Twenty percent of the XFL 2023 season has been completed. The top of the playing field has already been set, and by the time Week 3 is over, two XFL teams might stay winless, with their playoff hopes already dashed.
XFL Week 3
It seems premature to proclaim championship favorites after three weeks or to write off teams as dead in the water. However, in a ten-game regular season, it’s the reality we will be looking at when the smoke clears this weekend.
The Houston Roughnecks can lay an early claim as division frontrunner if they sweep the South three weeks in a row and beat Texas rival San Antonio on Sunday night.
The winner of Sunday’s early game in D.C. between the Defenders and Battlehawks can take sole possession of the North. And it’s altogether possible that Orlando and the loser of Vegas-Seattle could be staring at insurmountable odds as 0-3 teams.
Existing XFL Streaks
Streaks are made to be broken. At some point, the Roughnecks will lose an XFL game. They haven’t yet in their brief history of existence (7-0). The Defenders are 4-0 all-time at Audi Field. That could also end, perhaps this Sunday, against the surging St. Louis Battlehawks. However, the return of the Beer Snake could determine that outcome.
One streak did come to an end last week. But it’s in the nobody cares but me department. I finally lost in XFL fantasy. I was 10-0 with two separate teams in 2020 and started 2023 with Up Plitt’s Creek, Player 55, and 99 Problems But A Mitch Kidd Ain’t One carrying the mantle in Week One. But it all came crashing down for me last weekend. All three of those fantasy teams at altfantasysports and newshub fantasy failed to live up to the legacy of Walker Texas Roughneck.
Things also didn’t go very well for me making my picks against the spread.
XFL Week Three Predictions
I split the baby all around last week. The only safe bet has been picking against Orlando. The oddsmakers have finally caught on to the ineptitude of the Guardians’ operation. Picking against Terrell Buckley’s hapless bunch has been easy money in the first two weeks.
In the nothing to brag about whatsoever department. I am 4-4 against the spread and straight up. And better than halfway decent in the over/under category at 6-2. Let’s see if I can better myself this weekend.
Against The Spread: 2-2
Against The Spread: 2-2
Seattle Sea Dragons (0-2) at Las Vegas Vipers (0-2), Saturday, March 4th, Cashman Field, 7 pm ET/4 pm PT, FX/ESPN+
- Point Spread: Dragons -3
- Over/Under: 38.5
For some people, this is the perfect “let’s get this over with first’ game on the XFL’s week three slate. But for me, it carries a ton of intrigue because one of these two teams will finally inject hope into their season with their first victory. While the other will be stuck in Orlando-like despair.
The Dragons have been the biggest underachieving team in the XFL. They have an experienced coaching staff and a talented roster. But they have burned themselves with bad mistakes leading to two crushing last-second losses.
Vegas has had no lady luck on their side. They lost in week one without surrendering an offensive touchdown. And last week drew the wrong-styled opponent in a rain-soaked slop fest in Vegas.
The weather is supposed to be clear in this game. That should assist the strength of these two teams, their passing attacks. Both the Dragons and Vipers boast deep receiving corps. However, the winds could be gusting up to 40 miles per hour.
On paper, Seattle should win this game. But I think a desperate Vegas team pushes them to the limit in a tight contest. The first team not to beat themselves wins.
Prediction: Seattle Sea Dragons 19 Vegas Vipers 17
St. Louis Battlehawks (2-0) at D.C. Defenders (2-0), Sunday, March 5th, Audi Field, 1 pm ET/noon CT, FX/ESPN+
- Point Spread: Defenders –2.5
- Over/Under: 36.5
Despite both St. Louis and D.C. having matching undefeated records. Logic dictates a Battlehawks victory this Sunday afternoon. Especially if we grade by style points. St. Louis has two impressive come-from-behind last-second road victories under their wings, and D.C. has won ugly in both games.
However, there are some chinks in the Battlehawks’ armor to consider heading into Week 3. St. Louis gave up 133 yards rushing in week one against San Antonio. In week 2, against Seattle, a team that wants to do everything but run the football. The Dragons rushed for 103 yards at 4.9 yards per rush.
What the Defenders do best is run the ball, and they do it with multiple runners at running back and quarterback.
St. Louis can’t afford to fall behind against D.C. and expect to rally again for a third consecutive week. Falling two scores down against the Defenders with their rabid crowd, Gregg Williams’s aggressive defense, and D.C.’s play-from-ahead ground attack is a recipe for disaster.
I think the Defenders present a matchup problem for the Battlehawks. St. Louis might be better overall, especially on offense, but D.C. takes this one in the District.
Prediction: D.C. Defenders 19 St. Louis Battlehawks 16
Orlando Guardians (0-2) at Arlington Renegades (1-1), Sunday, March 5th, Choctaw Stadium, 4 pm ET/3 pm CT, FX/ESPN+
- Point Spread: Renegades –8.5
- Over/Under: 37.5
The XFLs get right team; the Orlando Guardians roll into Arlington this Sunday to help the Renegades get over a tough loss last week against Houston.
The oddsmakers have finally caught on. It took a while, but the Renegades are the most considerable favorite in the early XFL season. Arlington’s offense, to this point, has struggled to score points on their own this season. So it’s understandable if people are hesitant to bank on the Renegades covering this sizable spread.
But there are several factors to consider here. Besides, how bad the Guardians are. Firstly, the Renegades’ defense, orchestrated by Jay Hayes and Tim Lewis, has been fantastic this year. They can score or create scoring opportunities on their own. Secondly, the same can be said for Arlington’s special teams. And lastly, the Renegades are making the right call, finally putting Kyle Sloter in the saddle this weekend.
After Orlando gave up six catches and two touchdowns to San Antonio’s tight ends last week, Sal Canella is lined up for a monster game, but now, especially with his running buddy Sloter at the controls.
Prediction: Arlington Renegades 27 Orlando Guardians 16
San Antonio Brahmas (1-1) at Houston Roughnecks (2-0), Sunday, March 5th, TDECU Stadium, 8 pm ET/7 pm CT, ESPN2/ESPN+
- Point Spread: Roughnecks –4.5
- Over/Under: 35.5
San Antonio can stun the world on Sunday night and take possession of first place in the South by beating the undefeated Roughnecks head-to-head in Houston.
Can rookie pro quarterback Jack Coan prove his mettle against Wade Phillips and Brian Stewart’s defense? Can rookie head coach Hines Ward stand toe to toe with the cagey veteran Phillips?
San Antonio has their work cut out for them. But Week 3 provides a great measuring stick for them.
The Brahmas could easily be 2-0 at this point. If not for a soul-crushing loss to St. Louis in week one at home in front of 24,000 fans. However, they are stepping up in class this weekend after a feel-good game against an inferior Orlando team.
The scary part about Houston is that they haven’t reached their full potential offensively. They have shown glimpses of league-winning potential. But they are not quite there yet. Although San Antonio showed signs of improvement offensively, they are not ready yet to get into a shootout and outscore the Roughnecks.
Prediction: Houston Roughnecks 22 San Antonio Brahmas 17
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