With a pair of games in the books for all 8 XFL teams, each team’s identity is begginning to take shape. P.J. Walker and the Houston Roughnecks lead an explosive offense. The D.C. Defenders are a great all-around team, led by Cardale Jones. Both teams opened their seasons 2-0. The Tampa Bay Vipers and Los Angeles Wildcats, on the other hand, are still searching for their first wins.
In my first ever XFL Picks in Week 2, I went an even 2-2. On Saturday, I incorrectly picked the Guardians over the Defenders and the Vipers over the Dragons. I had more luck on Sunday, going 2-0 as the Renegades defeated the Wildcats and the Roughnecks edged out a win over the BattleHawks.
Week 3 Picks
Houston Roughnecks (2-0) at Tampa Bay Vipers (0-2)
Time: 2:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 22
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Line: Houston Roughnecks (-6.5)
P.J. Walker has been the league’s best quarterback, and probably all-around player, through two weeks. Walker has thrown seven touchdowns against no interceptions, putting up 38 and 28 points in two victories for the Roughnecks. Houston will likely be favored in every game moving forward until they lose.
They’re not undefeatable, as they needed a comeback to beat the BattleHawks. But St. Louis’s offense, led by dynamic quarterback Jordan Ta’amu (who I ranked as the 2nd-best quarterback in the XFL) is much more of a scoring threat than that of the Vipers.
Aaron Murray is expected to miss his second straight start, but whether it’s Taylor Cornelius or Quinton Flowers throwing the ball, I don’t think the Vipers offense (with a league-low 12 points through two weeks) can keep up with Walker and Roughnecks.
Roughnecks 27 – Vipers 13 (Houston wins against the spread)
Dallas Renegades (1-1) at Seattle Dragons (1-1)
Time: 5:00 PM ET (2:00 PM PT local time,) Saturday, February 22
Location: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
Line: Dallas Renegades (-4.5)
The Seattle Dragons proved home-field advantage for football games reigns supreme in Seattle, dispatching the Vipers in their home opener last week.
Landry Jones made his XFL debut for the Renegades in Week 2, starting slow but heating up late for a 300-yard passing game and a victory over the Wildcats.
On paper, I like this to be a close game. Jones’ NFL roster experience showed with some more polish at the position. Dragons quarterback Brandon Silvers still has some improvements to make in that department. Silvers completed just 42% of his passes in Week 2, compared to 70% by Jones.
I don’t love Jones the Renegades here, but the Dragons seem to have work to do in multiple areas on the field. Dallas feels like the more complete team.
Renegades 24 – Dragons 20 (Dragons win against the spread)
New York Guardians (1-1) at St. Louis BattleHawks (1-1)
Time: 3:00 PM ET (2:00 PM CT local time,) Sunday, February 23
Location: The Dome at America’s Center, St. Louis, Missouri (former home of the St. Louis Rams)
Line: St. Louis Battlehawks (-9.5)
Jordan Ta’amu has been one of the league’s most accurate passers (74% and 81% in his first two games) as well as most dynamic with his feet, picking up 99 yards on the ground. To say he’s a defensive nightmare is an understatement.
The 1-1 BattleHawks take to The Dome at America’s Center (you may remember it better as the Edward Jones Dome, home of the St. Louis Rams) for their first home game of the season. With the largest expected fanbase coming into the season, St. Louis fans are expected to pack the dome in with over 30,000 fans.
The New York Guardians followed up a Week 1 win by falling apart in almost every facet of the game against the Defenders. Quarterback Matt McGloin was at the center of many of these issues, completing 42% of his passes with two interceptions, good for a whopping 10.1 passer rating. Backup Marquise Williams may get another shot if McGloin does start and struggle again.
I think this will be a breakout game for the BattleHawks, who enter the conversation among the league’s best teams, joining the Defenders and Roughnecks.
BattleHawks 36 – Guardians 18 (BattleHawks win against the spread)
D.C. Defenders (2-0) at Los Angeles Wildcats (0-2)
Time: 6:00 PM ET (3:00 PM PT local time,) Sunday, February 23
Location: Dignity Health Sports Park, Los Angeles, California
Line: D.C. Defenders (-7.5)
The Wildcats have the makings of a decent team. They looked good in the first half against the Roughnecks before kind of falling apart. Behind Josh Johnson in Week 2, the offense was alright, though the defense again let up in the second half, allowing 22 points in the second half.
On the opposite side is the Defenders, who seem to heat up in the second half. And if Cardale Jones can get points on the board in the first half, the Wildcats may find themselves in too deep a hole to dig out of.
The Defenders feel like the most complete team in the league to me, with a scoring-capable offense and stingy, opportunistic defense. Maybe the Wildcats will put up more of a fight than the Guardians, but once again I see the favorite coming out on top.
Defenders 26 – Wildcats 17 (Defenders win against the spread)
Header Photo Credit: Via NBC Sports
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