The wait is over! XFL 2020 is here and the XFLFanZone has the weekend previewed. The weekend kicks off in Washington, DC with the Defenders and Dragons. Houston and Los Angeles follow later Saturday evening. Sunday sees the Vipers square off against the Guardians in the matinee, with Dallas and St. Louis finishing off the slate of games. Here is a look at the individual game matchups and a look at the staff picks for week one.
Seattle Dragons at DC Defenders
Time: 2 pm
Line: Defenders -7.5
The inaugural game for this new version of the XFL features former NCAA champion Cardale Jones leading an explosive Defenders lineup against a stingy Seattle defense. DC is nearly an eight-point favorite, but with the new conversion rules for the XFL, an eight point lead is not nearly enough. Look for offensive coordinator Mike Riley (Seattle) to get the three-headed monster of Farrow, Williams, and Gardner involved early in the contest to mitigate the speedy scores of the Defenders.
Prediction: Dragons 39, Defenders 32
Los Angeles Wildcats at Houston Roughnecks
Time: 5 pm
Line: Roughnecks -5.5
The Wildcats and Roughnecks have had some interesting last minute changes at the quarterback position. Connor Cook, the expected starter for Houston, was beaten out for the job by PJ Walker. Walker, a dual threat quarterback from Temple, gives the Roughnecks more options offensively. The ability to both run and pass should factor heavily in the XFL this season. For Los Angeles, projected starter Josh Johson is dealing with a hip injury that will keep him out of the opener. Backup Jalan McClendon gets the nod for the Wildcats. This unanticipated injury for the Wildcats tips the scales in the Roughnecks favor.
Prediction: Houston 33, LA 26
Tampa Bay Vipers at New York Guardians
Time: 2 pm (Sunday, February 9)
Line: Vipers -2
Former University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Muray leads a talented Vipers squad into New York to battle the Guardians. Murray was last seen with the AAF’s Atlanta Legends. It will be interesting to see how Murray can flourish in the Marc Trestman-led offense. For New York, wide receiver Mekale McKay should be very fun to watch. The 6-foot-5 wide receiver was a standout performer with the San Antonio Commanders for the AAF. This will likely be the closest game of the weekend.
Prediction: Vipers 39, Guardians 36
St. Louis BattleHawks at Dallas Renegades
Time: 5 pm EST (Sunday,February 9)
Line: Renegades -10
In the most lopsided line of the weekend, the Dallas Renegades are a ten-point favorite at home against the BattleHawks. This is due largely to the coaching staff of the Renegades, led by Bob Stoops. Stoops won a national title with Oklahoma and is looking to capitalize on that success in the professional game. The only potential setback for the Renegades is the status of starting quarterback Landry Jones. Jones was listed as questionable on the injury report. For the BattleHawks, quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and running back Christine Michael will have to have huge games for St. Louis.
Check out the staff picks for this week: