Fresh off their first defeat of the 2023 XFL season, the Battlehawks make their long-awaited return to St. Louis after three years and three weeks on the road away from the “dome. With the 400-Level of The Dome at America’s Center being opened up, the Battlehawks will host the Arlington Renegades fresh off their 10-9 victory against the Orlando Guardians in Week 3.
Date/Location: Sunday, March 12th, 2023, at The Dome at America’s Center
Kickoff Time: 4:00 PM EST
Weather Forecast: N/A
TV/Streaming: ESPN2, ESPN+
Betting Odds per Draft Kings:
Spread: Renegades +4
Moneyline: +150 Renegades, -175 Battlehawks
The Renegades lost their third Defensive Back this season, Josh Hawkins who tore his ACL last week against the Guardians. The Renegades also appear to be without Linebackers Otaro Alaka and Edmond Robinson who were both nonparticipants in Wednesday’s and Thursday’s practices. Alaka is dealing with an ankle injury while Robinson is dealing with a thigh injury. Both have missed time this year, and are trending towards missing another game for Week 4.
The Battlehawks recently placed Marcell Ateman on the reserve list, however per Friday’s most recent injury report all other players, were full participants during practice. To replace Ateman, the Battlehawks brought in NFL Veterans, Chad Hansen and Pooka Williams both of whom were recently with the Defenders earlier during XFL’s camp.
Key Storylines for the Battlehawks in Week 4:
Eric Magwood Pro-Debut
How does Eric Magwood, perform at Left Tackle this week? With the recent suspension of Jaryd Jones-Smith, Magwood will be making his first start this week, and his first extended opportunity to showcase his skillset for the Battlehawks. Magwood who Coach Becht, has praised for weeks as the next man up, has played college football at four different schools: West Virginia State (2015-16), Old Dominion (2017-18), Eastern Kentucky (2019) and Middle Tennessee State (2020-21). His time with the Battlehawks, has been his first professional opportunity.
Can AJ McCarron Get the Team Back On Track?
After suffering their first loss, to the Defenders last week, and then the plethora of fines and suspensions, how will AJ McCarron and Anthony Becht get this time back on track. The Battlehawks, Offense though dynamic, has went through lulls at times, which has forced St. Louis to play from behind, the majority of the season. With the Renegades Offense struggling, hopefully the Battlehawks defense, can take advantage of favorable field position, and jump out to an early lead.
Game Preview and Prediction:
The Battlehawks obviously coming off a disappointing loss and returning to St. Louis look for the Battlehawks, to come out in full force in week 4. The Renegades, who have struggled on Offense immensely, have turned to Kyle Sloter for their second consecutive, week and while Coach Stoops was adamant about Sloter providing the Renegades a “spark”, it still only resulted in 10 points despite their victory. The Battlehawks, even though they’ll be down Marcell Ateman, WR Hakeem Butler has emerged as one of the top receivers in the XFL, with Austin Proehl and Darrius Shepherd serving as complimentary pieces in the passing game. Another key player for St. Louis on offense will be Brian Hill, though limited from the first half of the week during practice with his hamstring injury Hill, continued to provide a stable presence in the Battlehawks, running game, as well as serving as a key weapon coming out of the backfield in the passing attack.
The Battlehawks, defense as they’ve done all season, continued to be group effort of rotational players, with Ben DeLuca and Willie Harvey stepping up in week 3. Harvey, who is one of the XFL’s leading tacklers has continued to be an unsung hero, along with the versatile Linebacker Carson Wells, while Ben DeLuca (DB), and Kevin Atkins (DT), continue to find success in Donnie Abraham’s Defense. For the Renegades newly signed CFL LB Darnell Sankey made his presence felt last week totaling 8 tackles, 2 TFLs, and 0.5 sack, while former Battlehawk Will Hill totaled 10 tackles often stepping up and assisting the front seven in the Renegades Rush Defense.
Overall, due to the Renegades at times anemic offense, it appears that if the Battlehawks play turnover free football, (which they have in 2 of their 3 games) could easily come out with the victory in week 4. With the motivation of playing at home, I believe St. Louis wins 26 to 15 over the Renegades, setting up another battle for Northern Division supremacy March 18th, vs the Defenders in week 5.
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