The XFL’s second week showed us a lot of big plays and action, and it’s becoming more clear who are the teams to beat. Check out last week’s XFL Power rankings.
1. D.C. Defenders (2-0)
The Defenders had another big showing Week Two in a 27-0 shutout against the Guardians. Not only did Cardale Jones & Co. Move the ball well, their defense really stepped up and completely suffocated New York.
Matt McGloin moved the ball well vs the Vipers in week one, but couldn’t get anything going in Audi Field. LB Jameer Thurman and Matt Elam both picked off the veteran passer, who was benched at the half. Their secondary also shut down backup QB Marquise Williams, who only moved the ball 67 yards in one half of play. Rahim Moore Sr made another big play this week, in a textbook strip that turned into a long fumble return.
While the defense dismantled the Guardians, the offense put up 27 points. Jones threw for 276 yards, 2 scores and a pick, while Eli Rogers overcame a ton of adversity to make it on the field and contribute. Their ground game was alright with 71 yards on the ground, but we’ve yet to see their running backs really make an impact thus far.
Overall, this is the XFL’s team to beat. With a high-rolling offense, a stout D and 2 wins in their pocket, they’re here at #1.
2. Houston Roughnecks (2-0)
The Roughnecks are an extremely close second. PJ Walker is clearly a rising star in the football world, and there’s already talk of him finding his way to the NFL come fall. The nimble QB had another great showing this week, and already has 7 Touchdowns this season. He has fantastic accuracy, puts some zip on his throws, and his pocket movement is elite.
Cam Phillips is emerging as a legit threat all over the field, and concerns about his speed are evaporating quickly. He scored 3 TD’s on Sunday, and has 4 on the season. The Roughnecks running backs haven’t put up a lot of yardage but James Butler has 3 scores (2 Rush, 1 Rec) in two weeks, and they can use their backfield to strike when they need to.
Their Defense is tied for first with 5 sacks, and they’ve also picked off two passes. This is an aggressive defense, and while they couldn’t shut down St. Louis this week they made crucial stops and allowed the offense to extend their lead.
3. St. Louis BattleHawks
Jordan Ta’amu continues his ascent despite a heartbreak loss to Houston this week. While his team ultimately fell short and couldn’t convert on any of their 4 TD’s, Ta’amu continues to impress. He’s second in passing yards, 3rd in rushing, and has 5 TD’s to his name so far. He’s able to move it through the air and on the ground but is still pass first, and falls into the ideal of a quarterback who can run.
While the defense couldn’t replicate their week 1 performance against PJ Walker, they do have the second most sacks leaguewide with 4, and have been stout against the run thus far.
With an effective offensive attack led by Jordan Ta’amu and Matt Jones, the BattleHawks are dangerous once they get rolling, and there’s a lot of good things happening here.
4. Dallas Renegades
Landry Jones was asked to do a lot on Sunday, and he delivered his team their first win. He threw the ball 40 times, and while the offense couldn’t find the end zone in the first 3 quarters, they blew up in the 4th. Cameron Artis-Payne has found his footing, and rushed for 99 yards and 2 scores on just 14 carries. It’s looking like a pass heavy offense, but he and Lance Dunbar are getting things rolling on the ground as well.
Their secondary did a good job limiting Josh Johnson in his debut, and the run defense had a turnaround performance, allowing just 57 yards on the ground.
It looks like this D is geared to grind out games and wear down offenses, while Landry Jones and co air it out. The Renegades have some great weapons on offense as well. If they can get Jeff Badet into space and balance their air attack with a solid run game, they could very well find themselves moving up in future weeks.
The Dragons scored their first win of the year, and while Brandon Silvers had a rough day, he threw the ball well in week one and scored 3 TD’s. Their run game has been effective at keeping the pace so far, and it looks like the platoon approach with Farrow, Gardner and Williams is working well.
Their defense held the struggling Vipers offense to just a field goal, and DL Marcell Frazier had a pick 6 with Tampa Bay pinned inside 20. Steven Johnson has emerged as a leader on this defense, and has been flying to the ball on every play. In two games of action, he already has 18 tackles.
6.New York Guardians
After a shutdown win against the Vipers in week one, NY fell apart vs the Defenders. Matt McGloin threw two picks in the first half and struggled to move the ball, and was benched at the half. Marquise Williams didn’t fare much better in relief, and their offense put up zero points after scoring 23 the week before.
The defense that looked so strong against Tampa Bay let the Defenders run roughshod all day, and they were essentially moving the ball at will. NY has some great pieces on this defense, but they’ll have to hold up better against the league’s best.
It’s unclear whether Matt McGloin will make the start in week 3, but he’s struggled to push the ball deep and it’s possible that Williams or even Luis Perez takes the field at some point. They have a couple talented backs in Tim Cook and Darius Victor, and if they commit to the run more it could help right the ship in New York.
7.Los Angeles Wildcats
The Wildcats are still winless, but we finally got a taste of what Josh Johnson can do. While he didn’t have a historic day against the Renegades in his debut, he was still solid with 196 yards and 2 scores. WR Nelson Spruce continues to dominate on his end, and they can build around these two.
Their defense has had issues so far though, and they’ve allowed 62 points in the past two weeks. Winston Moss has fired DC Pepper Johnson and taken over the unit himself, and while we saw some mild improvement week two, it’ll take time for them to take shape.
With a defense that can’t make stops in big moments and an offense struggling to find its identity, the Wildcats have a lot of room for growth. Josh Johnson does have a high ceiling, and their fortunes could very likely ride on his arm.
8.Tampa Bay Vipers
The Vipers are a team with no identity, and Marc Trestman will need to work some serious magic if they want to turn things around. Neither Aaron Murray and Taylor Cornelius appear to be the guy here, and their best bet moving forward could be to start Quinton Flowers and see what he can do. Their passers have thrown 4 picks and zero touchdowns, and good rushing performances from De’Veon Smith havent’ been enough to save them.
Their defense looked lost against a middling NY offense week one, and couldn’t pull out a win against a Dragons attack that only fielded 91 passing yards (68 of which came on a single play). Lots of work to be done here.
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