Week 4 of the XFL is upon us and we have some interesting matchups to decipher on the slate. So far I’ve gone 3-1, 2-2 and 1-3 against the spread, so there’s only 4-0 and 0-4 left on the plate. Fade or follow? Only time will tell.
The Roughnecks continue to be the only team we can trust for consistent offense and the Guardians are the team we can trust to be absolutely awful. Tampa Bay showed a little life last week after Marc Trestman relinquished play-calling duties to his OC, but they get a Defenders team looking to bounce back from an embarrassing loss in L.A. last weekend.
The BattleHawks are a team with upside, but have yet to win a game against a strong opponent, as their win over Dallas came with Landry Jones sidelined. The Wildcats showed last week they can be elite, but will need to back it up their big home win over DC with a decisive win over the Guardians in New Jersey.
The game we’re all looking forward to is on Sunday afternoon when Dallas hosts Houston. The Roughnecks have been the better team by any measure, but Dallas has won their last two as Landry Jones shakes off rust from his early season injury. If he can continue to improve, this should be a fun game as two pass happy teams jockey for the lead in the West Division.
Los Angeles Wildcats (-8) at New York Guardians
The Wildcats started slow this year, as Josh Johnson’s thigh injury kept him out Week 1 and then they lost to a good Dallas team in Week 2. That slow start ended in a flash, as they trampled the DC Defenders 39-9 at home in Week 3. The Guardians have been the opposite. They won their home opener over the Vipers and then looked awful in their next two games, losing to the Defenders and BattleHawks by big margins.
Traveling across country after a big win and losing Nelson Spruce to injury is concerning, but the Guardians’ offense has been non-existent and I don’t see how it gets turned around this week. It might not be a 30-point blowout, but Josh Johnson is too good to lose to NY and I expect them to cover the spread.
My pick: Wildcats 24 - Guardians 10
Seattle Dragons at St. Louis BattleHawks (-11.5)
The Dragons have shown some signs of life as Brandon Silvers has thrown six touchdowns in three games, but he’s also thrown four interceptions and has a 53 percent completion rate. The BattleHawks have won in every aspect of their game, rushing, passing and special teams and had an electric crowd for their beatdown of the Guardians last week. I expect another strong home environment this week, but I also wonder what would happen if teams forced Jordan Ta’amu to beat them. So far, the Dragons grade out as sixth against the run by PFF, so it may be tough for them to stop St. Louis’ run game even if they make it their main goal. I feel good about the BattleHawks taking this game, but the -11.5 points is still tough to swallow. The Dragons also get their two best offensive linemen back this week while St. Louis has the worst pass rush in the league.
My pick: BattleHawks 27 - Dragons 20
Houston Roughnecks (-2.5) at Dallas Renegades
This is the game I’m most looking forward to watching, as it should be a barn burner between two good passing teams. There’s no doubt that the Roughnecks have been the better team this season, but Landry Jones should be improving after missing Week 1 and we could see their offense continue to step up. But, will they? The Roughnecks have proven themselves to be the best offense in the league while also having a strong pass rush. They’ve given up too many points but still grade out by PFF as the best defense in the league. This game has a chance to prove that Dallas is a true contender, but I will go with the Roughnecks due to their consistent play overall this season.
My pick: Roughnecks 33 - Renegades 24
DC Defenders (-2.5) at Tampa Bay Vipers
This game might be the toughest to call. The Defenders looked awful last week while the Vipers actually made a game of it at home against the Roughnecks, scoring 27 points. The intriguing part of that is the Vipers coach, Marc Trestman, gave up play-calling duties to his OC after the Vipers were unable to score an offensive touchdown in their first two games. Is that enough to push the Vipers over the Defenders with Taylor Cornelius at quarterback? Probably not, but it does make things more intriguing, especially if Jones can’t get things turned around. But, the Vipers defense remains one of the worst in the league and the Defenders have a good coach in Pep Hamilton, who I think helps get Jones on track.
My pick: Defenders 27 - Vipers 20
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