St. Louis Battlehawks vs. San Antonio Brahmas | Week 10 Preview

St. Louis Battlehawks vs. San Antonio Brahmas | Week 10 Preview

Saturday’s slate of week 10 matchups in the UFL will feature another playoff preview. The St. Louis Battlehawks host the San Antonio Brahmas in their second meeting of the season, just one week before the two will play again in the postseason.

Heading into this affair, the St. Louis Battlehawks have lost two of their last three games. With Manny Wilkins at the helm against Arlington, the offense struggled to stay consistent – and fell to the 1-7 Arlington Renegades on the road.

On the other hand, the San Antonio Brahmas have weathered the storm despite losing so many pieces to injury. They’re 7-2, and have an opportunity to win the XFL Division for the first time in franchise history with a win.

Let’s take a look at what we can expect in this matchup.

Quarterback Play

Thankfully, the depth charts have finally dropped – and we have full clarity on the importance of this game for both teams. St. Louis is starting A.J. McCarron, who hasn’t played for the past two games due to an ankle injury.

McCarron is clearly the best passing quarterback in the UFL when he’s healthy, although Luis Perez certainly gives him a run for his money in that category. Regardless, the Battlehawks are not the same team without A.J. Last week against Arlington, Wilkins threw three interceptions, which ultimately kept St. Louis from making a comeback.

With McCarron starting in this matchup, it gives St. Louis a true opportunity to win the division. Now, something to monitor will be A.J.’s mobility – in those final two drives against Birmingham, it was evident that he could not run. How will he look this weekend – and, will he risk further injury ahead of the postseason?

Chase Garbers wasn’t supposed to play most of the game last week – but he ended up doing so due to an injury to Quinten Dormady. With Quinten not fully healthy, it makes sense to see Chase getting the nod in this matchup.

Garbers played well in his first action back against Birmingham, as he was efficient with the football. Starting this week will allow Chase to get his feet back under him ahead of this postseason clash.

Standout Playmakers

Two of the top offenses in the UFL reside in San Antonio and St. Louis. Starting with the Battlehawks, they’ve boasted one of the strongest receiving cores, led by Hakeem Butler.

That said, it’d be nice to see some more production from Jahcour Pearson this weekend. He’s been relatively quiet as of late – and feels overdue for a big game. Jacob Saylors has been very consistent on the ground, and after playing well against San Antonio back in week three, should be in a position for more success there.

A potential issue for San Antonio this week: they’re missing both John Lovett, and Anthony McFarland Jr. Since the two of them are dealing with some minor injuries, Wade Phillips made the smart decision to save them for the postseason.

That said, their lack of presence in the offense changes quite a bit. The Brahmas are such a dynamic team because of those two running backs. They’ll need Morgan Ellison to step up – who had two touchdowns this past weekend against the Stallions.

Additionally, without Cody Latimer (who’s out for the season), someone will need to try and fill his shoes offensively. San Antonio simply needs to stay healthy this week – any more injuries could prove to be truly devastating to their Championship aspirations.

Comparing The Statistics

Both of these teams have their strengths and weaknesses, and match up pretty evenly. It’s also worth noting that certain categories are a bit skewed, given the injuries both organizations have dealt with this season:

  • Brahmas average 299.3 yards per game (3rd), St. Louis at 280.2 (5th)
  • Battlehawks posting 27.4 points per game (1st), Brahmas at 20.1 (5th)
  • St. Louis allowing just 258.4 yards per game (2nd), Brahmas just behind them at 263.1 (3rd)
  • Brahmas elite defense allowing only 15.6 points per game (1st), Battlehawks at 21.1 (4th)
  • San Antonio leads UFL with 29 sacks, Battlehawks lagging behind with 17
  • Battlehawks with 12 takeaways this year (4th), Brahmas dead last with only 9

Something to keep an eye on this week – the penalties. St. Louis has been the cleanest team in the UFL this year, with only 34 penalties through nine games. Meanwhile, the Brahmas have been penalized 52 times, which is the second highest number in the league.

Looking Back At Week Three

When these two organizations played back in week three, both Chase Garbers and A.J. McCarron were the starters. It was in this game that Garbers got injured, but the status of his injury wasn’t made known until after the clock hit zeroes.

It was a back and forth affair, which was to be expected given the talent on both sides of the football. The Battlehawks had arguably the best game that any offense has had against San Antonio’s defense so far this year, posting 31 points.

Ultimately, it was San Antonio who seemingly had more opportunities, having possession of the football for eight more minutes than St. Louis. However, the Brahmas averaged just 3.7 yards per play. Defensively, the Battlehawks were able to get the stop they needed late, which was the deciding factor in the fourth quarter.

Given the competitiveness of this first meeting, expect the same level of intensity in St. Louis. The XFL Conference Title, and home field advantage for the Conference Championship, is on the line.

Coaching Matchup

St. Louis Battlehawks | Anthony Becht: It hasn’t been a perfect season for the Battlehawks, having lost two of their last three games. Becht has taken responsibility, knowing that himself and this coaching staff need to do a better job as the postseason approaches. The good news is that St. Louis has already clinched their berth, and with McCarron returning to the lineup, they’re still Championship contenders – largely due to the culture Anthony has built with this team.

Coach Becht spoke to the media this week on the importance of staying true to who this team is, going up against a fierce San Antonio team:

“They [San Antonio] are playing lights out. Coach Phillips has his guys flying around. They show it on film. It’s a huge challenge for our offense, especially since we saw them hold one of the better offenses in this league to nine points. But, we did play them before, and we do know this defense. We played well against them last year when they were in Houston, and we played well against them this year when they were just as good on defense. We have a lot of respect for their defense. But there is a revenge factor on their minds, they don’t want to come here and lose again. We’re expecting their best, but hopefully they leave some opportunities for us to take advantage of. It’s going to be a great matchup, and I’m interested to see how our guys respond after last week.”

San Antonio Brahmas | Wade Phillips: Wade Phillips should be in serious consideration for the Coach of the Year award in the UFL. Not many have had to deal with the amount of injuries that this Brahmas team has, yet they still find ways to win. It’s not an easy feat to win seven games in professional football, and San Antonio has accomplished that in just nine weeks. Their destiny is in their own hands now – a win here, and they lock up home field for the first round of the playoffs.

Final Thoughts

It’s tough to say who might end up being the favorite in this one. St. Louis has the return of A.J. McCarron and home field advantage – but, it seems that McCarron isn’t 100% quite yet. On the other hand, San Antonio will be missing some key offensive pieces of their own.

Either way – it should be a down to the wire matchup in St. Louis. With what appears to be little competition in the sports world this weekend for the city, we could be in for a big crowd at The Dome.

Full Roster Breakdowns: San Antonio, St. Louis

What are your thoughts on this upcoming matchup between the St. Louis Battlehawks and San Antonio Brahmas? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!