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XFL Week 3 Sunday Game Previews

Graphic Courtesy of Pat Pryor @patpryorgraphic

All betting outlooks and insights are provided by our Director of Betting, Jeremy Dennis. You can find him on Twitter @menace524. Also, all of the DFS Fantasy Player insights are provided by Nikunj Patel. You can find him on Twitter @NickOfTimeDFS.

Houston Roughnecks (3-0) at Dallas Renegades (2-1)

Where to Watch: Sunday, March 1st, 4:00 PM ET on FS1


The undefeated Roughnecks head into Globe Life Park in Arlington to take on the surging Dallas Renegades for a Texas-sized in-state rivalry. The Renegades have won the two games straight on the road.. P.J. Walker and the Houston Roughnecks have lit the XFL up through three weeks and remain the only undefeated team amongst its ranks. Dallas hopes to answer the offensive onslaught of Walker and Can Philips with one of the best ground games in the XFL to keep them off the field. Can the Renegades bring their winning streak to Dallas in front of their home crowd or will the Roughnecks continue to dominate the XFL?

Players to watch

Houston Roughnecks

P.J.Walker, Quarterback

Walker is running away as the early favorite for MVP of the XFL through the first 3 weeks. He leads the XFL in both passing yards and passing touchdowns, and only has one interception this far into the season. Walker has also been a dynamic runner as well. According to Pro Football Focus, Waller has a rushing grading 6 points higher than his passing grade. Walker has been a critical part of the Roughnecks success through the first three weeks of the season.

Cam Phillips, Wide receiver

Walker’s favorite target so far has been Cam Phillips. If you watch the tape, it is easy to see why. This 6’0” Wide receiver out of Virginia Tech is always open. He has smooth separation, and that is why he leads the XFL in receiving yards. Phillips is coming off an 8 catch game against the Tampa Bay Vipers where he racked in 194 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. Containing Phillips has proven to be an impossible task.

Dallas Renegades

Landry Jones, Quarterback

Landry Jones missed week 1 and was shaky week 2, however he got a lot better as the game went on. It's clear he had some rust to shake off, but has shown flashes of why he was the first player signed to the XFL. Landry Jones has only thrown 23 incompletions in 81 passes giving him a completion percentage of right under 72%. The problem is over 17% of those incompletions are interception. The Renegades are going to need to keep the P.J. Walker and company on the sidelines, therefore Jones will need to be more protective of the football.

Cameron Artis-Payne, Running Back

Artis-Payne has been a fun surprise this far in the season for XFL fans. The average fan knew he was a really good runner between the tackles, but he has also proven himself to be a receiving threat out of the backfield with 15 receptions and 75 receiving yards through 3 weeks. Cameron has really shown up big late in the games for the last 2 wins for the Renegades with big runs and grinding the game down. He just seems to get stronger as the game goes on. The Renegades are going to need to keep the ball away from the Roughnecks and grinding the rock with Artis-Payne and Dunbar with essential for the Renegades’s success.

Keys to the game

Houston Roughnecks

  • Contain the Renegades Running Backs

  • Force some turnovers

  • PJ Walker and Cam Phillips continue their on-field fireworks show

Dallas Renegades

  • Grind away at the clock when on offense. Keep P.J. Walker on the sidelines

  • Cannot turn over the football. Do not give the Roughneck offense extra opportunities

  • Double up and contain Cam Phillips

NickOfTime Top 5 DFS Plays

  • PJ Walker, QB, HOU

  • Cam Phillips, WR, HOU

  • Lance Dunbar, RB, DAL

  • Nick Holley, WR, HOU

  • Donald Parham, TE, DAL

Degenerate Menace Betting Outlook

Line: Dallas (+1.5) Over/Under: 50

It is like a broken record talking about how good the Houston offense is. P.J. Walker has accounted for more touchdowns than all of the other TEAMS in the XFL have scored. That is a pretty tall order to defend against. Landry Jones definitely showed some rust in the first half against Seattle before heating up in the second half en-route to a 24-12 victory. Both offenses will be on point in this game so there is a high probability that the over will be the play. The premise in picking which team is simple: Which team turns the ball over more? While Jones played well last week, the team also had three turnovers, including two interceptions. No one is going to beat Houston if they lose the turnover battle.

Prediction: Houston 28 - Dallas 24

Beat Writer’s Prediction

The Roughnecks have been an unstoppable force so far in the XFL, however, if there was a formula to beat them, it would be the Renegades run game. Will it be enough? The key to this game will be Landry Jones cutting back on his atrocious 5% interception rate. The Renegades give their home crowd an upset in week 4 and bring their in-state rival.

Final Score: Dallas 28, Houston 25

Written by: David Connors @DConBlitz

DC Defenders (2-1) at Tampa Bay Vipers (0-3)

Where to Watch: Sunday, March 1st, 7:00 PM ET on ESPN2


After looking like a favorite to win the East, DC Defenders got dominated by the 0-2 Wildcats. They will be looking to rebound strongly in week 4 when they head into Raymond James Stadium to take on the 0-3 Vipers. The Vipers, on the other hand, are coming off their best performance, nevertheless, they still came up short against the Roughnecks. Can the Vipers be the second team to get their first win of the season against the Defenders, or will DC bounce back to remind the league they are a top contender?

Players to watch

D.C. Defenders

Cardale Jones, Quarterback

After looking like an MVP contender through the first 2 weeks, Cardale hit a giant speed bump in LA throwing 4 interceptions and getting benched. He will need to be the catalyst for the Defenders if they hope to reassert their dominance over the Eastern Conference.

Donnel Pumphrey, Running Back

DC Head Coach, Pep Hamilton, undoubtedly wants to run the ball and set up play action. Pumphrey has been the clear front runner in the committee backfield. Do not be surprised if Pep calls on Donnel early to set the tone early for the DC offense.

Tampa Bay Vipers

Reece Horn, Wide Receiver

Whether it's Cornelius, Flowers, or Murray behind center, without Nick Truesdell behind center, the Reece Horn will be the Vipers most reliable target. He has shown the ability to make great adjustments deep to get to the ball as well as use his size in space to create a target. Reece Horn will need to be reliable for the Vipers to find success.

Marcelis Branch, Safety

Branch has been a centerpiece of the Vipers’ Defense. He has shown exceptional coverage skills as well as a willingness to play in the box and stuff the run. The Vipers’ Defense has been one of the bright spots on the team and Marcelis Branch has been key to their success.

Keys to the game

DC Defenders

  • Establish the Run

  • Win the turnover battle.

  • Do not let Dan Williams get behind their defense

TB Vipers

  • Take advantage of opportunities created by turnovers.

  • Get heavy pressure on Cardale Jones, force him to make mistakes

  • Establish a run game for play action

NickOfTime Top 5 DFS Plays

  • Cardale Jones, QB, DC

  • Eli Rogers, WR, DC

  • Jalen Tolliver, WR, TB

  • DeVeon Smith, RB, TB

  • Deandre Thompkins, WR, DC

Degenerate Menace Betting Outlook

Line: Tampa Bay (+2.5) Over/Under: 44

Most XFL fans were wondering, “What the hell is that piece of crap?” in reference to the Defender performance against LA last week. Five turnovers which included four interceptions. They employed the matador defense, letting the Wildcats score at will. The game even included a special teams blunder that set up another score. Tampa actually showed signs of life against Houston last week before succumbing 34-27. So the question really is: Did the league figure out a way to beat Cardele Jones or was this just an outlier game that should be ignored? Tampa Bay may have quarterback problems of their own as there have been unconfirmed reports of dual-threat quarterback Quinton Flowers not being happy and looking to leave. If you include Aaron Murray’s unknown availability, the Vipers could be in trouble.

Prediction: DC 24 - Tampa Bay 18

Beat Writer’s Prediction

Although Tampa looked a lot better against a really good Roughnecks team, they drew the short end of the stick having to take DC who were embarrassed in LA last Sunday Night. The Defenders are going to want to make a huge statement and with the Vipers QB situation still on flux, the Defenders bully the Vipers to get back in the W column.

Final Score: Defenders 27, Vipers 16

Written by: David Connors @DConBlitz

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