XFL WEEK 5 PREVIEW & PICKS
Our XFL journey will officially hit the halfway point and I’m coming off my best week picking games. Have I figured out? Let’s take a look at the odds, lines and totals and find this out together.
XFL POWER RANKINGS
1. HOUSTON ROUCHNECKS (4-0)
The Roughnecks just keep winning and make it look easier every week. Of course, they got some help by playing the worst football franchise on the planet in Week 4, but with the way Wade Phillips is calling this defense, it wouldn’t matter.
Last week: No. 1
2. WASHINGTON DC DEFENDERS (4-0)
I keep picking them to lose and the Defenders, in spite of their own roster, somehow keep winning. Somebody in Washington really wasted those Monkey’s Paw wishes.
Last Week: No. 2
3. ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS (3-1)
No team is more exciting to watch in the XFL this season than St. Louis and the fans in that town are rewarding them by actually showing up. It’s smart for the fans, so they can stay on the NFL’s expansion radar, and makes the games more fun too. It doesn’t hurt that the Battlehawks have the league’s best quarterback in AJ McCarron.
Last week: No. 3
4. SEATTLE SEA DRAGONS (2-2)
The Sea Dragons got right on defense in time for a second half shutout that allowed them to even up their record.
Last week: No. 5
5. ARLINGTON RENEGARDS (2-2)
With the chance to end the XFL’s first month a winner, Arlington had the misfortune of facing off against Houston.
Last week: No. 4
6. SAN ANTONIO BRAHMAS (1-3)
If the Brahmas can’t find an offense, they might not win another game this season. And, if they don’t, they still will not be the worst team in the XFL.
Last week: No. 6
7. LAS VEGAS VIPERS (0-4)
There’s no excuse for Vegas this week. They play the also winless Guardians and if the Vipers lose this one, shut it down.
Last week: No. 7
8. ORLANDO GUARDIANS (0-4)
At this point we’re all rooting for the Guardians to go 0-10 and face off against the worst team in the USFL once that season’s over. Come on. Let’s make it happen.
Last week: No. 8
HOUSTON ROUGNECKS AT SEATTLE SEA DRAGONS (+3.5, O/U: 42.5)
Well, hey, I hope you are sitting down. Because once again head coach Wade Phillips unleashed a dominant total team performance in a Roughnecks 44-16 beat down delivered to the Orlando Guardians last Saturday. They also unleashed what looked like a pretty unstoppable trick play on a halfback double forward pass from Jontre Kirklin. Somebody discovered a hole in the rulebook. Brandon Silvers was sharp at quarterback for Houston, finishing 24 of 30 for 239 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He was sacked twice. Dejoun Lee rushed six times for 45 yards and two scores. Travell Harris grabbed three passes for 83 yards and two TDs. Deontay Burnett had three hauls for 62 yards and a score. Kirklin caught two balls himself for 49 yards and a TD. Cedric Boyd recorded seven receptions. Emmanuel Ellerbee ended his day with 11 tackles, half a sack and a tackle for a loss. Trent Harris had four tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Seattle shut out the San Antonio Brahams for the entire second half to hold on for a 15-6 victory last week. Den DiNucci ended his Saturday 28 of 41 for 264 yards, one touchdown and a pick. He was sacked once. Morgan Ellison had 16 carries for 69 yards and a score. Jahcour Pearson caught eight balls for 76 yards, Blake Jackson hauled in five receptions for 59 yards, Josh Gordon caught five for 57 and Juwan Green had four grabs for 36 yards and a TD. Quynnterrio Cole led the team with five tackles. Tuzar Skipper had four tackles, two sacks, two tackles for a loss and a forced fumble.
Seattle is on a solid upswing, which is unfortunate as they’re about to slam into a Houston sized boulder. I do not expect this one to be any closer than last week’s Roughnecks performance, especially with DiNucci’s willingness to turn over the ball. Roughnecks 40, Sea Dragons 18
WASHINGTON DC DEFENDERS AT ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS (+1.5, O/U: 42.5)
It looked ugly, but it always does when the DC Defenders take the field. Still, they were able to capitalize on turnovers and dumb play calls to keep the Las Vegas Vipers winless, and their own record spotless, taking the 32-18 victory. Jordan Ta’mu played his best game at QB for Washington, going 14 of 19 for 177 yards passing. He was not sacked and rushed nine times for 89 yards. Abram Smith finished with 22 carries for 58 yards. Chris Blair caught four passes for 84 yards. Lucky Jackson ended with four receptions for 65 yards. Jequez Ezzard caught a 32 yard touchdown pass. On defense, Anthoula Kelly finished with seven tackles. Santos Ramirez recorded five tackles, one for a loss and an interception.
AJ McCarron remained hot, leading the Battlehawks to a relatively easy victory over the Arlington Renegades last Sunday, 24-11. McCarron ended his afternoon 20 of 27 for 214 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He was not sacked. Brian Hill finished with 18 carries for 89 yards and a TD. Darrius Shepherd hauled in eight balls for 91 yards and a score. Hakeem Butler had five grabs for 52 yards and a touchdown. Willie Harvey led the defense with seven tackles. Trey Watson, Silas Kelly and Nate Meadors all picked off a pass apiece.
Every week I keep predicting the wheels will come off for DC and every week they keep inexplicably winning. They’re playing against one of the league’s best teams in St. Louis and in its best town, with the biggest (and loudest) fanbase. So, yeah. I’m doing it again. Battlehawks 26, Defenders 23
ORLANDO GUARDIANS AT LAS VEGAS VIPERS (-7.5, O/U: 42)
You know what’s rough? When you are arguably the worst professional football team currently on the planet and you’re asked to go up against the XFL’s best team. Well, the results were predictable as the Guardians fell 44-16 to the Houston Roughnecks last week. Paxton Lynch ended his night 18 of 30 for 267 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He was sacked four times. Devin Darrington led the team with 12 rushes for 40 yards. Charleston Rambo caught two passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. Cody Lattimer hauled in four balls for 57 tards, Jaylen Smith grabbed a 33-yard touchdown pass. Terrance Plummer ended his night with seven tackles. Trumaine Washington recorded five.
Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, the Vipers are the Charlie Brown-iest. Their bad luck continued, falling 32-18 after a touchdown was called back and a dumb fourth down play call kept them from staying in the game against the Washington DC Defenders. Luis Perez went most of the way at quarterback for Vegas, finishing 23 of 32 for 283 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. John Lovett rushed seven times for 39 yards. Jeff Badet caught seven passes for 80 yards, Cinque Sweeting had three grabs for 65 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, Deontay Anderson and Adam Sparks both recorded eight tackles apiece. Anders added one behind the line of scrimmage. Marvwin Evans had seven tackles and two for a loss.
I’ve dubbed Orlando the worst team in professional football since pretty much Week 1 of the season and now they get to prove it once and for all. Both these teams are 0-4 coming in. This not only should be a loser leaves town match, it should be a loser leaves football cage battle. I’ve been dumb enough to pick Vegas to win every week, so why change my strategy now? Vipers 23, Guardians 13
ARLINGTON RENEGADES AT SAN ANTONIO BRAHMAS (-3, O/U: 35.5)
The Renegades ran up against the league’s most entertaining team last Sunday, falling 24-11 to the St. Louis Battlehawks. Kyle Sloter piled up the yardage, but also the picks, finishing 23 of 39 for 205 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. He was sacked once and rushed for 11 yards. De’Veon Smith finished with nine carries for just 24 yards, but he did score a touchdown. Caleb Vabder Esch hauled in two passes for 48 yards. Tyler Vaughns had four grabs for 45 and Sal Cannella recorded six receptions for 40 yards. Donald Payne led the way on defense with 12 tackles. Joe Powell grabbed a pick.
San Antonio’s offense sputtered all game as they scored only two field goals in a 15-6 loss to the Seattle Sea Dragons last Saturday night. Jack Coan was 12 of 39 for 189 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. He was sacked four times and led the team rushing with a pathetic nine yards. Travis Toivenen ended his night with three receptions for 54 yards. Jalen Tolliver caught six dump offs for just 34 yards. Jordan Williams picked up 12 tackles and one for a loss. Terrell Bonds finished with seven takedowns and Luq Barcoo recorded six tackles, one for a loss, a sack and an interception.
Both of these teams are sitting with losing records a month into the season for a reason. Their defenses seem OK, but neither squad can do much on offense. I have to go Arlington based on Sloter and their ability to at least run the ball some. I’ll probably regret it. Renegades 18, Brahmas 11
Straight up: 3-1
Against the spread: 3-1
Straight up: 9-7
Against the spread: 8-8
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