With XFL Week 4 looming, it’s time to preview each matchup and make a pick for this week’s slate of games.
Los Angeles Wildcats (1-2) vs. New York Guardians (1-2)
Time: Feb. 29, 2 p.m.
Line: LA -7
With LA’s blowout win in Week 3, this matchup against New York takes on a whole new level of intrigue for the Wildcats. Los Angeles is like a franchise reborn and now has its sights set on a playoff run. Aside from Houston, the West is up for grabs. For New York, the return home comes at the perfect time. The Guardians were beaten up in two road games, outscored 56-9. New York has many questions coming into this game, with the most important being this: Who will play quarterback? Until the Guardians can find an answer to that question, they will struggle to find the win column again.
Prediction: Wildcats 28, Guardians 18
Seattle Dragons (1-2) vs. St. Louis BattleHawks (2-1)
Time: Feb. 29, 5 p.m.
Line: St. Louis -12
St. Louis gets another home game this weekend, likely to another capacity crowd. The BattleHawks face a Dragons team that is struggling to find an offensive rhythm. A vital component of this contest will most certainly be special teams. St. Louis returned a kick for a touchdown and blocked a punt last week. This raises alarm bells in Seattle; the Dragons had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown in Week 1. The Dragons must run the football successfully to compete in this one.
Additionally, Seattle has found it a challenge to score consistently in both halves of a game. Last week the Dragons were shut out in the second half, and in Week 1, Seattle was held scoreless in the first. With the enormous fan support and a highly capable quarterback, St. Louis wins this one easily.
Prediction: BattleHawks 22, Dragons 8
Houston Roughnecks (3-0) vs. Dallas Renegades (2-1)
Time: March 1, 4 p.m.
Line: Houston -1
The Roughnecks and Renegades meet for the first time this season, in what appears to be the game of the year. The Interstate 45 showdown is for both Texas bragging rights and sole possession of first place in the XFL West.
Houston is an offensive juggernaut led by quarterback PJ Walker, who has now thrown for 748 yards and 10 touchdowns. Dallas is slowly beginning to get things figured out offensively, leaning on a dominant run game. Meanwhile, the Renegades are averaging 105 yards per game on the ground this season.
The deciding factor in this game will be on the defensive side of the ball, however. Houston has given up an increasing amount of points in consecutive games and needs to tighten up defensively against Dallas. The Renegades are moving the ball successfully through the air and on the ground. Pair that with a rowdy home crowd, and Dallas wins.
Prediction: Renegades 41, Roughnecks 32
DC Defenders (2-1) vs. Tampa Bay Vipers (0-3)
Time: March 1, 7 p.m.
TV: ESPN 2
Line: DC -2.5
The DC Defenders were defeated last week in humiliating fashion. Quarterback Cardale Jones threw four interceptions, and the defense could not stop Los Angeles. DC looks like a completely different team on the road, which does not bode well for this weekend. To get back on track, DC must take care of the football and force turnovers. In two wins, DC forced six turnovers. In their one loss, DC forced zero.
The Tampa Bay Vipers, however, played their best game of the season, losing by seven to Houston. All that momentum gained by Tampa might be all but lost; internal strife has besieged the team.
Quarterback Quinton Flowers has asked for his release from the Vipers. Flowers was underutilized in the first three games of the season, as Tampa has used a carousel of quarterbacks this year. This week, Taylor Cornelius will get the nod. Cornelius has been intercepted three times this season, which has to be music to the ears of the DC secondary. The Defenders will look to get pick-six number three in Week 4.
Prediction: Defenders 25, Vipers 23