St. Louis Battlehawks (1-0) vs Houston Roughnecks (1-0)
Sunday, February 16 2020 6:00 pm EST @ TDECU Stadium
Odds: Houston Roughnecks -8.5 (draftkings.com)
Houston Roughnecks and St. Louis Battlehawks Clash After Impressive Week 1 Wins
The Houston Roughnecks and St. Louis Battlehawks both pulled off victories in their first week but in very different fashion. PJ Walker and the Roughnecks made a statement with a barrage of offense against the Wildcats. Walker finished the game with 4 touchdowns, and the Roughnecks scored a league-high 37 points. On the other end of the spectrum, the Battlehawks held the Renegades to only 9 points. They should also continue to prioritize the run game after rushing for 191 yards last Sunday.
Key Matchups (3x)
Will Hill (SS) vs PJ Walker (QB)
PJ Walker had the best performance of any XFL player in Week 1. As I previously mentioned, he recorded 4 touchdowns, and the Wildcats had no answer for him defensively. We, at XFL News Hub, named Walker our Offensive Player of the Week. Let’s see if he can continue that momentum against a strong Battlehawks defense.
Will Hill emerged as a leader in the secondary for the Battlehawks. He posted 5 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 interception. Hill will need to continue to provide strong pass coverage to contain Walker.
Jordan Ta’amu (QB) vs Kony Ealy (DE)
The Battlehawks offense began to open up when they began to rely more on the read option. The Renegades struggled to stop Ta’amu in the open field, and he ended the contest with 77 rushing yards. The threat of Ta’amu running the football also made it easier for Matt Jones to gain yardage.
Kony Ealy and the rest of Houston’s defensive ends will need to be prepared to stop the read option this Sunday. Ealy had a strong start to the season with 2 TFL and 0.5 sacks. He will need to be disruptive once again to slow down the Battlehawks offense.
Terence Garvin (ILB) vs James Butler (RB)
Despite Houston’s success through the air, they did not run the ball very effectively against the Renegades. James Butler emerged as the team’s lead back, but he had only 9 carries for 30 yards. If Butler steps up, Walker’s job will become much easier.
Terence Garvin is a strong presence in the middle of the Battlehawks defense. He had 8 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 TFL. Behind Garvin and fellow inside linebacker Dexter McCoil, they only allowed 58 rushing yards to the Renegades. Garvin will lead the charge to stop the run game on Sunday.
St. Louis Battlehawks
TE – Cole Hunt – Out (knee)
Jordan Ta’amu and PJ Walker are both strong quarterback options this week. Ta’amu’s dual threat ability should continue to aid his value due to rushing yards. Walker is clearly in a pass heavy offense, so he should continue to have plenty of opportunities to produce. Matt Jones is the lead back in the Battlehawks run-first offense, and as a result, he could be this week’s biggest producer. He had a league-high 85 rushing yards on 21 carries last Sunday, and their offense did not even hit their stride until the second half.
The pace of the game will key in this matchup. The Battlehawks will want to slow things down and rely on their defense and running game, while the Roughnecks will try to run up the score. Both teams should be vying to control the tempo. Offensively, Ta’amu will need to be effective on the ground once again to keep up with the Roughnecks.
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