The D.C. Defenders are looking strong this season.

  • After the second slate of games, the XFL’s power hierarchy is finally becoming clear.
  • D.C. and Houston look like runaway favorites to win the XFL right now.
  • Just as in the NFL, it appears teams will live and die on the strength of their quarterback play.

STAMFORD, Conn. – The second week of the rebooted XFL is in the books, and once again, the quality of play quietly exceeded expectations. Teams are finally starting to build an identity and knock off the rust, and the XFL championship picture is becoming clearer.

D.C. Defenders 27, New York Guardians 0

D.C. has quickly emerged as the new odds-on favorite to win the XFL. Simply put, the Defenders have looked stellar through two weeks. They closed as 6.5-point favorites prior to kickoff, but it never felt like the game was in reach for New York.

The Guardians could only muster 129 total yards against a stifling D.C. defense, turning the ball over three times and averaging under three yards per play. Meanwhile, quarterback Cardale Jones and the D.C. offense were methodical and in control throughout the game.

Former Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin was erratic for New York, completing less than half of his passes and throwing two picks before being benched. After being replaced by Marquise Williams, McGloin expressed frustration with the game planning of Guardians’ head coach Kevin Gilbride.

“We need to change the entire gameplan at halftime,” McGloin said. “There’s just a lot going on right now. It’s embarrassing for us here as an offense.”

Seattle Dragons 17, Tampa Bay Vipers 9

This was the hardest game to watch this weekend. Both offenses looked incapable for long stretches. The only offensive touchdown of the game came via a 68-yard pass to former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who was undoubtedly the star of the afternoon.

Tampa Bay came into the game as 3-point favorites, but once again lacked any kind of offensive cohesion. The Vipers at least managed to score their first touchdown of the season, courtesy of a 78-yard Tarvarus McFadden pick-six, but the offense looked lifeless once again.

Seattle has been a somewhat pleasant surprise after beginning the season with the worst championship odds in the league. The Dragons’ odds at the league title have now surpassed those of the L.A. Wildcats.

Dallas Renegades 25, L.A. Wildcats 18

Despite the win, the Renegades proved that their week one struggles were not entirely due to quarterback play. They closed as 4-point favorites but failed to score an offensive touchdown until the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter.

Offensive coordinator Hal Mumme is a pioneer of the air raid, but despite improved quarterback play, the Renegades’ running game has looked much more effective than their passing game. Running backs Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar combined for 142 yards on only 20 carries.

Despite a great performance from receiver Nelson Spruce, the Wildcats once again looked overmatched by the offensive talent of their opponent, and now have the worst odds in the league to win the 2020 XFL Championship at +1400.

Houston Roughnecks 28, St. Louis BattleHawks 24

Houston has been the surprise of the season through two weeks. Former Temple quarterback P.J. Walker once again looked poised and comfortable in coach June Jones’s run and shoot offense, totaling three touchdowns and no turnovers.

The Roughnecks’ defense managed to hold St. Louis under five yards per play despite a second-half surge. With two strong performances, Houston’s championship odds have improved to +225, trailing only the D.C. war machine.

After trailing for most of the first half, St. Louis rallied behind a heroic performance from quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, who totaled 316 yards and four touchdowns on the day. The BattleHawks entered the game as 8-point underdogs but looked like the better team for much of the second half.

With 52 points and an over/under of 50.5, this was the only matchup of the week to hit the over on total points, and only barely managed to do so.

Current XFL Championship Odds

Now that there are eight quarters worth of film and team identities are beginning to take shape, so are the league’s championship odds. The current XFL title odds at online sportsbooks sit at:

  • D.C. Defenders +190
  • Houston Roughnecks +225
  • Dallas Renegades +700
  • St. Louis BattleHawks +800
  • Tampa Bay Vipers +1000
  • New York Guardians +1100
  • Seattle Dragons +1200
  • Los Angeles Wildcats +1400

Unsurprisingly, the three teams that have seen a notable improvement in their championship odds (St. Louis, D.C., and Houston) have been those with the best quarterback play.

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