1. Houston Roughnecks
The league’s only remaining undefeated team has shown the ability to dominate across all phases of the game. PJ Walker can air it out all day and win. They can keep it on the ground and grind with James Butler. They can lean on their defense to make big stops and create opportunities with an aggressive mentality.
The Roughnecks are a complete team all around, and thus far are the gold standard in the XFL.
2. St. Louis BattleHawks
With another win this week, Jordan Ta’amu has cemented himself as one of the XFL’s top quarterbacks. He’s displayed great touch and accuracy on his passes, and knows where to go with the ball. He’s pass first, but can pick up chunks on the ground and keep plays alive if needed, and is an ideal qb-who-can-run. Matt Jones, despite being limited last week has proven himself as a dominant rusher, and Christine Michael has flashed as well.
They have a versatile, dominating offensive attack and a solid defense to lean on, and are easily the 2nd best team in the league.
3. Dallas Renagades
The Renegades suffered a heartbreaking loss in a nail-biting finish in the Texas Throwdown vs Houston. Landry Jones is out for a couple weeks after re-aggravating his left knee as he was leading a last minute comeback attempt, and though the Renegades offense has been dangerous, it’s hard to rank them higher with the QB position up in the air for the next few weeks.
They’ve been able to air it out and pound it on the ground behind Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar, and Donald Parham is separating himself as one of the league’s most dangerous pass catchers. This offense has a ton of weapons, and can’t be counted out even with Jones on the sideline.
4. New York Guardians
The Matt McGloin experiment seems to be over, and Kevin Gilbride looks like a genius for bringing Luis Perez into the fold. Perez may not have lit up the skies in his first week as starter, but he moved the ball, managed the game and didn’t turn the ball over. He has the potential for bigger performances, and can rely on a stout run game behind Darius Victor and Tim Cook. The defense has shown the ability to make stops, but will need to address their consistency as the season goes on.
5. LA Wildcats
LA has serious potential when they’re on as we saw in a 37 point beatdown vs DC, but the team loses its edge at times. They’ve struggled to achieve consistency in the run game and finish drives, and they’ve paid the price. Howeer, at this point I’d rather have Josh Johnson at QB than Cardale Jones, and the Wildcats talented WR’s are a huge factor in their success when things are going well. Nelson Spruce is one of the XFL’s elite receivers, with Tre McBride & Jordan Smallwood serving well in complementary duty.
The defense needs some more time to gel after Winston Moss fired the DC and assumed direct control, but they’ve shown the ability to shut down opponents when they’re on. Consistency is the biggest factor for LA right now, but they have the opportunity to grow as the season progresses.
6. D.C. Defenders
After two straight blowouts on the road, this team just feels different than it did in the opening weeks. Cardale Jones hasn’t been able to move the ball through the air, and the run game has been nonexistent. Their defense that looked so sharp to begin the year has slipped, and allowed 20+ points in the past two weeks. All that being said, I still think Pep Hamilton has a real chance to right the ship, and they have all the pieces there. With enough talent to win it all, D.C. needs to regroup, and I think they’ll resurge soon enough.
7. Tampa Bay Vipers
Marc Trestman’s offense finally fielded some good QB play in this weekend’s stunning victory over the Defenders. Taylor Cornelius went 24/31 for 211 yards, a TD and an INT. It wasn’t a perfect game for him, but it’s the best play TB has seen this year. Their running game remains phenomenal, as Jacques Patrick and De’Veon Smith are the first and third leading rushers leaguewide. Their defense finally proved they are capable of making stops, and the team could grow from their first win.
8. Seattle Dragons
While the Vipers have seemingly found their solution, the Dragons are hoping to find theirs. Brandon Silvers struggled to move the ball in any type of way to start the game, and was benched for BJ Daniels at halftime. Daniels flashed some dual threat presence and moved the ball better, but only completed half his passes and threw both a TD and a pick. With a bigger sample size next week, we’ll know if Daniels has what it takes to be the guy, but right now the team is in flux.
Great individual performances by the likes of LB Steven Johnson, DE Marcel Frazier and CB Steve Williams haven’t been enough to translate into defensive stops, and that unit needs to gel.
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