Week 3 of the XFL is upon us and we have some lopsided matchups to decipher on the slate. So far I’ve gone 3-1 and 2-2 against the spread and hopefully we can stop the downward trend in Week 3. There are plenty of home dogs this weekend, with three of the four games favoring the road team. That’s always a tough situation.
The Roughnecks continue to be the only team that can help their matchup hit the over and the D.C. Defenders and St. Louis BattleHawks are the only teams to have covered beaten the spread in every game. And, for their trouble, the BattleHawks and Defenders are the two biggest favorites this week,
Houston Roughnecks (-6.5) at Tampa Bay Vipers
The Roughnecks looked like they would cover the spread but a touchdown pass with 1:50 left in the game closed the gap enough. This week Houston makes their first road trip but they also head to Tampa Bay to take on the Vipers, who have yet to score an offensive touchdown.
The Vipers are also a team in turmoil, as their players are openly questioning coach Marc Trestman and they will again be without their starting quarterback and this week will be without tight end Nick Truesdell.
In the XFL, quarterbacking is king and without a competent one, there will be little scoring. P.J Walker versus the Vipers QB committee isn’t a fight that favors the committee.
My pick: Roughnecks 34 - Vipers 12
Dallas Renegades (-4.5) at Seattle Dragons
Seattle was able to beat the Vipers who were favored on the road, but the game didn’t exactly show the Dragons as a good team, but more likely the better of two bad teams. Brandon Silvers has now thrown two pick-sixes in two games and despite his touchdown barrage early in Week 1, he’s been lackluster, especially on deep passes, where he’s completed just 2-of-13.
Landry Jones returned last week and got the win against a poor LA Wildcats team, but also threw two interceptions to one touchdown. He should continue to improve, but we can’t rely on that in his second game of the season. Cameron Artis-Payne played great last week, so he could be an x-factor this week for the pass-happy Renegades, as he adds another dimension to this pass-happy offense.
Traveling to Seattle as favorites despite not playing particularly well probably isn’t the best scenario for Dallas, but Jones should improve and Seattle will be without their best offensive linemen, with Isaiah Battle and Michael Dunn out. I believe this line should be a little closer, but I also think the Dragons got lucky to face a demoralized Tampa Bay team at home and that Dallas should be on an upward swing.
My pick: Renegades 23 - Dragons 13
New York Guardians at St. Louis BattleHawks (-10)
The Guardians were shut out last week by the Defenders and looked awful in the process. Matt McGloin couldn’t get anything going on offense and was eventually replaced down big to D.C. McGloin should start, but his leash will continue to get shorter if he doesn’t get things going. New York has now put up the second-fewest points in the league, while the BattleHawks have put up the third-most.
St. Louis has gone the way of their quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, who has played great as a runner and a passer. He has four touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown to two interceptions and ranks second in fantasy scoring for quarterbacks. St. Louis does have some questionable players, who, if they were out, would hurt. Matt Jones, Keith Ford, and L’Damian Washington are all questionable but also got a full practice in on Friday. That’s a good sign for them to play.
In the end, the question is if the BattleHawks can run roughshod over the Guardians. A win should be expected, but by 10+ points? St. Louis, if they get a lead, will run the ball, giving them less of a chance to put up big numbers. I like them to win, but I don’t think I can give them the 10-points.
My pick: BattleHawks 20 - Guardians 13
DC Defenders (-8.5) at LA Wildcats
The Defenders appear to be the best team in the XFL overall. Cardale Jones, DeAndre Thompkins, Eli Rogers and Rashad Ross are tough to slow down and so far the Wildcats defense hasn’t slowed down much of anything. Through two games they’ve allowed the most passing yards and total points while their opponent’s have covered the spread both times.
The one problem for the Defenders might be if Josh Johnson can get going. He’s one of the better quarterbacks in the league but has been out for a while with a thigh injury. His first game back wasn’t one to write home about but there’s no doubt he makes L.A. a better offense. But can he bring them together to make a run on the Defenders who have won by 27 and 12 points in their two games?
In the end, the Wildcats porous defense should be too much for Johnson to overcome. -8.5 is a lot to give on a cross country trip, but the Defenders offense is churning and I expect them to roll over the Wildcats.
My pick: Defenders 34 - Wildcats 17
Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA) or 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN) or 1-800-522-4700 (NH). NH/NJ/WV/IN/PA only. 21+ (18+ NH). Eligibility Restrictions Apply. See website for details.