How the Dallas Renegades can Upset Houston

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Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Renegades head into week four with a two-game winning streak and a lot of confidence. Offensively, they have been able to get the passing game going and establish one of the most potent rushing attacks in the XFL. The defense has improved in pass coverage and rushing the quarterback keeping the team in all of their games. Houston comes into Globe Life Park undefeated and showing no signs of slowing down. So the question is, how can the Renegades pull off the upset win?

Win the Turnover Battle

Too many times this season, the Renegades have seen Landry Jones throw multiple interceptions. Those costly errors have made games closer than they should be. Jones has proven to be one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the XFL. The issue lies with miscommunication with receivers and simply either under throwing or overthrowing his receivers. Timing comes with developing relationships with his receivers and shaking the rust off. If the Dallas Renegades can hold on to the football and Jones can avoid interceptions, the team has a chance to beat the Roughnecks.

The Renegades must Pressure Walker

PJ Walker is easily the most successful and talented quarterback in the league. His ability to escape from trouble and make plays with his legs makes him dangerous. No team in the league so far has been able to figure out how to stop him. The best way to handle him is providing pressure on him while containing him in the pocket. That starts with the front seven of the Dallas Renegades defense.

With their 3-4 defense they run under defensive coordinator Chris Woods, the team needs to take advantage of their speed at linebacker. The linebacker unit is one of the most talented and versatile groups on the team. To keep Walker contained, they will need to find a way to provide pressure off the edge but keep one or two linebackers back to have a quarterback spy on him. Their responsibility will be to follow him all game long. If they can contain him, it could lead to fewer big plays being developing during the game.

Cam Phillips vs. Renegades Secondary

More than likely, Josh Hawkins will be responsible for covering the dangerous receiver Cam Phillips. Phillips already has seven touchdown catches on the season, which is insane in only three games. Hawkins is the Renegades’ most effective shutdown corner. He should be tasked with making sure Phillips isn’t able to get open. A lot of this has to do with how well the front seven can contain Walker in the pocket, but covering Phillips one on one has proven to be tough. Holding Phillips scoreless and at least under five catches will go a long way in winning the defensive battle.

Get Off to a Fast Start

It’s been no secret that the Renegades have not been able to get off to a good start. In all three games this season, Dallas has been held to six points or under in the first half. This places the team in a bad spot, playing from behind in the second half of the games. The Renegades offense needs to get off to a quick start and score often. Houston has proven to be one of the best first-half attacks in the league. Walker’s playmaking ability gives the Roughnecks multiple avenues to score touchdowns. Jones and company will need to make sure they do enough to score in the double digits to stay in the game. As long as they are within six to ten points of Houston going into halftime, the Renegades have a chance at winning.

Establish a Balanced Offense

Establishing a balanced attack may be a hard task since they run the Air Raid offense. The fact is their running backs are too good not to be used. Cameron Artis-Payne is second in the XFL in rushing yards with 185 yards. Lance Dunbar is a lethal weapon out of the backfield as he can catch and run effectively. The duo together has been responsible for the offense being able to move the ball down the field. They must be on their A-game for the team to win. Running the ball as much as passing the ball takes the pressure off of Jones as he doesn’t have to feel like he must make big plays.


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