The first week of XFL action had favorites and game lines, but with it being the first time that teams saw live football action, it was really anyone’s guess who would be good and who would emerge victorious.
Las Vegas’s favorite to win the XFL Championship, the Dallas Renegades, put up just nine points in a loss to the St. Louis BattleHawks. The Seattle Dragons were projected to be the worst team in the league, yet put up a decent fight against the D.C. Defenders.
There’s an obvious team atop my first ever XFL Power Rankings. This team has an electric quarterback, and their defense shut down their opponent in the second half.
Just as with any league’s first power rankings, this list is bound to be an overreaction to the opening games. It could be weeks before we really figure out which teams are consistently good or bad.
XFL Power Rankings After Week 1
8. Los Angeles Wildcats (0-1)
After leading 17-12 at one point, the Wildcats let up 25 straight points en route to an embarrassing loss. Former Princeton Chad Kanoff had some decent throws, but ultimately completed just 53% of his passes. He was sacked three times.
7. Tampa Bay Vipers (0-1)
The Vipers put up a league-low three points in their loss to the Guardians. However, they actually led the league in yards gained, while limiting the Guardians to the fewest offensive yards in the league. But between the inability to get points on the board and some suspect play on defense and special teams, Aaron Murray and the Vipers have their work cut out for them. Murray had the league’s lowest completion percentage in Week 1 (47%) and was taken down for three sacks. Murray also threw two interceptions, both of which came off tipped passes.
6. Seattle Dragons (0-1)
Through halftime and into the second half, the Dragons and Defenders looked like pretty evenly matched teams. But a pair of turnovers by Dragons quarterback Brandon Silvers ultimately doomed Seattle. The Dragons offense wasn’t dominant, but showed it’s capable of moving the ball. The defense faltered in the second half, but Seattle might not be such a longshot in this league.
5. Dallas Renegades (0-1)
The Renegades were plagued by an inability to finish drives, settling for three field goals in their loss to the BattleHawks. Quarterback Philip Nelson had a league-high 79% completion rate, paired with a league-low 5.0 yards per attempt. He’ll need to push the ball down the field more for Dallas’s offense.
4. St. Louis BattleHawks (1-0)
St. Louis had an impressive 15-9 victory over the Renegades to open their first XFL season. Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu was absolutely electric, putting up the 2nd-best quarterbacking performance in my Week 1 rankings.
The BattleHawks rank 4th in this week’s power rankings though, with room for improvement. Their 15 points scored were the lowest by a winning team in Week 1. And if the Renegades were able to convert a couple of those field goal drives into touchdown drives, St. Louis may not have come out on top.
3. New York Guardians (1-0)
Despite gaining the least offensive yards in the league in Week 1, the Guardians recorded a dominant 23-3 win over the Vipers in MetLife Stadium. But just because the offense wasn’t tasked with doing much, doesn’t mean New York didn’t look great in their win.
Stellar play on defense and special teams set up the Guardians with short fields and a lead to sit in. Quarterback Matt McGloin had some good throws, and the Guardians looked capable of being one of the better teams in the XFL.
2. D.C. Defenders (1-0)
Cardale Jones and the D.C. Defenders had an excellent all-around victory in Week 1, defeating the Seattle Dragons 31-19 in the league’s introductory game. On offense, Jones led one of the most consistent units in the league for Week 1. The Defenders both passed and rushed the ball with ease. The Defenders defense heated up in the second half, breaking a 19-19 tie with a pick six off the arm of Dragons quarterback Brandon Silvers.
With the Defenders and Guardians ranking #2 and #3 in this week’s Power Rankings, their Week 2 matchup is set to be a good one: check out all my XFL Week 2 Picks.
1. Houston Roughnecks (1-0)
The Roughnecks found themselves down 17-12 to the Wildcats before exploding for 25 straight points. Their 37 points were the XFL’s highest mark in Week 1. Houston’s defense shut down all Los Angeles scoring after that point. And quarterback P.J. Walker looked like the best quarterback in the league.
With just one game under each team’s belt, it’s far too early to hand out any crowns. But if we’re to judge these eight teams on their Week 1 performance’s, the Houston Roughnecks have me intrigued and eager to see more.
Header Photo Credit: Matt Patterson, Associated Press
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