As March comes in like a Lion, so does Week 3 of the XFL! Welcome back to Extra Football Friday, where our House Enterprise Crew is here to break down everything you need to know about spring and summer Pro Football! Before we get into our previews for XFL Week 3, let's see where our team surveys the XFL landscape in our latest Power Rankings.
XFL Power Rankings-Week 3
XFL Week 3 Previews
Saturday-Seattle Sea Dragons at Vegas Vipers
Preview by Jordan Laube
Both teams enter this week at 0-2, itching for their first win after some mediocre play over the last 2 weeks. While both teams are winless, the Sea Dragons were definitely dealt the tougher hand to start the season.
Seattle's Top Week 2 Performers
Ben DiNucci (QB): Despite the relatively poor start, Ben has played like the MVP of this league two weeks in. His poise in and out of the pocket led to a 65.5% completion rate to the tune of 196 yards and 2 TDs to go along with 38 yards on the ground.
Jahcour Peterson (WR): Jahcour has emerged as this team's go-to guy. He leads the XFL with 6 receptions and 173 yards, converting for first down on half of his catches. He played solid again last week, and made a great play against St. louis last week to score.
Seattle's Key Factors
This defense needs to start getting after it. They have yet to force a turnover through two games despite playing lackluster QBs.
Even with the DiNucci-Peterson connection, the offense needs to get more receiving weapons involved, especially out of the backfield.
Seattle needs to work on their clock management, and should aim to control the ball a lot longer in critical situations.
Vegas' Top Week 2 Performers
Max Roberts (EDGE D): Roberts played sound football in less than ideal conditions last week, tallying 2 sacks, 2 TFLs, and a forced fumble. He also got a decent amount of pressure on Jordan Ta'amu all night long.
Brett Hundley (QB): Despite coming off the bench, Brett played solid through horrible weather, as well as on a horrible playing surface. He hit 11 of 18 passes for 98 yards, while also adding 24 rushing yards on the ground. I'm excited to see what he can do with decent weather.
Vegas' Key Factors
Despite not letting up many sacks, the o-line has struggled heavily early on this season. They need to lock in to help their team edge out a victory.
Vegas must take advantage of targeting Martavis Bryant and Geronimo Allison more, as they both had solid flashes in Week 1.
The defense just needs to keep doing it's thing, allowing just 28 points from opposing offenses through 2 games.
Moneyline: LV (+130) | SEA: (-150)
Spread: SEA -3
This game has a Seattle dub written all over it, but it’s gonna be a slugfest. I actually like the Under here, despite picking the Over twice already. Brett may struggle for the Vipers out of the gate, and this Seattle offense hasn’t done too much, scoring 36 points through their first two games. I think this will be a close one, I like Vegas at +3 for the spread.
If Seattle can do what they did in the first two weeks with a little more pizazz, they should walk away with the win. I am somewhat concerned with Brett Hundley taking over, but this defense should be able to handle him with minimal issues. Target Josh Gordon and Jahcour Peterson, and this should be a victory for Seattle, 22-20.
Sunday at 1 PM-DC Defenders at St. Louis Battlehawks
Preview by James Mas
Week 3 features an undefeated vs. undefeated matchup as the DC Defenders travel to St. Louis to take on the Battlehawks. These two teams have specialized in beating opponents down in two completely different ways; while the Defenders look to punch opponents in the mouth with their run game, the Battlehawks hurl the ball downfield with their veteran signal callers.
Last week, the Defenders found victory on the ground by unleashing RB Abram Smith and backup QB D'Eriq King on an unsuspecting Vipers defense. Starting QB Jordan Ta'amu struggled to find himself on the field, completing just 11 passes on 23 attempts. Luckily for DC, the Vipers couldn't put up much of an offensive fight, and the Defenders were able to drain the clock while gaining big yardage on the ground. We'll see if the Defenders and their Cup Snake can break through the Battlehawks defensive line with their powerful rushing attack.
Adversely, St. Louis can pin their Week 2 victory on AJ McCarron's performance through the air. McCarron looked like the seasoned vet we all thought he was, completing 22/36 for 186 yards and a score, while also going for 41 yards and a TD on the ground. McCarron's favorite target last week was Hakeem Butler, the former Arizona Cardinal, who recorded 4 receptions for 61 yards and a TD. McCarron will try to maintain his hot hand while finding his big body receiver to take advantage of the Defenders secondary.
DC's Keys to the Game
Keep pounding the rock-As mentioned, DC found their stride in the running game last week, going for a combined 229 yards on 42 carries, yielding 5.5 yards per carry. The Defenders should look to emulate this style of offense in order to continue their winning ways.
High completion percentage - Jordan Ta’amu has yet to look as stellar as he did on the Battlehawks back in 2020. I think DC could look to instill some confidence in the young signal caller by offering some shorter, high completion percentage passes.
Limit turnovers - The Defenders fumbled the ball 3 times last week, which isn’t going to help yield wins if those numbers continue. With Ta’amu especially, an emphasis on holding on to the football will go a long way for DC this week against St. Louis.
St. Louis' Keys to the Game
Let McCarron Cook - It’s not an overreaction to say that AJ McCarron, former Alabama football legend and career backup in the NFL, has looked like one of the best players in the XFL this season so far. McCarron has shown an ability to not only throw the ball, but also run. St. Louis should let the offense flow through their veteran QB if they want to continue seeing success.
Contain Abram Smith - Few people truly shined for the Defenders on offense last week, but RB Abram Smith was a diamond in the rough. By focusing on the run defense, limiting explosive plays by Smith, and forcing Ta’amu to throw, the Battlehawks will be in a great position to win.
Don’t doubt D’Eriq - while only having a backup role, Defenders QB D’Eriq King has managed to see the field on some specialty package plays. The elusive and mobile QB showed last week that he can really get moving in open space, and similar to what their game plan should be to contain Smith, the Battlehawks need to put something together that’s equally dismantling for King.
The Defenders are coming in as an early 2 point home favorite, and I believe it’s warranted. DC has some of the best fans in the entire XFL, and they’re going to help propel their team to victory. I’m looking at another fairly low scoring game, with DC taking the victory over St. Louis, 20-16.
Spreads: DC -2
Sunday at 4 PM-Orlando Guardians at Arlington Renegades
Preview by Sam Basel
When the second incarnation of the XFL folded back in 2020, I was able to snag a New York Guardians jersey on clearance in the hopes that when they'd return, I'd have the edge in the gear department over all incoming 2023 fans. I'm sure you could imagine my immense disappointment when it was announced that not only would New York be without a team under the Rock's regime, but the Guardians logo and namesake would be moved down to Orlando.
Now, as the Guardians enter Week 3 at the bottom of our power rankings, the fledgling Florida squad is grasping for anything that can help them secure victory against a solid opponent. At 1-1, after dropping a relatively close game against the best squad the in the league, the Arlington Renegades smell blood in the water, and picking up a win against the struggling Guardians could be just the jolt they need to stay towards the top of the race to the playoffs.
The key for Orlando this week is winning the turnover battle. Not only do they have the lowest scoring offense in the league at 24 points, but the Guardians QB rotation of Paxton Lynch, Quinten Dormady, and Deondre Francis have a combined 4 touchdowns to their names. I understand that the rules of this league encourage taking risks, but Orlando's defense needs to capitalize off of any mistake Arlington makes in order to provide the offense with decent field position, as well as acting as damage control. With the most sacks against as well, the pressure is on the offensive line to maintain a secure pocket for whichever Orlando QB can stay on the field the longest.
With the needle swinging heavily in their favor, Arlington could have a comfortable go of things to get to 2-1, but that does not necessarily take the importance out of a win here this week. Playing the Battlehawks on the road next week, Arlington has to ensure they enter Week 4 with a winning record to keep their playoff hopes in a good spot, meaning that Drew Plitt needs to take that next step forward. If anything, alleviating some pressure in the air by handing it off to De'Veon Smith could be a huge key.
In terms of a final score, I'll go with Arlington taking this one 21-10. Orlando still has a long way to go before I can trust them on my betslip, and Arlington's struggles are not nearly as numerous as their opponents.
Moneyline: ARL -425|ORL +340
Spread: ARL -8.5
Sunday Primetime-San Antonio Brahmas at Houston Roughnecks
Preview by Will Tondo
This week, the Brahmas take on the XFL’s top team, the Houston Roughnecks in an in-state showdown. Houston Skipper Wade Phillips has shown in just two weeks that this team is eyeing to be the top dog all season long. Their defense is miles above the competition. Led by former Steelers safety Sean Davis and Super Bowl LII Champ Trent Harris, the Rougnecks' D has recorded 12 sacks and forced six turnovers, leading the league in both pressure and coverage. Houston has scored the most points (56) and has allowed the second-fewest points (26) in the league this year.
Meanwhile in San Antonio, Jack Coan is coming in with a chip on his shoulder after a rock solid collegiate career, but no NFL experience under his belt. Coan is completing almost 70% of his passes with four touchdowns. He's clearly the star of the bunch, as SA's two running backs, Kalen Ballage and Jacques Patrick, have a mere 167 yards combined over two weeks. Jalen Tolliver, the Brahmas top wide receiver with 6 catches and 80 yards, did not practice this week after sustaining a groin injury.
In week 2, the Roughnecks dominated the Renegades, and made life miserable for quarterback Drew Plitt. He was held to just 120 yards on 50% passing. Their run-stop allowed just a mere 43 yards on 19 carries. They got themselves in trouble due to turnovers, but outscored the Renegades in the second half, 12-0 to stay undefeated.
The Brahmas came off a dominating win against the Guardians, but it's important to note that Orlando is the worst team in the XFL thus far. Their rushing game was irrelevant, but quarterback Jack Coan shined. He completed 16-of-24 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns.
If the Roughnecks want to win this week and remain undefeated, then they need to clean up the turnover issues and ensure their defense is attacking Jack Coan from all angles. The Brahmas run game hasn’t been strong, so if they can stop that and keep pressure on the receivers, then they should have no problem winning. If the Brahmas want to win this one, Coan needs to piece the defense and ensure he is completing at least 70% of his passes.
Moneyline: Roughnecks (-200) | Brahmas (+165)
Spread: Roughnecks -4.5