- Location: TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX
- Kickoff: Sunday, February 16th, 7 p.m. CT
- TV: FS1
- Series Record: First Meeting
- Last Meeting: See Above
- Betting Line: Roughnecks -8, O/U: 50.5
Both teams enter Sunday’s matchup after two very impressive wins last week.
Houston’s offense dominated the LA Wildcats 37-17 in such embarrassing fashion that defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson was fired and linebacker and captain Anthony Johnson was cut. The BattleHawks of St. Louis upset the preseason championship favorite Dallas Renegades, 15-9.
Both teams enter at 1-0 in one of the more interesting games this weekend.
Roughnecks Keys To Victory
The Roughnecks’ offense was expected to shine under Run-and-Shoot guru June Jones, but the defense stepped up incredibly.
Four defensive players recorded five tackles last week and were in the backfield as much as the Los Angeles running backs all afternoon. The Roughnecks as a unit had five sacks, 16 quarterback hits, eight tackles for losses, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Linebacker LaTroy Lewis led the Roughnecks with 2.0 sacks and had LA quarterback Chad Kanoff more frustrated than my mistresses’ boyfriend.
Houston’s offense revolves around XFL Newshub’s offensive player of the week, quarterback, P.J. Walker.
Walker torched the Wildcat defense last week to the tune of 23/39 for 272 yards and four touchdowns. Questions arose when he was given the starting spot last Wednesday over Roughneck number one overall pick Connor Cook. Those questions quickly dissipated, though, as Walker blossomed before the Houston faithful.
In order for the Roughnecks to continue their success, they need to become balanced and get the running game started. Running back James Butler only had 30 yards rushing and Houston as a team mustered 50 yards on the ground.
BattleHawks Keys To Victory
St. Louis quarterback Jordan Ta’amu played very efficiently in last week’s win over Dallas. The Ole Miss product was 20/27 for 209 yards and a touchdown with 77 yards on the ground. His output had him leading the XFL in passer rating at 108.4. Ta’amu has a great open-field running presence and opens up the St. Louis running game. He’ll have to be near flawless again to have success against a stingy Houston defense.
If the running game can get going, it’ll be on the shoulders (or legs) of running back Matt Jones. Jones pounded the Renegade defense for 85 yards on 21 carries. That was his biggest output as a pro since a 2016 mid-October posting of 135 yards against Washington when he was a Philadelphia Eagle.
If the running game can get going, it’ll be on the shoulders (or legs) of running back Matt Jones. Jones pounded the Renegade defense for 85 yards on 21 carries. That was his most significant output as a pro since a 2016 mid-October posting of 135 yards against Washington when he was a Philadelphia Eagle.
The secondary was lights out for St. Louis with cornerback Darius Hilary recording a team-high nine tackles. Strong safety Will Hill had five himself and also got an interception and a tackle for loss. St. Louis’ defense held Dallas to under five yards an attempt last week and need to rattle P.J. Walker to have success.
Conclusion and Prediction
Houston has the highest-scoring offense, and they need the running game to step up to help Walker in case he has trouble against a tough BattleHawks’ secondary. The defense for the Roughnecks needs to have an encore performance of destroying their opponents like patrons destroy the toilets at Chipotle.
St. Louis must play lights out on defense as well. As reserved as they played last week, they may need to open up the playbook and get a little more aggressive to match Houston’s output.
Gimme the Houston win, 40-15.
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