Coronavirus Impacts XFL Attendance

The XFL is the latest sports entity to be majorly impacted by the coronavirus. This weekend’s game featuring the Seattle Dragons and Houston Roughnecks will be played as scheduled, with one exception. No fans will be in attendance. Due to public safety concerns, governor Jay Inslee has declared a ban on all social gatherings of over 250 people. The ban includes all pre-game tailgate activities. The game will go on as scheduled, but Seattle and Houston will play in front of an empty stadium on Sunday evening. The fan-ban is a significant turn of events for Seattle and its fans, as the Dragons are averaging the second-highest attendance numbers in the XFL. The Dragons play back to back home games over the next two weeks. CenturyLink Field, home of the Dragons, released this statement:

The XFL released this statement today:

On a positive note, the Seattle Dragons released a statement as well, offering single-game ticket refunds to fans. 

One of the most interesting details inside the refund memo was the option for fans to apply the refund to a credit for the 2021 season. This is a positive sign, as it implies the XFL is planning on a season two. The confidence the XFL has in its product is high.

Other XFL host cities, such as DC and New York, are in the process of making similar decisions, though those decisions have not yet to be finalized. Both the Defenders and Guardians have home games in week six. Houston has also canceled all city-related events, leading to speculation that the next Roughnecks home game will be played in front of an empty stadium as well. Houston returns home in week seven. In a statement from Roughnecks Team president Brian Michael Cooper had this to say, “As of now, our next game will take place as planned. We understand this situation is evolving, and the league is monitoring all developments daily.”

XFL Fan Zone Week 5 Picks!

The halfway point has arrived! Teams like Houston and St. Louis are beginning to separate from the rest of the league. Will anyone be able to run them down? Here is a look at week five, along with staff picks.

Seattle Dragons (1-3) at Houston Roughnecks (4-0)

Seattle got a new lease on the season with the impressive debut of BJ Daniels. Daniels will need to give a superheroic performance on Saturday to keep pace with the high powered Houston offense. The Roughnecks average over 31 points per game, while the Dragons have yet to score 20 in a game this year.

Pick: Roughnecks 27, Dragons 19

New York Guardians (2-2) at Dallas Renegades (2-2)

New York hasn’t won an away game, and Dallas hasn’t won a home game. Something’s got to give. Home teams are 11-4 on the season so far, but there are mitigating factors in this one. Dallas lost starting quarterback Landry Jones for this game, as Jones injured his knee in last week’s loss to Houston. New York will go with Luis Perez at the helm once more. Perez led the Guardians to a 17-14 victory last weekend. Perez seemed to be able to get the New York offense moving the previous weekend. That continuity gives New York a slight edge.

Prediction: Guardians 19, Renegades 15

St. Louis BattleHawks (3-1) at DC Defenders (2-2)

DC gets to return home this weekend after two brutal road losses. The Defenders are a different team at home than on the road. DC averages 29 points per game at home and only 4.5 points per game on the road. Depending on which Defenders team shows up, this game could be quite compelling. St. Louis is quickly becoming a complete team. The BattleHawks do everything well but are especially adept at special teams and defense. With St. Louis only allowing 15.5 points per game, week five will be tough for DC.

Prediction: BattleHawks 22, Defenders 17

Tampa Bay Vipers (1-3) at LA Wildcats (1-3)

Teams that travel cross-country are 0-4 so far this season. Tampa has a chance to buck that trend today due to the running game the Vipers have established. Tampa had two 100 yard rushers in last week’s win. Los Angeles will need to force Tampa to become a passing team to slow down the rushing attack. Stopping the run is a tall order for LA, as the Wildcats are last in the XFL in rushing defense. Los Angeles gives up 131.5 yards per game on the ground.

Here are the staff picks for week 5:

XFL FanZone Week 4 Preview and Picks

Week four is here, highlighted by the Texas Throwdown! Dallas and Houston meet for the first time this season in what is sure to be a barn burner! St. Louis gets to be in the dome again this week, looking to put out the Dragons’ flames, while DC travels to Tampa, trying to avoid getting snakebit. New York gets to return home after two brutal beatings, only to face a rejuvenated Wildcats team. Here are a preview and some score predictions, followed by staff picks.

Guardians @ Wildcats
Time: 2 pm

The Wildcats come into this game off of a dominant performance against DC. LA will be without top wide receiver Nelson Spruce, however, so temper expectations. Traveling across the country may also be a factor. Visiting teams are 4-8 on the season.

The Guardians will be without starting quarterback Matt McGloin this week, reducing the quarterback carousel to two in New York. The Guardians are a different team at home but have only scored nine points in the last two games. New York needs to find an offensive identity to be able to pull this one off. The Guardians have had some success with the run game this year as running back Tim Cook is averaging 4.3 yards per rush.

Prediction: Wildcats 23, Guardians 15

Dragons @ BattleHawks
Time: 5 pm

Seattle’s defense will need to do something big today to change the outcome in this one. St. Louis is a ten-point favorite to win. The Dragons will have to commit to stopping the run and force St. Louis to pass to pull off a victory. The BattleHawks are averaging less than 200 yards passing per game.

For the BattleHawks to win, special teams will play a role. Former Baltimore Brigade star Joe Powell scored the first kick return last weekend. St. Louis also blocked a punt last week. Seattle has struggled with special teams at times, so expect a BattleHawk score on special teams this week.

Prediction: St. Louis 24, Seattle 9

Roughnecks @ Renegades
Time: 4 pm (Sunday)

The game of the weekend! The Texas Throwdown makes its season debut. Dallas and Houston are two of the hottest teams in the XFL right now, so expect this game to live up to the hype. Dallas has a balanced attack of both run and pass, and Houston is showcasing two league MVP candidates in PJ Walker and Cam Phillips. The deciding factor in this game will be Houston’s defense. The Roughnecks have given up an increasing amount of points each week. Pair that with the fact that the Renegades are starting to gel offensively. This game will likely be the highest-scoring game of the XFL season so far.

Prediction: Renegades 39, Roughnecks 36

Defenders @ Vipers
Time 7 pm (Sunday)

Tampa Bay looked much improved last weekend, despite losing to Houston. The Vipers put up 27 points, by far the highest output total of the season. DC, on the other hand, was stifled last weekend. Quarterback Cardale Jones will need to return to form this week. Jones threw four interceptions against LA. Look for last week’s debacle to be a wake-up call for the Defenders. DC gets back on track with a win in Tampa.

Prediction: Defenders 25, Vipers 23

Here are the staff picks:

XFL FanZone’s Week Three Preview and Picks

Week three! There are some intriguing matchups this weekend. Four 1-1 teams look to keep pace with the top of the conferences, and two 0-2 teams look to topple the last remaining unbeatens.

Score predictions for this week:

Seattle 20, Dallas 18 (Overtime)

The Dragons are very banged up, but the home crowd will be what propels Seattle to victory this week. This could also be the first overtime game of the season, as the teams are evenly matched statistically. Hopefully, Seattle can embrace a ‘next man up’ mentality and keep the game close.

DC 30, LA 14

This is shaping up to be an exciting game. There is a high potential for the revenge factor for Defenders Rashad Ross and Anthony Johnson. Both players began the season as Wildcats and were traded to DC. Not to be overlooked, though is former Defender DB Bradley Slyve. Slyve had the deciding pick-6 in a week one win over the Dragons and was promptly traded to LA.

Houston 27, Tampa Bay 14

The Vipers finally get to have a home game and showcase their green uniforms this week. This will likely be the only bright spot for the Vipers, as Houston is just too complete at the moment. Settling on a quarterback and scoring an offensive touchdown would be a success. Quarterback Aaron Murray is out for this game, so Taylor Cornelius or Quinton Flowers will be leading Tampa this weekend.

St. Louis 20, New York 12

St. Louis comes home for the first time this season to a sellout crowd. The St. Louis area has embraced the BattleHawks and should make for a raucous audience. New York is in a bit of a mess, having some quarterback controversy last weekend as Matt McGloin was benched. St. Louis wins this one with superior quarterback play from Jordan Ta’amu.

Here are the staff picks. Be sure to follow us at our Twitter handles below and follow @XFLFanZone as well!

XFL: Each Team’s X-Factor

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The XFL is football reimagined. New game innovations and new teams have created quite a stir among football fans everywhere. For fans, the XFL is a chance to extend the joy of football season for three more months. For players, the XFL is a new chance to keep their dreams of playing professional football alive.  Many of the players on the XFL teams are players that slipped through the cracks of NFL combines and other professional leagues. With the release of the 52-man rosters on January 27, the stage is set for these athletes to shine once again. Which of the lesser known players will be making a big splash during the inaugural season? Take a look at one potential X-factor for each team. 

DC Defenders- Rashad “Rocket” Ross, Wide Receiver

Rashad Ross played collegiately at Arizona State. During the draft combine of 2013, Ross posted a 4.42 40-yard dash time. Ross spent time in the NFL with The Redskins, Bears and was most recently in training camp with the Carolina Panthers. The most successful season statistically for Ross was not in the NFL. In the spring of 2019 Ross was a WR for the Alliance of American Football’s Arizona Hotshots. Ross recorded 36 receptions for 583 yards and 7 touchdowns. He averaged over 16 yards per catch. It will be exciting to see how well the 6-foot, 180 pound wide receiver pairs with Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones. Expect to see a lot of big plays this season from the DC Defenders and Rocket Ross. 

Dallas Renegades- Jeff Badet, WR

Jeff Badet, a 5 foot 11 speedster from the University of Oklahoma is looking to make a huge impact for the Dallas Renegades this year.  Badet comes into the league with a huge advantage having his former university head coach Bob Stoops as his head coach for the Renegades. Look for Stoops to feature Badet in all of his offense of schemes, as the explosive wide receiver looks to dominate the XFL west for the Renegades 

Tampa Bay Vipers- Nick Truesdell, TE

Nick Truesdell, a 6 foot-5 tight end from Grand Rapids junior college, spent some time in 2019 with the Alliance of American Football’s Salt Lake City Stallions. Truesdell caught 24 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns with the stallions. Look for Truesdell to be a huge factor in Red zone situations for the Tampa Bay Vipers due to the fact that conversions will be a huge influence on the game.  with the option of going for a 12 or three point conversions after a touchdown Tight Ends will play a huge role in the offensive production for XFL teams.

Los Angeles Wildcats-  Shawn Oakman, DE

Shawn Oakman, the monster defensive end and most famously known for the meme generated by him on social media was a stand out performer at Baylor. Oakman was with the Wildcats at the beginning of training camp, was released, and was recently added back to the team just before the 52 man roster came out.  Expect Oakman to impact his team by giving a dominant pass rush, disrupting the offenses around the league by using his 6-foot-9, 280 pound frame. Oakman never had the chance to make an impact in the NFL, as a legal matter was unresolved prior to the 2016 draft, prompting NFL teams to pass on him. 

St. Louis Battlehawks- Matt Jones, RB

Matt Jones is a 6-foot-2, 240 pound running back from the University of Florida, spent time with the Washington Redskins, Indianapolis Colts, and the Philadelphia Eagles.  Jones leads a very talented backfield in St. Louis. Having been out of football since 2018, Jones is eager to get back into action and make a statement in St. Louis. 

New York Guardians- MeKale McKay, WR

Wide receiver MeKale McKay is a 6 foot 5 wide receiver out of Connecticut and is looking to make a huge impact for the New York Guardians the season. McKay most recently spent time with the AAF San Antonio commanders where he was a deep play threat and the team’s  leading receiver. Because of his huge stature, MeKale McKay will be a big target in the red zone this season. Also, look for him to make an impact in the conversion side of the game. 

Seattle Dragons- Ja’Quan Gardner, RB

 Ja’Quan Gardner, a 5-foot-7, 205 pound running back from Humboldt State is looking to make an impact on the Seattle dragons this season. THe  strong, powerful back was the leading rusher for the Alliance of American Football’s San Diego Fleet. Check out this video clip to see his burst of speed as he heads towards  the end zone. Gardener will be a nice change of pace back for the Seattle dragons in what is beginning to look like a three headed monster in the running game. Kenneth Farrow (San Antonio Commanders)  and Trey Williams (San Antonio Commanders) join Gardner in what is currently an all former-AAF backfield. 

The XFL officially kicks off Saturday, February 8, at 2pm on ABC.

XFL: Halloween Spook-tacular

by: David Taylor

Halloween is Here! Take a peek at the XFL’s spookiest mascots.

The XFL has done an excellent job of building anticipation for the 2020 season. The intentional, slow reveal of mascot names and team colors and logos has been exceptional. Interestingly, a handful of the mascots have a bit of an edge to them, making them perfect for a countdown list for Halloween! Here are the top 4 spookiest XFL mascots.

4. Dallas Renegades

Possibly more cool than spooky, the Dallas Renegades mascot resembles a demon possessed cowboy. The menacing, bright red eyes really combine well with the lighter blue, creating an interesting contrast of good and evil. This allows the imagination to run wild with backstory here. Did the Renegade make a deal with the football devil? What was exchanged, football dominance in exchanger for a soul? Only time and the inaugural season will tell.

3. Tampa Bay Vipers

Slithering, sliding, and secretly striking: Is there anything more spooky than unexpectedly coming across a snake? The viper evokes a feeling of fear and awe in nearly everyone. From the Garden of Eden to modern day horror stories, snakes often symbolize evil and fear, which is perfect for a spooky list of mascots. Even ophidiophobia, the scientific name for a fear of snakes, sounds spooky. Look for the Vipers to strike fear in the hearts of the rest of the XFL this season.

2. Seattle Dragons

Creatures of legend, dragons are often the villains of a tale involving some kind of knight or brave warrior. Dragons are often categorized as immense, intimidating monstrosities that can lay waste to an entire village with one fiery breath. Seattle is the perfect backdrop for the Dragons. The Emerald City is aptly named for its lush greenery all year round. What better place for a dragon to hide, waiting to devour its foes? The Seattle Dragons’ trail of destruction begins February 8, 2020, in Washington, DC again the DC Defenders.

1. New York Guardians

The word guardian doesn’t exactly put fear in the hearts of all who hear it, but when paired with the gargoyle, the New York Guardians rise to the top of this list. The gargoyle is supposed to ward off evil spirits from buildings, keeping those inside safe from harm. In order to frighten away the spirits, gargoyles were made to look so fierce that evil would not dare enter. Gargoyles have been used in this manner for centuries, across many different cultures. The New York Guardians are hoping to put that same kind of fear in opposing teams this season.

Agree, disagree, or just have something to add? Leave a comment below or find us on Twitter @XFLFanZone. Follow writer David Taylor on Twitter @FaithFootball52.