Monday night’s Week 6 main event at Audi Field between the Houston Roughnecks and D.C. Defenders could be an XFL championship game preview. When Saturday, May 13th, arrives, these two teams could be squaring off for league supremacy again.
XFL Week 6 Playoff Positioning
The XFL’s two top teams are inching closer to securing playoff berths.
The Defenders are 5-0 within their division, with only one divisional game left to play in the North. D.C. has swept 3-2 St. Louis in their regular season series and has a head-to-head victory over 3-2 Seattle.
Because of tie-breakers, there is a scenario where D.C. can clinch a playoff spot on Monday. A Seattle and St. Louis loss on Saturday would open the door for the Defenders to secure a berth in the North with a victory over Houston.
At 6-0, the worst that D.C. can fall to is 6-4. And considering that the Dragons and Battlehawks play each other again. One of those teams would be guaranteed to have a fourth loss. And another loss within the division would eliminate either team in a head-to-head tiebreaker scenario with the Defenders. D.C. has already swept the Battlehawks. And the Sea Dragons currently have two losses within the North.
The Roughnecks might enter Monday night with an opportunity to clinch a spot in the South. Based on divisional tie-breakers. It’s contingent upon Arlington beating San Antonio Sunday afternoon on ABC. A win over by D.C. by Houston would send a statement. But would also strengthen their hold on the South. A loss, however, might open the door for the Renegades, who could end the week tied with the Roughnecks atop the Southern division.
XFL Week 6 Preview
Monday, March 27, Houston Roughnecks (4-1) at D.C. Defenders (5-0): Audi Field, 7 p.m. ET ESPN2/ESPN+
- Point Spread: Defenders -2.5
- Over/Under: 42
- Weather Forecast: Partly cloudy skies. Low 42F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.
- ESPN2 Broadcast Team: John Schriffen (play-by-play), Tom Luginbill (analyst), Stormy Buonantony (reporter), & Harry Douglas (field analyst).
XFL Week 6: Houston Roughnecks @ D.C. Defenders Depth Charts
After nine straight victories to start their XFL history, the Houston Roughnecks were finally defeated last week. It was fitting that their 2020 head coach June Jones had a hand in dealing his old team its first loss.
However, another prominent unbeaten record remains unblemished in the XFL. The Defenders have never lost a game at Audi Field. D.C. and the Beer Snake (6-0) have yet to taste defeat in the District.
Monday’s matchup will feature two of the league’s best defenses. Gregg Williams and Brian Stewart’s units are ranked in the top two in points, point differential, sacks, and interceptions.
Despite their league-leading defenses and matching top-team status in the XFL. Reggie Barlow and Wade Phillips’s teams are polar opposites on offense.
D.C. Offensive Coordinator Fred Kaiss’s college-inspired scheme doesn’t mind going an entire game without throwing the football. They’ve attempted the fewest passes in the league (109). The Defenders have rushed for a ridiculous 870 yards and eleven touchdowns in five games. They have four of the league’s top seven rushers on the season.
They are led by Baylor standout Abram Smith (432 yards), who is coming off a video game-like performance in Week 5. The rookie rushed for 218 yards and three scores on 9.5 yards per attempt against St. Louis.
On the other side of the coin, A.J. Smith’s preference is to throw the football on every single play. Not surprisingly, the Roughnecks’ offense is tied with the run-and-shoot-spearheaded Sea Dragons for the fewest rushing attempts in the XFL. (106).
This is the ultimate matchup of contrast. Monday night’s winner will come down to which team dictates the style of play. If Houston drags D.C. into a shootout, they will win this contest. If the Defenders get an early lead, the Roughnecks will be in rough territory.
The loss of megastar WR Jontre Kirklin impacted Houston’s offense in Week 5 and will affect the Roughnecks’ ability to keep the Defenders’ ultra-aggressive defense honest. You must be able to challenge D.C.’s man coverage down the field. And without a big-play receiver like Kirklin, that element is missing until someone else steps up to fill that void.
The crowd at Audi Field., coupled with the Defenders’ smashmouth style on both sides of the ball, gives them the edge.
I am going with D.C. at home to stay unbeaten. Slowing down the action is the perfect recipe against a team with an elite passing attack and pass rush. The Defenders’ ability to run the ball and control the clock will negate the Roughnecks’ pass rush and keep Houston’s offense off the field.
XFL Week 6 Prediction: D.C. Defenders 23 Houston Roughnecks 20
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