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DC Defenders vs. Tampa Bay Vipers XFL live blog

Live from the press box at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, we are here for Cardale Jones and the Defenders against Taylor Cornelius and the Vipers, watching the game with an eye on the lines and fantasy implications

Quarterback Cardale Jones of the DC Defenders sets to pass in the first quarter of the XFL game against the LA Wildcats at Dignity Health Sports Park on February 23, 2020 in Carson, California. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

9:41 p.m. It’s a final: 25-0 Vipers, and it wasn’t that close. A total turnaround for a team that looked lifeless and... snakebit... the first three weeks of the season.

The green defense gives up just 39 plays for 107 yards. They held the Defenders to just six first downs. Jerry Glanville blitzed and blitzed and blitzed some more. And the last team to split the $100,000 bonus per game gets their first win.

Congrats to the under bettors and those DFS players that chose the Vipers defense, which picked up a key 16 points in the victory.

9:05 p.m. We are through three quarters at Ray Jay, and it’s 22-0 Vipers, who also have the ball near midfield with 1st and 10 and driving to score again.

It’s been all one-way here, and quite surprising to both the bettors and the DFS players. The Vipers have outgained DC 391-103, and Taylor Cornelius has been excellent: 21/27 passing for 178 yards and a TD, six rushes for 52 yards and a TD.

8:51 p.m. Taylor Cornelius sees fans missing the scrambling ability of Quinton Flowers, and trumps them with a gorgeous 17-yard scramble that he sneaks inside the right pylon for a TD on a broken play.

The two-point try fails, but it’s 22-0 Vipers as a “DC Sucks!” chant breaks out in the south end zone. Not sure if that’s a political statement or just viewing the scoreboard...

The Vipers opened this game as five-point underdogs. They’re now 18.5 point favorites with 19:17 worth of football remaining.

8:48 p.m. Just as they announced an attendance of 12,249 (which... are we counting the Yankee fans at Spring Training across the street earlier today??), Taylor Cornelius is picked off in the red zone by Rahim Moore. It’s a throw he’s got to make.

But then Cardale Jones for DC gives it right back with an awful ball while falling down in his own end zone that is picked by Tavarus McFadden. Just not a good day for a QB that looked excellent the first two weeks of the XFL season. Still 16-0 with 4:40 left here in the 3rd quarter.

8:35 p.m. Marc Trestman decides to kick a field goal on 4th and 3 from the +13 yard line after a nice drive by the Vipers, but it’s pushed right by kicker Andrew Franks, and it remains 16-0.

In DFS so far, RB Jacques Patrick for the Vipers has 14.2 points with 82 yards and a rushing TD. Also the Vipers defense has 12 points scored thanks to the FG block and pitching a shutout to this point.

8:15 p.m. We are at halftime with the Vipers still leading 16-0. It’s been all home team so far today, with the Snakes outgaining the Defenders 219-79, having 16 first downs to five, and the blocked field goal didn’t hurt either.

At halftime the Vipers are now 11.5 point favorites, and are -770 on the money line. Meanwhile the Defenders are +460, a lot of that because DC QB Cardale Jones is just 7/15 for 64 yards so far.

8:01 p.m. The Vipers finally don’t score a TD, but they still get a triple from kicker Andrew Franks, and the Snakes are now 9.5 points worth of chalk, a full 14.5 point swing.

Prior to that, a blocked field goal after a stunted DC drive gets the ball back. Check out the sweet hands from Obum Gwacham on the swat.

7:39 p.m. Two very impressive drives, two TD’s for the Vipers who lead 13-0. A really nice play by Taylor Cornelius against a jailbreak blitz by DC to find a hot route to tight end DeAndre Goolsby for 13 yards and the second score.

It’s 13-0 on the field for the home team, and they have moved to 7.5 point favorites on in-game betting.

7:31 p.m. Through one quarter, it’s Vipers 7-Defenders 0, but it’s been a lot more dominating than the score even shows.

TB has outgained DC 122-12, run 23 plays to eight, and nine first downs to one. The Snakes take over on the +4 about to score again when we begin the 2nd quarter.

The Vipers started as 5-point underdogs: they’re now 6.5 point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook.

7:15 p.m. A really impressive drive by the Vipers. A lot of downhill running with seven carries for 50 yards, and Taylor Cornelius going 3/4 for 20 yards, capped off by an 8-yard TD run by Jacques Patrick.

It’s 7-0 Vipers, and they’re now giving 1.5 points instead of getting the 5 they were pregame.

7:02 p.m. We’ve finished with the national anthem, the hype video is playing... and it’s fair to say there’s a LOT less people here this week than last. Will be interested to hear the attendance number when it’s announced. It was over 18,000 last week. Some of that is a Sunday night kickoff as opposed to a Saturday afternoon, but fair to say some of that is Quinton Flowers not being here as well.

6:40 p.m. Inactive players for both teams tonight:

Vipers: Quinton Flowers, Chase Litton, Nick Truesdell, Jalen Collins, Daronte Bouldin, Kellen Soulek, Shane Bowman.

Defenders: Jalen Rowell, Elijah Campbell, Khalid Abdullah, Randall Harris, Terrone Prescod, Tavaris Barnes.

Don’t think there’s any surprises there.

5:47 p.m. Something probably not too important here, but to be noticed anyway: Here’s the official depth chart placed at everyone’s position in the press box here at Ray Jay. It’s got Quinton Flowers still listed as well as Chase Litton at QB for the Vipers, though we don’t believe either are with the team today.

Probably just the victim of an early printing schedule here, but if not we’ll keep you posted. There’s no sign of either Flowers or Litton as both teams begin to warm-up as of now with just over an hour before kickoff.

Also it’s a perfect night right now with the sun setting behind us. Football in February in tropical places is rather wonderful.

Welcome to our Week 4 XFL live blog of the DC Defenders vs. the Tampa bay Vipers from the home of Super Bowl 55, Raymond James Stadium. The game starts at 7 p.m. on a postcard perfect day in West Tampa, with the temperature at kickoff expected to be a flawless 64 degrees.

The Snake Pit tailgate zone is a bit less occupied than last week, where over 18,000 people came to see the Vipers fall to 0-3. They are now the only winless team in the AAF, and the loss of Quinton Flowers this week for various reasons depending on who you ask certainly isn’t going to help attendance either.

It’s surprising how many people have taken to the Snakes in town already, and we even saw a few people wearing team gear at the upscale mall down the street from the stadium earlier today. The Twitter and Instagram feeds for the team however are a pool of comments you wouldn’t want to read in mixed company.

DC looked dominant in their first two weeks before falling 39-9 to the Los Angeles Wildcats last week. Jones was 13/26 with zero TD’s and four interceptions while the offense eeked out a mere 1.9 yards per play.

Right now the Defenders are a 4.5 favorite, with the over/under set at 44 at DraftKings Sportsbook. DC is -195 on the money line, while Tampa is +160. On the DFS side, Cardale Jones $9900 at DK as part of a seven-team roster, with the highest-valued Viper being backup QB Aaron Murray at $7300 with Taylor Cornelius going for $7000.

We’ll cover all of today’s proceedings with an eye on the pregame lines, as well any in-game wagering availability.

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