Ethan Hewett | February 29th, 2020
Three weeks of the XFL season have flown by and a couple teams are starting to separate from the field. Cam Phillips earned himself the “XFL Star of the Week” award for the second straight week and kept the award in Houston for the third straight week. As the teams approach the quarter mark of the season, they are beginning to show their true colors and games are starting to have more playoff implications. Who keeps their win streak alive, and can the Tampa Bay Vipers finally get a win?
All spreads and totals according to Caesars Sportsbook
Los Angeles Wildcats (1-2) @ New York Guardians (1-2)
Time: 2:00 PM EST
Spread: NY (+8)
These two teams have gone in opposite directions since the start of the season. The Guardians started the season 1-0 but have fallen apart at the seams going 0-2 in the past two weeks being outscored 9-56. Quarterback Matt McGloin, who was playing subpar anyway, is dealing with a thorax injury, leaving a big question mark at the position this weekend. While the defense is decent in efficiency stats, they are giving up a lot of points, which at the end of the day is what matters most.
In contrast, the Wildcats have been on the rise for the past two weeks. NFL journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson caught fire last weekend at home against the DC Defenders in their dominating performance winning 39-9 to secure their first win. Johnson threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson will be without Nelson Spruce this weekend and running back Martez Carter is listed as doubtful for today’s game. This game will come down to whether New York can slow down this Wildcat offense as I don’t see the Guardians putting up high numbers offensively.
Straight Up: Los Angeles 25-15
Against the Spread: LA (-8)
Seattle Dragons (1-2) @ St. Louis Battlehawks (2-1)
Time: 5:00 PM EST
Spread: STL (-11.5)
St. Louis has started to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the XFL and specifically the East Division. While the Houston Roughnecks still sit atop my power rankings, St. Louis has something special brewing on offense. While some will call it a gadget offense, St. Louis is second in the league in total yards and first in rushing yards. Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu continues to show promise, and Matt Jones continues to lead the league in rushing yards.
St. Louis once again has the largest line, mainly because Seattle has struggled to find an identity on offense. While quarterback Brandon Silvers has one of the best arms in the XFL, his lack of consistency has left Head Coach Jim Zorn unsure of what this offense could be. St. Louis will look to put a lot of pressure on Silvers this week, but the Dragons do boast one of the better defenses in the league, so look for them to try and slow down the Battlehawk running game.
St. Louis gets my vote here mostly for home-field advantage as it is going to be very hard for any team to come into The Dome and leave victorious with how large and loud the crowd was in their week two victory over the Guardians.
Straight Up: St. Louis 29-17
Against the Spread: STL (-11.5)
Houston Roughnecks (3-0) @ Dallas Renegades (2-1) GAME OF THE WEEK
Time: 4:00 PM EST
Spread: DAL (+2.5)
The game that everybody will be watching this week is when the high octane offense of the Roughnecks takes on the efficient Hal Mumme offense in Dallas. Wideout Phillips for Houston is coming off back-to-back three-touchdown games and leads the league in both receiving yards (324) and touchdowns (seven). His partner in crime, P.J. Walker, continued to be a playmaker in their win over Tampa Bay last week, and this team looks unstoppable right now.
While Dallas hasn’t had the flashiest season, the offense has picked up traction in the second half of the last two games when Landry Jones starts to get into a rhythm. The biggest issue for this team is the turnovers. Dallas leads the XFL in turnovers with eight, five of which have been interceptions. With how quickly Houston can put up points, a couple interceptions from Jones could end up costing Dallas the game. Keeping this in mind, Houston should get ahead early and won’t look back.
Straight Up: Houston 29-22
Against the Spread: HOU (-2.5)
DC Defenders (2-1) @ Tampa Bay Vipers (0-3)
Time: 6:00 PM EST
Spread: TB (+2.5)
DC is coming off a tough loss to Los Angeles in their first road game, 39-9. Cardale Jones didn’t look like the passer we saw the first two weeks, and the defense seemed to fall apart. On the upside, the Defenders did put up 200 rushing yards led by Nick Brossette, who put up 75 yards and the Defenders’ only touchdown. Head Coach Pep Hamilton and this offense will look to bounce back this week against the winless Vipers team. However, they will have to do it on the road.
Tampa Bay is an intriguing team. Week three finally featured the first Vipers touchdown, and the team put up 27 points. Despite this, what has been their Achilles heel all season came back to haunt them late in the game. The red zone. The Vipers had the ball at Houston’s one-yard line but failed to convert on fourth down. Aaron Murray is listed as probable for Sunday’s game and should help to revamp the Tampa Bay offense and maybe even secure the team’s first win.
Straight Up: TB 27-23
Against the Spread: TB (+2.5)
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Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images