Week 6 from the 2023 season was quite a surprise for fans watching for a multitude of reasons. With the first being a boost in ratios from the previous week. After switching the afternoon XFL matchup between the Seattle Sea Dragons and the Orlando Guardians to ABC/ESPN, ratings boasted an astonishing 1.047 million viewers, and the Arlington Renegades and San Antonio Brahmas doubled their viewership from last week accumulating 753k viewers.
And second, the impressive plays; from the Sea Dragons’ blocked punt to put them near the goalie leading to a touchdown, and the insane 16-yard catch-of-the-year-candidate touchdown by Renegades receiver, Lujuan Winningham. It also showed some admirable potential for certain teams that have struggled to find their footing and now believe they have what it takes to win a game such as the winless Orlando Guardian picking a good fight with the Sea Dragons, and making good improvements on offense and made some exceptional plays on defense.
But now, since the new week is heading closer and after looking at some of the adjustments made on and off the field, let’s get down to who will be this week’s winners and losers.
Friday, 6:00 PM CT, March 31, Choctaw Stadium — Seattle Sea Dragons (-5) vs. Arlington Renegades
The Sea Dragons (4-2) are coming off of Week 6 with a four-game winning streak and are looking to make it a fifth in Arlington. The Renegades (3-3) fell just short of beating the San Antonio Brahmas; their divisional rival, 15-9, and are desperately searching for answers to establish themselves as a threat down the road on offense and stay ahead in the playoffs.
The Renegades average 13 points per game, are last in rushing (437 yards) and second to last in passing (854 yards). To resolve those issues and get the ball rolling, the Renegades signed former Vipers quarterback Luis Perez after releasing Kyle Sloter. Perez has average stats to showcase as Vipers QB threw for eight touchdowns to five interceptions this season. The only thing that keeps the Renegades alive is their defense, tying second with the Sea Dragons in fumbles (6) and seven interceptions to count.
Seattle on the other hand scorches on both sides of the ball, ranking first in passing (1,486 yards) and fourth in rushing (544 yards). Despite his ratio of 11 TD/8 INTS, Sea Dragons quarterback Ben DiNucci and his receiving weapons, Jahcour Pearson, Juwan Green, Black Jackson and Josh Gordon soar to great heights Their defense is solid on the ground and just as scary on special teams, blocking three punts this season.
For tonight’s game, expect DiNucci to make great plays with his arms and legs scoring, but to throw one interception to the defense as he tends in the past to force the ball into to tight coverage. With their underrated defense and overpowering offense, the Sea Dragons should improve to a sweet 5-2 record.
FINAL PREDICTION: SEA 21 ARL 12
Saturday, 2:00 PM CT, April 1, Cashman Field — San Antonio Brahmas vs. Vegas Vipers (-2.5)
Saturday’s first match-up is between two opposing teams with poor records who probably won't reach the playoffs as the season nearly comes to a close.
Will the Brahmas having been cursed with injuries as both QBs Reid Sennett and Jack Corn are to be sidelined, signed Kurt Benkert before their match with the Renegades in Week 6, and he performed poorly despite nabbing a win for the team. Offensively, aside from having scored 30 points in one game in Week 2, the Brahmas average 14.8 points a game, which is slightly higher than the Renegades all season and they are last in the whole league in passing yards. Defensively, they lead the league with 42 tackles for loss and made five interceptions total.
The Vipers came off a dreadful performance last week only scoring six points total against the St. Louis Battlehawks, not to mention that over the last four weeks, their messy defense has given up more than 30 points a game. While still holding a very pitiful record, they do have some admirable stats to compensate, ranking third in passing (1,334 yards) with receiver Jeff Bader leading the charge with five touchdowns.
Expect Brett Hundley, former Green Bay Packers quarterback to start against the Brahmas and move the offense effectively on a much improved getting their second win against a team who has been inconsistent on offense all year.
FINAL PREDICTION: VGS 18 SA 13
Saturday, 5:00 PM CT, April 1, Camping World Stadium — DC Defenders (-10) vs Orlando Guardians
This is perhaps the David vs Goliath game of the week. Between the presumably unstoppable force of the XFL versus the XFL’s latest punching bag as the huge underdog.
Who would’ve thought that the DC Defenders of all teams in the revivified XFL would be undefeated this season? This is a team that talks the talk and walks the walk. They overpowered the XFL South’s leader the Houston Roughnecks last Monday in convincing fashion, 37-26. Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and halfback Abram Smith are absolute monsters on the field combining seven rushing touchdowns remaining as the greatest running game in the league with 986 yards and soon-to-be counting. The defense is second in sacks (19.0), ties the Renegades in interceptions (7),
Orlando showed some adequate potential last game against the Sea Dragons almost pulling off an upset of their own. However, while they did lose, that was a match that should spark some life into the team. Quinten Dormady threw for 243 yards, running back Devin Darrington went 82 yards for 2 rushing touchdowns, and the defense made a red-zone interception. They had a solid game back in Week 5 against the Vipers scoring 32 total points, but the Guardians have much to improve on defense as they have allowed the most points in the entire league (178).
But as much as many want to root for the Guardians to pull off rabbit out of their hat and redeem themselves with a win at home, realistically speaking, the Defenders will continue the streak with a dangerous running attack and vast confidence on their side.
FINAL PREDICTION: DC 38 ORL 16
Sunday, 1:00 PM CT, April 12, TDECU Stadium — Houston Roughnecks (-3) vs. St. Louis Battlehawks
Finally, on Sunday, the Game of the Week. An excellent matchup between two outstanding offenses and tough-as-nails defenses. A heavyweight bout that could decide the playoff picture fate for both teams with similar records.
In the past, Houston has expressed complete control over the XFL coming away with a 4-0 win/loss ratio. They have gathered impressive stats along the way being second in passing, and the best defense in the league at that time. The thing is their wins mostly were done by achieving wins from the underachieving Guardians and the subpar Brahmas and Renegades. As evident from their devastating, historic loss to the Sea Dragons in Week 5, and last week’s downfall to the Defenders, they became the ultimate wake-up call for the Roughnecks. The best defense in the league was exposed by the Defenders allowing 37 points, and their offense from the past two games felt like they lost their high-flying rhythm in the passing and running game until the second half. There also seems to be some quarterback controversy among the Roughnecks organization to see whether or not Cole McDonald is starting next week over Brandon Silvers after his below-average performance. Whatever needs to be done by the Roughnecks has to be done as soon as possible, or else, they might not be the fearful XFL South opposition fans thought they were.
On the other side of the field are the St. Louis Battlehawks, with a huge chip on their shoulder and believing in themselves to remain in second place in the XFL North over their rivals, the Sea Dragons. Former NFL QB A.J. McCarron holds the most touchdowns in the league, cultivating a 14/4 TD-INT ratio. Halfback Brian Hill has gathered 317 yards in the running game but has yet to make more than one rushing touchdown in this week’s fight. Receiver Hakeem Butler will play a huge factor in this game as the team’s leading receiver he would have to go against the Roughnecks secondary led by cornerbacks Ajene Harris and Sean Davis, who combined have the most interceptions in the league (8). The Battlehawks also hold commendable stats on the defensive front, committing eight fumbles and seven interceptions.
If the Roughnecks want to remain a looming presence for the playoffs and other teams in their schedule, winning this game will be a huge statement for them. As long as the receiving corps and the quarterback maintain strong chemistry and the defense stands on high alert for big plays, they will keep this a tight game. But in a match where both teams have something to prove, it all has to come down to which one deserves it more and has the most confidence coming in, which would be the Battlehawks in a close, high-scoring clash. Get ready for Sunday, this one will be a treat.
FINAL PREDICTION: STL 32 HOU 27
Edited by Sushmita Regmi
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in