XFL Saturday Week 2 Game Previews


Graphic By: Pat Pryor @patpryorgraphic

All betting outlooks and insights are provided by our Director of Betting, Jeremy Dennis. You can find him on Twitter @menace524.


NY Guardians (1-0) at DC Defenders (1-0)


Where to Watch: Saturday, Feb 15th, 2:00 pm ET on ABC News

Preview


Both teams are marching into this off double-digit wins last week. Despite this, it’s hard to know how good these teams really are, as they may have just been benefiting from playing bad teams. This would more likely be the case with the Guardians as they dominated the Tampa Bay Vipers 23-3. Both teams are named for defense, and both defenses were on show last week, we’ll see if it’s a battle in the trenches this time.


Players to watch


New York Guardians


Matt McGloin QB


With a less than exciting game from his running back duo, McGloin had to pick up the slack himself. He performed well, passing for 185 yards and a touchdown, and taking the ball in for a rushing TD himself. Not the flashiest play of week 1, actually being last in yards, but eliminating turnovers was huge, keeping the ball prevented Tampa Bay from getting into the game since the opening kick. This week he’ll hope to do the same with some support from his running backs.


Bunmi Rotimi JR DE


Bunmi Rotimi Jr went off last week, notching 9 tackles, 7 solo, a sack, a forced fumble, and two TFLs. As Cardale Jones is coming into this leading the league in passer rating, getting pressure on him will be huge. If Rotimi can keep it up, he’ll give DC a rough time in the backfield.


DC Defenders


Cardale Jones QB


Yes, everyone is looking to a defensive battle, but no one can ignore his performance last week. Both his touchdowns came in a 19 point third quarter where DC took over. Just like McGloin, he didn’t throw any interceptions. In a league where 5 of the 8 starting QBs threw picks last week, ball security is a hot commodity, and Cardale Jones brings it. It also looks like he can bring the clutch factor and get hot late.


Jameer Thurman LB


Thurman, the former CFL champion, got 8 tackles, one for a loss, and 2 passes defended. He’s coming up clutch around the field. If he can help stop the run game, the players around him will get a chance to make plays on the ball.


Keys to the game


NY Guardians

  • Keep up the defensive pace all the way through the game, not letting Cardale get hot.

  • Hold on to the ball. The Defenders won off turnovers last week, and limiting them this week could be the key to success.

  • Utilize the run game more, Matt McGloin needs the ability to fall back on something, and Tim Cook and Darius Victor can provide that.

DC Defenders

  • Take the ball from McGloin. Whether he throws a few picks could likely be the deciding factor.

  • Improve the run game. Both teams could use this, and whichever one gets ahead will have a strong advantage.

  • Start out hot. Despite going into the half down last week, it can’t hurt to start out in the lead, and it will be a lot easier to win by scoring first.

Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • Cardale Jones, QB (Defenders)

  • Eli Rogers, WR (Defenders)

  • Matt McGloin, WR (Guardians)

  • Mekale McKay, WR (Guardians)

  • Rashad Ross, WR (Defenders)


Degenerate Menace Betting Outlook


New York Guardians at DC Defenders Line - DC (-5) Over/Under 49


A lot of folks have DC as the number two team in the league after their 31-19 victory over Seattle last week. Much like the Guardians result in Week 1 (a 23-3 defeat of Tampa Bay), it is hard to discern whether New York and DC are that good or that their opponents are that bad. Sadly, it would have been nice to have Tampa and Seattle play first on Saturday so that we have a better indication. Since that is not going to happen, we can at least assume that Tampa’s problems were more based on the quarterback play of Aaron Murray than the New York defense. Conversely, Seattle did show a little more offensive efficiency and probably would have covered if it weren’t for a defensive touchdown. While Cordelle Jones had some moments as the DC quarterback, there were also plenty of mistakes. It will be interesting to see how he handles the New York pressure. With all of this in mind, it is still a tough call to say that DC will win by more than five points. They might win, but they won’t cover.


Predicted Score: DC 22 - NY 20


Beat Writer’s Prediction


Both these defenses are elite, but it’s hard to judge exactly how good they are. They both notched quite a few turnovers last week. If these defenses play at the same level of last week, it could come down to the more reliable quarterback. If so, I can see Cardale Jones leading the Guardians to a lower scoring victory.


Final Score: Defenders 21, Guardians 13


Written by: Pat Pryor, @patpryorgraphics


TB Vipers (0-1) at Seattle Dragons (0-1)


Where to Watch: Saturday, Feb 15th, 5:00 pm ET on FOX


Preview


The Seattle Dragons come into the game after a 31-19 loss to the D.C Defenders. Dragons starting quarterback Brandon Silvers threw for 217 yards and three down. Also, Silvers threw interceptions; one was not his fault. Silvers missed practice Tuesday and Wednesday; coach Jim Zorn said on Tuesday that he expects Silvers to play. If Silvers can't play, quarterback B.J Daniels will get the start.


The Tampa Bay Vipers struggled in their opener against the New York Guardians. Tampa Bay lost 23-3, Aaron Murray started for the Vipers and did not play well at all. Murray threw for 231 yards and two interceptions. Murray has missed practice due to a foot injury, quarterbacks Quinton Flowers and Taylor Cornelius shared practice reps. Flowers played some last week and looked decent at times against the Guardians.


Players to watch


Tampa Bay Vipers


De'Veon Smith RB


Smith was one of the bright spots last week for the Vipers; he rushed for 79 yards on 16 carries. With the Vipers quarterback troubles, look for Smith to get a lot carries. Vipers will look to Smith to take the pressure off whoever plays quarterback this week.


Dan Williams WR


Williams played an excellent game last week; he caught six passes for 123 yards. Williams averaged 20 yards per catch; he is a legitimate deep threat for the Vipers. Look for Tampa Bay to get the ball down the field often.


Seattle Dragons


Austin Proehl WR


Proehl was targeted ten times last week and caught five passes for 88 yards. Proehl also hauled in two touchdown passes. I would look more off the same this week, Proehl has a knack for getting open and catches the ball well.


Steven Johnson LB


Steven Johnson will be vital in stopping the Viper's rushing attack. Last week Johnson had eight total tackles and two tackles for a loss. I think Johnson will be over the field on Saturday and could have his first double-digit tackle numbers for the season.


Keys to the game


Tampa Bay Vipers

  • Run the Ball with De’Veon Smith

  • Contain Austin Proehl

  • Use play action to get the ball down the field to Dan Williams.

Seattle Dragons

  • Stop the run and force Tampa Bay’s quarterback to beat you.

  • Try to get the ground game going.

  • Don’t turn the ball over.

Top 5 Fantasy Players

  • De’Veon Smith, RB, (Vipers)

  • Austin Proehl, WR, (Dragons)

  • Quinton Flowers, QB, (Vipers)

  • Dan Williams, WR, (Vipers)

  • Ja’Quan Gardner, RB, Dragons

Degenerate Menace Betting Outlook


Tampa Bay Vipers at Seattle Dragons Line - Seattle (+2.5) Over/Under 48

The bottom two teams of the XFL meet Saturday evening to see who will be the worst by day’s end. All indications are that Aaron Murray was the main reason for the Vipers demise as they seemed to play better with an RPO approach in the second half. Seattle actually had a good first half against the DC defenders and they will benefit from Tampa’s long trip to the Pacific Northwest. As far as predictions go, while the RPO style did help Tampa move the ball, their end result was a three-point output when the game ended. Seattle did have DC on the ropes early in the first half and showed that they could move the ball efficiently. They even had a chance to cover, but giving up a defensive touchdown derailed those hopes. In the end, The travel and the lack of offense will still give Seattle the upper hand in this slogfest.


Predicted Score: Seattle 15 - Tampa Bay 10


Beat Writer’s Prediction


I like the Dragons in this game, it will be their first home game and it is expected to be close to 30,000 people in the stands to cheer them on. Seattle will stop Tampa Bay’s rushing attack and force Murray or Flowers to beat them. The Dragons will get their running game going and it will lead them to victory.


Final Score: Seattle Dragons 21, Tampa Bay Vipers 13


Written by: LaMarr Fields