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BattleHawks, Roughnecks lead XFL divisions coming out of Week 5

We break down the XFL standings at the halfway point of the regular season.

Tampa Bay Vipers quarterback Taylor Cornelius throws a pass against the Seattle Dragons during the second half at CenturyLink Field. Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 XFL season is officially halfway done, as Week 5 has come to a close. The XFL West has a clear frontrunner while the race to the top of the XFL East has tightened up. Let’s take a look at how the standings are shaping up heading into Week 6.

The Houston Roughnecks have distinguished themselves as the best team in the league, as their Week 5 victory over the Seattle Dragons made them 5-0 on the year. P.J. Walker and Cam Phillips have continued to prove that they’re the most dynamic offensive duo around. Walker leads the XFL in passing yards (1,338) and touchdown passes (15) while Phillips leads the league in receiving yards (455) and receiving touchdowns (9). But that’s not the only thing keeping Houston on top. Its defense leads the league in takeaways and has come up with the pigskin in critical moments every week. The Roughnecks haven’t been the best at stopping the opposition from scoring, but they do come up big when it matters.

The Dallas Renegades and Seattle Dragons lost in Week 5, making the gap between the top spot and the rest a little bigger. The Renegades are counting the days until Landry Jones returns from his MCL tear, as the ream has been limited by Philip Nelson’s command of the offense and inability to make big plays. Seattle looked like a better team than usual against Houston in Week 5 and got out to a 14-0 lead with B.J. Daniels under center before the Roughnecks came back. He seems like the option that gives the Dragons their best shot at winning. The Los Angeles Wildcats, on the other hand, came back from a 17-point deficit to top the Tampa Bay Vipers 41-34. They are waiting to get Nelson Spruce back in the fold from a knee injury to pair with Tre McBride out wide. Los Angeles is at full strength with Josh Johnson — who threw for 288 yards and four scores in Week 5 — and a healthy receiving corps. The Wildcats’ passing attack rivals the Roughnecks’.

The St. Louis BattleHawks might be the second best team in the league, but they were upset by the DC Defenders 15-6 Sunday. Jordan Ta’amu totaled 174 passing yards and 31 rushing yards but couldn’t lead his team to the end zone once. He was sacked four teams by a DC defense that’s been shaky the past two weeks. The Defenders redeemed themselves after suffering two straight blowout losses by replacing Cardale Jones with Tyree Jackson under center. Jackson only threw for 39 yards, but did throw his team’s first touchdown pass since Week 2 in his first drive of the game. Jhurell Pressley ran for 107 yards to power the offense though. Performances like this from Jackson might not be good enough to win games moving forward though — especially is the ground game isn’t thriving like it did in Week 5.

The New York Guardians got their third win of the season with Luis Perez starting over Matt McGloin, who sat in Week 4 because of a rib injury. Perez threw for 229 yards and a score with one interception to beat Dallas 30-12, but was more of a game manager than a star. He got help from his defense in the form of a pick six. New York is still in the hunt for the XFL East title thanks to its quarterback change.

The Tampa Bay Vipers have also continued to benefit from a quarterback change, as Taylor Cornelius tallied at least on rushing score and a passing score for a third straight week against Los Angeles. He tallied 300 passing yards with touchdowns strikes to Jalen Tolliver and Reece Horn, but also threw two interceptions. Although the Vipers fell short in the end, their rushing attack and improving defense give them a chance to be competitive against any team in the league. Their uphill battle from last in the XFL East could be difficult.

Tiebreakers are determined based on touchdown differential

XFL East

  1. St. Louis BattleHawks (3-2, TD diff: 3)
  2. New York Guardians (3-2, TD diff: -1)
  3. DC Defenders (3-2, TD diff: -3)
  4. Tampa Bay Vipers (1-4, TD diff: -4)

XFL West

  1. Houston Roughnecks (5-0, TD diff: 7)
  2. Los Angeles Wildcats (2-3, TD diff: 4)
  3. Dallas Renegades (2-3, TD diff: -3)
  4. Seattle Dragons (1-4, TD diff: -3)