This is a big weekend for both the New York Guardians and the Dallas Renegades. Both teams have been inconsistent, but find themselves in second place in their divisions. It’s a critical game for both teams that need a win. Both teams have some questions at quarterback due to injuries. Here are some of the keys to the game for both teams to win.
Keys to the Game
New York Guardians
Luis Perez showed off some of his skills last week against the Los Angeles Wildcats as he made his first start in the XFL. His strong performance led to a 17-14 win for New York. He didn’t turn the ball over and looked good on his accuracy. Perez was the spark that the Guardians needed after a rough two-week stretch. Darius Victor and Tim Cook have been great for the running game and may be relied on again to help move the offense down the field. Mekale McKay has to get more involved in the passing game as he is off to a slow start. A lot of that starts on the quarterback, but McKay is a playmaker who needs to break out.
New York’s defense has struggled against teams that can run the football. Between Seattle and St. Louis, both teams were able to find early success with running the football. With that being said, the front seven has some pass rushers who have been exceptional for the team. Look for guys like Cavon Walker, Wes Sutton, and Jarrell Owens to get to Philip Nelson. What do they all have in common? All are top five in the league in sacks. Don’t sleep on Jamar Summers as one of the top corners in the XFL. His coverage skills will need to be at his best going up against an Air Raid offense in Dallas.
Philip Nelson will get his second start of the season at quarterback replacing the injured Landry Jones. Nelson showed good things in week one against St. Louis, but ultimately couldn’t get his team in the end zone. The offense has to get off to a fast start which means big pass plays and trust the running game. Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar will have to carry the offense and play more of a pivotal role in winning this game.
The receivers have been lost in the dark for most of the season. Tight end Donald Parham has been their most explosive weapon in the passing game. Look for guys like Jeff Badet, Flynn Nagel, and Jazz Ferguson to have more of a role Saturday. The offensive line has been a strength for this team as they are banged up, but still blocking well. Their ability to protect the quarterback and open up running lanes has not gone unnoticed.
This defense ranks second in points allowed this season and there’s a reason for that. Frank Alexander has been disruptive on the line as he can get to the quarterback and break up passing plays. The linebacking core has been able to shut down running games with efficiency while dropping back into coverage. This talented group will need to prepare for a lot of Victor and Cook runs. Josh Hawkins and the secondary had one of the best performances of the season against Houston’s high-powered offense. While it’ll be an easier task on Saturday, they still have a chance to make a difference in the game.
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