Week Two of the XFL sees two star quarterbacks return from injury to face off against each other and two of the most prolific offences. Who will start under the Sunday Night Lights? Find out below.
Dallas Renegades at Los Angeles Wildcats
Landry Jones will return from an injury that kept him out of Week One to start for Dallas. Landry offers a huge upgrade over Philip Nelson, despite being out of football the last few years. His ability to look down field likely changes the Renegades’ gameplan.
The Wildcats will have their own starting quarterback after missing Week One. Josh Johnson, NFL journeyman, will make his first XFL start. He’ll have one of the better receivers in the league to target in Nelson Spruce. Spruce looked impossible to cover at times as he hauled in 11 passes for 103 yards
There’s a definite sense of parity when it comes to this game. Neither team looked like the finished product in Week One. With backups starting Weel One for both team it’s hard to say much about either offence.
Look for the Renegades to feature more of former Cowboys back, Lance Dunbar. When he was called upon he averaged an impressive 5.4 yards per carry.
The Wildcats will also feature Bradley Sylve who had an interception return for a touchdown in Week One. Sylve is one of the league’s better corners and offers an upgrade.
St Louis BattleHawks at Houston Roughnecks
The XFL schedulers couldn’t have dreamt this matchup any better. In the second battle of the XFL’s undefeated teams, two of the leagues better quarterbacks will clash; P.J Walker and Jordan Ta’amu.
For my money, Walker is the more impressive of the two but there’s no doubting that both can make plays. Walker showed in Week One that he could make all the throws and was mobile enough to get out of trouble whilst still looking downfield. Ta’amu looks a less impressive passer but is majestic running the ball and brings that something extra.
Where Houston were focused on the pass, St Louis showed impressive balance with Matt Jones gaining 85 yards on 21 carries. I suspect he’ll struggle to repeat those numbers against a stingy Houston defence but he should still be a factor.
On defense, St. Louis will count on three of last week’s defensive stars; cornerback Darius Hillary, linebacker Terence Garvin and safety Dexter McCoil. Garvin . Stopping Walker, who spreads the ball around rather than focusing on one star, will pose a much bigger threat than Dallas did. After all, Dallas were still in the Week One contest even with backup Philip Nelson under centre.
As good as the Roughnecks offense looked, their defence was the start of the show. Against the Wildcats in Week One they recorded five sacks and forced three turnovers. Former NFL player Kony Ealy may have only recorded one sack but he clocked 4 QB hurries and teamed with LaTroy Lewis to dominate the line of scrimmage.
The winner of the Roughnecks vs BattleHawks will go a long way to clarify the XFL pecking order. If either Landry Jones or Josh Johnson can spark their offense they will go a long way to improve the chances of LA and Dallas.