Houston comes into this game with the league’s highest-scoring offense and top-ranked defense. However, Seattle comes into this game with the league’s most yards through the air and the league’s leading rusher in Morgan Ellison. Unfortunately, Seattle also leads the league in turnovers, which has been a major factor in both of their losses.
Seattle has the talent to keep up with Houston on offense. The real question is, can the Sea Dragons play a clean enough game to actually pull off a win against the XFL’s best?
Houston Roughnecks (4-0) at Seattle Sea Dragons (2-2)
Kickoff: Thursday, March 16, at 7:30 pm PT
Where: Lumen Field, Seattle, Washington
TV: ESPN / ESPN+ / ESPN Deportes / ESPN Xtra on Sirius/XM
Broadcast Team: Lowell Galindo (Play-By-Play), Sam Acho (Analyst), Ian Fitzsimmons (Sideline Analyst), Taylor McGregor (Sideline Reporter)
Thursday’s forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with temperatures around 45 degrees and winds around 8 mph. No precipitation is expected.
Betting Odds Per DraftKings Sportsbook
- Seattle Sea Dragons: +3
- Houston Roughnecks: -3
- Seattle Sea Dragons: +140
- Houston Roughnecks: -165
Seattle Sea Dragons Week 5 Depth Chart
|QB||Ben DiNucci – 6 (Captian)||Stephen Montez – 12||Harrison Frost – 14|
|RB||Morgan Ellison – 25||T.J. Hammonds – 19||Darius Bradwell – 23|
|WR||Josh Gordon – 0||Damion Willis – 15|
|WR||Jahcour Pearson – 3||T.J. Hammonds – 19||Kelvin McKnight – 86|
|WR||Blake Jackson – 80||McLane Mannix – 82|
|WR||Juwan Green – 4||Jordan Veasy – 88|
|TE||Charlie Tamoepeau – 89|
|OT||Liam Jimmons – 71||Barry Wesley – 69|
|OG||Mike Menet – 72||Paul Gratten – 65|
|OC||Jared Thomas – 73||Tejan Koroma – 56|
|OG||Chris Owens – 55||Josh Seltzner – 70|
|OT||Colin Kelly – 67|
|DE||Niko Lalos – 97||Chris Smith – 42||Daniel Joseph – 96|
|DN||Antwuan Jackson – 52||Sama Paama – 50|
|DT||Austin Faoliu – 58|
|OLB||Elijah Ponder – 44||Shareef Miller – 48|
|ILB||Tre Walker – 8||Emmanuel Smith – 43|
|ILB||Jordan Evans – 26 (Captian)||Clarence Hicks – 9|
|OLB||Tuzar Skipper – 51|
|CB||Chris Payton-Jones – 5||Rojesterman Farris – 17||Zafir Kelly – 36|
|CB||Linden Stephens – 21||Shabari Davis – 24||Mykael Wright – 16|
|S||Bryce Thompson – 1||Qwynnterrio Cole – 32|
|S||Antoine Brooks – 2||Alijah Holder – 33|
|K||Dominik Eberle – 11|
|P||Cameron Nizialek – 10|
|LS||Thomas Fletcher – 45|
|KR||Morgan Ellison – 25|
|PR||Jahcour Pearson – 3||Kelvin McKnight – 86|
Houston Roughnecks Week 5 Depth Chart
|QB||Brandon Silvers – 12||Cole McDonald – 14||Kaleb Eleby – 5|
|RB||Max Borghi – 22||Brycen Alleyne – 26||Dejoun Lee – 20|
|WR||Jontre Kirkland – 13||Justin Smith – 10|
|WR||Travell Harris – 6||Nich Holley – 9|
|WR||Deontay Burnett – 1||Aaron Nelson – 19|
|WR||Cedric Byrd – 2||Ben Putman – 80|
|TE||Garrett Owens – 21|
|OT||James Moore – 79||Sage Doxtater – 76|
|OG||Jack Snyder – 64||Desmond Noel – 65|
|OC||Alex Mollette – 55||John Yarbrough – 70|
|OG||Dareuan Parker – 56||Dylan Pasquali – 78|
|OT||Tommy Champion – 73||Ryan Pope – 77|
|NT||Glen Logan – 97||Jack Heflin – 96|
|DE||Trevon Mason – 99|
|DE||C.J. Brewer – 98||Charles Wiley – 57|
|SAM – LB||Deandre Johnson – 17||Chauncey Rivers – 47||Trent Harris – 33|
|WILL – LB||Tim Ward – 89||John Daka – 45|
|MIKE – LB||Emmanuel Ellerbee – 52||Aaron Donkor – 53|
|MO||Tavante Beckett – 11||Caliph Brice – 36|
|CB||Raleigh Texada – 16||Ajene Harris – 3|
|CB||Kary Vincent – 0||William Likely – 4||David Tolentino – 31|
|S||A.J. Hendy – 29||John Brannon – 25|
|S||Sean Davis – 23||Jordan Mosley – 18|
|K||Hunter Duplessis – 8|
|P||Race Porter – 46|
|LS||Brian Khoury – 42|
|KR||Brycen Alleyne – 26||Max Borghl – 22|
|PR||William Likely – 4||Ajene Haris – 3|
Seattle Sea Dragons
- Antwuan Jackson – Thumb – Probable
- Bryce Thompson – Chest/Rib – Probable
- Morgan Ellison – Knee – Questionable
- Jordan Evans – Hip – Probable
- Charlie Tamoeapeau – Calf – Probable
- Linden Stephens – Knee – Questionable
- No Injuries
Seattle Sea Dragons – Houston Roughnecks Prediction
Seattle and Houston come into Week 5 with two of the league’s best offensive attacks. Seattle currently has a 2-2 record and sits at 3rd place in the North Division, with Houston sitting at the top of the South Division at 4-0.
Thursday’s matchup has the potential to be one of the better games of the year. Both Seattle and Houston have extremely high-powered offenses and should be expected to score quite a bit.
While Seattle’s turnover issues continue to hold them back, they have slightly improved every week so far. Quarterback Ben DiNucci has missed some throws and made some poor decisions at times, but he has played well overall, and currently looks more comfortable in June Jones’ offense than he has all season.
In recent weeks, the Sea Dragons’ receiving core has continued to show why they’re the best group in the league, with Jahcour Pearson and Josh Gordon leading the league in receiving yards. Additionally, running back Morgan Ellison still leads the league in rushing yards.
Unfortunately, Ellison was listed on the injury report again as questionable for Thursday’s matchup after playing through a knee injury he suffered in Week 3. Hopefully, Ellison will be good to go as he’s an asset for Seattle and would play a critical role in Thursday’s matchup against a talented Houston defense, especially with Seattle’s other back, Brenden Knox, still on injured reserve. If Ellison can’t play, expect running backs T.J. Hammonds and Darius Bradwell to share the backfield.
Defensively, Seattle’s coming off their best game of the year, recording a season-high of 4 sacks, and completely shutting down the San Antonio Brahmas rushing attack. The addition of former NFL defensive end Chris Smith did seem to add a spark to Seattle’s defense, but penalties were an issue late in the game and nearly allowed San Antonio to rally late. Additionally, players still made some simple mistakes, like forgetting to touch an opposing player down after they’ve caught the ball. These issues have to be cleaned up if Seattle wants to win on Thursday. While these mistakes haven’t led to a loss over the last two weeks, making the same mistakes against Houston won’t be as forgiving.
The undefeated Houston Roughnecks come into this game as the XFL’s team to beat. Quarterback Brandon Silvers has exceeded the expectations of many and leads the leagues highest-scoring offense. Wide receiver Jontre Kirkland currently sits at 4th in the league in receiving yards, leads the league in touchdown receptions (4), and even threw a touchdown pass in their Week 4 win over the Orlando Guardians. Additionally, Roughnecks running back Max Borghi is currently tied for 2nd in rushing touchdowns and has the 7th most rushing yards in the league.
On the defensive side, Houston has one of the better units in the XFL. The Roughnecks currently lead the league in sacks (17) and are tied for the league’s most interceptions (5). Defensive backs Sean Davis and Ajene Harris have been a problem for opposing offenses, with linebacker Trent Harris leading the league in sacks (6) and defensive lineman Tim Ward only one spot behind him (4).
Overall, this primetime matchup should be a good one between two of the league’s more talented teams. Houston currently looks like the most well-rounded team in the league, and Seattle’s had the league’s most explosive offense headed by the league’s best receiving core. Ultimately, Seattle’s been held back by self-inflicted wounds even in their two victories. While they’ve improved on their issues each week, the Sea Dragons have yet to show us a game where they stay out of their own way and because of this I give Houston the edge.
Since Week 1, Houston’s looked like the most well rounded team in the league and that hasn’t changed through the first 4 games of the season. If Seattle plays a clean game, meaning no turnovers, penalties get cleaned up, and clock management continues to improve, then this is definitely a winnable game for Seattle. That said, the Sea Dragons haven’t showed they’re capable of that yet.
Prediction: Seattle Sea Dragons 28 – Houston Roughnecks 36
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