St. Louis Battlehawks vs. Memphis Showboats | Week 4 Preview

St. Louis Battlehawks vs. Memphis Showboats | Week 4 Preview

It’s Week Four of the UFL, and the heated playoff race brings the promise of another round of exceptional football. Despite having opposite records, this upcoming matchup will be critical for both teams’ aspirations. For the Memphis Showboats, to try to make up ground in a stacked USFL division. For the St. Louis Battlehawks, to keep pace with, and if lucky, to get ahead of the red-hot Brahmas and Defenders.

Memphis Showboats

Memphis is a team potentially facing some serious problems. While the Showboats defense was able to get to Stallions quarterback Adrian Martinez a few times during Week 3, it’s easy to forget when looking at his stat line. The dynamic speedster diced Memphis up with both his legs and his arm, torching the Showboats secondary with the deep ball, recording a total of 378 yards and 3 touchdowns. This should be concerning for Showboats fans as this next matchup will be against an equally formidable offense in St. Louis, led by MVP frontrunner A.J. McCarron and recently bolstered by the return of the XFL, and by extension spring football’s 2023 leader in receiving yards, Jahcour Pearson.

This would be excusable if the offense was dominating, but unfortunately, quarterback Case Cookus hasn’t been able to showcase his 2023 level of prowess. The team is yet to score 20 points in a game. A major factor in this has been Cookus’ lack of protection. Having already been sacked 11 times, he leads the rest of the league by a wide margin. Giving Cookus the time he needs will be paramount to the Showboats’ future success, and if fixed, could be the catalyst for getting the team on the right track.

St. Louis Battlehawks

For all the deserved buzz about how great A.J. McCarron and his receiving core have been, the Battlehawks have barely squeezed by to their 2-1 record. With all of their problems, the Showboats are an insane fourth-quarter comeback away from having a winning record. The Battlehawks are a couple drives away from being 0-3. You’ll notice their point differential is in the single digits despite winning two games in a row.

The Battlehawks defense, while having put up some commendable performances, has struggled to record sacks. Memphis’ offense has struggled as a result of continuous pressure to their quarterbacks, and if St. Louis can’t maintain that pressure, it could have some disastrous consequences. Pita Taumoepenu, who was the XFL’s defensive player of the year last season, leads the team with 2.0 sacks, tied for ninth overall.

Where the defense may leave cause for concern, the offense has been rolling. A dramatic shift from the snail’s pace of Week 1, the Battlehawks offense struck early in Week 3 and continued to rack up points throughout the game. A.J. McCarron has yet to throw an interception, and leads the league in touchdowns among active quarterbacks (Brahmas QB Chase Garbers having suffered a season-ending injury). Marcell Ateman, after moderate success in 2023, is finally living up to the hype, and in tandem with the explosive Hakeem Butler, makes for a fearsome receiver core. The addition of Jahcour Pearson will give McCarron yet another explosive option.

Final Thoughts

The fun thing about these spring leagues is that, despite it being seemingly obvious which teams are juggernauts and which teams are bottom feeders, their inherent nature makes it extremely difficult to tell who’s going to win on a weekly basis. Every season, rosters are completely overhauled, and sometimes, a simple change can fix a seemingly broken team.

Last XFL season, Quinten Dormady, who had just returned to the league after beating the serious allegations of leaking his team’s playbook, led the winless Guardians to a shocking win over the then-undefeated DC Defenders. The Renegades trade for Luis Perez completely turned their team around, ultimately leading them to win the first championship in modern XFL history. These players, eyeing the ultimate prize of an NFL roster spot, have everything to play for, and each match is really anyone’s game. While the Showboats have the biggest questions of the two teams, they might respond with even bigger answers.

Despite this thought, I’ll nevertheless opt to be boring. I believe that St. Louis’ momentum, coupled with their unparalleled home field advantage, will propel them to their third win of the season. The Showboats can very well prove me wrong, but their ability to win will need to come from a type of performance not yet seen this year.

Prediction: 35-17, St. Louis Battlehawks

Full Roster Breakdowns: Memphis, St. Louis

What are your thoughts on this upcoming matchup between the Memphis Showboats and St. Louis Battlehawks? Will this game come down to the wire? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!

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