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WATCHING FOOTBALL: XFL Week 2 2020

A love letter.

How do I love thee, XFL? Let me count the ways.

  • Kickoffs are now entertaining, interesting, and safe.
  • Hearing coaches, players, and refs talk in real time is real cool.
  • The refs mostly just let the teams play football.
  • Nothing remotely political besides a Bloomberg ad during a commercial break.
  • Point-after attempts actually take strategy.
  • Pat McAfee.
  • An Instagram model threw for 4 TDs and won Player of the Week.
  • This happened:
Insane, I tell you.

It’s only appropriate on Valentine’s Day to declare my unabashed adoration for this nascent spring football league. Last week’s competition exceeded my expectations by quite a bit, as I’m sure you can tell.

But this is a ten-week season. And we’re just getting started.

As with the first week of most football seasons, there’s a tendency to overreact. We still have little to no idea which teams or players are good or bad, if we’re honest. This Saturday and Sunday, everyone fights to either maintain their momentum or bounce back. Nothing’s settled yet.

Below I’ll break down the stakes for each matchup this weekend, pick the winners, and give you the time when and channel where you can see each clash. To stay fully up to date, follow me on Twitter for more articles, rankings, and commentary on this wonderful sport. And as always, all times below are in God’s Time Zone (CST).


SATURDAY

New York Guardians vs. DC Defenders (ABC, 1p): Bolstered by a strong defensive performance boasting multiple takeaways, the Guardians handled the Vipers last week. But the Defenders turned in a much more steady, balanced effort against the visiting Dragons. Cardale Jones does not seem to have lost a step. And DC’s Audi Field was loud. I expect it will be again, because Cardale is no Aaron Murray. The Guardians won’t be able to limit him as effectively. PICK: DC

Tampa Bay Vipers vs. Seattle Dragons (FOX, 4p): After Aaron Murray’s abysmal Week 1 showing, I’m all in favor of the Vipers pivoting to mobile QB Quinton Flowers. It remains to be seen if they’ll embrace that strategy. The Dragons performed above what I expected last week (which, frankly, wasn’t much). Someone has to win here, and I don’t have a great deal of belief in Tampa Bay’s defense. PICK: Seattle

SUNDAY

Dallas Renegades vs. LA Wildcats (ABC, 2p): There’s already trouble brewing on the West Coast. A few days ago, the Wildcats fired their defensive coordinator and apparently released their team captain into free agency. To top it all off, their first-string QB is still out with an injury, and their mercurial second-stringer is probably out too, leaving hapless Jalen McClendon to command the offense. Frankly, if Dallas doesn’t walk out of here with a victory, with or without a return from Landry Jones, they should be ashamed. PICK: Dallas

St. Louis BattleHawks vs. Houston Roughnecks (FS1, 5p): June Jones had the Houston offense firing on all cylinders against LA last Saturday, but can QB P.J. Walker replicate that success against the BattleHawks, who didn’t let the Renegades score a single TD last week? Probably. The BattleHawks were certainly helped out by Landry Jones’ absence, and the Dallas offense was almost too simplistic. June Jones’ approach is a tad more technical. And I don’t fully buy the St. Louis offense as a threat yet. PICK: Houston


All done! Have a wonderful weekend, and happy watching!

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