The XFL had a great first week with good attendance and solid television ratings. Week 2 will be huge to the future of this league and all indications that it could be even better!
St. Louis BattleHawks at Houston Roughnecks
Spread: BattleHawks +7.5 (-105), Roughnecks -7.5 (-115)
St. Louis quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and the BattleHawks’ offense seemed to open up a lot in the 4th quarter of last week’s win over Dallas when they became more of a read-option team. I look for them to do a lot more of the same this week. The Roughnecks defense still has question marks because last week’s game against a poor Seattle offense was not a great indicator of how good or bad the defense is.
Houston quarterback P.J. Walker had the best performance of any XFL player in week 1, tossing 4 touchdown passes, but he will be facing a BattleHawks defense that played well last time out. The only offensive concern, and it is a big one was Houston’s lack of a ground game which will have to be better this weekend.
Game tempo could decide this one as St. Louis will want to slow the game down and Houston will want to speed the game up. I look for Walker to be the difference in a good game that the Roughnecks will break open late. I just don’t trust the St. Louis offense in this one.
Houston 27, St. Louis 17
Dallas Renegades at L.A. Wildcats
Spread: Renegades -4.5 (-110), Wildcats +4.5 (-110)
This will be an intriguing matchup between two teams coming off bad losses. The Renegades disappointed in week 1, as they were unable to score a touchdown and finished with three field goals. It wasn’t all bad though, well, at least it wasn’t all bad on defense for Dallas because they only gave up two touchdowns. Despite not scoring a TD, the Renegades only lost 15-9. Dallas was without star quarterback Landry Jones, so if he’s able to start in week 2, expect the offense to move the ball and score some points. Jones is a must-have if this team wants to contend in year one of the XFL.
The Wildcats also played their opener without their starting quarterback, Josh Johnson. L.A.’s problems, though, fell more on defense. The Wildcats gave up five touchdowns, the most among all teams. Then they fired Defensive Coordinator Pepper Johnson.
We expect them to play better in here as Johnson should be active. The defensive issues are worrying and now you have a new coordinator, which means you will probably be boom or bust this weekend.
If both starting quarterbacks play this could be a very good game. I give the coaching edge to Dallas and I think the Renegades will do just enough to win a close one.
Dallas 21, Los Angeles 17
Tampa Bay Vipers at Seattle Dragons
Spread: Vipers -2.5 (-115), Dragons +2.5 (-105)
Both teams struggled on offense, but at least in the first half of their loss to the Defenders Seattle showed the ability to move the ball. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, was atrocious on offense. The biggest question here will be who the Vipers start at quarterback.
Quarterback Aaron Murray struggled and that’s putting it nicely. He finished with no scores and two interceptions for a 45.1 QB rating, the lowest among starters on opening weekend. Tampa Bay turned to backup QB Quinton Flowers, who is also listed on the roster as a running back. The team seemed to move the ball with him at quarterback, but the Vipers still kept going back to Murray. If the Vipers continue with Murray they may not win any games. At least with Flowers they will have a shot to get something positive done.
Expect a great crowd in Seattle and the Dragons will respond with a home-opening win.
Seattle 20, Tampa Bay 16
New York Guardians at D.C. Defenders
Spread: Guardians +5 (-110), Defenders -5 (-110)
Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones had a big first week, but the defense was not quite as good as I expected it would be against Seattle. But Jones was even better than I thought and the Defenders look to have an exciting offense that will put points up on anybody. The Guardians’ defense was outstanding in week 1 and quarterback Matt McGloin was efficient, but efficient may not get it done against the Defenders. My other concern with New York is the lack of a running game.
New York will need to run the ball to have a chance and I think they could have issues there once again. Cardale Jones will have a stiffer test against the New York defense this week, but he will make enough plays for the Defenders to pull away in the fourth quarter.
Defenders 31, Guardians 20