XFL Playoffs Preview

The playoffs have arrived and the matchups are set. Winners advance to the May 13 championship game in San Antonio. Here is what to expect:

Arlington Renegades (4-6) vs. Houston Roughnecks (7-3)

Time/TV: April 29, 7pm ET, ESPN, ESPN+

Houston and Arlington square off for the second time in consecutive weeks. Here is how the teams stack up heading into this game:

Thy key to this game will be the Roughneck defense against an anemic Renegade offense. Houston gave up the second-fewest points per game this year and Arlington averaged the fewest points per game. The Renegades were only able to muster 9 and 14 points in the two previous regular season matchups.

In the week 10 matchup, Houston ran all over the Renegades. Running back Jeremy Cox rushed 21 times for 120 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Cole McDonald added another 66 yards and a TD. McDonald was also 10-for-11 passing for 120 yards.

The Renegades were able to move the ball up and down the field but had to settle for three field goals. Quarterback Luis Perez threw for a little over 200 years but did not find the end zone and was picked off once. If Arlington is going to have a chance to win this game, those field goals will have to become touchdowns.

The Pick: Houston Roughnecks 24, Arlington Renegades 12

Seattle Sea Dragons (7-3) vs. DC Defenders (9-1)

Time/TV: April 30, 3pm ET ESPN/ESPN+

This is the heavyweight bout of the weekend. Many fans have posted that whichever team wins this game will be the favorite to win the XFL Championship. DC won both regular season contests, but only by a combined total of five points. Seattle boasts the number-one scoring defense in the XFL, while DC has the number-one scoring offense.

The biggest factor facing this game is one that neither team can control: the weather. Heavy rain is expected all day in the DC area. The Defenders may be breathing a sigh of relief, because heavy rain may be the only thing that can stop an extremely potent Seattle air attack. Seattle led the league in passing yards this season. Quarterback Ben DiNucci was 242-for-374 for 2,671 yards and 20 touchdowns. DiNucci also threw a league-leading 13 interceptions.

DC’s defense has given up an increasing amount of points per game over the last several weeks of the season. In games 1-5 this year, the Defenders surrendered an average of 18 points per game. In games, 6-10, DC gave up an average of 30 points per game. That is a disturbing trend even for the most devoted Defender fan. Conversely, Seattle’s defense gave up an average of 17.6 points per game in weeks 1-5 and 17.8 points per game in weeks 6-10.

If the rain is truly a factor, then the rushing game for both teams becomes paramount. This is where DC has a decided advantage. The Defenders led the XFL in rushing this year, gaining over 1400 yards on the ground. Seattle finished with 962 yards rushing as a team.

This will be a close game, and may even go to overtime. Ultimately, the Defenders will prevail.

The Pick: DC Defenders 26, Seattle Sea Dragons 25

David Taylor can be found on twitter @DavidTaylorXFL

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