XFL odds, picks, predictions for Week 2: Defenders, Roughnecks remain undefeatedSporting News — (Jordan Heck)
The first week of the XFL came and went, and what a week it was.
The East Division came away the strongest with three teams starting 1-0, while the West Division has three teams at 0-1. The Houston Roughnecks had the best looking offense, scoring five touchdowns, and quarterback P.J. Walker emerged as the early league MVP favorite with his four-TD performance.
The Dallas Renegades were a huge letdown. As early-season favorites to win it all, they struggled against the St. Louis Battlehawks. Dallas entered the game as a 9.5-point favorite and didn't even score that many points.
We went 2-2 with our Week 1 picks, going 2-0 on Saturday and getting both Sunday games wrong. We'll try to improve with our selections in Week 2.
All odds are courtesy of BetOnline.ag via Sports Insider.
XFL odds, picks, predictions for Week 2
New York Guardians at D.C. Defenders
Spread: Guardians +5 (-110), Defenders -5 (-110)
This is one of two games this week between undefeated clubs. The Defenders looked strong at home in Week 1 as Cardale Jones delivered the best PFF grade (90.8) among all QBs. He went 16-of-26 (62 percent) passing for 235 yards with 2 touchdowns and no turnovers. D.C. also made a number of plays on defense, as Rahim Moore and Bradley Sylve came up with interceptions (Sylve returned his for a touchdown), and the special teams returned a blocked punt for a touchdown.
Despite the big plays, D.C. gave up three touchdowns to Seattle, so the defense isn't quite as strong as we thought it would be.
New York delivered one of the league's most well-rounded wins last week, scoring three touchdowns while allowing none. The Guardians' offense wasn't too impressive, as Matt McGloin had the fewest passing yards among all starting QBs and running back Darius Victor finished with just 32 yards on the ground. We'll see if the defense can be dominant again this week or if it just played against a bad offense in Week 1. It will certainly be a tougher test with Jones at QB.
This should be a close game, and a fun one to watch. We have the Defenders starting the season 2-0.
Prediction: Defenders 26, Guardians 22
Tampa Bay Vipers at Seattle Dragons
Spread: Vipers -2.5 (-115), Dragons +2.5 (-105)
The Vipers and Dragons both started the season with a loss, although one game was a lot closer than the other. Seattle may not have won, but the Dragons looked good against the Defenders, scoring three touchdowns while only allowing two scores on defense. (They gave up four total, but one was a pick-six and the other was a blocked punt.) What cost Seattle was its three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble), four if you include the blocked punt returned for a touchdown. If the Dragons would have cleaned up their sloppy play, they might have pulled off an upset in Week 1.
The Vipers had an ugly overall game last week. They were one of just two teams that failed to score any points, and they allowed three touchdowns. Quarterback Aaron Murray struggled, finishing with no scores and two interceptions for a 45.1 QB rating, the lowest among starters on opening weekend. Tampa Bay turned to backup QB Quinton Flowers, who is also listed on the roster as a running back. The team seemed to move the ball with him at quarterback, but the Vipers still kept going back to Murray.
This is the closest spread (2.5 points) of all the games this week, which makes sense. But Seattle looked much better than Tampa Bay in the first week, and it's hard to see a team committing so many turnovers again. We expect the Dragons to bounce back with a win at home.
Prediction: Dragons 18, Vipers 6
Dallas Renegades at L.A. Wildcats
Spread: Renegades -4.5 (-110), Wildcats +4.5 (-110)
This will be an interesting matchup between two teams coming off ugly losses. The Renegades disappointed in Week 1, as they were unable to score a touchdown and finished with three field goals (9 points). It wasn't all bad, though, as Dallas only gave up two touchdowns. Despite not scoring a TD, the Renegades only lost 15-9. Dallas was without star quarterback Landry Jones in Week 1, so if he's able to start in Week 2, expect the offense to move the ball and score some points.
The Wildcats also played their opener without their starting quarterback, Josh Johnson. LA's problems, though, fell more on defense. The Wildcats gave up five touchdowns, the most among all teams in Week 1, and then fired defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson. We expect them to play better in Week 2, as Johnson should be active, but the defensive issues are worrying.
Jones was active for Dallas last week despite not starting, so he should be on pace to play in Week 2. Assuming he starts, we like Dallas to bounce back and pick up its first win of the season.
Prediction: Renegades 22, Wildcats 18
St. Louis BattleHawks at Houston Roughnecks
Spread: BattleHawks +7.5 (-105), Roughnecks -7.5 (-115)
This is the second matchup of the week between undefeated teams. The BattleHawks grounded and pounded their way to a win in Week 1. Running back Matt Jones led all rushers with 85 yards on 21 carries, and quarterback Jordan Ta'amu was third among all rushers with 77 yards on nine carries. Even backup RB Keith Ford had a solid 4-26-1 outing for St. Louis. Meanwhile, the BattleHawks' defense allowed no touchdowns against title-favorite Dallas in Week 1. A tough defense combined with an offense dominating the play clock is a dangerous combo.
The Roughnecks came away from Week 1 as the new title favorites. Houston's offense lists four receivers as starters on offense with no tight ends on the roster. This strategy worked in their favor as quarterback P.J. Walker finished with four touchdowns on 272 yards passing. This will be a battle between two very different offenses, and it should be a fun game to close out the second week of the XFL.
Prediction: Roughnecks 24, BattleHawks 16