Each week The Good Doctor will bring you his XFL Power Rankings. Keep an eye out for updates each week. I will break down the good, the bad, and the ugly for each XFL team and preview their upcoming contest.
Week 1 of the XFL is in the books and it’s easy to say that it was a great success. The people definitely smelled what The Rock was cooking! Three of the four games were ultra-competitive and we even got the see the new 4th and 15 option in action in the Battlehawks come back win over the Brahmas.
I give the first week an A- overall. There were a few issues that I had, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the gameplay. The quarterback play left a bit to be desired overall, but I am a huge Mahomes fan, so no one can compare to him. However, the offensive line play also seems to be troublesome for some teams, including our hometown Battlehawks. Here are my Power Rankings for Week 1 of the XFL.
- Houston Roughnecks (1-0)-The Roughnecks were the most dominant team in the 2020 XFL reboot, and it looks like the 2023 version of this squad is picking up where it left off. Houston dominated in every facet of the game against Orlando, racking up 353 total yards. Quarterback Brandon Silvers threw for 272 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He did throw two interceptions, but he looked solid. Running back Max Borghi had a touchdowns on 74 yards rushing. The defense piled up 7 sacks as Wade Phillips’ team was led by Trent Harris. The defense also had three picks. We will find out if Houston is for real this week as they battle the Renegades.
- Arlington Renegades (1-0)– It was hard to give the Renegades a 2 ranking after they beat a very good Vipers squad. While the offense was stagnant, Drew Plitt led just three field goal drives. The defense led the way, allowing Vegas to gain just 16 yards on 14 plays in the second half. Two pick-sixes against Luis Perez was the big difference maker. Yes, Bob Stoops will clean up some things, as the offenses red zone efficiency has to be top on that list. Regardless, that defense makes them one of the top teams in the league. If Arlington can beat Houston, they will surely take the top seed next week.
- Las Vegas Vipers (0-1)-I know Vegas is 0-1, and some may scoff at my ranking, but listen, this team is likely one of the most talented in the league. Luis Perez started hot, completing 14 of 17 for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half. Two interceptions in the second half destroyed what looked to be a stellar outing. While the Vipers lost, the defense still played well, allowing just 9 points. The offense was responsible for 13 of the points scored against them. Basically, cut down on the turnovers and the Vipers will be a dominant team. This squad is among the most experienced team in the league. Don’t be surprised if they go on a run.
- D. C. Defenders (1-0)-The Defenders got past a strong Seattle squad 22-18. The offense struggled in the win, notching only 3.3 yards per play and 177 total yards. The reason you ask? Poor quarterback play. Jordan Ta’amu completed just 8 of 19 passes for 86 yards and a pick. I best St. Louis fans are really wanting him back now! The good news for Defenders fans is that the defense, coached by Gregg Williams was lights out, forcing three turnovers, including a Ben Dinucci fumble with 19 seconds left as Seattle had the ball on the D.C. 1-yard line. With the Vipers looming this week, D.C. will have to play turnover free ball to beat them. If that happens, the Defenders will be moving on up.
- Seattle Sea Dragons (0-1)– I know they are 0-1, but Seattle looked better than St. Louis in a loss. The Sea Dragons were just a yard away from being 1-0, but a DiNucci fumble ruined that. Seattle moved the ball effectively most of the game. DiNucci completed 35-of-54 passes for 282 yards. He had one touchdown and two picks in the loss, one of which was a pick-six. While the Sea Dragons lost, they look like one of the most complete teams in the XFL. The defense played well enough to win, allowing just 177 yards. If Seattle can get a bit more out of the running game, St. Louis may be in for a long night on Thursday. The Sea Dragons will be a force to reckon with before it’s all said and done.
- St. Louis Battlehawks (1-0)-Yes, the Battlehawks won, but there is a reason they are ranked the lowest of all the teams with a winning record. During the first 58:35 of the game, the offense managed just three points. To say the St. Louis offense looked bad would be an understatement. In just a 1:25 span, St. Louis scored 15 points, to stun a San Antonio crowd of nearly 25,000 fans. Quarterback AJ. McCarron showed his 8-years experience mattered, tossing two touchdown passes. His clutch performance when it counted the most was huge for St. Louis. While he may not be the most flashy quarterback in the XFL, McCarron’s experience will pay dividends as the season goes on for St. Louis. While I’m a fan of St. Louis’ linebackers and corners, the defense struggled. Ultimately, the defense bent but didn’t break. San Antonio’s Jack Coan tossed one touchdown on the day. The offense was the main problem for St. Louis. The offensive line was atrocious for a lot of the game and the play-calling was weak at best. If St. Louis can run the offense like the final two series of the game, the rest of the league better watch out, but until the offensive line gets in sync and McCarron gets more time to hit his receivers, I can’t take them seriously. St. Louis will have a quick turnaround, traveling to Seattle for a Thursday night game. This contest will tell us a lot about both teams.
- San Antonio Brahmas (0-1)– I was close to ranking San Antonio higher, given the solid performance on Sunday, until the final 2 minutes. Hines Ward’s coaching skills will be test early in the season, as he tries to pick his squad up after a demoralizing loss to St. Louis. The Brahmas ran the ball effectively for 133 yards, as Kalen Ballage accounted for 84 of those on 24 carries. The late collapse could be a huge blow to the team. We will see if Ward can bring the team together to get back on track.
- Orlando Guardians (0-1)-Orlando, without a doubt had the worst opener of any XFL team. After being blown out by Houston, it’s clear they do not have a viable starting quarterback. Paxton Lynch may have thrown a touchdown, which can be disputed, but he was ineffective. Quinten Dormady replaced him, throwing a garbage touchdown near the end to the game. He also tossed two interceptions. After getting behind early on, the team had to go away from the run. Jah-Maine Martin and Kelvin Taylor had just 16 carries. While Orlando has some solid receivers, without a reliable quarterback, that won’t matter. As of now, the Guardians are the bottom of the barrel in the XFL.