The first weekend is finished, and fans have gotten a chance to see what the XFL is all about. The general reaction was positive, as the league averaged 3.3 million viewers over the course of the four games. Attendance was over 17,000 for each game, which was another positive sign for the league.
As the games finished on Sunday evening, some teams made some significant statements on the opening weekend. Here is a look at the power rankings heading into Week 2 of the XFL.
1. Houston Roughnecks (1-0)
No other XFL team made quite the statement that the Houston Roughnecks did over the weekend. The Roughnecks dominated the LA Wildcats 37-17, sparked by incredible quarterback play from P.J. Walker. Walker was 23-for-39 for 265 yards and totaled four touchdown passes.
Walker added another 26 yards on the ground. The defense added a sack and an interception to leash the Wildcats. Houston looked like a complete team on the field in Week 1.
Next Game: Home vs. St. Louis Battlehawks (1-0)
2. D.C. Defenders (1-0)
The Defenders lived up to their name against the Seattle Dragons. DC forced three turnovers and blocked a punt to put away Seattle. In a crucial moment late in the game, DC was able to force a fumble at the goal line to come away with a win.
Offensively, DC was able to move the ball successfully thanks to excellent decision-making from quarterback Cardale Jones. Jones used his legs on multiple occasions to avoid a drive-killing sack and extend the play. The Defenders did not turn over the ball in the contest. DC gets New York this weekend, in what will be a battle of the top two defenses in the league and an early power grab for first place in the XFL East.
Next: Home vs. New York Guardians (1-0)
3. New York Guardians (1-0)
Gotham was certainly guarded on Sunday. The Guardians dominated Tampa Bay, defeating the Vipers 23-3. Although the Guardians gave up nearly 400 yards of offense, the defense held up where it mattered the most: the red zone.
The Guardians picked off Aaron Murray early in the first quarter in the end zone to put a stop to a very promising drive for the Vipers. Murray was picked in the red zone for a second time later in the game. The Guardians also forced multiple fumbles along the way.
Offensively, New York was efficient. Quarterback Matt McGloin tossed one touchdown pass and ran for another score. New York will get a real test this week when the Guardians travel to D.C. to take on the Defenders.
Next: Away vs. D.C. Defenders (1-0)
4. St. Louis BattleHawks (1-0)
St. Louis was the only team in the opening weekend to manage to pull off a road victory, impressive considering the Battlehawks were also the largest underdogs of the weekend. Solid defensive play and proper execution at quarterback propelled the BattleHawks over Dallas. Jordan Ta’amu threw for 183 yards and rushed for 77 more in the 15-9 BattleHawks victory. The BattleHawks square off against the prolific Houston Roughnecks this weekend.
Next: Away vs. Houston Roughnecks (1-0)
5. Seattle Dragons (0-1)
In Seattle’s 31-19 loss against DC, there were several bright spots for the Dragons. Wide Receiver Austin Proehl had an excellent game, catching two touchdown passes and piling up 88 receiving yards. Even quarterback Brandon Silvers looked great at times.
Unfortunately, Seattle was bitten by the turnover bug and coughed up the ball at crucial moments. The special teams unit was also suspect for Seattle, committing a major penalty on a kickoff and allowing a blocked punt.
Seattle faces a Tampa Bay team this weekend that struggled to get points on the board. Additionally, Seattle got some positive news this week as former CFL standout wide receiver SJ Green signed, giving a much-needed boost to an injury-depleted receiving corps.
Next: Home vs. Tampa Bay Vipers (0-1)
6. Dallas Renegades (0-1)
The Renegades’ loss over the weekend was the surprise of the weekend. Dallas, with acclaimed head coach Bob Stoops, was an on-paper favorite to dominate the opening weekend. Unfortunately for Dallas, games are not played on paper.
Losing quarterback Landry Jones before the opener certainly affected the outcome on Sunday. Renegades starter Philip Nelson averaged just five yards per pass. Defensively, the Renegades were solid, surrendering only 15 points. With Jones’s outlook looking favorable for Week 2, Dallas will likely make a jump in the power rankings this weekend.
Next: Away vs. L.A. Wildcats
7. Los Angeles Wildcats (0-1)
The Wildcats’ defensive performance left a lot to be desired over the weekend. Head coach Winston Moss was so displeased that he released a key defensive player from the team and fired defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson.
Offensively, the Wildcats were not much better. Running back Elijah Hood rushed for 43 yards to lead the team. Quarterbacks Jalan McClendon and Chad Kanoff were each picked off once. The brightest spot for the Wildcats was wide receiver Nelson Spruce, who hauled in 11 passes for 103 yards. Spruce now leading the XFL in receiving in this young season.
Next: Home vs. Dallas Renegades
8. Tampa Bay Vipers (0-1)
If this league were based solely on yards, Tampa would not be last on this list. The Vipers put up nearly 400 yards of offense on Sunday afternoon but failed to find the end zone. Tampa ended up with only three points for the game, committing costly turnovers at the worst possible times.
Tampa may also have a quarterback controversy brewing, as the Vipers moved the ball with both quarterbacks Aaron Murray and Quinton Flowers. Flowers is a more mobile quarterback, while Murray is more of the traditional pocket-passer. The Vipers need to figure it out quickly, as a road trip to Seattle looms.
The home opener for the Dragons is expected to set an attendance record for the XFL, making it a very hostile environment for a struggling Vipers team to enter.
Next: Away vs. Seattle Dragons (0-1)