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2020 XFL Playoff Picture: East, West remaining schedules, standings and scenarios


We have reached the halfway point of the 2020 XFL regular season. The XFL has a comeback period in the final two minutes of each half. The final half of the XFL’s regular season is a comeback period of its own.

From weeks eight through ten. All eight teams play divisional games to end their season. So in theory, a team that is on the outside looking in currently, can run the table and still get into the playoffs. Only half the league will get there. With two teams qualifying in each division.

Let’s take a look at the league’s standings, tiebreakers, and remaining team schedules moving forward. Starting with the XFL’s tie-breaking procedures for the playoffs.

DC Defenders (3-2) 1st place in the East

The Defenders currently hold tie-breakers over both NY and STL, based on head to head victories. They finish the season on the road against both the Guardians and BattleHawks. Winning these games head-to-head will be crucial because the TD differential does not currently favor DC. Simply holding serve at home won’t do the trick if DC wants to get into the playoffs.

St. Louis BattleHawks (3-2) Second place in the East

The BattleHawks had an opportunity to create some space for themselves by beating DC last weekend. The 15-6 loss has complicated matters for St. Louis. The BattleHawks play four of their final five games against the East. Finishing out the season with back to back weeks at home. The week 10 showdown with DC will have huge playoff implications, within the East and a home playoff game potentially on the line.

New York Guardians (3-2) Third place in the East

The Guardians have three things working against them. The first is head to head losses already to DC and St. Louis. The second is total touchdowns (8), the second tie-breaker. The final issue for New York is because they lost to DC (27-0) and St. Louis (29-9).

The Guardians will most likely not be able to get into the playoffs on the total head-to-head points tiebreaker. New York has to go 3-2 to have a realistic shot to either win the division or get in the playoffs as the second seed in the east.

Two of those wins have to be against DC and STL in weeks eight and nine at home. If the Guardians accomplish that, they may walk into the final week, with a win and they are in scenario because DC and STL play each other in the final week.

Tampa Bay Vipers (1-4) Last place in the East

The Vipers have no room for error. Tampa has to go 4-1 or 5-0 in the second half of the season if they want to make the playoffs. Tampa Bay has the hardest path to the playoffs in the entire league but it’s not impossible. The Vipers season is on the line against St. Louis this week at home. It is a must-win.

Tampa has four divisional games left on their schedule and beating STL twice and then DC would help them sneak in. Tampa also needs to root for New York to falter. It’s all about survival now. The Vipers need to get to week eight still alive.

Houston Roughnecks (5-0) First place in the West

Houston is on the verge of clinching a playoff spot and potentially the Western Division this weekend, depending on if a few different scenarios play out. A Roughnecks victory against NY, coupled with Dallas and LA losses would do the trick. Houston is 3-0 in their division and is ahead of the game in TD differential.

The path to an XFL championship appears to be headed through Houston. The Roughnecks could be hosting the championship game on their own home field.

Dallas Renegades (2-3) Second place in the West

If the season ended today, Dallas would be in the playoffs based on their head to head victory with LA. The Renegades, however, are in deep trouble. Hal Mumme is out as the teams’ offensive coordinator. A mid-season offensive shift with their starting quarterback Landry Jones still out.

A scenario exists where Dallas can qualify for the playoffs but it requires the Renegades going 3-2 in their final five games, with two of those victories being against LA and Seattle. Dallas gets both the Dragons and Wildcats at home. Normally that would be an advantage but the Renegades have yet to win this season at Globe Life Park.

Los Angeles Wildcats (2-3) Third place in the West

LA may be on the outside looking in presently but they appear to be the most serious threat to Houston in the entire league. It’s all because of Quarterback Josh Johnson’s stellar play. The key to the Wildcats making the playoffs is beating Seattle twice and Dallas. Three of the Wildcats’ final five games are on the road. Josh Johnson gives LA a fighters chance against every team they play.

Seattle Dragons (1-4) Last place in the West

Seattle has so many things working against them. With the state of Washington now prohibiting large event gatherings in King County for the foreseeable future. The Dragons will be playing empty stadium games at Century Link Field.

Despite the 1-4 record and this huge obstacle and distraction. The Seattle Dragons are only a game out of the playoff hunt in this division. Like the Tampa Bay Vipers, their entire season hangs in the balance this coming weekend. The Dragons get the Wildcats Sunday on ESPN2.

A loss by Seattle won’t mathematically eliminate them, but for all intents and purposes, it will kill any playoff hopes. Beating LA twice and Dallas is really the Dragons only hope. Seattle needs to get to week nine still alive when they travel to LA.

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I am a pro football writer who has extensively covered and reported on multiple leagues over the years. I started covering the XFL back in 2001. You can follow me on Twitter @byMikeMitchell

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