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Week 10 XFL Power Rankings Heading Into The Final Week Of The Regular Season

Ninety percent of the XFL 2023 regular season is in the books. Four teams are still fighting for two playoff spots heading into the final week. But the path to an XFL championship game was set in Week 9. It will have to go through D.C. and Houston.

Let’s look at how all eight XFL teams stack up as they head into the last weekend of the regular season.

Week 10 XFL Power Rankings

#1: D.C. Defenders (8-1)

What a return to the XFL the D.C. Defenders have had in 2023. On Sunday afternoon, Reggie Barlow’s squad was greeted by a sellout home crowd at Audi Field. The largest Defenders’ gathering assembled in the team’s brief history saw D.C. keep their undefeated record in the District alive at 8-0 with a thrilling 28-26 OT victory at home.

As a result, the Defenders have clinched a home playoff date in the Northern Championship on Sunday, April 30th.

However, it didn’t come as easy as it appeared after three quarters. D.C. commandeered a 26-9 lead over the Renegades heading into the final quarter. But Luis Perez and the Renegades fought back valiantly to tie the game and force overtime. In the extra session, the Defenders’ defense, which yielded plenty of passing yards to Perez (335), held firm in the OT shootout.

The Defenders’ defense, led by the enigmatic Gregg Williams, has had some struggles against the pass in the last stages of the season. They will need to improve in the playoffs when Seattle or St. Louis strolls into the District seeking revenge. D.C.’s offense, however, continues to shine every week. Much credit should be given to offensive coordinator Fred Kaiss. He has expertly utilized a talented roster that has evolved over the season.

In Week 10, the Defenders have a unique dilemma on their hands. They will head to San Antonio on Saturday afternoon to play another Texas team fighting for their playoff lives, the Brahmas. D.C. is in a comfortable position where they can rest starters for the playoffs. It might be the best strategy Reggie Barlow can take if he wants to see his team make a second trip to the Alamodome for the league’s championship game on Saturday, May 13th.

#2: Seattle Sea Dragons (6-3)

The Seattle Sea Dragons showed undoubtedly that they are a playoff and championship-worthy team in Week 9 by besting the Battlehawks in St. Louis 30-12. They have won six of their last seven games.

The question is, will the Dragons be in D.C. on April 30th with a shot at getting to an XFL Championship game?

Seattle took a significant step toward that goal on Sunday by staving off elimination, and in the process, they have flipped the XFL’s playoff race into chaos heading into Week 10.

That’s because Jim Haslett’s Sea Dragons are now in a much more advantageous position to make the postseason.

A victory over the Vegas Vipers at home in the closing game of the XFL 2023 regular season next Sunday could do the trick. I emphasize could, because if both Seattle and St. Louis finish the year with victories. By virtue of a head-to-head season split and an identical divisional record. The final playoff spot in the North will be determined by the best-combined ranking of points scored and allowed in all games within divisional teams.

Right now, the Dragons have a +19 lead on the Battlehawks in points versus the division. SEA 215 STL 196. And a lead in points allowed, 168 to 174. The combined ranking system adds a varied amount of wrinkles. As a result, Winning might not be enough, but it appears that St. Louis has a lot more heavy lifting to do to net a playoff berth than Seattle does. Provided that both teams win.

#3: St. Louis Battlehawks (6-3)

A magical season by St. Louis, which has seen them overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to win games, may have run out of its magic in Week 9.

The Battlehawks, with a grand opportunity to celebrate clinching a playoff berth at home, fell way short of that in a 30-12 loss to Seattle.

St. Louis had their opportunities to rally late but was a step slower than the Sea Dragons in Week 9. Seattle had their number from jump street and closed them out by the game’s end.

The Battlehawks must find a way to bounce back this Saturday against Orlando in their home finale.

Because of tie-breakers, a win by St. Louis might not be enough to ensure them a playoff berth. They will need the Vegas Vipers to beat Seattle or will require several different scoring tie-breakers to fall in their favor. Of utmost importance will be St. Louis winning big against the Guardians.

St. Louis released these playoff scenarios to the media on Sunday night.

Below are the current Battlehawk playoff scenarios through rule 4 of the XFL tiebreakers…

STL wins/SEA loses…STL in the playoffs

STL loses/SEA wins…SEA in the playoffs
STL loses/SEA loses…STL in the playoffs as our fourth loss is a non-divisional matchup (ORL), while SEA would have four divisional losses (DC-2, STL, VGS)

STL wins/SEA wins…STL needs to score 19 more points vs ORL than SEA scores against Vegas AND STL must still rank first in total points against to win Tiebreaker 4, which is best combined ranking among division teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.

Points For vs Division as of 4/16

STL 196
SEA 215 (+19)

Points Against vs Division as of 4/16
STL 174
SEA 168

#4: Houston Roughnecks (6-3)

The Houston Roughnecks’ struggles, particularly on offense, continued in Week 9. But Wade Phillips’s squad and Brian Stewart’s defense found a way to scratch and claw out a 28-21 victory over Vegas at home. Thanks to two defensive touchdowns.

After two straight victories, the Roughnecks’ officially clinched the Southern crown and will host the South championship at TDECU Stadium on Saturday, April 29th. Mission accomplished in that regard, but the Roughnecks are still trying to recapture the mojo they had earlier this season offensively.

Houston could be seeing their playoff opponent twice in the next two weeks. The Roughnecks are in Arlington to play the Renegades next Sunday, and how they decide to treat Sunday’s game should be interesting. With everything sewn up, the early indication is that if Houston starters do play, it won’t be for long.

The Roughnecks won’t be leaving Texas for the rest of the 2023 season. Their ultimate goal is to be in San Antonio playing for a championship in their last game.

#5: Arlington Renegades (4-5)

Despite failing to clinch a playoff berth in a heartbreaking 28-26 overtime loss to the D.C. Defenders. Week 9 was arguably the Renegades’ best showing of the season. Thanks to a spirited effort by quarterback Luis Perez, Arlington rallied down 26-9 and nearly pulled off an improbable comeback victory.

Bob Stoops’s team showed a lot of heart on Sunday. And they appear to finally have an answer at QB in spring league king Luis Perez. But they still haven’t punched their ticket to the postseason. They can get an assist from the team they just beat D.C. this weekend, but if not, they can close out their year on a positive note with a playoff-clinching win at home against Houston.

If the Renegades get great play from the QB position as they did from Luis Perez in week nine, they might be a tough out in the playoffs. Have to get there first, though.

#6: San Antonio Brahmas (3-6)

The Brahmas are still breathing in the playoff race after outlasting the Orlando Guardians 25-23 in their first-ever home victory at the Alamodome. San Antonio stayed alive for the postseason, thanks to a D.C. Defenders victory over Arlington on Sunday.

Hines Ward’s team hasn’t had many happy weekends in the XFL. But Week 9 was undoubtedly one of them.

San Antonio has been competitive in all their games this season. But a lack of offense has held them back. This past Saturday, the Brahmas finally got the performance they had hoped for from rookie quarterback Jack Coan. He went 25/31 for 302 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions against Orlando.

San Antonio has a shot at making things exciting in week ten by closing out their season at home strong this Saturday.

On paper, they have a tall task in front of them against the 8-1 Defenders. However, they might get D.C. in rest mode, as the Defenders could choose to sit the majority of their key players before the playoffs.

If the Brahmas can somehow beat D.C. They will put all the pressure on Arlington to win the following day. A 4-6 team making the playoffs may not go over well with most, especially for the team who misses out in the North. But San Antonio will gladly take whatever good fortune comes their way, especially if that means a shot at a potential XFL championship game in their building.

#7: Vegas Vipers (2-7)

Vegas did it again in Week 9. They found a unique way to lose a game they shouldn’t have.

A week after falling prey to a fake punt for a touchdown. For the second time this season, the Vipers lost a one-score game after having two defensive touchdowns scored against them.

Rod Woodson’s team has been very charitable this year. In a fitting end, the Vipers saw a potential victory slither away in the final seconds. As Jalan McClendon’s potential game-tying pass into the touchdown went through the fingertips of Matthew Sexton in the end zone.

As the ancient saying goes, misery loves company. The Vipers can spread some of theirs in their final week of play.

In Week 10, Vegas can play the ultimate role of spoiler by knocking out one of two division rivals. A Vipers loss to the Sea Dragons Sunday in Seattle will likely doom St. Louis’s playoff hopes. A Vegas victory, though, would knock Seattle out of the playoffs.

#8: Orlando Guardians (1-8)

Another game, another close loss by Terrell Buckley’s team in Week 9. That’s been the tale of the second half of Orlando’s season. After falling to the Brahmas 25-23. The Guardians have now lost five of their last six games by one score or less.

Fortunately for Orlando, they were able to get a victory during this season against the 8-1 Defenders. D.C.’s only loss during the regular season. Go figure. Can the Guardians get another win to close out their season Saturday at St. Louis? It doesn’t seem likely, considering everything at stake for the Battlehawks. But as Orlando showed in week nine, they are willing to throw caution to the wind with nothing to lose.

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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

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Quattro Bajeena

    April 17, 2023 at 11:30 am

    San Antonio should have made a play for D’Eric King, Luis Perez or Brett Hundely in week 6 or 7, they have a playoff caliber defense but their offense (just like what the article stated) is what’s holding them back (mainly Qb play and pass pro). Week 8 OT loss I credit on the OC, not 1 time during the shootout did they run the ball with Jacques Patrick. Patrick was riding high with 96 rushing yards avg 6.0 ypr on 16 carries! Give that man the rock at least once, know the identity of your squad. I believe that with King at Qb, he give coach Ward a Qb that can truly compliment Patrick rushing attack and over play making ability of the offense.

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