After a disappointing week 9 loss to the Seattle Sea Dragons, the St. Louis Battlehawks are up against the wall as the team is forced to navigate an extremely wacky playoff scenario. While the Battlehawks playoff tiebreakers maybe extremely confusing XFL News Hub’s Mike Mitchell did a great job of breaking it down for fans and media alike. Regardless the Battlehawks, if they want to make the playoffs have to first defeat the Terrell Buckley’s Orlando in the 2023 finale.
Orlando Guardians (1-8) at St. Louis Battlehawks (6-3)
Kickoff: Saturday, April 22nd at 12:00 pm ET
Where: The Dome at America’s Center, St. Louis, Missouri
TV: ESPN / ESPN+ / ESPN Xtra on Sirius/XM
- Orlando Guardians: +9
- St. Louis Battlehawks: -9
- Orlando Guardians: +300
- St. Louis Battlehawks: -365
The Battlehawks based off the Thursday injury report will be without Linebackers Silas Kelly, and Mike Rose. Former NFL Defensive Back Nate Meadors is also listed as “out”, after suffering an Ankle injury last week. Meadors was considered one of the Battlehawks leaders in the Defensive Backfield, while Kelly, and Rose have been key contributors in the St. Louis’ front seven and special teams. Additionally, the Battlehawks have also listed Mateo Durant, Tim Harris, Jon Alexander, and Chris Cooper as questionable on this week’s report. All Four players were full participants on Thursday, going into the weekend.
The Battlehawks made a series of transactions this week mostly adding depth in the secondary due to injuries. The team released Chad Hansen and Daishawn Dixon, while bringing back Evan Fields who spent training camp with the team Mister Harriel who was with the Vegas Vipers in the earlier part of the season.
Keys to the Game:
Score Fast and Score Often:
The Battlehawks will be up against the clock in Week 10. With a running clock that has become a trademark of the XFL in 2023. Because of this the Battlehawks may not have time to run a traditional Offense against the lowly Guardians. It may come down to Bruce Gradkowski, letting A.J. McCarron run an up tempo four minute offense the majority of the game.
Keep Brian Hill Involved:
Hill has been an extremely important piece to the Battlehawks success this season. While Hill going into week 10 is the XFL’s 2nd leading rusher the St. Louis area native has been an extremely valuable component in the Battlehawks passing attack as well. Hill has totaled 204 receiving yards this year giving him 643 All-Purpose Yards on the season however last week Hill only totaled an uncharacteristic 11 Rushing Yards and no Receiving Yards. If the Battlehawks expect to win by a comfortable margin this week the ability to keep Brian Hill busy whether it be through the air or on the ground is crucial, in St. Louis’ offensive scheme.
Keep The Pressure On:
Quinten Dormady has regressed tremendously since his dynamic six touchdown performance, since then I’ve seen him drop in our XFL Quarterback Rankings over the past two weeks. Despite giving 30 points last week the St. Louis Defense has done a great prior in getting to the Quarterback and causing mistakes. With Travis Feeney and Carson Wells consistently causing a ruckus for all Quarterbacks in the XFL if the Battlehawks want to keep pace with the Sea Dragons and ensuring the +19 point differential needed to help their playoff chances, the Battlehawks will have to lean on Feeney and company to make that happen.
With the 2023 XFL season coming to a close, the Battlehawks will have one more attempt at putting on a spectacular show for the people of St. Louis. For a city that has once again embraced a professional football franchise, the thought of coming up short of the playoffs after so many memorable moments, would be not just a disappointment to the Battlehawks but the city as a whole. With a plethora of veterans from not only the NFL but also other Alt-Football leagues, the Battlehawks have the experience to “take care of business”, and give the people of St. Louis a much deserved taste of postseason football.
With A.J. McCarron given another week to recover from his shoulder injury, coupled by a full week of practice reps, the Battlehawks Offense goes into week 10 relatively healthy and primed to take their attack through the sky or by ground, against the Guardians.
With the recent struggles from the Quarterback position in Orlando coupled by injuries and ineffectiveness on the Offensive Line, as stated I expect the Battlehawks Defense to create plenty of havoc and chaos for Quinten Dormady or Deondre Francois this Saturday, despite injuries in the secondary.
Because of this I’ll be playing the role of the optimist this weekend predicting a 32- 8 victory against the Guardians this weekend, enroute to a playoff berth. While St. Louis may want for the “Greatest Show on Turf”, fans may settle for a solid 250 passing yard performance coupled by 3 touchdowns from A.J. McCarron to close out the regular season at “The Dome”.
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