SEATTLE – In the premier matchup of Week 3 of the XFL season, the Dallas Renegades (1-1) come to Seattle to take on the Dragons (1-1). Both teams are coming off wins with the Renegades scoring a victory 25-18 against the Wildcats, while the Dragons downed the hapless Vipers 17-9. The game looks to draw a big crowd as the Dragons set the high mark in the XFL with 29,172 in attendance for their home opener and over 10,000 season ticket holders. According to the XFL, much is on the line in this game as both teams chances to make the playoffs could change by 30% for either team. With that in mind, how do the teams match up?
The Dragons have the third best scoring offense in the XFL coming into the game with 18 PPG, but this is not a large advantage over the Renegades and their 17 PPG. The Dragons’ passing offense is lead by receivers Keenan Reynolds and Austin Proehl, the former with a 68 yard touchdown last week and the latter with two touchdowns the week prior. Unfortunately, their passing attack is held back by QB Brandon Silvers. The former Troy star has been, according to Ben Baldwin, the least efficient non-Vipers QB while completing 48% of his passes and leading the XFL in interceptions. The Renegades are in nearly the opposite situation. They have the XFL’s best TE in Donald Parham, and an incredibly efficient passer in Landry Jones. Although Jones has been nearly as turnover heavy as Silvers, he is at least completing 70% of his passes.
The two teams differ much more when it comes to pounding the rock. Again according the Ben Baldwin, the Dragons posses the second most efficient rushing offense in the XFL, while the Renegades have a roughly average rushing attack. The Dragons have yet to score a rushing touchdown, but they have three capable backs all averaging over 4 yards a carry in Trey Williams, Ja’Quan Gardner, and Kenneth Farrow. The Renegades rely more heavily on former Panthers RB Cameron Artis-Payne, as he rushed for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14 carriers against the Wildcats. Artis-Payne may be more individually prolific than any individual Dragons back, however Seattle’s rushing attack is certainly more threatening.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Dragons have a clear lead. The Dragons defense are lead by its linebackers Steven Johnson and Nick Temple, who are two of the best linebackers in the XFL with both amongst the league leaders in tackles. Additionally the Dragons defensive backfield is lead by cornerback Steve Williams, who had an incredible week 2 with 1.5 sacks, in an overall strong unit. The Renegades, on the other hand, spreads its talent much more easily. The defense is lead by former NFC South players OLB Hau’oli Kikaha and DE Frank Alexander, but no one player has stood out statistically.
The Renegades and Dragons have an even match up. The Dragons have the upper hand on the ground and on the defensive side of the ball, while the Renegades have a clear advantage moving the ball through the air. Since neither team is incredibly talented, this game looks to be a close, low scoring, exciting match. I am predicting that the Renegades will come out on top 17-10 this afternoon.