XFL 2020 Week 1 is in the books, and I could not have been more satisfied with what I witnessed. This XFL product did more than satiate my thirst for more football; I could have drowned in what the XFL delivered through what seemed to be a fire hose of excitement and entertainment. I literally shouted when I heard Seattle Dragons center Dillon Day drop the first “F-Bomb” to start the season opener against the DC Defenders! Once that happened, I knew the XFL had landed a loyal fan. It’s the brash, in your face brand of the XFL I think we have all been longing for.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am sold on the XFL because of the play on the field. In my opinion, the match up between the DC Defenders and the Seattle Dragons made for the perfect kick off game to start the season. The quarterback play was fantastic between DC Defenders Cardale Jones and Seattle Dragons Brandon Silvers. Let’s not forget that Brandon Silvers had a pretty good stint in the AAF with the Memphis Express, beating out Zach Mettenberger, who was the original starter, Christian Hackenberg and Johnny Manziel. On paper alone, this DC versus Seattle game looked to be a shootout, and it did not disappoint. Overall, I would say Cardale emerged as the rising star, but I am not at all ready to crown him just yet. Week 2 presents a favorable matchup against a stout New York Guardians defense that held the Tampa Bay Vipers to 3 points in their Week 1 match up. I will get into my prediction between DC and New York shortly, but I must first address the Tampa Bay Vipers.
I know that I’m jumping the game between Houston and L.A., but that game was self-explanatory if you watched it. The Tampa Bay vipers….the picture below, is the look of the Tampa Bay Vipers.
Legendary Coach, Jerry Glanville, ladies and gentlemen. No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Those are two headsets atop this man’s head. Now, while I am more than confident this may have been due to some technical issues that I know occurred throughout the various broadcasts, I just feel like this looks silly. I can’t help but see this and say to myself, “this looks like a man that is in distress”, drowning with a team with no quarterback. I mean, if we have heard once, we’ve heard it a few dozen times. If you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterback. While Tampa Bay’s starting QB Jameis Win…I mean Aaron Murray threw for 231 yards, he also accounted for 2 interceptions and looked completely lost in the sauce. I won’t blame it all on him though, the protection could have been much better as well as the play calling. The Vipers went away from the run game way to soon while they were still in the game before the half. I believe they should have stuck with second string QB Quinton Flowers, who added a much-needed spark to the offense. Week 2 does NOT look like a “win” for them though, as they prepare to travel to a sold-out CenturyLink Field, where the Seattle Dragon fans have already sold out the designated XFL seating and are potentially looking to open more seats for the high demand. (12th man 2.0). As if the atmosphere won’t be enough for intimidation, the match up just doesn’t seem like a favorable bounce back game for the Vipers as the Dragons are looking for redemption after their loss to DC.
Now, the Week 1 matchup between the Dallas Renegades and the L.A. Wildcats was better than I expected. We already knew that starting QB of the Dallas Renegades, Landry Jones, was injured prior to the game, and I think we all concluded that he may not play. Back up QB, Philip Nelson, had a decent game completing 33 of 42 pass attempts for 209 yards, but had no touchdowns and a costly interception that basically sealed the game. The interception came at a point where they were trying to drive the distance to at least keep it competitive. Either way, that is asking a lot for your backup quarterback on opening night against a good St. Louis defense. Honestly, this game could have been won if the Renegades established any kind of running game. I know that Offensive Coordinator Hal Mumme’s air raid offense doesn’t cater to a healthy dose of run plays, but I think it’s easy to defensively scheme around a team that you know is going to put the ball in the air at least 50 times a game. I liked the balanced offensive approach of the St. Louis Battlehawks. With 209 yards passing and 191 yards rushing, it made for a great win and one that kept the Dallas Renegades defense guessing. St. Louis QB, Jordan Ta’amu, showed that he can dominate with both his arm and his legs, but you can see that he’s still a young quarterback by some of the sacks he took during pivotal downs. He still has a bright future with the organization, and I believe will lead this team to a .500 season.
Ok now to the good part. I have kind of been forecasting my thoughts for Week 2 throughout this post, but I will do a quick rundown of my win-loss predictions:
DC Defenders will BEAT the New York Guardians. Two stout defenses, but I think Cardale and the DC Defenders running game will over come the Guardians. I like Guardians QB Matt Magloin, but I think the Defenders defense will be to much for him coming out the gate before he settles into a groove. I got the Defenders winning 22-12. (So weird trying to account if teams will go for 1, 2, or 3-point conversions)
Seattle Dragons will STOMP the Tampa Bay Vipers. I don’t think the Vipers are ready to make a quarterback switch just yet. I believe they will let Aaron Murry start the game. The Dragons defensive backs will have their hands full with a good Vipers receiving core, but I think the defensive front of the Dragons will be able to put more than enough pressure on Murray early and often, allowing Seattle QB Brandon Silvers and WR Austin Proehl multiple opportunities to see the field and get connected on some early, big play drives. I got Seattle winning 29-3.
Dallas Renegades will BEAT the LA Wildcats 15-12. I don’t think Dallas Renegades QB Landry Jones will be back honestly, and even if he does return in time, I believe he will be a little rusty. If Landry does not return, I still see second string option, Philip Nelson, getting the job done. With such a promise in Week 1, the game will be very competitive from start to finish. L.A. just had a major shake up with their coaching staff by firing their defensive coordinator and parting ways with a defensive team captain. Looks like there may already be some division or dysfunction within the organization.
Lastly, but certainly not least, are the Houston Roughnecks and the St. Louis Battlehawks. I am personally looking forward to this game. I like both QB’s for sure, but P.J. Walker of the Houston Roughnecks sold me on his first game. I already knew he was a “stud” after watching him in training camp but seeing the production on the field during Week 1 really has me rooting for the guy. I feel like he has really grasped the June Jones Run and Shoot offense. Going into week one with a bode of confidence should make for a great game. I have the Houston winning 28-13.
I’m super excited about the XFL and Week 2! Let me know your thoughts.
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