XFL Week 4: DC Defenders at Tampa Bay Vipers: Preview, Prediction, and Pick

The Defenders are coming off a shocking blowout loss, can they respond against a weak Vipers team on the road?

Game: DC Renegades at Tampa Bay Vipers

Date and Time: Sunday March 1st, 2020, 7:00 PM

Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL

Spread: Roughnecks -2, TOTAL 50.5

TV Channel: ESPN2

DC Defenders at Tampa Bay Vipers Preview

After the first two weeks, it looked like the DC Defenders were the most dominant team in the XFL. They entered the game with a point differential of +39, and what happened to them in Week 3 was completely unexpected. The Defenders went into Los Angeles to face the Wildcats, and walked out licking their wounds after a 39-9 defeat. It knocked the Defenders back to reality, but now the question is, can they respond?

The DC Defenders are lead at quarterback by Cardale Jones. Jones, the former Ohio State Buckeye, had a short stint in the NFL before bouncing to the XFL. He’s one of the stars of the league, and one of their most marketable players. To this point, his play has been decent, but not great. He is completing only 58% of his passes, accumulating 602 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. If the Defenders look to make noise this season, Jones is going to have to improve on those numbers.

The leading rusher for the Defenders is another ex-NFL player, Donnel Pumphrey. Pumphrey leads a balanced rushing attack, as he leads the team with just 97 yards rushing. Most of their damage is done through the air, as Rashad Ross and Eli Rogers give the Defenders one of the best receiving duos in the league. For them to bounce back, expect these two to be a big part of the gameplan.

The Tampa Bay Vipers have nowhere to go but up. They sit at 0-3 on the season, and are the only winless team in the XFL. They’re looking to shed that designation, but have a tough task ahead of them with the Defenders coming to town.

The Vipers are lead at quarterback by Taylor Cornelius, but his play has been uninspiring to this point. He’s completing only 53% of his passes for 310 yards, and has only thrown one touchdown compared to three interceptions.

The leading rusher for the Vipers is De’Veon Smith, who has an impressive 174 yards on the ground. For the Vipers to have any chance against the Defenders, they’re going to have to run the ball successfully. The Defenders are a hard team to pass against, at least until Josh Johnson ripped them up last week. In their first two games, the Defenders had a pick-6 in each game.

DC Defenders at Tampa Bay Vipers Stats

  • The Vipers average 13 points per game
  • The Defenders allow 19.3 points per game
  • The Vipers sports a point differential of -11.7

DC Defenders at Tampa Bay Vipers Betting Lines

  • The O/U is 44.5
  • The Defenders are 2.5 point road favorites
  • The Defenders are -136 on the ML, Vipers +112

DC Defenders at Tampa Bay Vipers Prediction

A week ago, this line may have been in the double digits. That was before the Defenders got a dose of reality from the Los Angeles Wildcats, and it will be interesting to see if they recover. The good news going forward is that to this point, the Vipers are the perfect remedy to get back on track.

With this spread being only 2.5 points in favor of the Defenders, the line has me scratching my head. I understand that the Defenders are coming off a bad loss, but the Vipers have shown no indication that they are going to be a competitive team this season. This seems too easy. Take the Defenders to easily cover their 2.5 spread.

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