The Orlando Guardians take on the last undefeated team, the DC Defenders, on Saturday. A loss, coupled with an Arlington Renegades win, would mathematically disqualify the Guardians from reaching the postseason.
They’ll know in advance if they need a win to stay alive as the Renegades open this week’s table against the Seattle Sea Dragons on Friday.
On Tuesday, the Renegades traded for the Vegas Vipers quarterback Luis Perez in exchange for linebackers Ryan Mueller, a move they hope will boost their offense against the Sea Dragons and keep them in line for a postseason berth. The weekend ends on Sunday afternoon with arguably the best matchup of Week 7 with the Houston Roughnecks and the St. Louis Battlehawks. Both are 4-2 and have explosive passing offenses.
Friday, 7 p.m. ET | FX, ESPN+
spread: SEA -4.0 (37.5)
With a four-game winning streak, the Sea Dragons are rolling. quarterback Ben Dinucci currently leads the XFL in passing yards (1,505) but is struggling to protect the football. In his last two games, he’s thrown four interceptions, the most in the league in that span. The Renegades are hoping Perez will reignite their tricky passing game. In a span of six weeks, Arlington quarterbacks have had the second fewest passing yards (854), fewest touchdown passes (four), and second most interceptions (seven). Perez should be an upgrade, having more passing yards (906) and touchdown passes (eight) than the Renegades as a team all season.
Players to watch: As DiNucci’s overall sales have gone up, his completion rate has gone down. He completed 68% of his cycles in the first four weeks and only 51% in the last two weeks. Sea Dragons receiver Jahcour Pearson, who leads the league in receiving yards (448), will be looking to recover from a season-low 18 yards against the Guardians. Perez’s new main goal will likely be a tight finish Sal Canellawhich has 28 receptions (the sixth largest).
Kezirian’s choice: Seattle -5. The Seattle Sea Dragons could be the second-best team in the XFL, although June Jones inexplicably insists on attempting 3-point conversions and DiNucci has made far too many turnovers. Arlington’s offense is anemic, and it’s the lowest-scoring team for a reason.
Saturday, 3 p.m. ET | ESPN, ESPN+
spread: VGS -2.5 (38.5)
The Brahmas are looking to claim back-to-back wins for the first time this season after beating the Renegades in Week 6 to keep their playoff hopes alive. A win this week is crucial for San Antonio, who are currently third in the Southern League. His offense is struggling, averaging 14.8 points per game, second-lowest in the XFL. But against the Vipers’ defense, which is second-highest at 27 points per game, that shouldn’t be an issue. The Vipers have the second-worst record in the league and will be looking to rebound from a 29-6 loss to the Battlehawks. However, that could be difficult against the Brahmas defense, which allows for an XFL low of 14.6 points per game
Players to watch: Considering all of the Vipers’ defensive woes, their offense has surpassed 25 points twice this season. The leader of their offense is a former NFL receiver Jeff Badet, who leads the league in touchdown receptions (five) and is fourth in receiving yards (375). quarterback Brett Hundley is also back for the Vipers after missing Week 5 through injury. One of the bright spots in the Brahmas offensive is running back Jacques Patrickwho is fifth in the XFL in rushing yards (206)
Kezirian’s choice: Vipers/Brahmas under 39.5. Vegas has been involved in some very high-scoring games, but the Brahmas are the second-lowest-scoring team. I think both teams will start this game with a win and therefore play conservatively. Also, Vegas have been dominated in almost every second half so I doubt they will score many goals after halftime.
#1: Get the W
— San Antonio Brahmas (@XFLBrahmas) March 28, 2023
Saturday, 6 p.m. ET | ESPN, ESPN+
spread: DC -9.5 (45)
On paper, this is one of the biggest discrepancies this season, as the undefeated defenders are 9.5-point favorites over the winless Guardians, the widest point spread in the XFL this season. Defenders have the most attack points (28.5 points per game), while keepers concede the most points per game (29.6). Although the Guardians’ last three losses have been within a point, this season they have been surpassed by 178-100.
Players to watch: The defenders’ offense has a league-high 986 rushing yards and is led by running backs AbrahamSmith, who leads in rushing yards (527) and tops in rushing touchdowns (five). Another key element of their offense is the dual-threat quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, who is fifth in passing yards (903) and sixth in rushing (203). Even if the Guardians are winless, quarterback Quinten Dormady became the starter in Week 5 and has since thrown for 499 yards and two touchdown passes with no interceptions. Dormady’s goal #1 is a tight finish Cody Latimerwho is second in receiving yards (395) and third in touchdown receptions (three).
Kezirian’s Choice: Defender/Guardian over 45.5. I like Orlando’s decision to switch quarterback and start Dormady. They now have a competent offense and DC can certainly lighten any defense in addition to generating points with their own defense. I think we’re looking at a high-scoring affair.
Sunday, 2 p.m. ET | ESPN, ESPN+
spread: HOU -3.0 (44)
Battlehawks quarterback AJ McCarron is second in passing yards (1,322) and first in touchdown passes (14). On the other side roughnecks quarterback Brandon Silver is third in passing yards (1,300) and second in touchdown passes (11). However, the Roughnecks’ defense has struggled in the past two weeks, allowing 58 points after giving up a league-low 55 in the first four weeks. If the Roughnecks can’t fix their recent problems, the Battlehawks could light up the scoreboard as they are second in total touchdowns (17).
Players to watch: Aside from their top quarterbacks, both teams can count on their running game as Battlehawks running back Brian Hill is second in rushing (317) and roughnecks running back Max Borghi is tied for first place in total touchdowns (five). The Roughnecks have to rely on defense Ajene Harriswho leads in interceptions (five) to slow McCarron’s air attack.
Kezirian’s choice: Battlehawk’s +3. I believe Houston is overrated even though Wade Phillips is an experienced and elite coach. I still like what Anthony Becht is doing and St.Louis is improving almost every week. I’ll get the points.
It’s going to be a GOOOOOD day 😏 pic.twitter.com/avg30Sy6mo
— St. Louis Battlehawks (@XFLBattlehawks) March 30, 2023