Like the rest of the sports world, the XFL is following updates on the coronavirus pandemic closely and at the time of this writing, all games going forward as planned, mostly. At the direction of the governor, the Seattle Dragons-LA Wildcats game will be played in front of no fans, but will still be televised as scheduled on ESPN2. If the rest of the league follows suit, it could potentially put another strain on an already revenue-tight league that relies on ticket sales I would imagine in some cases to fund payroll. Assuming the league continues, the favorites remain the Houston Roughnecks (+150) and St. Louis Battlehawks (+350) to bring home the 2020 XFL Championship.
In a quest to go 5-1 ATS on the season, let’s take a look at my favorite play in week 6.
Los Angeles Wildcats at Seattle Dragons (+3, O/U 45.5), 5:00 PM EST (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
In what ended up being the highest-scoring game of the season for the XFL, the Wildcats offense got back on track in a big way exploding for five touchdowns on the way to a 41-34 over the Tampa Bay Vipers. Wildcats’ quarterback Josh Johnson had one of his best games of the season, throwing for 288 yards to go along with four touchdowns and a rating of 107.2. Through five weeks of play, Johnson ranks second in the league to PJ Walker for most passing yards with 1,076 and passing touchdowns (11), but leads walker in QB rating with an average score of 106.3.
A team made for the passing attack is being forced to display, as their leading rusher, Elijah Hood, has just 78 yards and zero touchdowns on the entire season. Even with the struggles of the rushing attack, Johnson as three of the best weapons at wideout in the league at his disposal. Tre McBride, Nelson Spruce, and Jordan Smallwood all rank in the top 10 league-wide in receiving yards while hauling in 7 combined touchdowns on the season to prop up an offense that is averaging 25.8 points per game. The Wildcat’s offense has had to be lethal for this team to compete the way they have. On the defensive side of the ball, the Wildcats have given up a league-worst of 24.4 points per game despite being tied for the most takeaways with the Houston Roughnecks.
While the Wildcats’ long-term prospects will suffer as long as the widening gaps in their defense remain, this week shouldn’t expose them much. The Wildcats will head north for the first time this season to take on the league-worst Seattle Dragons in a game that will be played in front of no fans. While they have allowed fewer points than the Wildcats, the Dragons are averaging the most yards against per game with 358 yards per game.
The last time we saw this Dragons team on the field they played the Roughnecks touch through 2 and half quarters before folding in the middle of the third, giving up 18 unanswered points before ultimately losing 32-23 in Houston. Former University of South Florida product BJ Daniels has been one of the more difficult quarterbacks to watch over the last couple weeks, throwing for an average of 107 yards through two games while averaging a QB rating of right around 77.
As the back half of the season kicks into high-gear, the Wildcats have the BattleHawks and Roughnecks on deck and will be looking to take advantage of a weaker Dragons team here who is dealing with the impacts of the coronavirus may be more than anyone else in the league. I expect Johnson to continue his strong play and get the Wildcats to victory again in this one.