top of page

It's #ExtraFootballSZN! Let's Get it Started With Week 1 of the XFL



As the Chiefs finished their championship parade earlier this week, many football fans across the country hung their head and crawled back into their caves, hoping to hibernate until the 2023 NFL Season kicks off this September. However, here at House Enterprise, we hold our heads high knowing that there's still plenty of football left to play until then! In this brand new blog series from the House Crew, we're here to break down everything you need to know in the world of spring and summer football.


Starting off with the Third Incarnation of the XFL (or version 2.5 depending on how you look at it), the revamped Dany Garcia and Dwayne Johnson-led league is ready to show fans why the XFL is not only here to entertain, but here to stay for many seasons to come. At the heart of the XFL, aside from their 8 teams, are it's rule tweaks that promise to bring a faster, higher scoring, more competitive version of football, featuring unique rules such as:

  • 1, 2, and 3-point conversions after a touchdown, designated by how far back a team starts from the goal line during the conversion attempt.

  • Overtime conversion shootouts in a best-of-3 style similar to the NHL.

  • A 35-second play clock (opposed to the NFL's 40-second clock) to encourage a faster pace of play.

With these new tweaks and new league vision in mind, let's see how our crew surveyed the landscape for Week 1, including players to watch, potential team playstyles, and predictions against the spread!


Saturday's Week 1 Games


3 PM-Vegas Vipers at Arlington Renegades

Preview by Sam Basel


The first of three Week 1 matchups played in Texas, the returning Arlington (formerly Dallas) Renegades host a Vipers team looking to surpass their 1-4 record while based in Tampa Bay. Am I a little bummed that the Renegades relegated their Bandit helmet decal to a secondary logo? Yes, but I think I'm still going to ride with the Renegades for their home opener, led on the field this week by Ball State alum Drew Plitt. Plitt put up 9,051 yards in 5 seasons with the Cardinals, and while he won't be throwing to any (expected) stars in Week 1, the experience of Bob Stoops as a play caller, as well as the pretty hyped backfield led by Keith Ford, should level out the offense. If former Fordham Ram Kevin Anderson could get some snaps behind center as well, I'd be pretty happy.

As for the Vipers, they'll look to breathe some life into their brand with a QB tandem of Brett Hundley and Luis Perez. Two NFL journeymen, they'll benefit from a highly touted offensive line, as well as targets like former Martavis Bryant to throw to. Bryant, who has seen time in the NFL, CFL, and Fan-Controlled Football, has a pathway to becoming the best receiver in this league as long as he can channel his explosiveness of seasons prior.


In terms of a prediction, I think this Vipers team has potential, but in the first week of a new league, I think coaching is the deciding factor. Vipers HC Rod Woodson is coming back to coaching after a 6-year absence, and Bob Stoops has experience in this league specifically, coaching the Renegades in 2020. I'll throw the following on my betslip:

  • Renegades ML (-165)

  • Renegades -3.5

  • U36.5


8:30 PM-Orlando Guardians at Houston Roughnecks

Preview by Jordan Laube


Guardians to Watch

  • Paxton Lynch-QB (Denver Broncos 2016-2017)

  • Eli Rogers-WR (Pittsburgh Steelers 2016-2018)

  • Cody Latimer-TE ( Denver Broncos 2014-2017, NY Giants 2018-2019)

  • Terrance Smith-LB (KC Chiefs 2016-2018, Arizona Cardinals 2020)

  • Matt Elam-Safety (Baltimore Ravens 2013-2016)

  • Johnny Townsend-Punter (Oakland Raiders 2018, Journeyman 2020-2021)

Guardians Head Coach

Terrell Buckley - Most recently a cornerbacks coach at Mississippi State University, Buckley is a 14 year veteran, winning a ring with the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI. Selected 5th overall by the Packers in 1992, Buckley is a college football Hall of Famer following an illustrious career at Florida State.


Guardians Key Factors

  1. Paxton Lynch and Cody Latimer have the potential to click early due to their time together on the Broncos.

  2. With only 2 running backs on the roster, they'll most like run out of 10 and 11 personnel most of the game.

  3. In terms of an impact player, Matt Elam could be a decisive presence on defense.


Roughnecks with NFL Experience

  • Duke Ejiofor-LB (Houston Texans 2018)

  • Sean Davis-CB (Pittsburgh Steelers 2016-2020)

Roughnecks Head Coach

Wade Phillips-Most recently the Defensive Coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, Phillips has over 40 years coaching at both the professional and college levels. Five of his former player have won DPOY, with two others winning DROY. Phillips has one appearance in the Super Bowl (LIII), and has been head coach for six different NFL Teams.


Roughnecks Key Factors

  1. Despite not listing safeties, Wade Phillips could turn this defense into one of the league's most menacing.

  2. Cole McDonald and Cedric Byrd were a great QB/WR tandem in college, totaling nearly 2,100 yards and 19 TDs across two seasons together at Hawaii.

  3. Impact Player to watch: WR Deontay Burnett.

Betting Lines

ML: Orlando (+125)|Houston (-150)

ATS: Houston -3

O/U: 35.5


Based on Wade Phillips' extensive coaching history, the great connection between McDonald and Byrd, and Burnett's impressive receiving skills, this Houston offense should vastly out play the Guardians, while also keeping them at bay defensively. Give me Houston at -3 and the over at 35.5.


Laube's Final Take

Both teams are young and don't have much pro-level experience, so expect a scrappy game from both sides. Neither team is using a dedicated long snapper, so also be prepared for some special teams blunders throughout the game. Even with the pro-experience edge, I'm giving this one to the Roughneck, as Wade Phillips should keep the pressure on Orlando all game.


Final Score: Roughnecks 34, Guardians 18


Sunday's Week 1 Games


3 PM-St. Louis Battlehawks at San Antonio Brahmas

Preview by Will Tondo


Battlehawks Preview

The St. Louis BattleHawks were one of the most popular teams back in 2020, and they are second favorites (+475) to win the chip in 2023. They are led by former tight end Anthony Becht, who has some coaching experience with the Alliance of American Football, along with a 12-year career in the NFL.


The BattleHawks will turn the ball over to 3x BCS National Champion, former Alabama quarterback, AJ McCarron. After struggling to translate his collegiate success to the NFL, McCarron will look to relive his Tuscaloosa glory days in the Lou. If there is one player to point out as their key guy, it has to be McCarron. Other notable names joining McCarron include running back Brian Hill and wide receiver Hakeem Butler, two players with excellent college careers who also struggled to stick around in the NFL. Former UCLA Safety and NFL journeyman Nate Meadors will anchor the defensive unit at safety. Some other names you might recognize include wide receiver Darrius Shepherd (North Dakota State 3x FCS Champion / Packers), tight end Jordan Thomas (Oklahoma/Texans) and defensive tackle Tani Tupou (Washington / Seahawks).


Brahmas Preview

Welcome to the Brah-has Men, your weekly insight on the San Antonio Brahmas!

Probably the biggest name in all of the XFL (besides The Rock) is Brahma's Head Coach, Hines Ward. Ever heard of him? If there’s a dude who can make a jump in the coaching carousel for the future, it’s the Steelers all-time career receiving leader. He turned JuJu Smith-Schuster into an absolute stud while working as an intern for the Steelers in 2017. He later became an offensive assistant for the Jets, and later a receivers coach for FAU. Now, Ward gets his first head coaching, and he has a pretty solid roster to get things going for him.


San Antonio is led by quarterback Jack Coan, who had stints at both Wisconsin and Notre Dame. Leading his teams to a 22-6 combine record and two bowl games. He’s 24 years young, and will be big development project for Coach Ward and Company. Jacques Patrick will be a key asset to this team at the running back position. He has prior XFL experience, drafted by the Tampa Bay Vipers in 2020. He was a menace for Florida State, racking up over 900 yards and seven touchdowns during his collegiate career.

(Basel's Note: Coan is also a recent Long Island sports legend, hailing from Sayville, NY!)


The anchor on defense, and my key player for the Brahmas this season, will be linebacker Joel Dublanko, who was a tackling machine for the Cincinnati Bearcats the year en route to an appearance in the College Football Playoff. He recorded 113 tackles with 5.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for losses in 2021.


While the Brahmas don’t have flashy NFL names like Josh Gordon (Seattle Sea Dragons), Vic Beasley and Martavis Bryant (Vegas Vipers), Marquette King (Arlington Renegades) or AJ McCarron (St. Louis Battlehawks), they do have some familiar names you might remember. Punter Brad Wing, the former LSU Tiger from Australia, had a nice little stint with the Giants. Offensive lineman Derrick Kelly (Saints) and Luke Juriga (Eagles) made big contributions on their old squads. The running back duo of Kalen Ballage and Jacques Patrick are both athletic backs with high potential. The Brahmas are projected to finish in the middle of the pack, but I think the roster has the makings to compete.


Prediction

From the jump, I hate to feel like a bad Brahmas fan by saying the Battlehawks will take this one, but I simply have no idea what San Antonio's on-the-field output will be in Week 1. My mental hurdle has me reminiscing about the dominant McCarron-led Alabama squads back in the day, as well as his small statistical sample size in the pros (2-2 in four NFL starts with 1,173 passing yards, six touchdowns to three interceptions and a 62.6% completion rate.). On the other hand, however, Jack Coan enters this week with zero pro experience. I think it’ll be a close scoring game, but the Battlehawks will sneak out with the win. Here's hoping that I'm wrong.

· Battlehawks ML (-135)

· San Antonio Brahmas +2.5 (-110)

· Over 36.5 (-110)


8 PM-Seattle Sea Dragons at DC Defenders

Preview by James Mas


Before the 2020 XFL season was wrongfully taken away from us in 2020, the Seattle and DC franchises were headed in two opposite directions. DC, led by trendy coach Pep Hamilton, were 3-2 before the league went on hiatus. Seattle, on the other hand, were 1-4, devoid of both hope and direction. With the long awaited new season right around the corner, both teams look for a hot start in Week 1.


DC enters the year with plenty of options at quarterback. While it looks like Eric Dungey may be leading the Defenders, D’Eriq King and Jordan Ta’amu have both shown flashes in either college or the 2020 XFL season. With an experienced head coaching staff, lead by Reggie Barlow and, more notably, Gregg Williams, the Defenders will look to pick up where they left off in 2020 to a successful season.


Seattle is led on the field by former Cowboy and Tik Tok trend legend Ben Dinucci. Ben will have no shortage of weapons either, with his leading target expected to be former NFL receiving yards leader Josh Gordon. The Sea Dragons are also expected to sport a tough defense, led by names like Same Paama, Tuzar Skipper, and everybody’s favorite, Qwynnterrio Cole. While the foresight on this upcoming season is still quite ambiguous, the Sea Dragons can only look to improve from what was a disappointing start in 2020.


Opening Odds:

Sea Dragons (-130)|Defenders (+110)

Sea Dragons -1.5

O/U 35.5

Comments


bottom of page