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WATCHING FOOTBALL: XFL Week 1 2020

Welcome to a whole new league.

Well, that was a pretty great Super Bowl, huh? Congrats to the Chiefs, good game to the Niners, a decided “no thank you” to whatever that halftime show was, and a “do better next time” head pat to the advertisers. Guess it’s time to resign myself to the doldrums of the long football offseason and take a long sportswriting hiatus until next year.

Ha ha! Just kidding! While the NFL slumbers, the XFL comes out to play.

No, this isn’t the old XFL that hilariously faceplanted almost two decades ago. It’s something almost entirely new: a spring football league with serious financial backing that boasts innovative rule changes and pro-level coach/player talent. I wrote all about it here.

And it’s on TV. Where and when? That’s what I’m here to tell you.

Below I’ll break down all four of this weekend’s XFL games as best I can. Heck, I’ll even pick winners! If you’d like to see me virtually laugh/cry/react in general to them, I’ll be tweeting along at @WatchingFB. After each week, I’ll also tweet out my XFL Tier Rankings, which (if you remember my college football content) provides an easy way to visually sort out who’s doing well.

And if you like this article, please let me know down in the comments or on Twitter! I know it’s a bit different than The Resurgent‘s usual fare, and I’m debating whether to keep future editions here or post them elsewhere (like my personal website).

But for now, onward! (All times below are in God’s Time Zone, CST.)


SATURDAY

DC Defenders vs. Seattle Dragons (ABC, 1p): Much of the early chatter about the XFL stemmed from former Ohio State QB and national champion Cardale Jones’s decision to join the league. After he was drafted to the Defenders, they became the trendy favorite for many casual fans trying to solidify their rooting interests preseason. And Jones is surrounded by a ton of NFL-caliber talent. But don’t count out the Dragons. Helmed by the QB of the short-lived AAF’s Birmingham Iron, Brandon Silvers, they may give the Defenders a solid game. I doubt it will be enough to win, though. PICK: DC

Houston Roughnecks vs. Los Angeles Wildcats (FOX, 4p): I absolutely love the personality and verve of Wildcats coach Winston Moss. He doesn’t have any standout talent, which should lead his squad to rely more solidly on a whole-team approach. Houston, meanwhile, had an unsettled situation at QB until about two seconds ago, when June Jones named PJ Walker the starter over Connor Cook, the more familiar name thanks to his standout years at Michigan State. While Walker’s leadership of the team is clearly something to keep an eye on, I think Houston’s sheer talent and home field advantage carries the day here. PICK: Houston

SUNDAY

Tampa Bay Vipers vs. New York Guardians (FOX, 1p): The experts are massively undervaluing the New York Guardians, in my opinion. Matt McGloin is a practiced pocket presence who’s looked good in preseason scrimmages and camp. They get the biggest question mark in the league, the Vipers, in Week 1. Tampa’s roster is stacked, and I think I mentioned in my prior article how excited I am to see how they choose to utilize QB/RB combo player Quinton Flowers. Expect a close one, but I’ll go with the expected steadier hand of McGloin. PICK: New York

Dallas Renegades vs. St. Louis BattleHawks (ESPN, 4p): I have no idea why everyone is so high on Jordan Ta’amu, starter for the BattleHawks. Yes, he was fine at Ole Miss, but he had his fair share of mistakes too. They’re going up against Bob Stoops and the Air Raid genius of Hal Mumme, commanded on the field by either capable journeyman Philip Nelson, former Syracuse standout Eric Dungey, or Landry Jones, the Sooner legend still recovering from a knee injury he suffered in training camp. Dallas will be more than ready. PICK: Dallas


There you go! Hope you enjoy the first week of this exciting new football experience. I know I will. Happy watching!

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