Week five for the XFL is in the books and we saw some surprises that fans weren’t expecting. The DC Defenders fell from grace and got shut out by the winless Tampa Bay Vipers. Landry Jones had another multiple interception game and got injured again. Houston remains undefeated after winning the Texas Throwdown against the Dallas Renegades on the road. What surprises will come from the power rankings this week?
8. Seattle Dragons (1-3, previous ranking: 6)
There’s currently a bit of a separation between the good teams and the bad team. Seattle happens to be on the short end of the stick in being last. While the running game has been pretty good, quarterback play continues to be a question mark. That issue might have been solved with Brandon Silvers being benched for B.J. Daniels who excelled in the second half versus the St. Louis BattleHawks. Daniels’ running ability and passing accuracy (until the fourth quarter) was something the team had been missing. The defense had trouble containing Jordan Ta’amu who finished with 264 yards passing and 63 yards rushing. Seattle needs to find their identity and get this offense going. Don’t be surprised if coach Jim Zorn throws Daniels into the starting quarterback role.
7. DC Defenders (2-2, previous ranking: 4)
There is no point in defending this team anymore. Two straight weeks the Defenders got blown out on the road. Not only blown out by the 1-3 LA Wildcats but shutout by the winless Tampa Bay Vipers. Cardale Jones is starting to lose a bit of his shine. He’s been inaccurate and numerous times forcing balls into tight coverage. The running game hasn’t been much either until the team is down by multiple points. DC’s defense has been shredded by Josh Johnson and Taylor Cornelius which resulted in the team cutting starting safety Matt Elam. The team is a hot mess and needs a win more than any other team in the XFL this weekend.
6. Tampa Bay Vipers (1-3, previous ranking: 7)
We got a team Tampa! After knocking on the door for weeks, the Vipers finally put together a stellar performance. Taylor Cornelius performed better than any quarterback has all season. De’Veon Smith and Jacques Patrick became the first running backs in the XFL this season to run for over 100 yards in a game. All season the running game has dominated defenses. The Vipers had some issues with the defense in some game but were able to pressure Cardale Jones and hold the DC offense to 46 rushing yards. Momentum is picking up for the Vipers as they go on the road for a winnable game against LA.
5. LA Wildcats (1-3, previous ranking: 5)
Despite the team losing a tough road game against New York, this is still a team that is playing with a lot of confidence. Josh Johnson has emerged as the third-best quarterback in the league. The Wildcats do have a major problem in the running game as Martez Carter was out and Elijah Hood is banged up. LA’s defense only allowed 250 total yards and 17 points as they continue to improve. Their weakness is the offense finishing drives and putting up touchdowns. There is still hope for this team as they are still alive for a second seed in the west.
4. New York Guardians (2-2, previous ranking: 8)
Yes, the Guardians were ranked 8th in last week’s power rankings, but a lot has changed in a week. Luis Perez performed well as the starting quarterback and might have won the job for the time being. Darius Victor ran the ball incredibly well as he is quietly one of the league’s best running backs. Defensively, the Guardians might have allowed 325 yards passing but held LA to 14 points. Some things went New York’s way, but the team is now in a position to be in the playoffs today and that’s all they need to do.
3. Dallas Renegades (2-2, previous ranking: 3)
Dallas has one of the best defenses in the XFL. Why? They held P.J. Walker to 61% completion percentage and a season-low 83.3 quarterback rating. This is an accomplishment in itself. They were able to provide pressure on Walker all game and made it difficult for him to make Patrick Mahomes-like throws. Dallas’ offense does present some questions. The rushing attack is still a strength for the Renegades. Quarterback play is a problem. Landry Jones threw three interceptions but kept the team in the game. With his injury now, Philip Nelson comes back into the starting role with something to prove. A win against New York at home Saturday could go a long way for the Renegade fans.
2. St. Louis BattleHawks (3-1, previous ranking: 2)
Nothing has changed here as St. Louis had another strong home performance against Seattle. Jordan Ta’amu had over 300 yards of total offense as he led in passing and rushing. The defense had some issues with B.J. Daniels in the second half but held Seattle to only two first downs in the first half. Their secondary doesn’t get enough recognition as they are one of the best units in the league. This is the most complete team in the East and will need a big performance on the road against the struggling DC Defenders.
1. Houston Roughnecks (4-0, previous ranking: 1)
The class of the XFL continues to be the best. P.J. Walker came down to Earth a bit on Sunday against Dallas but still carried the team to a huge road win. Cam Phillips struggled with only one catch, but Nick Holley stepped up in his place to lead the team in receiving. The defense, of course, was the story of the game. They picked off Landry Jones on three straight drives to start the game. Houston finished with five turnovers to complete one of the best performances of the season. It’s been fun watching this team and the success is expected to continue with Seattle coming to town Saturday.
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