Houston has more on the line in this game, with a chance to lock up home field advantage in the playoffs. Vegas, on the other hand, has been playing its best football late in the season. Jalan McClendon, the QB for LV, has changed the offense with his mobility, and currently holds the highest Rushing Grade of any QB in the XFL. Vegas has elevated to the next level as an offense.
However, for Houston, the passing game continues to struggle. After an inspiring 12-play opening drive for a touchdown, the Roughneck offense mostly sputtered. The Silvers-led offense managed just 3.2 yards per play last week, which was actually a season low, topping the Week 7 game when Houston put up 3.9 yards while being led by Cole McDonald.
The gap on defense couldn’t be larger, as Houston boasts the top-graded coverage unit and pass rush in the league. Vegas, on the other hand, has been the worst in the league against the run and struggled in the secondary.
Houston is favored by 7 at home. While Houston is the better team, Vegas will make them work for it. The Vegas wide receivers vs. Roughneck cornerbacks might decide this game. I’ll take Vegas and the seven points.
Believe it or not, San Antonio still has a path to the playoffs, but they must win this game to do so. On paper, these two teams are evenly matched but polar opposites. SA is led by arguably the best defense in the league, while Orlando has one of the top yards-per-play offenses in the league. On the other side of things, San Antonio has been dreadful on offense, and Orlando hasn’t been much better on defense. However, both units will face perhaps their weakest competition to date this season.
As always, much depends on QB play. The Brahma offense is back to being led by Jack Coan, who started the year strong but has struggled of late. With him at QB, the offense doesn’t seem able to stretch the field, as Coan currently owns the lowest average depth of target in the XFL. If San Antonio doesn’t stretch the field on Saturday, they will have a tough time exploiting a very exploitable Guardian defense. For the Guardians, QB has been one of the few bright spots. While they possess perhaps the worst offensive line in the XFL, when they have protected Dormady, he has shined.
The betting line currently stands at SA favored by 2.5 points at home. However, I like Orlando in the game.
This game appears to be the biggest mismatch on paper this week. DC has been incredibly consistent on offense this season. They have yet to find a defense up to the task of slowing down their high-powered offense. Arlington has one of the few defenses in the league capable of offering some resistance. DC has been capable of forcing defenses to bring defenders into the box to stop the running game. Teams that have done this have been unable to hold up against the DC passing game without that extra defender to help in coverage. Arlington is the best team in the league at defending the run.
What does that mean for DC? They are not going to get easy looks in the passing game because Arlington won’t need to bring down an extra defender into the box. I wanted to focus on this concept as I do think it will translate into a lower-scoring, closer game on the field. When Arlington has the ball, they are led by Luis Perez. Perez does one thing very well – get through progression to find the open receiver. With DC playing an aggressive defensive style, Perez should be able to identify where to go with the ball early in the drop back. The betting line in this game opened at DC favored by 9.5 and now sits at 8.5. My numbers agree with this line movement. Given how these two teams match-up, there is some value on the Moneyline. It’s a bit of a longshot, but comes with a decent payout.
I’ve been eagerly anticipating this game since the St. Louis walk-off field goal to win in Seattle. Because these teams are so evenly matched, I want to break down this game a bit differently.
SEA pass game v STL pass defense – Advantage SEA
STL pass v SEA pass defense – Advantage STL
SEA pass protection v STL pass rush – Advantage SEA
STL pass protection v SEA pass rush- Advantage SEA
SEA run game v STL run defense – Advantage STL
STL run game v SEA run defense – Advantage STL
Special Teams – Advantage Even
Pick: Over 45.5