win this game. Johnson can most likely keep this team in a shootout but if they fall behind, DC could run away with this. I think the Wildcats keep this one close.
Straight Up: DC 30-23
Against the Spread: LA (+8)
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Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images