XFL Week 4: Topsy Turvy Day!

XFL Week 4: Topsy Turvy Day!

Yes, that is a Hunchback of Notre Dame reference. No, I don’t feel bad for using it. This weekend gave me a lot to think about. After digesting it and spewing out a 1-3 record on my picks, things are about to get weird in this post. I am upset! I have rode a couple of these teams thinking they could turn around their losing streaks or I thought they were better than their record showed. No longer. You see, I base my “power rankings” on the long term vision of the team. I do not overreact to this weeks wins and loses like most people do. Let me show you an example:

Joel Klatt’s Power Rankings (after week 4):

  1. Houston Roughnecks
  2. St. Louis Battlehawks
  3. Dallas Renegades
  4. Tampa Bay Vipers
  5. New York Guardians
  6. LA Wildcats
  7. Seattle Dragons
  8. DC Defenders

My initial reaction was to laugh until I cried. Then, a feeling of pure confusion and curiosity took over. How does someone really think a 1-3 team is 4th in the rankings? The Vipers were terrible the first two weeks of the season. In week 3, when Marc Trestman handed the play calling over to Jaime Elizondo, the offense did see massive strides, but the defense struggled. Finally, in week 4, they shutout a Defenders team that was trying to rebound from a 39-9 lose the week before. So, one really good week moves you half way up the board? Absolutely not.

On the other side of the spectrum, the Defenders were bumped down to number 8? I am going to say that’s a bit extreme. The Defenders were a top 3 team through the first 3 weeks. They had a very bad week against a pretty good Wildcats team. Yes, I said a pretty good Wildcats team, I will get there! To get shutout by the leagues worst team does look bad. They allowed two 100+ yard rushers and Cardale threw for under 72 yards. I think the Defenders have a confidence issue more than a football issue. Pep Hamilton needs to find a way to get his teams swagger back. I think he can do that personally and they have a better chance to get back on the winning side of things than, let’s say, the Seattle Dragons.

I don’t want to give too much away, so let’s hit the game recaps! Then, I will provide my wonderful Power Rankings that should destroy any credibility I have as a person that knows football:

LA Wildcats vs. NY Guardians: 17 – 14

  • Full disclosure on this entire post. I picked the LA Wildcats to win this game. I loved what I saw in week 3 from Josh Johnson and that Wildcat offense. I also did not know Nelson Spruce was not going to play this week. I was unaware of his injury. He is a huge receiving threat and tore up the league through 3 weeks. Tre McBride also has been playing well as of late. He ended up with 127 yards and a TD catch this week. But something seemed off with the offense against the Guardians defense who has found it’s week 1 swag. The running game had nothing going for the Wildcats. The leading rusher had 5 carries for 25 yards with the longest rush being 15 yards. That would be be 4 carries for 10 yards after that run. Talk about being one dimensional. I feel like Tre McBride is alone out there. Saeed Blacknall has not developed into a #2 or even a #3 like I thought he would have. He had his first catch of the season this week! It was a 42 yard TD catch but still, his first catch through 4 weeks. Without Nelson Spruce, you see a different team out there. On defense, they just did not want to tackle. The Guardians ran all over that front 7. Why they did not run more, I don’t know. I would have ran it down Wildcats throats all day long. I think the Guardians desire to pass the ball is the reason they only scored 17 points.
  • Speaking of passing the ball, Luis Perez didn’t have a bad day! I kind of joked in last weeks podcast that Luis was going to be the starter after going 4/5 for like 50 yards after replacing Matt McGloin in week 3. This week, he ended up going 18/26 for 150 yards and a TD. Not a bad week for a guy who learned to play QB by watching YouTube videos. He managed not to turn the ball over and just didn’t make mistakes. That’s what I want from my backup QB. What confused me is they put the ball in his hands too many times. I only say that because they were crushing it in the run game. Darius Victor had 18 carries for 82 yards and Tim Cook with an extra 8 carries for 32 yards. If you watched the game, they just looked dominate in the run game. They were pushing the Wildcats around like they were kittens. The defense finally realized they were allowed to be good in more than just week 1. DE Jarrell Owens was an absolute FORCE! 4 QB Hits, 2 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks and a blocked FG. He lived in the backfield. He made Josh Johnson turn on his team! It was amazing. Dominate performance.

Seattle Dragons vs. St. Louis Battlehawks: 23 – 16

  • I want to be done with the Dragons. I was ready to throw them in the trash and just not root for any one team above another. But here we are. Jim “go for 3” Zorn finally benched Brandon Silvers at the half (4/10 for 27 yards) and put BJ Daniels in the game. He went 5/10 for 100 yards with a TD and an INT. The part of his game that’s fun though is he had 7 carries for 84 yards and broke a dudes ankles. Hopefully BJ will be the starter moving forward and they can have some kind of offensive rhythm for the future. They scored 16 points which for this team is crazy high. The defense has played well the entire season and showed up again against a strong Battlehawks team and held them to 23 points. I won’t put the entire loss on Jim Zorn but… Jim. Down by 4 after the BJ Daniels TD pass, he opts to go for 3 to make it a 1 point game, which holds no benefit. They do not convert and the questioning begins. Why would you not go for 1 and make it a 3 point game? When asked about it from a sideline reporter, he sounded like he has having a stroke. He knew his choice was wrong, but he tried to defend it by saying they had the right play drawn up and they ALMOST converted. Well Jim, almost still makes it a 4 point game. I am still convinced Jim Zorn is not a head coach. I have been saying that since week 1.
  • The stats of Jordan Ta’amu just jump off the page at you. They do week in and week out. 16 rushes for 63 yards and 20/27 passing for 264 yards and a TD. No turnovers, efficient and effective. I know people are talking about PJ Walker getting strong NFL consideration but Jordan Ta’amu looks amazing. For the second straight week, De’Mornay Pierson-El showed up. He had 5 targets, 5 receptions for 71 yards and a TD. The RB group is a solid group of fellows with Christine Michael, Keith Ford and Matt Jones. This offense is dangerous and only getting better every week. Watch out for this team. This was my one correct pick this week by the way.

Houston Roughnecks vs. Dallas Renegades: 27 – 20

  • Game of the week! I picked the Renegades to win and I will stand by the fact that if Landry Jones doesn’t kill himself on a QB sneak, they would have won that game. Instead, he re-injuries his leg and Phillip Nelson comes in. The only reason they got inside the 10 yard line is because of some questionable penalties on the Roughnecks and one good run from Nelson for 7 yards. He slid around the 3-4 yard line and it all fell apart. They throw a WR screen and the ball bounces off of the WRs head/hands and DeMarquis Gates made a great play on the ball to intercept it. That was the last of the 5 turnovers the Renegades committed on the day. 3 INTs and a fumble-6 from Landry and that 1 INT from Nelson. It is hard to impossible to win a game with 5 turnovers and the Renegades almost did it. I still think they are a decent team, but it will be a run heavy team for the next couple weeks while Landry Jones tries to get healthy quick.
  • That brings me to the Roughnecks. Yeah, they are 4-0 but how do you collect 5 turnovers and the game was still that close? I feel like the Roughnecks have plateaued. They look like a better Defenders team. The Defenders plateaued in week 2 and now they can’t get out of their own way. The Roughnecks have more talent but at this point, it feels like if they lose on of those pieces to injury or someone starts playing a little worse, this could fall apart for them. It might just be me hating on their 4-0 record, but if I was a Roughnecks fan and they collected 5 turnovers and won by 7 and it came down to the end of the game, I wouldn’t be too happy. With that out of the way though, Nick Holley is back! The NFL man who broke his back and tore a couple ACL’s had a day! 8 receptions, 97 yards and a TD. He tore up that secondary and it was fun to watch. I will not say the Roughnecks are a bad team. I would never say that. They are fun to watch and are 4-0. Congrats!

DC Defenders vs. Tampa Bay Vipers: 25 – 0

  • Hahahahahahaha. The Vipers had 477 yards of offense to the Defenders 107! Just look at those stats!
  • The Defenders were better off not showing up to the game at all. They showed up and embarrassed themselves on an ESPN prime time spotlight. Maybe that’s why they crumbled. On the road, prime time, ESPN and they couldn’t handle the pressure. That is literally the only excuse I have for them because they were terrible. Cardale was 9/22 (41%) for 72 yards and an INT. The only QB worse was Brandon Silvers and he was benched at halftime. I have nothing positive to say about this teams performance this week except S Rahim Moore had an interception. He is also the leagues best DEFENDER because he has played 123 snaps and has not allowed a first down. Brick wall!
  • Now the Vipers. What an interesting team. The leagues worst team by far through 3 weeks and then this happens. Granted, week 3 was better when they put up a fight against the Roughnecks. Still, they were terrible until, as stated earlier, Marc Trestman handed over the offense to the offensive coordinator.. what a novel idea. With this change at the helm, the running back duo of De’veon Smith and Jacques Patrick have exploded. They lead the league in yards after contact (415) and both ran for over 100 yards (Smith = 122 on 24 carries. Patrick = 108 yards on 21 carries with a TD) in the game against the Defenders. Taylor Cornelius had a good game! 24/31 for 211 yards and a TD with that 1 INT. That’s solid but having that great running game helps open things up for him. On the other side of the ball, CB Tarvarus McFadden leads the league with a 15.7 passer rating when targeted in coverage. He has allowed 70 yards in 4 weeks! Talk about shutting down one side of the field. This is a team that has potential. I am not riding them too hard yet though. I need to see trends before I rank teams high. I don’t bite on one game surges, but I can see them beating up LA next week.

Week 5 Predictions:

  • Seattle Dragons vs. Houston Roughnecks
  • NY Guardians vs. Dallas Renegades
  • St. Louis Battlehawks vs. DC Defenders
  • Tampa Bay Vipers vs. LA Wildcats

Power Rankings:

I base my rankings off of looking at a teams season as a whole and how I see them moving forward. I see more room for growth for the Battlehawks because they have improved every game since week 1. The Roughnecks have plateaued a little. I will not put the Vipers at #4 because one good week does not earn you that high of a spot. Please, enjoy:

  1. St. Louis Battlehawks
  2. Houston Roughnecks
  3. Dallas Renegades
  4. NY Guardians
  5. LA Wildcats
  6. Tampa Bay Vipers
  7. DC Defenders
  8. Seattle Dragons

As always, thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post, leave some feedback in the comments or send me an email on the contact us section of the homepage. You can listen to the podcast on the listen page and on the RTF Sports Network at rtfsportsnetwork.com! All Hail The Jock Strap King!

 

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