The XFL returns and the Houston Roughnecks will host their inaugural game against Los Angeles Wildcats. Saturday’s game will kick off the historic ten-week season where each team will play five home and five away games. Four teams will then move on to the postseason to play for a chance at the XFL championship.
- Location: TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX
- Kickoff: Saturday, February 8th, 4 p.m. CT
- TV: Fox
- Series Record: First Meeting
- Last Meeting: See Above
- Betting Line: Roughnecks -5.5
Houston as a pro football town will be hosting an L.A. team for the first time since September 26, 1993, in this opening day XFL game. Previously, the Houston Oilers played host to the Los Angeles Rams at the Astrodome.
Houston’s squad is packed with talent on the field and on the coaching staff. Head coach and General Manager June Jones has been a coach since 1983 with his most recent stint coaching the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL.
Jones was an early purveyor of the Run-and-Shoot offense that made his squads throughout the years a formidable offensive force. That should be no different for Jones in the XFL.
Running the offense will be quarterback P.J. Walker. A Temple product, Walker previously played for the Indianapolis Colts and was on the practice squad from 2017-2019. He beat out former Raiders quarterback Conner Cook for the starting job. Walker is also the Temple Owls all-time leading passer in most major categories.
The Roughnecks will be spearheaded by Andre Williams. Williams was a fourth-round pick for the New York Giants in 2014 and played later for the Los Angeles Chargers. In four seasons Williams started seven games (all in his rookie campaign of 2014). In his senior year, Williams rushed for over 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns at Boston College.
The Wildcats are on the other side of the football spectrum. Where June Jones has a fast-paced offense installed in Houston LA head coach Winston Moss will bring his defensive experience to make the Wildcats a formidable force.
Moss was a linebacker in the NFL from 1987 to 1997 playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, LA Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. From 2006-2018 he was the assistant head coach/linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers where he would get a championship ring in Super Bowl XLV.
Headlining his defense will be linebacker Willie Mays III. During the scrimmages with Houston Mays was constantly in the Roughnecks backfield harassing both Houston quarterbacks Walker and Cook. Mays III played at Division II Tiffin University.
Defensive lineman Boogie Roberts played previously for the Los Angeles Rams after a stellar career at San Jose State. In his Spartan tenure, the 290 lbs lineman racked up 23.5 tackles for losses, 7 sacks, four forced fumbles, and an All-Mountain West selection.
Houston has a lot of talent and with June Jones at the helm, it’s gonna be a pass-happy day. The Wildcats have some major untapped potential on the defensive side of the ball. Although these two teams scrimmaged against each other I think Jones has a little bit of his old Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors plays buried in his playbook. Houston will be too much for LA on opening day. Gimme the 31-10, Roughnecks victory.
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