There weren’t too many surprises in Week 3 of the XFL, but there was one big one.
The winless Wildcats took down the undefeated Defenders, and did so in incredible fashion. Los Angeles won 39-9 and forced potential MVP Cardale Jones into four interceptions. Jones was eventually benched in the game for backup Tyree Jackson. That shocking upset was the only game I got wrong in Week 3.
MORE: XFL Week 4 Power Rankings
I’m now 9-3 with my XFL predictions on the season (Week 1: 2-2, Week 2: 4-0, Week 3: 3-1). I’ll try and keep those numbers up in Week 4 as we get four more great games. This week we’ll have the Wildcats at Guardians, Dragons at BattleHawks, Roughnecks at Renegades and Defenders at Vipers.
There is now one undefeated team remaining in the XFL (Roughnecks), three 2-1 teams (BattleHawks, Defenders, Renegades), three 1-2 teams (Guardians, Wildcats, Dragons) and one 0-3 team (Vipers).
All odds are courtesy of BetOnline.ag via Sports Insider.
XFL odds, picks, predictions for Week 4
L.A. Wildcats at New York Guardians
This is a matchup between two 1-2 teams going in two different directions. The Wildcats are coming off of an impressive win over the Defenders after a pair of ugly losses to start the year. Meanwhile, the Guardians looked great in Week 1 — holding Tampa Bay to just three points — before getting shut out in Week 2 and just nine points in Week 3.
New York is struggling to find a rhythm on offense, going with three different quarterbacks in Week 3 (Matt McGloin, Marquise Williams, Luis Perez). Despite playing the fewest snaps, Perez looked the best, finishing 4 of 5 through the air for 39 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers. New York still has a decent defense, allowing the second-fewest touchdowns in the league (six), but the offense needs to step up if the Guardians have any chance of winning this week.
The Wildcats looked great last week as quarterback Josh Johnson finally appeared fully healthy. Johnson completed 18 of 25 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns. The defense also shined, especially cornerback Mike Stevens, who finished with two interceptions, two pass deflections and a sack in Week 3. If L.A.’s defense can step up again like it did in Week 3, then the offense can hold its own. I expect the Wildcats to win, but this should be a close game.
Prediction: Wildcats 22, Guardians 17
Seattle Dragons at St. Louis BattleHawks
As I expected, the Dragons were unable to win in Week 3. Seattle entered halftime with a 12-6 lead, but were outscored 18-0 in the second half. Surprisingly, Seattle has stuck with quarterback Brandon Silvers despite the fact he is completing 53 percent of his passes while averaging 170 yards per game. He has a 6-4 touchdown-interception ratio on the season, including at least one interception in every game. Seattle’s backup, B.J. Daniels, could energize the offense with his mobility.
Meanwhile, the BattleHawks have looked like one of the best teams in the XFL. Their only loss this season came to the undefeated Roughnecks, but even that was a close game. St. Louis relies on a heavy rushing attack involving Matt Jones, Christine Michael and quarterback Jordan Ta’amu. Jones leads the XFL in rushing with 224 yards through three games.
I don’t expect this to be a close one. Seattle has struggled in every game this season, while St. Louis has looked strong in every game. The fact this game is in St. Louis makes me even more confident in this pick.
Prediction: Battlehawks 32, Dragons 18
XFL Week 3 highlights, scores
Saturday’s games | Sunday’s games
Houston Roughnecks at Dallas Renegades
This is the game of the week in the XFL. The 3-0 Roughnecks have been dominant on offense this season, with quarterback P.J. Walker leading the league in passing yards (748) and passing touchdowns (10). Walker has even been a solid runner, with 87 yards and a score on the ground. He has also found a reliable target in Cam Phillips, who leads the XFL in receiving yards (324) and touchdowns (seven).
The Renegades started the season with a loss, but that was without quarterback Landry Jones. Since returning from injury, Jones threw for 305 yards and 274 yards in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively. He needs to work on ball control, though, as he has thrown four interceptions in his two starts. Running back Cameron Artis-Payne has helped steady the Renegades offense with 185 yards, second-most in the XFL.
But with as much talk as these two high profile quarterbacks are getting, this game will come down to defense. The Roughnecks lead the league in touchdowns scored (13), but also lead the league in touchdowns allowed (nine). The Renegades are second in the league in fewest touchdowns allowed (six). Expect this to be a high-scoring game, which is why it has the largest over/under (50.5) this week.
This is a genuinely tough game to predict, but there’s something magical about the Roughnecks. If Jones continues to turn the ball over like he has so far this season, then I expect Houston to come away on top.
Prediction: Roughnecks 32, Renegades 28
DC Defenders at Tampa Bay Vipers
This game would have been easy to predict after Week 2. But the Defenders’ performance in Week 3 has shaken up our beliefs on this team; it’s not just that they lost to the Wildcats. It’s how they lost. Cardale Jones looked terrible against a defense that was worst in the league heading into the game. He finished 13 of 26 for 103 yards, no scores and four interceptions. The defense looked awful as well, giving up 39 points, the most scored in a single game by any team this season.
The Vipers also surprised people last week by giving the undefeated Roughnecks a close game. Third-string quarterback Taylor Cornelius looked good in some spots (scoring two touchdowns), but poor in others (52 completion percentage, one interception). Fans hoping to see more of Quinton Flowers started chanting his name.
Even Houston players and coach June Jones were suprised Flowers didn’t play more. Flowers hasn’t really had a chance to showcase his talents as he keeps being thrown in and out of games. Coach Marc Trestman relied more on Aaron Murray in Week 1 and Cornelius in Weeks 2 and 3. It’ll be interesting if Trestman caves in to the fan favorite Flowers in Week 4.
This is a tough game to predict after last week’s events, but I’ve got a good feeling about Tampa Bay turning things around.
Prediction: Vipers 24, Defenders 22
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