Good news here XFL fans despite what you might hear. Yes, ratings were down compared to the week prior which was expected. Week 3 has historically been the most important week of all the start up leagues throughout history.
Here’s why the headlines you have read are potentially misleading. The XFL had the best weekend of all sports. It still had more viewers than NBA, NHL, College Basketball, etc. The numbers didn’t dip nearly as bad as they did in 2001 or with the AAF last year. The XFL also posted their best week of fan attendance ever.
All of this is encouraging if you are a fan of this league. Week 4 should be fun highlighted by the leagues best team the Houston Roughnecks playing at the Dallas Renegades on Sunday.
Los Angeles Wildcats @ New York Guardians
Saturday 11am PST
Line: Los Angeles -7
Look, I was on the Defenders last week so I’m not going to pretend to say I knew L.A. would find their stride. However, I was convinced that QB Josh Johnson wasn’t healthy the week before and he got better as the game went on. I was a firm believer that Johnson is a top XFL quarterback coming into the league. What I did not see coming was an absolutely dominating performance by the Wildcats defense.
The New York Guardians seem to be quite a mess after opening the season looking great. For starters, they’ve now played three quarterbacks in three games. Sure, Matt McGloin was the starter but there’s a reason why they’ve moved on to Williams & Perez.
New York needs to take advantage of their home environment and perhaps cold weather. I personally think Perez and Williams is a better option than McGloin so hopefully Gilbride reads this by then. One thing the Guardians have going for them is the Wildcats appear to be without their star wideout Nelson Spruce who is easily on of the best wideouts in the XFL.
Pick: Wildcats 26, Guardians 22
Seattle Dragons @ St. Louis Battle Hawks
Saturday 2pm PST
Line: St. Louis -12.5
The Seattle Dragons were my upset pick last week and after the first half, I felt great about that.
However, then came the second half. The Dragons couldn’t move the ball to save their life. Their defense made some plays to keep them in the game, but at the end of the day, Brandon Silvers and the offense lost them the game. Head coach Jim Zorn has to be thinking about replacing Silvers with QB B.J. Daniels at some point. Daniels might not manage the game like Silvers, but he certainly is an exciting athlete who can create with his legs when there’s nothing open.
The Battle Hawks are easily one of the top teams in the XFL. Jordan Ta’amu is a legit XFL quarterback and their run game is something to be feared. Plus, much like Seattle they have a legit 12th man in their rocking crowd. I expect the Battle Hawks crowd to have even more people at this game as St. Louis reminds the NBA & NFL that they are certainly worthy of pro sports.
Pick: Battle Hawks 33, Dragons 19
Houston Roughnecks @ Dallas Renegades
Sunday 1PM PST
Line: Hou -1
The Houston Roughnecks are the lone undefeated XFL team, so I’m not sure how they’re only favored by 1.
The Roughnecks have the best player in all the XFL in quarterback PJ Walker. They also have perhaps the best wideout in Cam Phillips. Sure, the defense gives up some points and big yardage at times, but this offense has been unstoppable.
I’d like to see the Roughnecks defense fix a few things in this game. The Dallas run game could present a problem for Houston.
The Dallas Renegades found their stride in the 2nd half against Seattle last week to move the Renegades to 2-1 for the season. Perhaps, they’d be 3-0 had their starting QB Landry Jones not been injured for their first game.
The Renegades are now showing why they were the preseason favorite to win the league. They have a great run game with two capable running backs and now they found some balance with tight end Donald Parham emerging last week with a 100 yard receiving day. If the offense clicks like it did in the 2nd half against Seattle, then this should be a game.
This is the must watch XFL game of the weekend. Hal Mumme vs June Jones is something that should be primetime TV.
Pick: Renegades 29 Roughnecks 27
DC Defenders @ Tampa Bay Vipers
Sunday 4pm PST
Line: DC -1.5
The Defenders were coming in look like perhaps the best team in all the XFL last week but then they were hit by the train that was the Los Angeles Wildcats. Cardale Jones was absolutely awful last week turning the ball over multiple times. Head coach Pep Hamilton needs Jones to settle down and not try to do so much. The Defenders still have a good defense and solid special teams. Don’t hit the panic button yet DC.
The Tampa Bay Vipers lost again last week to remain the only winless team in all the XFL but they looked the best they have all year. I still hate the two quarterback system that Trestman uses. The crowd was decent in Tampa and the defense hasn’t been the problem. Sure, they had issues trying to stop PJ Walker but so has the whole XFL. I like Tampa to stick with Flowers at QB and just let him grow and develop in their system. We’ll see if Trestman can agree.