Another week of XFL football down. After the last year of buildup, the weeks will fall like dominoes now and be gone before we know it. We got our first 3-point conversion attempts, two of them going fifty-fifty. Our first 300-yard passer and oh so close to our first 100-yard rusher, both on the same team. So, let’s go ahead and dive right into things.
I went 3 and 1 again this week. I missed by 34 the first game so, I figured I would be much worse than the 44 from last week. But I got within 2 points on the next 2 games and ended up getting the same 44-point spread (34, 2, 1, 7), ironic.
Guardians vs Defenders: 0 – 27: I thought my Fab Four might be fun looking back at after the first week and I guess so with New York. I had them 1st last week and after this loss I am not sure if they will even be in the top four this week. On the other hand, DC might be the best team in the league.
Vipers vs Dragons: 9 – 17: Other things equal, I thought Seattle would win their first home game. With the weather and rumored big crowd that came true, I just had a feeling that unless the Dragons were really overplayed, they would stand a good chance of winning.
Renegades vs Wildcats: 25 – 18: Landry came back and threw for so many yards that he is already in fifth place in the league for total passing yards after only playing 1 of the first 2 games. Cameron Artis-Payne also led the league in rushing this week with 99 yards. And good for them, the Renegades did come out with the win for all those yards.
Battlehawks vs Roughnecks: 24 – 28: Well this looked to be the grudge match some of us thought it might even though Houston led by 15 at one point. They just happened to score twice and then St. Louis did the same. Then they swapped TDs again. Good stuff.
Cardale Jones had another good performance. His top two receivers not only led his team in yards, but both were also #1 and #2 in the entire league this week. That being said, it did seem overall quarterback play might have gone down this week. I didn’t calculate the numbers exactly, but I sure seemed to notice more overthrown balls or otherwise missed receivers.
Seattle fans were great. Over 29,000 for their home opener. And they sure came across loud on TV. Other than Seattle the stadiums were fairly close in attendance to last week. So, with Seattle’s extra 10,000 overall XFL attendance went up almost 10 percent for week two. I can’t wait to see the numbers for this weekend.
I just realized I have never been this interested in attendance numbers. This league is personal and makes me like a lot more of the details, I guess. And it could be these are the numbers that will ultimately make or break the league in the long run. Sure, TV is the real money maker, but if the butts-in-seats are thin TV won’t be paying either.
Did you see the kickoff that was short of the 20-yard line by about 18 inches? This is where 18 inches short gets you punched in the gut for about 35 yards. That is a huge penalty. I am loving the new kickoff formation for returns, and you even must pay attention to the flight of the ball now. Don’t be short.
I love how fast the first football kicked off in XFL 2020 was acquired by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. It is already there this past week. Maybe they just wanted one of the cool balls, but I took it as a small sign of respect. It almost made me proud for a second, is that weird? Yeah, I thought so too.
By the Numbers:
305: Passing yards for Dallas’ Landry Jones. The XFL’s first 300-yard passer of the season. And he did it in his first game playing after being hurt for opening weekend.
99: Rushing yards for Cameron Artis-Payne. One yard short of our first hundred=yard rusher of the season. I thought it was interesting as it happened on the same week and team as the first 300-yard passer.
61: Percent higher number of fans Seattle had than the best attended game last week.
9.5: Percent increase in overall attendance for the XFL in week two compared to week one.
2: Our first 3-point PATs were tried. One was good one was not. Only two tries, but 50 percent is still higher than the around 30 percent combined for 1- and 2-point attempts.
1: Number of touchbacks on kickoffs. I am really liking how the new kickoff is playing out. Don’t go to your fridge on these plays anymore.
XFL Plus Player of the Week:
Landry Jones, DAL – I know a lot of you may be calling ‘homer’ on this one. He may not have had the best game or even played the best at QB this week. But he really answered the bell after all the focus on him leading up to the season, and then getting injured and not even being able to see that opening day hype. He came out, threw for the most yards of anyone in the XFL through two weeks and saved his team from a dreaded 0-2 start.
Last Week Questions Answered:
How does Landry Jones stack up? Well that was answered just above in my PoW section. He did have some rust and admitted he was not playing as good as he should be. But he did what was needed while being heavily leaned on to get the win. He was the first XFL player to go over 300 yards passing. And after only playing one of two games is already in 5th place for the most passing yards in the league.
Do the TV ratings take a dive after the first week? As expected, they did but it was not that a huge drop. You can find exact numbers around the web, but they were basically around 3.3 last week and 2.3 this week. The cable game also lost around a million viewers. However, these are well within the projected numbers and some say a bit higher than hoped. They are keeping up with the mainstream NBA games and were the two highest rated shows this past Saturday afternoon.
Will the running games take off? I think the jury is still out on this one, but it was slightly improved with almost a hundred more total league rushing yards than last week. We had five teams go over 100 yards combined compared to 2 last week, but still no single runner over 100.
Will we see a kickoff return touchdown? Not yet, but we did have a couple good ones. This is no longer a play to miss and a good return sure gets a crowd fired up. I think this change, even though one of the biggest rule changes, is working out pretty dang good.
Fab Four + 1
1. Houston Roughnecks: 2-0 – No losses and looking great. Might have one of the stars of the league in quarterback Walker. Great looking defense.
2. Washington DC Defenders: 2-0 – The other undefeated team with another potential star quarterback. I gave the edge to Houston because of the defensive play, including the shutout this week.
3. Dallas Renegades: 1-1 – Might be a different team with Landry at the helm compared to the first week. QB1 and RB1 both led their respective position in yards this week.
4. St. Louis Battlehawks: 1-1 – They could easily be 2-0 as they played well against what might be the best team in the league. If they can handle New York this week it will go a long way in showing where they are leaning toward.
5. Seattle Dragons: 1-1 – There one loss was also against what might be the best team in the XFL, DC. So, a little hard to decide between 4 and 5 here. The Dallas Seattle game might decide who stays in my Fab Four.
The Week That Is
Houston at Tampa Bay: Houston by 11 – The Vipers will be itching for their first win, but it will be tough against one of the hottest teams in the league. But it won’t be a runaway in the Vipers home opener.
Dallas at Seattle: Dallas by 8 – It is supposed to be cold and a little rainy in Seattle and the Renegades will be in another close fight. But I think they pull it off without asking Jones to throw it forty times again.
New York at St. Louis: St. Louis by 15 – St. Louis is playing well and were close to being undefeated. With their first home game this weekend and reportedly good presales of tickets, I bet they are pretty fired up and come out with a good win.
Washington DC at Los Angeles: Washington by 17 – Our second matchup of 2-0 vs 0-2 teams. I might be rooting for the underdogs in these games just for some shakeup, but I am not sure it happens here. DC is just playing too well the first two games.
Four Questions I Want Answered
Will a running back step up? Yes, this is similar to last week but more specific. Artis-Payne almost broke a hundie last week but are we going to see one dominate a game yet?
Will a team on the ropes box it out? We have two teams at 0-2. Starting 0-3 in a 10-game season will be very hard to overcome so, they both need this win bad. Unfortunately, both teams play the 2-0 teams this week. An 0-3 start might be in the future for both.
Which New York team will we get this week? There record is 1-1. They lost to a 2-0 team by 27 and they won against an 0-2 team by 20. Pretty much a “rrriiiggghhhttt-in-the-meeeddle” performance. This week will show which way they are heading Well unless they win/lose to a 1-1 team by 2 or 3 points. Then we can keep guessing.
Will Seattle or St. Louis win the home opener attendance battle? Seattle pulled over 29,000 last week. Over 11,000 more than any other team so far. St. Louis is also rumored to have very good ticket sales and they have a very passionate fan base. Tampa Bay also has their opener this weekend but is not expected to beat Seattle or St. Louis. We will see.
Week three should be another great week in the XFL. Lots of stories playing out across the league for us to watch unfold. I mentioned some above but there are lots more. Tune in or record as many games as you can. Let’s help keep the ratings stable and cheer on the names we are all starting to know. See you next week.