Saturday’s slate features the lone unbeaten XFL team, while the other squads are looking to gain some ground.
XFL Season Record ATS: 4-4
Seattle Dragons at Houston Roughnecks
Ladies and gentleman, we have an XFL juggernaut. The Houston Roughnecks are a freight train right now, and to this point, team haven’t been able to stop them, but can only hope to contain them. They have a record of 4-0, and are the lone unbeaten team in the league, and are coming off a very impressive 27-20 road win against a talented Dallas Renegades team.
They are led by quarterback PJ Walker, and he is putting on a show this season. While it’s admittedly still early in the season, Walker is the clear-cut favorite for the league’s MVP award, as he has thrown for 987 yards, 12 touchdowns, and only 2 interceptions. Walker is electric, and can make plays with his feet as well as throws all across the field. The Seattle Dragons and their defensive staff must be lacking sleep due to preparing to play this phenom this week.
The Seattle Dragons stock is falling fast. After a 23-16 loss to the Battlehawks in Week 4, they now sit at 1-3, and are last place in the XFL West Standings. To make matters worse, the Dragons now have a quarterback controversy on their hands. Coach Jim Zorn benched incumbent starter Brandon Silvers in the second half of their loss last week, and he was replaced by former South Florida alumnus BJ Daniels. Faced with a 17-3 deficit, Daniels did all he could to help the Dragons mount a comeback, and he went 5-10, passing for 100 yards with a touchdown and a late interception.
The more promising development for Daniels was his ability to extend plays, and make things happen with his feet. In his short stint, Daniels rushed for 84 yards, with a long of 35. Against a team like the Roughnecks, it may be in the Dragons best interest to ride with Daniels once more, as his ability to make things happen on improvisation may be key against this talented defense. Whichever way Zorn goes, it will be a tough task this week.
The oddsmakers love the Roughnecks in this game, and with good reason. They’ve defeated each of their opponents with shocking ease, and have proved they can win away from home as well. Houston is a whopping 12.5 point favorite on their home field, and I don’t think that’s enough. This is a mismatch in every facet of the game, and the Roughnecks are going to put on a show in front of the Houston crowd.
New York Guardians at Dallas Renegades
After losing two straight games after their opening season win, the New York Guardians responded with a big-time performance in Week 4. Faced with the reality of a third straight loss, and a very talented Wildcats team coming into town, the Guardians knew that their season was on the brink. They responded with a gutsy performance in their 17-14 victory over Los Angeles, and will look to keep their momentum going into this game.
The Guardians, to put it kindly, struggle to score points. Their 12.2 points per game is last in the XFL, and they’ve failed to score more than 23 points in any game this season. Their defense and special teams has kept them in games, as they’re 2nd in the league in sacks (10), and used a blocked field goal to propel them last week. The Guardians are another team with a quarterback dilemma, as their opening season starter Matt McGloin was benched last week in favor of Luis Perez. Perez was efficient in his debut, throwing for 150 yards and a touchdown, but most importantly, took care of the ball.
The Dallas Renegades are coming off a tough loss at the hands of the aforementioned Houston Roughnecks, 27-20. Losing to the Houston is nothing to be ashamed of, but to make matters worse for the Renegades, quarterback Landry Jones left the contest with a knee injury, and he is expected to miss at least this week’s game. He was replaced by Phillip Nelson, and he expected to get the start in this contest.
Dallas turned the ball over 5 times in their last loss, and if we’re being honest, that should be looked at as a positive. Nobody likes to be -4 in the turnover column, but the fact that Dallas only lost by 7 points to the best team in the league with that kind of performance speaks volumes to the talent level on this team. Going forward without Jones, expect the Renegades to rely on their running game which features two former NFL backs, Cameron Artis-Paine and Lance Dunbar.
Even with the injury to Landry Jones, the oddsmakers are siding with the Renegades, as they are -8 coming into this contest. Playing at home will help them, but the Guardians defense showed me some things last week. I expect this to be a nail-biter, and whichever team makes more plays down the stretch will be victorious. Take the Guardians to cover the 8 point spread, and even potentially steal this game.