St. Louis Battlehawks vs. Arlington Renegades | Week 2 Preview

St. Louis Battlehawks vs. Arlington Renegades | Week 2 Preview

For the St. Louis Battlehawks, the long-awaited home opener. For the Arlington Renegades, a dreaded matchup. And for both teams, the need to bounce back.

St. Louis Battlehawks

After narrowly missing the playoffs in 2023, the Battlehawks’ long-awaited 2024 campaign has kicked off… completely on the wrong foot (no pun intended). After falling to the Michigan Panthers in Week 1 on a simply unbelievable 64-yard field goal by Jake Bates, someone who hadn’t recorded a single field goal in college, the Battlehawks have a tall order ahead of them.

However, fret not, St. Louis, there is a silver lining. The defense certainly pulled their weight against Michigan, recording two interceptions and containing Panthers quarterback E.J. Perry for most of the game. On the other side of the ball, quarterback A.J. McCarron maintained his dominant play from last year, recording two touchdowns and 216 yards on 24 completions. The receiving core has done what it was advertised to do: make difficult catches in critical situations.

There were some questionable mistakes on offense, but the pros definitely outweighed the cons. The main problem was that the opportunities for completions were slim. The O-line looked like it had holes in it all game and sacks were being handed out like they were going out of style. As the archetype of a pocket passer, McCarron is going to need his time, and the Battlehawks’ success going forward is going to be contingent on his protection. He didn’t get into a rhythm until the fourth quarter.

Despite this red flag, St. Louis fans shouldn’t freak out just yet. Signs of the juggernaut advertised this offseason are certainly present, and the season’s still young. Not to mention, their run game was almost non existent. St. Louis needs to see more of Wayne Gallman and Jacob Saylors in week two.

Arlington Renegades

The Arlington Renegades have some questions to answer. While there were plenty of moments that harkened back to their championship run, at the end of the day, they looked completely outmatched by the Birmingham Stallions. Arlington’s defense was torched by the Stallions’ run game, and despite recording an interception on him early in the game, Birmingham quarterback Matt Corral was later able to find his receivers deep downfield for some devastating yardage. Luis Perez was definitely a bright spot for Arlington last weekend, having also found success on the deep ball, but an interception of his late in the fourth quarter effectively ended the game.

This inconsistency on both sides of the ball could come back to bite them this weekend. Having said this, the Renegades have done crazier things than win with an 0-1 record and are not to be underestimated. Despite being 0-2 against St. Louis historically, Battlehawks fans shouldn’t expect a free win.

Final Thoughts

The biggest narrative of the week, however, isn’t actually on the field, but rather off it. This matchup marks the home opener for the Battlehawks, and as always, St. Louis couldn’t be more excited. Attendance for the four UFL games in Week 1 totaled just over 45k, and looking at the seats left for the matchup this weekend, it’s not ambitious to say there might be 40k fans rocking The Dome. There are still plenty of seats available for the game, so if you’re in St. Louis, don’t miss out!

While this isn’t officially a “must win” game for both sides, going into Week 3 with an 0-2 record would be absolutely devastating for either team’s championship aspirations. The playoff implications should make for an exciting math, and you’re sure to want to tune in. As a prediction, I believe the home crowd will head out happy with a much-needed win. The St. Louis home field advantage is unparalleled in the UFL, and I believe the Battlehawks roster simply looks better on paper.

Prediction: 24-12, St. Louis Battlehawks

Full Roster Breakdown: Arlington, St. Louis

What are your thoughts on the matchup ahead between the St. Louis Battlehawks and Arlington Renegades? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!