Week 3 is here! There are quite a few matchups of interest this weekend. Here is a preview of what the weekend has in store.
Seattle Sea Dragons (0-2) vs. Vegas Vipers (0-2)
7pm ET | FX and ESPN+ | March 4th
Seattle travels to Vegas in the first game of the weekend, and the only game on Saturday. The good news is that one of these teams will record its first win of the season. The bad news? One team will drop to 0-3 in the XFL north,, severely damaging any hopes for the postseason. Seattle has a prolific offensive passing attack, but has been plagued with turnovers. Vegas can’t get going offensively and has multiple missed field goals on the season, limiting offensive productivity.
Players to Watch
Ben DiNucci, Quarterback, Seattle Sea Dragons
DiNucci ranks first in the XFL in passing, throwing for 478 yards and three touchdowns in two games. If DiNucci can find his favorite targets, WR Jacour Nelson (16 receptions, 173 yards, 1 TD) and WR Josh Gordon (7 receptions, 107 yards, 1 TD) then Seattle will have a successful night. Jumping on Vegas early will force the Vipers to pass, which is not a strength.
Brett Hundley, Quarterback, Vegas Vipers
Hundley is the highest paid player in the XFL, and needs to prove why this week. Hundley was limited last weekend due to poor weather conditions and joining the team late. Hundley completed 61 percent of his passes against DC and also averaged nearly five yards per carry. With an extra week of practice under his belt, Hundley should be much sharper this weekend.
Look for Seattle to jump out in front early. This weekend however, the Sea Dragons hold the lead.
Seattle 19, Vegas 17
St. Louis Battlehawks (2-0) vs. DC Defenders (2-0)
1pm ET | FX and ESPN+ | March 5th
This is the most anticipated matchup of the weekend, as it features the only battle between undefeated teams. The winner of this one will get the inside track for one of the top two playoff spots in the XFL North. This is an evenly matched game against two very similar teams. Both St. Louis and DC have used big second half efforts to secure victories in both games this year so far. Controlling the clock will likely play a key factor in this one.
Players to Watch
The Rushing Attack, DC Defenders
DC used a convoy of rushers last weekend to rack up 229 yards rush in an 18-6 win over Vegas. The Defenders were led by runnig back Abram Smith. Smith carried eleven times for 71 yards and a touchdown. Following closely behind smith was quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, who added 68 yards to the total. Backup quarterback D’Eriq King added another spark for DC, adding a touchdown to the rushing parade. If DC runs the ball successfully this weekend, the Defenders will be the only undefeated team in the North.
AJ McCarron, Quarterback, St. Louis Battlehawks
The Battlehawks have been able to narrowly escape with a victory in games one and two, thanks largely in part to the steady quarterback play of AJ McCarron. McCarron is the only starting quarterback in the XFL that has yet to throw an interception. In two games, McCarron has gone 40-for-62 for 374 yards and two touchdowns. These stats would be better, were it not for multiple drops by Battlehawk receivers. In nearly every XFL game this season, ball security has been a defining factor, and McCarron’s efficient quarterback play has kept St. Louis on the plus side of the turnover ratio.
DC’s run game and home field advantage are the deciding factors here, as the Defenders manage to hold off another late game St. Louis charge.
DC 19, St. Louis 16
Orlando Guardians (0-2) vs. Arlington Renegades (1-1)
4pm ET | FX and ESPN+ | March 5th
The first XFL South battle of the weekend features a reeling Orlando team facing The Arlington Renegades. The Renegades have issues as well, as a quarterback change may be in the works for this game. Orlando is putting up the fewest points per game (12) in the XFL and is surrendering the most points per game (31.5).
Players to Watch
JaMaine Martin, Running Back, Orlando Guardians
Martin is averaging 4.8 yards per carry this season, carrying the ball eighteen times for eighty-seven yards. Giving Martin the ball more would help control time of possession and set up play action options. It will be interesting to see how he is used this weekend. That may not seem like much, but Martin has at least been consistent in the first two games. Currently, nothing in Orlando has been consistent.
Drew Plitt and Kyle Sloter, Quarterbacks, Arlington Renegades
Arlington has not gotten a great deal of productivity from the quarterback position so far this year. Quarterback Kyle Sloter, formerly of the USFL, expects to see playing time this weekend. A quarterback change might just be the spark the Arlington offense needs to get on track. The Renegades have only scored two offensive touchdowns all season, and both of those came in game two. If one of these two quarterbacks can provide an offensive spark to an already stout defense, Arlington is a contender in the South.
The Renegades defense is too much for Orlando to handle this weekend.
Arlington 25, Orlando 17
San Antonio Brahmas (1-1) vs. Houston Renegades (2-0)
8pm ET | FX and ESPN+ | March 5th
Fresh off the first win in franchise history, San Antonio is rewarded with a road trip to the home of the undefeated Houston Roughnecks. The Brahmas are not coming in without any momentum, however. San Antonio racked up 30 points last weekend and starting quarterback Jack Coan was impressive. For Houston, the Roughnecks got a stellar day from both sides of the football. Offensively, Houston ranks first in scoring, second in passing yards, and fifth in rushing. Defensively, the Roughnecks rank first in sacks, interceptions, and points against.
Players to Watch
Jack Coan, Quarterback, San Antonio Brahmas
Coan really found his stride in game two against Orlando. Coan has thrown four touchdown passes on the season against only one interception. Taking care of the football and getting the ball out on time will be critical for the Brahmas to have any hope for success against a Houston team that leads the league in nearly all major defensive categories. Coan’s decision-making will be what determines the outcome of this game.
Max Borghi, Running Back, Houston Roughnecks
Borghi has been very reliable for Houston so far this year, both running the ball and catches passes our of the backfield. Borghi has rushed the ball 20 times for a total of 69 yards and two touchdowns in two games, and has added six receptions for 62 yards as well. With backup quarterback Cole McDonald playing on select drives and running an RPO style offense for Houston, Borghi’s opportunities in the red zone should increase, giving Houston yet another offensive weapon.
Home field advantage and a relentless defense win the day for the Roughnecks.
Houston 22, San Antonio 18