The fifth week of the XFL season is here, and with it arrives our preview and picks for the eight games.
Seattle Dragons vs. Houston Roughnecks
Time: 2 p.m. EST on Saturday
Line: Houston -13
The undefeated Roughnecks face the struggling Seattle Dragons. Houston looks to be the dominant force in this one. Led by PJ Walker, the Roughnecks are putting up over 31 points per game this season. Last week, however, the Roughnecks’ defense showed that it was not the weak point of this team, as many have speculated. Houston picked off Dallas quarterback Landry Jones three times in the first half. The Houston defense will face mobile quarterback BJ Daniels this week. Daniels ran for 84 yards and passed for 100 more in his season debut. It will be an uphill battle for Daniels and the Dragons, as Seattle has yet to score more than 19 points in a game this season.
Prediction: Roughnecks 27, Dragons 19
New York Guardians vs. Dallas Renegades
Time: 5 p.m. EST on Saturday
Line: Dallas -7.8
New York travels to Dallas in a contest that features a team that hasn’t won on the road against a team that has not won at home. This incongruence favors the home team, as home teams have an 11-5 record on the season so far. New York found some offensive rhythm last weekend, however, so expect this game to be a tight one. Dallas will be without starter Landry Jones as well, which is a serious factor to consider. Another factor is offensive output: New York is averaging only 12.2 points per game this season, whereas Dallas is at nearly 20. The Renegades have the edge in this one.
Prediction: Renegades 19, Guardians 15
St. Louis BattleHawks vs. DC Defenders
Time: 3 p.m. EST on Sunday
Line: St. Louis -3.5
St. Louis is emerging as the favorite in the XFL East. The BattleHawks throw well, run well, and have one of the best special teams in the league. The most impressive thing about St. Louis is its defense. The BattleHawks are allowing only 15.5 points per game this season. St. Louis will be up against a Defenders team that averages 29 points per game at home and only 4.5 points on the road. The real question for this game is: which Defenders team will show up?
Prediction: BattleHawks 22, Defenders 17
Tampa Bay Vipers vs. LA Wildcats
Time: 9 p.m. EST on Sunday
Line: LA -1
Teams traveling across the country are 0-4 so far this season. Tampa has already done this trip once; a 17-9 loss to Seattle. The Vipers are a different team than they were in Week 2. The Vipers had not only one but two rushers top 100 yards last week against DC. Since abdicating play-calling duties, Marc Trestman is turning Tampa into a contender in the east. LA will be without starting wide receiver Nelson Spruce again. Tre McBride has risen to the top of the depth chart, making his case as a legitimate number-one receiver. McBride has 13 catches for 236 yards and three touchdowns in Spruce’s absence. Los Angeles has the No. 1 passing offense in the XFL with 244.5 yards per game but will be tested this weekend. Tampa leads in XFL in passing defense, surrendering 156.8 yards per game.
Prediction: Wildcats 21, Vipers 19