The 2020 XFL season is in full swing as the calendar switches over from February to March. Leap days in February only happen once every four years, but professional football on a leap day? Now that’s a real treat.
This week, the Houston Roughnecks try to get to 4-0, but face a hot Dallas Renegades team that is 2-0 since the arrival of Landry Jones as their starting quarterback. The St. Louis BattleHawks look to roll to their third straight victory, hosting the Seattle Dragons in an electric home environment.
The New York Guardians return home to MetLife Stadium, searching for their first win since Week 1 as they host Josh Johnson and the Wildcats. Finally, the Tampa Bay Vipers are looking for their first win: period. But with an offense that has put up more points in each game, Tampa Bay just might be able to upset Cardale Jones and the D.C. Defenders.
Week 4 Picks
Los Angeles Wildcats (1-2) at New York Guardians (1-2)
Time: 2:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 29
Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Line: Los Angeles Wildcats (-7)
Former Penn State and Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin has the Guardians sitting at 1-2, although he was unable to complete New York’s last two games due to a benching and an injury. He will the Guardians Week 4 matchup with the Wilddcats.
The change of pace at quarterback, forcing Maquise Williams into the starting role, is welcome for the Guardians. Williams hasn’t exactly dazzled in relief of McGloin, but McGloin’s impressive opening game may have been fool’s gold, as his next two games were pretty bad.
I think New York will be very competitive at home. Just as the Defenders showed us it’s hard to go from East Coast to West Coast, the Wildcats could find themselves in a similar situation in Week 4 going the opposite way. Even though I have the Guardians ranked dead-last in my latest power rankings, the location will definitely play a factor.
I’m tempted to pick the Guardians outright for this reason (home-field advantage has proven huge in the XFL so far,) but I also like what Josh Johnson has done for Los Angeles’ offense over two starts. I’ll take the Wildcats, but in a close one where the Guardians cover the spread.
Wildcats 27 – Guardians 24 (New York wins against the spread)
Seattle Dragons (1-2) at St. Louis BattleHawks (2-1)
Time: 5:00 PM ET (4:00 PM CT local time,) Saturday, February 29
Location: The Dome at America’s Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Line: St. Louis BattleHawks (-12.0)
Last week, the BattleHawks were 9.5-point favorites in their home opener against the New York Guardians. After a dominating win behind an electric home crowd, the BattleHawks are even bigger juggernauts this week: entering the game as 12.0-point favorites over the visiting Seattle Dragons.
The Dragons aren’t a horrible football team, but they seem to do everything just below average. This starts at the quarterback position with Brandon Silvers, who has great pocket poise but a hard time consistently completing his passes.
Seattle has played a lot better at home through three games, which could spell trouble in St. Louis. I actually find the Dragons to be one of the more consistent offensive teams in the league (consistently putting up 10-20 points that is,) so I don’t think St. Louis’s defense will absolutely shut them down. But with Jordan Ta’amu under center, the BattleHawks still may be able to cover what I believe is the largest point spread ever in the young history of the XFL.
BattleHawks 29 – Dragons 15 (St. Louis wins against the spread)
Houston Roughnecks (3-0) at Dallas Renegades (2-1)
Time: 4:00 PM ET (3:00 PM CT local time,) Sunday, March 1
Location: Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas
Line: Houston Roughnecks (-1.0)
We’ve talked a lot about home-field advantage in the XFL, and the 3-0 Houston Roughnecks find themselves in the rare position of road favorites, by an extremely narrow margin.
The advantage won’t be as gaping as when, say, an East Coast team travels to the West Coast, however. The Roughnecks will travel roughly 240 miles, or 3.5 hours on the ground, from Houston to Dallas.
The Dallas Renegades have been competitive in all three of their games this season. Starter Landry Jones is 2-0, often struggling in the first half before heating up in the second half.
But will this formula work against the high-scoring Roughnecks? If Dallas’ defense can keep P.J. Walker’s offense under 20-25 points, Dallas will have a chance. But I don’t see Jones and the Renegades being able to keep up in a shootout.
Roughnecks 27 – Renegades 21 (Houston wins against the spread)
D.C. Defenders (2-1) at Tampa Bay Vipers (0-3)
Time: 7:00 PM ET, Sunday, March 1
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, Florida
Line: D.C. Defenders (-2.5)
The D.C. Defenders were favored to win in Los Angeles against Josh Johnson and the Wildcats, and got absolutely crushed, losing 39-9. Cardale Jones threw four interceptions, and the Wildcats offense imposed their will on D.C.’s defense.
On paper, the Defenders get a softer opponent in the 0-3 Vipers, but don’t think for a second that this will be an easy game.
Tampa Bay’s scoring woes are well-documented, but underneath them is a team that moves the ball surprisingly well. The Vipers outgained the Guardians in total yards in their Week 1 loss, something you wouldn’t be able to tell by their 23-3 loss.
In Week 2, the Vipers tallied 9 points, before breaking out for 27 points at home and giving the Roughnecks a scare in Week 3.
I think the Defenders still have the talent to be a Top 3 or Top 4 team in the XFL, but the Vipers are overdue for their first win of the season. After last week’s offensive break out, Tampa Bay grinds out a win over Jones and the Defenders.
Vipers 23 – Defenders 18 (Tampa Bay wins against the spread)
Header Photo Credit: Via CBS Sports
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