Week 3 has arrived. Dallas travels to Seattle to face a raucous Dragons crowd. Houston travels to Tampa, looking to spoil the home opener for the Vipers. St. Louis opens to a sellout home audience, and DC travels to LA, looking to stay unbeaten.
Here is a preview:
Houston Roughnecks (2-0) @ Tampa Bay Vipers (0-2)
Time: 2 p.m. EST (Feb. 22)
Line: Houston -6
Tampa finally comes home to Raymond James Stadium for the first time this season. The Vipers need the home-field advantage as the Roughnecks come in as the league’s best team. Tampa is still struggling to find consistency at quarterback. The Vipers added veteran wide receiver S.J. Green in a trade with Seattle this week. Green previously played for Viper head coach Marc Trestman in the CFL, so look for Green to get involved quickly in the Viper offense.
Houston arrives with a 2-0 record and the best quarterback in the league. The only bad news for the Roughnecks is the status of wide receiver Cam Phillips. Phillips is probable on the injury report, so he should be good to go. In Week 2, Phillips caught eight passes for 63 yards and three touchdowns. If Phillips cannot go, Houston would lose a significant weapon on offense. Fortunately, the Roughnecks have a lot of weapons on offense.
Prediction: Roughnecks, 27, Vipers 14
Dallas Renegades (1-1) @ Seattle Dragons (1-1)
Time: 5 p.m. EST (Feb. 22)
Line: Dallas -4.5
Dallas travels to Seattle, fresh off an excellent Week 2 win in Los Angeles. Getting back quarterback Landry Jones was a big boost for the Renegades. Jones threw for over 300 yards on only a few days of practice before the LA game. This week, Jones has had a full week to get ready for Seattle. But Jones isn’t the only story in Dallas. The ‘Air-Raid’ offense that Bob Stoops is famous for is looking more like the ground raid lately. The Renegades gouged the Wildcats for 154 yards last weekend.
The Renegades face a Seattle defense that surrendered 141 yards to the Tampa Bay Vipers in Week 2, so Dallas running backs have got to be excited for this one. Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar look to be good fantasy plays in this one.
Seattle stole a win last weekend against Tampa, relying on big plays and an opportunistic defense to notch a home victory. Seattle will have to work even harder this week, as the Dragons are piling up names on the injury report. Wide receiver Kasen Williams is out, as is offensive tackle Michael Dunn and defensive tackle Anthony Moten. Running backs Kenneth Farrow and Ja’Quan Gardner are probable. This game will come down to the play of quarterback Brandon Silvers. If Silvers can find some early accuracy, Seattle will be able to control the game with a balanced attack on offense. If not, Dallas wins this one. Look for the home crowd to play a factor as well.
Prediction: Seattle 20, Dallas 18 (OT)
New York Guardians (1-1) @ St. Louis BattleHawks (1-1)
Time: 3 p.m. EST (Feb. 23)
Line: St. Louis -7.5
The St. Louis BattleHawks have sold out the home opener this weekend. St. Louis is the only XFL team without an NFL counterpart, and the city has come alive with support for the team. St. Louis is the most-followed account on both Instagram and Twitter of all of the XFL teams. The BattleHawks also have an outstanding football team. Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu has passed for nearly 500 yards and has rushed for over 100 more in the first two games. St. Louis is easily the best 1-1 team in the league right now.
New York heads into Week 3, looking to regroup from an embarrassing 27-0 loss to DC. The Guardians have a lot of questions on offense, as quarterback Matt McGloin was benched at the end of the game. McGloin also made some eyebrow-raising comments on the sideline during the game. Having to play in a very hostile environment this week will not help things at all. This game looks to be all BattleHawks.
Prediction: St. Louis 23, New York 11
DC Defenders (2-0) @ LA Wildcats (0-2)
Time: 6 p.m. EST (Feb. 23)
Line: DC -7
The last game of Week 3 features the DC Defenders facing the winless LA Wildcats. DC is looking sharp in all phases of the game so far this season. DC is averaging 339.5 yards of offense per game, has a pick-six in both games, and has blocked a punt for a touchdown. The Defenders have also converted on four of five field-goal attempts. DC will go against a Wildcat defense that has allowed an average of 379.5 yards per game and has given up the most touchdowns in the league.
After firing defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson in Game 1, the Wildcats promptly gave up 130 more yards of offense. But, LA also gave up fewer points, which is the more important stat. Quarterback Josh Johnson gave LA a lift last week, but it won’t be enough to break into the win column this week.
Prediction: DC 30, LA 14