The XFL is back, and Week 2 is approaching rapidly. Like, as in tonight.
It’s time to make some way too early declarations on who the front runners are in XFL 2023. Just know that these predictions come from someone who covers four different pro football leagues. So that makes me look extra foolish when I am wrong.
XFL Week One Almost Perfect, Kind Of
Somehow in the hysteria of writing last week’s season and game previews. I forgot to include my predictions for the entire league, the season, and week one in written form. Don’t worry; I’m not going to do that now. There’s enough lengthy reading to go around as is, and you can check out XFL.com’s Josh Lewin for that.
The entire staff at XFLNewshub made their peace before Week 1. I picked the Sea Dragons to win the XFL Championship. Resident FCF loyalist Kyle Sheridan predictably went with the Orlando Guardians. An ill-fated choice. However, he was elated when Orlando receiver Andrew Jamiel used a ‘power play’ to score a long touchdown late. Jamiel made the ‘Glacier Boyz’ proud.
‘Player 55′, ’99 Problems But A Mitch Kidd Ain’t One’, and ‘Up Plitt’s Creek Without A Passer’ carried on the undefeated tradition three years ago set by ‘Walker Texas Roughneck’ and ‘Team Ten.’ So if I wrote ridiculously long paragraphs about Jontre Kirklin in my fantasy pieces and you skipped over them. You have no one else to blame but yourself for drafting B.J. Byrd.
XFL 2023 Week 2 Predictions
Last week, I went 2-2 against the spread and straight up in my predictions. But it shouldn’t have been that way.
Things were going my way beautifully on Saturday. I picked the Renegades to win by three, 22-19, but the Vipers to cover at 3.5. Arlington won 22-20, thanks to two Luis Perez pick-sixes. The former Bowler threw two perfect gutter balls. Then, on Saturday night, the Roughnecks, led by Wade Phillips, predictably trounced Terrell ‘He’s not a real coach” Buckley’s Orlando squad 33-12. I easily hit the over and the Houston cover on that one.
Sunday sadly turned on me. But at least it was entertaining. Thanks to an epic comeback, the beautiful XFL rules, Audi Field security, lemons, and a Ben Dinucci fumble near the goal line. The perfect storm kept me from going 4-0 across the board.
Against The Spread record: 2-2
Straight up record: 2-2
Now on to week two, I will redeem myself.
St. Louis Battlehawks (1-0) at Seattle Sea Dragons (0-1): Thursday, February 23rd, Lumen Field, 9 pm ET, FX/ESPN Deportes/ESPN+
All odds from FanDuel Sportsbook
- Point Spread: Sea Dragons -2.5
- Moneyline: Battlehawks +140, Sea Dragons -165
- Over/Under: 36.5
Seattle has been hit with snow, so for a second there, I was elated about a potential snow game in the XFL. It looks like things will clear up by Thursday Night. Undoubtedly, it will still be cold in the 20s with plenty of wind.
Hit the over in this one, despite the freezing weather. You will see a surging hot, A.J. McCarron (avoid wife comments) coming off his best pro game ever versus a June Jones/Ben DiNucci passing attack that predictably threw the ball 56 times in Week 1.
This is a different matchup for St. Louis than in week one against an ultra-conservative smash-mouth attack by San Antonio. The Hawks’ secondary will be tested by Seattle’s deep receiving corps led by Josh Gordon and 4.2 in the 40 speedster Jahcour Pearson.
As much as my heart wants to pick the highly likable Battlehawks led by Anthony Becht. I think Seattle will bounce back in Week 2.
Prediction: Seattle Sea Dragons 23 St.Louis Battlehawks 18
D.C. Defenders (1-0) at Las Vegas Vipers (0-1), Saturday, February 25th, Cashman Field, 7 pm ET, FX/ESPN+
- Point Spread: Vipers -3.5
- Moneyline: Defenders +140, Vipers -165
- Over/Under: 36.5
Lost in the Lemon hysteria of D.C.’s exciting week one victory over Seattle was how sour the Defenders’ passing game was. D.C. threw the ball for under a hundred yards, and if not for the combination of a rowdy crowd and Gregg Williams’s defense. The Defenders might have challenged the Guardians for the mantle of the league’s worst team. Ok, maybe they weren’t that awful, but even still.
In week one, the Vegas Vipers found a way to let their opponent Arlington roll snake eyes twice with two defensive scores. They need to avoid biting into that poison again in Week 2. (Enough reptile references, Mike)
I am rolling with the under in this game. Gregg Williams’s defense deserves a lot of hype. But I also think Cris Dishman’s Vipers group played at a high-level last week.
The key will be Vegas’s ability to insert cliche, avoid turnovers, and strike plays in the passing game, much like they did against Arlington at the outset and tail end of week one. The Vipers have the weapons in the passing game. Can Luis Perez capitalize, or will the move to Brett Hundley arrive quickly?
I don’t expect a repeat of week one for both sides. With Vegas turning the ball over again twice on their own end. And D.C. forcing turnovers in enemy territory.
I think the Vipers will get their first win of the season.
Prediction: Vegas Vipers 20, D.C. Defenders 15
San Antonio Brahmas (0-1) at Orlando Guardians (0-1), Sunday, February 26th, 4 pm ET, Camping World Stadium, ESPN/ESPN+
- Point Spread: Brahmas -3.5
- Moneyline: Brahmas -165, Guardians +140
- Over/Under: 38.5
On the positive side, one of these two teams will get a sorely needed-first win of the season. The other, Orlando, will fall to 0-2.
Perhaps it’s their conservative play style, but I am pretty surprised that San Antonio is only favored by 3.5 points even though they are on the road coming off a demoralizing loss.
Because right now, it’s challenging to have that much faith in the Guardians.
Orlando gave up seven sacks last week to Houston, and it could have easily been ten. In perhaps an omen before week one, the team accidentally sent out a depth chart listing only four starting offensive linemen.
Maybe former FCF coach and current Guardians OC Robert Ford can petition the league to get a one-player advantage for a series or two.
It sure looked like the Guardians were playing short-handed; last week. Based on their alarming issues upfront, it might be the correct play for Deondre Francois to start at QB because of his mobility.
Hines Ward’s Brahmas team stepped on their tails several times last week in a game they should’ve won. I think San Antonio will take an early lead this week and then pound the Guardians into submission with their two-headed backfield of Kalen Ballage and Jacques Patrick.
Prediction: San Antonio Brahmas 23 Orlando Guardians 13
Arlington Renegades (1-0) at Houston Roughnecks (1-0), Sunday, February 26th, TDECU Stadium, 7 pm ET, ESPN2/ESPN+
- Point Spread: Roughnecks -4.5
- Moneyline: Renegades +160, Roughnecks -190
- Over/Under: 39.5
The Texas Throwdown is back. Although many things have changed since then. Based on the ever-trustworthy sample of one week, I still think there is a disparity in quality between the Roughnecks and Renegades. And, for that matter, perhaps everyone else.
The Roughnecks outclassed the Renegades in 2020, and I think they will do the same in 2023. Especially at home with tentative rookie quarterback Drew Plitt going up against Wade Phillips and Brian Stewart’s defense.
The Renegades were fortunate to ride out of Arlington with a win last week. Their defense held firm, but they will face a stiffer challenge Sunday Night against the Roughnecks’ excellent group of receivers led by Deontay Burnett and Jontre Kirklin.
Arlington doesn’t have enough weapons on offense to get into a shootout with Houston. And from my vantage point, they have the wrong quarterback firing them.
The Roughnecks keep their XFL undefeated streak alive at seven.
Prediction: Houston Roughnecks 31 Arlington Renegades 19
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