With the season underway, and more than a single-game sample size finally available, ranking teams gets a lot more complicated. With two full games under each team’s belt, we get a better idea of how this league shapes up: who’s up and who’s down. Let’s get into it:
1 – DC Defenders 2-0 (+2)
A dominant win last week, and with a far more dominant one this time around against the New York Guardians, shutting out one of the most highly lauded teams in the league’s short history looked almost too easy for the currently undisputed champs.
They coasted all-day Saturday on their great offense and better defense, and though it’s far from over, the Defenders looked nigh unbeatable. There’s little evidence that that is about to change; Cardale Jones came out swinging, slinging the rock 37 times for 23 completions, 276 yards, and 2 TDs.
2 – Houston Roughnecks 2-0 (+0)
The Roughnecks only just edged out the St. Louis BattleHawks on Sunday, surviving a late comeback attempt that looked to have potential. Three different TDs from QB P.J. Walker to WR Cam Phillips highlighted the day for Houston, who played a clean game of offense and simply outlasted a genuine talent in the BattleHawks. Potentially the best game of the week, expect both these teams to compete for the playoffs going forward.
3 – St. Louis BattleHawks 1-1 (+1)
Despite being handed the ‘L’ on Sunday, the St. Louis BattleHawks played one of the more complete games of XFL football this weekend. Though a pair of untimely turnovers likely made the difference, this BattleHawks unit will be a team to watch going forward, so expect good things from the varied air-attack offense they display. QB Jordan Ta’amu looked like the best player on the field for a vast majority of the day, posting 248 yards, 3 passing TDs, 32 rushing yards and a rushing TD to boot.
4 – Dallas Renegades 1-1 (+2)
It wasn’t pretty early-on for the Dallas Renegades, especially as they totalled only 5 rushing yards in the 1st half (outside of a 10-yard scramble by QB Landry Jones), but their physical defensive play kept them in it despite putting up an egg on the scoreboard and somehow getting multiple delay of game penalties during the designated ‘comeback period’. Despite their early failings, they got their offense on track when they finally leaned on RB Cameron Artis-Payne (14 carries for 99 yards and 2 TDs).
5 – Seattle Dragons 1-1 (+0)
In an era of the pass, the Dragons remain undoubtedly grounded. Churning out a win using 3 different RBs with 10+ carries each, and a QB passing only 18 times for a subtle 91 yards (7 completions, 1 INT, 1 TD), Seattle wouldn’t have ever won without their defense allowing only 3 points (Tampa Bay’s other score came on a 78-yard pick-6). Incredibly, that Dragons defense looked to bounce back from their walloping by DC last week, and there’s a lot of potential for this team moving forward, assuming they can tighten up on offense.
6 – New York Guardians 1-1 (-5)
There’s only one word to describe the dismal outing that the Guardians displayed against the D.C. Defenders on Saturday: Yikes. Still, one terrible game can be afforded to any team for every season, but how they bounce back will be important. There’s not much room for error in a 10-game season, and they might have just used up all of their wiggle room. Starting QB Matt McGloin had a meltdown (he went 8 for 19, and only 44 yards with 0 TDs and 2 INTs), and was out-passed by his backup in only 8 attempts. There were no highlights for this team this week.
7 – L.A. Wildcats 0-2 (+0)
The Wildcats rode their electric defense early, forcing multiple first-half turnovers against the Dallas Renegades. Their offense found a rhythm early but struggled getting points on the board until late, turning the ball over in the red zone twice. They made good adjustments on offense against the Renegades but it was too little too late for a team that got outplayed when it came down to the wire. Expect to see a rough night out against the DC Defenders in L.A. next week.
8 – Tampa Bay Vipers 0-2 (+0)
Proud owner of the XFL’s first 0-2 record, Tampa Bay looks like they’re in for a rough ride. A 36-yard field goal was their only offensive score on the day, though the 78-yard pick-6 by DB Tarvarus McFadden was quite the highlight-reel play, and they didn’t look ready to blow a 10-point lead until the Dragons took their 3rd quarter INT all the way (1 yard) to the house. Still, the Vipers don’t have an offensive TD through 2 games, so local Dolphins/Jaguars fans will feel right at home rooting for this team.