We are almost to the halfway point of this XFL season, and wins and loses are starting to stack up as we push towards the playoffs. Remember, only the top 2 teams of each division will make the playoffs, so some of these games are fixing to have the stakes raised. I for one am excited, because good football is fun. But good football with stakes added is awesome! Let’s see how these teams stack up as we head into Week 5 of the XFL.
1. Houston Roughnecks (4-0)
- Last week: No. 1
The Roughnecks put an absolute beating on the Guardians Saturday night, with a 44-16 butt whopping. Brandon Silvers continues to show why he is the leader for MVP. Jontre Kirklin showed he’s more than just an elite receiver. No Max Borghi, no problem, as Dejoun Lee stepped right in. And the defense continues to assert their dominance on anyone standing opposed to them. Houston has yet to face a real challenge this season, and even when their opponents try to answer back against them, the Roughnecks counter with a bigger blow. But, one thing I will say is this. So far, the Roughnecks have only played against South division teams. And if we are going to be fair, the North division, from top to bottom, is far more competitive than the South. All 4 teams in the North have a shot at winning that division, and while some have more of a shot than others, it’s still different than what you have in the South. In the South, it really is the Roughnecks and everyone else. But Thursday night, they finally play a North team, and that team is red hot right now in the Seattle Sea Dragons. So I am curious to see how they fare against one of the most talented teams in the XFL. But you can only judge by what you have seen, and so far, the Roughnecks have proven to the the best.
2. D.C. Defenders (4-0)
- Last week: No. 2
The only other unbeaten team in the XFL, and they can beat you in so many ways. Much like the Roughnecks, D.C. can beat you with their defense, with their passing game, and most of all, with their elite running game. The QB combo of Ta’amu and King has proven to be unstoppable for opposing teams. King is now starting to show his arm more, while still being elite with his legs, and Ta’amu has gotten better every single week. This offense has found its footing, and they have a clear identity. The defense remains a force, as they stifled Vegas’ offense this Sunday night. They held the running game, never really allowed the passing game to find a rhythm, and pressured Luis Perez all night. This team is good. Really good. But man oh man, do they have a tall task this week, as they head into the dome against their division rival St. Louis Battlehawks. I can not wait for this game. Because if you remember how the last one went, it’s going to get personal. But for now, D.C. stands at number 2.
3. St. Louis Battlehawks (3-1)
- Last week: No. 3
The Battlehawks looked dominant Sunday afternoon in front of a sold out crowd at the dome, as they beat the Renegades 24-11. A.J. McCarron was excellent. Brian Hill was fantastic. And Hakeem Butler and Darrius Shepherd continue to be a lethal duo at receiver. This offense has found its groove as of late, and they have figured out a nice balance between their running game and passing game. Their defense continues to be solid, though the secondary still needs some help on the backend. Coach Becht has been amazing as the head coach for this team, and you can tell these players will fight for him til the end. The Battlehawks have a chance to knock off the Defenders this weekend at home in the dome, and if they can do that, they will be in a tie with D.C. for the top seed in the North. It should be an electric atmosphere in St. Louis.
4. Seattle Sea Dragons (2-2)
- Last week: No. 4
I told ya. I told ya. The Seattle Sea Dragons are for real. And now they are on a 2 game winning streak, and they have looked good doing it. Ben DiNucci has been incredible for Seattle. Other than his costly turnovers, which still seem to be a problem, DiNucci has thrived in this offense. Jahcour Pearson and Josh Gordon have torched defenses, and Morgan Ellison has been a man amongst boys running the football. This guy can not be stopped. His emergence has been key to Seattle’s success. Their defense has been good enough to get the job done, by not giving up the big plays, and coming up clutch when they have need to. If this team, and specifically DiNucci can protect the football, not only will they have a chance to knock off the Roughnecks this weekend, but they have a shot at winning the whole thing. This is one of the most exciting teams to watch in the XFL, and I can not wait to watch Houston v Seattle this weekend.
5. Arlington Renegades (2-2)
- Last week: No. 5
The Arlington Renegades have a problem, and it is called their offense. Now, the silver lining is that Kyle Sloter actually looked pretty good for the most part. He made some good throws Sunday against St. Louis. The problem was way too many drops. To the point, it was frustrating to watch. It’s crazy, because if these receivers can start catching the ball consistently, they will be who we all expected them to be. Again, I wasn’t that impressed with Sloter in his first start against Orlando, but this week he looked much better. But man, his receivers kept letting him down big time. Coach Stoops is going to have to find a way to make adjustments and fast, because the Brahmas are right on their necks, and they are coming. The defense is good enough to win, but they are gassed at the end of the game, because their offense can’t stay on the field. If the Renegades can’t figure things out, they will continue to slide down the standings and this list.
6. San Antonio Brahmas (1-3)
- Last week: No. 6
Yes they lost this weekend. And yes the offense struggled. But two things. One, I still think they are going to make the playoffs, because I just think they are outright better than the Renegades, which we will see them square off for the first time this weekend in San Antonio. And two, I think their main issue can be fixed. That main issue being their offensive line. The OL has struggled. Constantly getting beat at the line of scrimmage, and not letting Jack Coan get into a rhythm. But this is fixable. Through creative play calling and coaching adjustments, they can start to get Jack Coan into a rhythm, and that will allow the offense to open up. We have seen what this offense is capable of when Coan has time, and I still believe they can get back to that. The most surprising thing that happened this weekend was that their strength, which is their running game, was shut down this weekend. If they can get their running game back on track, they will be just fine. Their defense did a great job of containing Seattle’s receivers for the most part Saturday night, and I believe Coach Ward will have his guys ready to play and get a win this weekend. I expect this team to take sole possession of second in the South this weekend.
7. Vegas Vipers (0-4)
- Last week: No. 7
I think I finally figured out what Vegas’ problem is. It wasn’t Duane Brown, who was relieved of his OC duties last week. It’s not Brett Hundley, who was unexpectedly benched for some reason. It’s not even Luis Perez, who actually looked good Sunday night in his return. The problem starts at the top. The problem starts with Head Coach Rod Woodson. One of the big signs that a team’s problems are a head coach, is if that team is constantly getting killed with penalties. That shows a lack of structure. A lack of discipline. Seeing Woodson constantly fighting with his coaches’ decisions. Fighting about the refs, even on plays where they are clearly right. Showing discouragement, disappointment, and anger when things aren’t going right. That’s not what a leader does. He should be able to handle all of that, and he clearly can’t. If Vegas wants to turn things around, a change at head coach would be the start of that. Until then, this team will continue to function the way they are.
8. Orlando Guardians (0-4)
- Last week: No. 8
The only other winless team in the XFL. The Orlando Guardians got their butts handed to them Saturday night at the hands of the Roughnecks, and they looked bad doing it. Paxton Lynch is good for a series of throws, and then he reverts back to his old self. The defense got lit up again, as they have all season. Coach Buckley looks like he is lost for answers. This team continues to be a mess. But, I will say, there is hope around the corner. Because we have a game between the Vipers and Guardians, the two winless teams in the XFL. Which means, one of these teams is getting their first win this weekend. Why not the Guardians? While I believe the Vipers have more talent, I actually think the Guardians have more structure. So I will not be surprised in the slightest if they upset the Vipers this weekend. Should be an interesting game. But for now, the Guardians remain at the bottom of the league.